Archive for the ‘bleomycin’ Category

Remission

My appointment at Dana-Farber came with positive news today. The CT scan results and blood work continue to be cancer-free. I’m now on a 6-month schedule for appointments, with the next one in December. I spoke with my oncologist about my presumed problem with blood circulation, which causes my hands to always be cold. This has been annoying during outdoor activities (e.g. riding my motorcycle). Even when it is 90 degrees outside, I need to have chemical heat packs- the kind skiers use- inside my leather gloves. That makes it bearable, but my finger tips still become cold within about 30 minutes. It turns out that this has nothing to do with my blood circulation. One of the chemo drugs, Bleomycin, causes this side effect. I was told that this is likely permanent.

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Hiatus

I took a little bit of a hiatus from posting. I’m doing just fine, feeling completely normal since Sunday. The second round of 5-day chemo caused stronger side effects, which diminished my motivation to come online for personal stuff.

Last Tuesday, I received my second shot of white blood cells after work. It (or a combination of things) knocked me out. I ended up staying in bed from about 7 PM on that day through 5 AM on Thursday. At first I intended on working from home on Wednesday, but I couldn’t even stay awake to do anything, let alone work.

On Friday, I received my “off day” of Bleomycin. I was feeling depressed going into Dana-Farber, but it went ok.

I am happy that my treatment is officially over on August 1st- only a couple more weeks to go.

Feeling OK

Yesterday was the friggin’ pits! I went in for “quick” chemo, just Bleomycin, which supposedly takes 15 minutes or so. I started off being late for my 6:45 AM appointment because I didn’t wake up early enough. I’m pretty sure I came close to passing out when my IV was put in, but I wasn’t particularly upset about it. I then had an “assessment-style” appointment about my current treatment. All of my tests are coming back good/normal. I complained (probably a lot) about things, especially when repeatedly asked “How are you feeling?”. Relative to chemo treatment, I’m feeling ok. Relative to a normal person, shitty. Ha!

I was told that Bleomycin, by itself, has minimal side effects- I might get a fever. Sweet. I was told that I didn’t need any additional anti-nausea meds (beyond the ones I already take regularly at home). I acknowledged this and OK’d the nurse to proceed.

I arrived home a little before noon. I decided to take a quick nap before working from home for the afternoon. This quick nap turned into about 6-hours of freezing chills, headaches and vomiting. Needless to say, I didn’t get any work done. This was the worst day for side effects to date. I will always ask for additional medication going forward.

Today I am feeling OK. I spent the day around the house cleaning up a bit. I’m glad to have some energy back.

My treatment is short

The two patients seated adjacent to me make my 9-week chemo treatment seem like a joke.  The first has 6-weeks on, 2-weeks off, repeated for 6 months.  The second person is undergoing chemo indefinitely, as it treats, but will never cure his combination of colon and lung cancer.  I think it is important to keep this in perspective, as this will be just a “remember when” story for me after August.

I’m getting all three chemo drugs for the first time today: Bleomycin, Cisplatin and Eposin.  My arm is cold from the IV but other than that, I’m feeling good.  Zofran took care of my stomach funk.

What a long day

I took the train in to Boston for my appointments today, not out of necessity, but to figure how this is going to work when I’m either high on chemo drugs and/or exhausted from it. The train will work out fine, albeit a long ride.

My first appointment was interesting to say the least. Because I want to make you feel awkward too, the picture on the left is the inside of the sperm donor room at Brigham’s. Nice artwork of someone’s ass on the wall, eh? As a guy, you’d think this process would be no sweat, but it was pretty uncomfortable being in a room where you can hear the conversations in the waiting area- and all of those folks know exactly what you’re doing in there. Add to that, you have to hand-deliver the container (no pun intended) to the semi-attractive female receptionist in the waiting area upon completion. To top off the visit, I had to give a blood sample.

I’ll find out on Monday whether or not I need to come back for a repeat visit. Let’s hope not. I was informed (but need to confirm with my oncologist), that even if I remain fertile after chemo, I may be at a high-risk of causing birth defects should Jess and I conceive kids naturally.
My second appointment was a CT scan. I’m absolutely annoyed with myself for being such a wimp when it comes to needles. I almost got emotional about it, but I know that it is completely psychological. I asked them to give me Novocaine first (before the IV), but they wouldn’t do it. I better figure out how to handle needles better because I’ll be pretty much living with an IV as of June 4th. Prior to the scan, I was also given the dye to drink orally. It tasted like liquid Tums, which wasn’t difficult to drink. They put the dye chemicals (it looked like powder) into two 20oz crystal light iced tea bottles. I was expecting it to be far worse.
My last appointment of the day was a PFT test. I sat in an enclosed phone booth-sized box with a snorkel breathing tube. It turns out that my lung capacity is well over 8-liters, which as the technician informed me, is equivalent to a 6’9″ athlete. He suggested that I take up running. In the short term, it enables the Bleomycin chemo (the B part of my BEP chemo) to have more of a runway to avoid causing lung damage. I will be taking PFT tests on a regular basis during my chemo treatment to monitor the risk.