Saturday, February 12, 2011

Countdown to Chemo Day 1

Monday February 14, 2011. For most it will be celebrated as Valentine's Day, for me it will be Cycle 1, Day 1. The past few days have been spent taking care of final tests, scans and procedures to prepare me to start chemotherapy. It has been an interesting and exhausting week.
One of the issues I have been dealing with is a progressively worsening back ache because of a tumor mass that presses against my spine. By Wednesday it had morphed itself into a pain something akin to a hot knife being twisted into the base of my back, which in turn sends waves of pain shooting down through my right leg. It would be nice if the pain came and went but at this point it is present close to 24 hours a day.
Wednesday was also the day of "the phone call". The results of my pulmonary function test had come back and the lung tumors were causing some airway obstruction which means I will need a different regimen of chemotherapy drugs so as to not do further lung damage (thankfully, post treatment with a good workout schedule, lung function can be regained). I will no longer be receiving BEP (Bleomycin-Etoposide-Cisplatin), instead I will be receiving VIP (Vinblastine-Ifosfamide-Cisplatin). Along with the drug change I will also now be receiving my regimen as an inpatient instead of outpatient so I will be spending the week in the hospital vs. coming home every afternoon.
Thursday was a day of procedures, a biopsy of my liver and the insertion of one of the most important pieces for my chemotherapy, my Xcela Power Injectable Port (mediport). The mediport is for patient therapies requiring repeated access to the vascular system which will prevent, as a friend put it so well, "shaky Irene" attempting to start an IV on me every day. While the procedures were fairly straight forward they do leave you with the feeling of being punched repeatedly in the side.
Friday was bone scan day, a head to toe imaging of my skeletal system to check for any metastases. The scan itself was very relaxing, I nodded off on the table while they took their images. However, I think the combination of the previous days procedures, sedatives, medicines and the dyes injected for the bone scan were a little more than my body wanted to deal with. Friday turned out to be a pretty rough day with nausea, headache, body aches and a low grade fever, possibly a preview of things to come this next week. It made for a pretty sleepless night.
But I made it through the night and I am bouncing back decently today. I'm not feeling 100%, but I definitely feel better than yesterday. And that is an important lesson for me to keep in the back of my mind. I may feel beaten at times while receiving my chemotherapy, but I am good at bouncing back.

1 comment:

  1. I think the hardest thing people who have a strong work ethic have to do is to allow themselves to rest. We push ourselves over and through our illnesses to keep doing doing doing and to be productive that we do ourselves a disservice. Even in our play and recreation we go for it and push hard. I have to remind myself that it is OK to occasionally sit on my deck with a book, or to sit and stare at trees with a cat asleep on my lap. As I get older it is easier and easier to do this without feeling guilt, like there is "something I SHOULD be doing", like it is not acceptable to just sit. Brian, you are going to feel like crap. Just allow yourself to feel like crap and know that you are going to get through it. Sit, breathe and find your center and remember it is OK to sit. Your body is doing enough. Take the time to really listen to the lyrics of your favorite songs. In the spring listen to the birds. Listen to the drip of water as the snow melts. Hear spring. Sometimes life is so noisy we miss these things...