Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Awww, The smell of cancer and chemo in the morning

Awww, the smell of cancer and chemotherapy in the morning.
I am back where the fight all started, in the infusion suite at Norris Cancer Center.
There is a feeling of homecoming, a definite feeling of comfort alongside being treated here. I am so happy, so relieved, to be receiving treatment close to home. This frees up so much of my time and energy to enjoy life. It 
 me of so much stress. I haven't felt relief in so long.
I have been running, running, running, on a baseline anxiety trying to coordinate just my healthcare. Talk about stress. But now that's over. I am in treatment. I can relax. I am now being taken care of. I am in good hands.
And those hands started loading me up early this morning. I had 8 am labs and an 8:30 meeting with a portion of my lymphoma dream team, the two that are currently in control of my care; and therefore, my life, Dr. G and Anna. 
We went over the whole regimen, vinorelbine push first then 30 min of infusion of gemzar and last but not least is doxil which will take 30 min to an hour to infuse. If you do the math this could calculate to my release from infusion by noon, but we are on hospital time. 
This time takes into account hospital variables such as the pharmacy, how long it takes to receive the order and mix it properly then get it to infusion only to find two RNs to verify the drug before it goes into my veins.
 This stuff is dangerous so there are a lot of checks and balances. Each chemo has specific side effects to be aware of.
None of these side effects include losing my hair. I may have to change the name to hairy's blog if I keep the steroids and the chemo doesn't get my hair. I am receiving an anti-nausea med upfront (Amend?) to take over three days to prevent nausea. I still have my trusty ativan if I need it. 
Dr G prescribed some allopurinol to save my kidneys from what could happen with quick tumor lysis. I am hoping my tumors die down quickly. I want eeky, creepy, and joe (my tumors) gone and aborted quickly. This round stomach is not as easy to deal with as the one I had with x in it. 
At least with that one I knew I had a big reward at the end. I know with this I will have a big reward too. Who thinks I am going to be healed for christmas?! Everybody raise your hands and scream "I do! I do!". 
I think I did feel "Eeky" die a sudden, startling death with the start of the doxil. 
I had a very scary reaction when this drug was started. Suddenly, I started to hallucinate. I couldn't breathe. My hands looked red. Then, worst of all, my back started to hurt, and hurt like nothing has ever hurt before.
Contractions had nothing on this pain. It Felt like my back had turned to bone (ossified) and I was stuck, writhing in pain against where it wanted to stand.
Anna decided this wasn't a typical allergic reaction, and the back pain, caused by kidneys that were being worked too hard, was caused by eeky's death.
One down, two more to go.
I was still scared to death (just being punny here, people, nobody is thinking about death) and didn't want to take anymore without benadryl. 
So benadryl I received and slept over 18 hours.
Here is a great way to sign off, I slept with the confidence that I will be joining President Barack Obama tomorrow at a health care town hall in Portsmouth! My name got drawn in the lottery and I can't wait for the opportunity to ask him a question. Cross those fingers that he picks me.


Bekah said...

Although, I see you're beginning treatment (Even though, I can not stress enough again to go see Dr. O -- I just did, and he told me some thing about my current treatment -- I was doing four rounds of just doxil. And apparently, if I have a certain dose (there is a maximum that they will allow in our life time, and the A in ABVD is in a smiliar class of the Doxil). I will only do three infusions opposed to four, so it can not affect my heart... as much.

Anyway, my point. I would go see him, even with this treatment on the table. JUST FOR ONE appointment hillary, I swear, he has many more options than hard core chemo. Which will end up killing not only the tumors, but you're really good bonemarrow/cells.

Now that I'm off my soap box.
Suggestions for the Doxil:

Eat ice chips: This mucisotios on this puppy is almost as bad as transplant.
When the infusion is happening, hold onto ice packs, and actually put ice packs on the bottoms of your feet.
Hand and Foot Syndrome is common with Doxil, and can be painful peeling and reddening of hands and feet (you won't want to walk, or touch ANYthing). This form of coldness blocks off your blood cells being raised to your skin..

I'd advise you to do these preventitive measures, they've helped me in the last two months. However, ask for Magic Mouthwash, mouth sores are bound to happen when any patient is on Doxil.

Here if you need any help/advice.
Dr O is always available too!

- Bekah

Anonymous said...

"I do! I do" I do see you cured by Christmas. X's wish will come true.

Sig said...

Me! Me! Me!
Ok Hairy, counting on you to sail through these treatments too.
You look so damn good too, how do you do that?!
Huge hugs

Anonymous said...

I second that "I do, I do!!!"

Love you!

Heather said...

wishing you the best outcome possible. and i too want to encourage you to see dr. o. i'm pretty sure that you are in contact with kara and know her story. he made it happen for her and i know he can do the same for you. always in my prayers. lots of love!

Sunil said...

I would go see him, even with this treatment on table.


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