Aug 26

Breakfast of Champions!

Breakfast1937, originally uploaded by Buck Cash.
Picture above is what I take every morning. Supper is two more of the blue ones, plus another shot.

I can eat anything I want while my white count is up like now. When it’s down I have to stay on a low microbial diet, which isn’t bad – some fruits I can’t have and they won’t let me have pepper, even fresh ground peppercorns, which shouldn’t be a microbial problem, from what I’ve read, but whatever… They’re making sure, I guess.

What the meds in the photo do is basically this: The shot is a blood thinner to slowly deal with dissolving the clot so that a chunk doesn’t break off and go to my heart or brain and kill me. The big white one is to resupply my system with potassium electrolytes, which I lost from the chemo. I suck down a lot of Gatorade to help with that as well. The yellow one mostly helps with the nausea associated with the chemo. The tiny round white one makes me pee like crazy, removing excess fluids that allow me to breath easier/better. I walk a lot each day to help with that as well – gotta stay active, or I’ll go to hell pretty fast here. The little oblong white one helps keep my breathing clear in spite of stuff like dust, pollen or other small air contaminants that would otherwise lead to problems I can’t stand to have right now. The blue ones are a combination pain pill and help with the healing of sores, blisters and rashes, which I have from some of the several anti-biotics that were used on me over the past three weeks.

Long day of chemo ahead of me today, possibly extending over into tomorrow, depending on how it goes. It will involve Rituxan, which has always tried to kill me during the first infusion of it, so they’ll want to take that really slow so that I don’t have another near-death experience with it. It will also involve a fairly standard CHOP infusion, which I’ve always handled pretty well, with minimal nausea. Hair should complete the fallout with this infusion. It’s been thinning daily for the last couple of weeks.

At least it will be an out-patient thing this time. Next one has me being admitted again, I think in a couple weeks from now.

Got my CHOP chemo yesterday along with half the Rituxan, dripped in R E A L slow, so I had no near-death experiences, which was great. Took all day in the chair, but slept through most of it because of a heavy dose of Benadryl.

Got the rest of the Rituxan treatment today, and now my next chemo is in about 2 weeks, but it’ll be another full admission into the hospital. Between now and then it’s just the home meds and shots, home care specialist visits from time to time (I think it’s twice per week), and bulking up with protein to help see me through the more hardcore stuff I’ll get with the hospital stay chemo treatment, which makes this outpatient CHOP+R stuff look like child’s play.

It’s all good so far though. Numbers that should be up are up, those that should be down are down, no more fevers, night sweats seem to be less intense as we move forward, strength, stamina and energy levels are returning again, gaining some weight (went from my normal 195 down to 162 at one point – currently back up to 178 so far, and moving up).

All good.


Had labs done and got the dressing on my PICC line changed out today, followed by a meeting with the Oncologist/Nurse Practitioner.

All the lab work numbers are heading in the right direction, spleen is almost back to normal size, lymph nodes are as well, liver still enlarged but decreasing in size slowly. The O/NP also canceled any more visits from the home care nurse at our request, since I really don’t need those visits anyway, and their scheduling was making things inconvenient for me.

Took me off a couple of the meds I was on, and let me know that things are starting to get to the point where we can seriously consider where the Oncology department really wants to go with my treatment: A bone marrow transplant.

Turns out they’ve wanted to all along, but there was no sense in talking about it unless they were able to get me over the hump to a place where it might do me some good. The folks that do the bone marrow transplant won’t even consider it unless the patient has had enough success at cleaning out the system that a transplant could be beneficial. If we couldn’t get my system cleaned out enough for that, chances were that I wouldn’t make it either way, and a transplant would just be a waste of time and money. Now they’re feeling much more confident, and we’re openly talking about that as a coming future step.

Before that happens, there will be another evaluation or two, followed by more rounds of chemo, both the CHOP+R out-patient stuff, depending on the evaluations in between them, and the more intense in-patient infusions over a few to several days in a hospital bed. But then, if all still keeps going in the right direction, I’ll get scheduled for the transplant and head down to Detroit where they do that stuff.

Next appointment is a week from now.

Great day so far!

Woke up about 6:AM (normal for me). Had a bowl of mini-wheats. Got some work done on a database I’m writing. Caught up on some email. Surfed the web a little. Took my meds and shot at 8:AM. Had a couple eggs and toast at 9:30 or so. Read a few interesting articles. Getting ready now to leave for a doctor’s appointment with a doctor who will replace my PICC line with a PORT, which will be more convenient for me, and still allow my infusions and blood draws and stuff without getting a few needles each time.

He’ll look me over, get some med history, and then schedule the surgery for it to be installed. The sooner, the better, from my POV.

Will continue with multi-updates in next post.