Apr 04

Cinco de COP

Thursday, 4-4-02, and I had my 5th chemo treatment yesterday. Everything went fine, as always, and this time Casey came with mom and me, as she’s off for Spring Break. She brought the camera and we took some pics to share with you all.

It gave her a chance to see what it’s all about. She got to meet the doctors and nurses, see the place where I go for treatment, check out the 1000 cranes up close and all that. She watched closely as I got my blood drawn, got my checkup and got the IV installed and got the chemo dripped in. None of it made her squeamish at all (she even got lots of close ups of the action, as you’ll see), and she said she wants to be a nurse.

We were pretty hungry, so along the way we stopped at Denny’s for breakfast. Mine was huge! I had 2 eggs over medium, 2 slices of wheat toast, hash browns, about 6 slices of bacon, 3 pancakes with butter and syrup and coffee. Mmmm, that was good!

We got to McAuley just after 9:AM. First, we got the blood draw. The nurse (Phlebotomist?) wanted to know where the pics were going to end up, and I figured just my photo album, but I told her they were going to be on a big billboard on Gratiot Ave, a major thoroughfare in Detroit. She laughed and said it was no problem then, because she never drives Gratiot! Anyway, she declined to have her face in the pics ( I don’t know why – she’s quite attractive). Anyway, here she is during that conversation, getting ready to stick me:

 image of Buck getting blood drawn

(Notice I finally trimmed my beard, since I’m not losing my hair like we thought I would)

And here’s the weekly Buck juice transfer. I fill three test tubes, and I’m on my way.

 Buck's blood draw image 2

Next, I got weighed and found out I picked up 7 lbs in the last 3 weeks, putting me at 188 lbs. Guess I better slow down a little on the donuts! LOL! Then my temperature, which was normal, then on to the exam room for my pulse and blood pressure tests:

 image of blood pressure test

A couple minutes later, the doc came in for the exam and we had a good laugh over the new cartoons I presented to him (the ones in my last update). He said that I was really talented, and I wished later I’d thought to tell him I thought he was really talented as well, the way he’s turned me around the way he has. Go Doc!!

The nodes are still undetectable, and everything else was good to go as well. I let him know that I’ve managed to get off the Neurontins entirely, so I’m not on any pain pills at all, and feeling fine. It may have something to do with the fact that my hands and feet are pretty numb while I’m on the chemo treatments, but hey, whatever works, ya know?!

He mentioned the fairly large weight gain, and suggested I take it easy on that. LOL! I blamed it on the big breakfast I just had, but got the point.

The results of the blood test were good and we talked about the fact that I only have one more chemo treatment to go. I asked, “What then?” He said that after that we’ll just keep an eye on how things develop. We’ll watch for signs and symptoms that it’s coming back, and deal with them as needed. “No scan or anything to confirm?” I asked. He explained that since the scan I had recently showed nothing to be concerned about he didn’t think it would be necessary. We’ll scan from time to time, unless I get renewed symptoms that it’s coming back, but I don’t need one right away, as I’m doing just fine for now. Neither of us said it, but I smell the word “remission” coming! I can hardly wait!

We’ll also be dealing with the blood clot in my leg with continued weekly blood tests to monitor Coumadin levels, and I expect that sooner or later I’ll get another Doppler Scan to get a look at the clot itself and see if it’s gone or at least going away. I suspect it’s going well, as I’m not having any difficulties with it right now.

I told him I’d run out of Furosemide, so if he wants me to continue them, I’ll need another prescription. We decided to discontinue them for the moment. If I start to retain a lot of water again, we’ll put me back on. Otherwise, I’m done with them as well. This is getting better all the time! At this point, besides the chemo, all I have to take is the Coumadin. I take it as a good sign of my improving condition.

Here I am discussing all that with the doc:

 Buck with doctor

We set up another appointment for 3 weeks later, but that Wednesday was pretty crowded already, so we set it up for the next day, Thursday, the 25th. With that, we were on our way over to the chemo treatment area. This time, I remembered to print out one of each of my cartoons for the ladies that work in that area, and I could see them all smiling and laughing at them in the nurses’ station, so I’m guessing they were a hit.

Casey took pictures of me getting set up with the IV for the chemo, and here they are:

IV for chemo image 1

The hot towel gets my veins to open up for the IV. I’d say they look ready!

IV for chemo image 2

Next, we stick in the IV needle.

IV for chemo image 3

Which is replaced by the IV feed tube.

IV for chemo image 4

Oops… lost a little blood. No worries… I’ve got plenty!

IV for chemo image 5

Next, she tapes it in place.

IV for chemo image 6

More tape, as she gets me all ready…

IV for chemo image 7

And here I am, all set for the chemo flow.

This time, I got the Decadron through the IV, and then we started the chemo drugs. It takes about an hour, so Casey and mom decided to take a little walk to look around and go to the gift shop, where Casey got a couple little cuddly animals.

I was nice and comfortable the whole time in my big easy chair and when the IV was done dripping we unplugged and were on our way home.

I spent a good part of the rest of the day printing out the envelopes and cover letters for all my monthly medical bills, and getting them all stuffed and ready to go. I even set up a document for printing out all the info on my checks, so all I have to do is sign them now. Here they are, all laid out and ready to be stuffed:

bills for the month

It’s good to be a computer geek!

This morning, I woke early, took a Torecan long before I got out of bed, and haven’t gotten sick at all. I’m a little nauseated, but not too bad. No complaints at all.

Cancer Island seems to be a big hit so far, and I’m starting to get a trickle of forum and journal links to add to it. I suppose I’ll get more as more folks discover it. Remember, if you find any good cancer toons, jokes, forums, journals or links, email them to me (from there), so I can build a nice place for cancer patients, caregivers and friends over there! Thanks!!

Till next week, have fun, laugh much and the best to you all!!