Feeling pretty wretched

I’m feeling pretty wretched right now, but I’m really happy to know that this is the last round I’m going through, and the last time I’ll be on the downward slope of this roller coaster.  I know it’ll be a while until I feel myself again, and a longer while until I’m back to 100% – but emotionally it feels good to know that slow climb will begin soon.  A few weeks, soon.

That is all.  I hope y’all are doing well, and thanks for all the kind words in the past couple of days!

CT results…

Last Friday, I had a CT scan and X-Ray for the first time since the chemotherapy started. I’m starting my third (three week) course today, so Friday was the end of my sixth week.

This morning, I met with my oncologist to discuss the results. The largest tumors I have originally started out at 5cm, which put me right on the line between stage 2 and stage 3 – and the hope was that they’d have shrunk to 3cm or below by now. As the doc told me a couple of weeks ago, if they were still 3cm or larger, we’d need to start talking about other options (i.e., more chemo and/or surgery). If they got to below 3cm, it meant I was responding well to the therapy. So, that is the metric – 3cm.

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Day 4 chemo update

Howdy all,

Today I woke up feeling … rough.  Not terrible, but rough.  My first thought was that I was going to have to be sick, but I wasn’t – so that’s good I suppose.  I slept 10 hours last night, but still woke up feeling unrested.  Bleh.

I’m in the chair now, and I’m not sure if they’ve got me on the Cisplatin or Etoposide first today.  So far, each day has been just a little bit faster than the day before, and I’m hoping today is similar.  They’ve got me sped up a little to 1250 ml/hour on the double pump today, so maybe I’ll get out of here 9.2% faster.

Right now, I can’t think of what else to write.

– Chris

[ Update: 12:36pm ]

Well, today is nearly done – I’m on my last 10 minutes of Cisplatin now.  Dr. Birchfield came by for a visit today and met Sharon for the first time.  She was out of town with her brother when I met him initially.  Just a quick chat – we’ve got an appt. next week.

They’re getting prepared to flush the port now, so I’ve got to put the laptop down.  Mostly today has just been tired, feeling a little worse than yesterday and tired of it all, already.  With any luck, it’ll be easier next week, when I don’t have to come in every day.



Day three : almost done with chemo for today

Well, I’ve got about 40ml left to go of the Cisplatin, and then I get to go home.  I’m going to try to take a nap, I think.

None of the symptoms (so far) are anywhere near as drastic as I had feared, which is a good thing.  They’re a little more insidious, I think – creeping in slowly, lasting a little longer, coming earlier in the day.  Less energy than yesterday.  Headache is still there, hugging the back part of my brain just a little too tight.

2 ml to go, so I’m signing off.


I’m ready for my port to be flushed.

– C

Day three : feeling run down

Just a quick update here.  I’m in the chair – been here for about an hour and a half.

On day one, I was feeling pretty good through the day until the nausea hit a little bit around 6:30pm.  Not too bad, but definitely off.  Low grade headache.  Energy vacillating between low and high, thanks to the steroids + exhaustion.

On day two, I started feeling off pretty much as soon as I got home from chemo.  Headache is still ever-present, but still not very bad.  I feel a little like I had a vaccine shot yesterday or something – you know how it feels a little like a low grade cold?

Today is day three – I woke up feeling kind of crappy, and really just wanted to crawl back in to bed.  I still wouldn’t call this “bad” by any stretch, but my energy is absolutely down and I’m feeling weird.  My hands were shaking mildly this morning.

I’m eating, though less than usual.  This morning I had a bowl of instant oatmeal – 2 packets.  The first two or three bites tasted good, but after that I had to make myself eat the rest.  I got it down okay – I didn’t have to “choke it down” or anything – but I really didn’t feel motivated to take any more bites either.

Meh – more later.  Rest now.

– C

Chemo day 2, volume turned to 11.5 !

Hey all!  I guess this is my inaugural post here at the blog.  Really, this is my first blog of any substance – so bear with me if I’m a bit clunky at first.

Today’s chemo went quite a bit faster than yesterday, even with the introduction of my third drug (Bleomycin), which took an extra half hour.  When they started me out yesterday, it was at a rate of around 500ml/hour.  Throughout the day as I was able to handle the dosages, they moved me up to 600ml, then 800ml/hour.  After I woke up from a nap in the afternoon, I noticed it’d been moved to 1000ml/hour, and the pump was noisier (and angrier) than it’d been all day.

Today, they moved me to a two pump system, and had one dedicated to saline, while the other was dedicated to the revolving tray of drugs.  The saline was running almost all day at a constant 550ml/hour, and the drugs were switched in and out running at 600ml/hour.

Combined volume:  1150ml/hour

Before starting me on the actual chemo drugs, they also give me a couple anti-nausea drugs and a steroid – each of which comes in a bag of fluid that’s between ~200ml and ~500ml.  The chemo drugs Cisplatinum (yes, made with real platinum!  heavy metals administered directly to the heart is the straight dope!) and Etoposide (aka “VP-16“, which sounds like a Nazi mind control drug or something) are in 500ml bags except the Bleo, which is 200ml (quick!).

Anyway, the whole process has been interesting (from a scientific “I’m learning new things” point of view), terrifying (from a “2 years ago my mom was also just starting chemo, and didn’t make it” point of view), and also reassuring (from a “will you just look how many damn people care about me!” point of view).  So far, it hasn’t been terribly bad physically – though I’m still pretty sure that’s going to get worse.  Yesterday evening, I had some mild nausea, but didn’t vomit or anything – just feeling really off, and in a completely unfamiliar way.  It didn’t start until after 6:30 yesterday, but I think I’m already starting to feel it today.  I’ve also had a low grade headache since yesterday.  Really, I had one all weekend from the anxiety, but this is also… different than a “usual” headache.  Thankfully so far, it is just sitting around in the back of my head, annoying me with its persistence and  reluctance to die down – but it isn’t a bad headache – it doesn’t really hurt – just annoying… all… the… time.

On that note, I’m going to stop rambling and try to relax.  More later, and thanks for reading!

– C