Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chemo Cycle 9 Round 10

Yesterday was my 10th round of chemo cycle 9. For the sake of clarity, that means that this is my 9th chemotherapy drug (or drug combination) and yesterday was the 10th administration of that drug via an IV. This cycle counting does not include the chemo pill that I take daily. To say that they have thrown everything at me including the kitchen sink would be an understatement. But, it seems to be working. The pain that I had and wrote about last Friday subsided on Saturday. I talked to my chemo doctor about it yesterday. I see him in clinic before each chemo round. He wants to make sure I’m still healthy enough to proceed. He said I looked great and although the pain was bothersome to not worry about it. There are no new lumps and bumps so the chance that an ultrasound would turn up anything was too slim to warrant the test. It was a long day yesterday. I waited a little over two hours to see my primary chemo doctor and then almost 5 hours after that to have the chemo orders get from the chemo clinic to the chemo room with the medication. Needless to say… a lot of waiting. Waiting is just part of the “living with cancer” protocol. One gets used to it and makes the best use of their time as the clock tics.

The plan: Two more rounds of this chemo, then another scan (maybe one that covers the full body versus just the head and neck area). That will place me in the mid-September timeframe. If that scan is clean, then I’m pretty sure my doctor will want to stop the chemo. If it’s not clean, that means the effectiveness of this chemo has reached its limits and we’ll have to regroup. At this juncture, that seems like a good plan.

Chemo factoid: Most of you probably thought, as I did until recently, that the chemo drugs are mixed into a liquid solution by the pharmaceutical companies and delivered to the hospital. The reality is that the drugs are delivered in powder form to the hospitals and the pharmacy mixes them based on the exact prescription supplied by one’s doctor. The doctor takes into consideration the patient’s weight, health, side-effects, tolerance, and drug goals in determining how much medication to deliver in each round.

Take care everyone.

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