Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chemo Attempt Number 2

As you might have seen on Facebook, the docs decided from my scans that more chemo is the next best step.  This is because my progress through radiation had both good and bad consequences.  The good is my primary chest tumor shrank considerably and will likely continue to do so as a result of radiation's continuing effects.  The bad news is the cancer advanced in the fissure between the two lower lobes of my right lung and the metastasis tumors in my pelvis that appeared to be gone in the previous PET have returned.  Van Tine is optimistic that the new cocktail of chemo drugs will be effective, which we will determine in 6 weeks with a fresh set of scans following 2 rounds of week long treatment.  If it appears to be doing the trick, I'll donate my bone marrow into storage and get a high dose chemo regimen which will kill off hopefully a great deal of cancer but take my remaining bone marrow and immune system with it.  After the chemo wears off, I'll get my stored marrow transplanted back into me.  The kicker is I'll be stuck in the hospital for a month or so during this process if it all happens as planned.  Plans never seem to reach completion (currently on plan 3.5) since I've started this journey in March, so who knows what will actually happen.

So far I've had 3 days of the new chemo this week with two more to go.  I started having some nausea and dry heaving today which was great on top of the return of chemo taste and what feels like a sinus headache.  One nice thing about the new chemo drugs is that it only takes three hours instead of six to pump them into me.  I've also been able to sleep through two out of three treatments which has helped speed things along.  Being back in treatment has also eliminated the severe hip pain I was having last week..  The docs told me to double down on the pain meds at night since it was the nights and mornings that were the worst with the pain subsiding during the day.  That greatly helped in combo with remembering to take my Ambien.  However, the relief caused by chemo with the assistance of IV steroids really did the trick to eliminate my limp.  Actually it's probably the other way around since roids work much quicker than the chemo, but I can pretend that the regrown pelvic tumors causing such pain have retreated a little due to treatment.  

In other news, lab work continues in a broken, piecemeal, and forever behind manner.  It's hard to accomplish much when you're trying to work half the morning and half the afternoon with chemo induced confusion and forgetfulness screwing with you.  But it does appear that I need to organize my messy batch of data into something intelligible to show my boss when he gets back from Colorado.  I managed to get out of a meeting halfway through it last week by throwing up into not one but two different lab trash cans.  Not the most pleasant way to bail, but very effective.  I did make him very happy when I was accepted to the Cancer Biology Pathway here.  WashU has various of these programs, and during it I'll take a couple of classes about cancer while shadowing some of the cancer docs as they treat patients and such.  A cancer patient observing doctors treating cancer patients.  It'll be like looking into some kind of twilight zone looking glass.  And one of the reasons my boss is happy is that he won't have to pay my salary for another two years.

Also, a car load of my high school friends are driving down this weekend to see how I'm doing and check out St. Louis.  It should be a lot of fun taking them around and hearing some new stories.  One of the silver linings of cancer has been getting caught up with friends I haven't seen in awhile and really understanding how many people I am connected to both directly and indirectly.  It's definitely been interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Greg, greetings from Houston! Congrats on your acceptance into the Cancer Biology Pathway and for your recent publication! While lab progress may be slow, you're still a science rockstar! I've been thinking about you and sending you well-wishes. Have a great time with your friends this weekend. -Abby