by Michele Adams
Most of this post is for non-"medical term challenged" friends. It's all "Greek" to me, so forgive me if I have misspelled anything, as I'm going by the papers they gave me (an entire folder full, plus two booklets).
Round 1 chemotherapy for Stage IV Colon Cancer, presenting in lymph-nodes, 2-3 legions in the liver, and the primary source of colon (about 1 ft from rectum).
OK, here is our arsenal of cancer fighting drugs: 5FU (a fitting name, huh?) also known as Fluorouracil/Adrucil/5-fluorouracil; Leucovorin aka Calcium Leucovorin/Citrovorum Factor/FolinicAcid; Avastin aka Bevacizumab; Eloxatin aka Oxaliplatin.
Common side effects (I'm not going to list every single deadly side effect, only those common ones that will persist during and possibly following my chemo): adverse reaction to anything cold (can't drink/eat anything colder than room temperature; shocky feeling if touch cold metal or anything below room temperature); nausea; vomiting; mouth sores; loss of appetite; fatigue; diarrhea/constipation; headache; nose bleed; hair loss; proteinuria (protein in the kidneys-can cause me to swell up like the michelin man); weight loss; watery eyes; metallic taste in mouth; low blood counts; low immune system; short term memory loss.
Here are a list of lifestyle changes that I will, at least temporarily, go through:no large crowds/WalMart; use plastic ware when eating; gloves most of the time; LOTS of hand sanitation; in winter scarves over my mouth when running to a pre-warmed car; no ice in drinks; nothing cold in mouth; repeating myself 500 times because I didn't remember telling you the first 499 times (apologizing ahead of time); not being around anyone sick; no fast food/esp. buffets; no sunshine on my skin; afternoon naps when possible; decreased work load; no heavy lifting; no doing dishes/cleaning/cooking/cleaning up after animals/no horse contact; turning into bubble boy.
I will take my chemo by IV, into a "port" that will be placed under my collarbone skin tomorrow (small outpatient surgery), which will take 4-8 hours, and a "ball" of chemo will be left attached to slowly disperse over the next 48 hours. Then I will be unhooked to be "normal" for the next week +1/2 to start over. So every two weeks I will be taking chemo, over the course of 6 months. After two months another petscan will be done to see if things are shrinking. I believe I will get a petscan every two months. I know that they will check my blood counts every two weeks (through my port). After 6 months, God willing, I will have surgery to remove the colon tumor and liver tumors. Then (after time for recovery), chemo will resume until the cancer is deemed "gone".
I can't drive the day of my chemo, due to short term memory loss. I could drive myself in circles for 24 hours and not even know how I got there. I could also be pretty sick/sleepy that day, and the next. The rest of the two week period, I can do regular life, per the restrictions above.
Does your head hurt yet? A LOT to digest.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
© 2014 Michele Adams