Sunday, April 5, 2009

So far, so good!!

I am pleased to report that so far, me and Mr. Melphalan are getting along just fine.

I went to the seventh floor, checked into a semi-private room (fortunately nobody else showed) and sat in a recliner. They drew my bloodwork, and informed me they would not be proceeding if my CRP exceeded 10. I would be very sad to be all dressed up (having taken my Dex this morning) with nowhere to go, so I sat, and waited for results of my just-drawn blood to come back, while saline dripped into my arm and Paul and I watched Vicky Christina Barcelona (a nice movie, for what it's worth).

After about forty five minutes, my labs came back and my CRP was 7.0 -- right in the normal range. Green light for poison! I was given Kytril and something else (begins with an E...I'll report) as preventatives for nausea, and I was instructed by the nurse to suck on ice chips, which is believed to help prevent the painful mouth sores which are one of the most common side effects of Melphalan. So I got three big cups of crushed ice and commenced to eat this for 20 minutes leading up to the infusion, the 20 minutes of the infusion, and 30 minutes afterwards.

The infusion itself was no big deal. Melphalan can only exist in a liquid state for an hour, so they don't prepare the agent until they are ready to go. Once they prepared it, they brought in a little plastic bag, confirmed my identity, and started the drip. I felt fine, and still do. My cancer, on the other hand, just took a big kick in the face. I also got an IV push of Velcade, and a fairly painful shot of Lovinox (a preventative for the blood clotting that Dex and Thalidomide can cause) in the belly.

We were there about three hours, maybe a little less. I left feeling fine. In fact, four hours later, my back hurts less than it has in quite sometime. A big one-two punch to the face of the cancer. I have been rinsing my mouth with a special mouthwash that is supposed to help ward off the mouth sores, but otherwise, I feel pretty darn good. I am sure this will give way to exhaustion as neutropenia sets in...but so long as I can avoid penumonia or an opportunistic infection, I am optimistic that I will weather this current batch of chemo.

My cancer, on the other hand, is going to be reeling. There is a marked decrease in back pain, which I attribute to the Myeloma not knowing what hit it.

I'm going to grab a dinner out with my friend Graeme while my stamina allows. Meanwhile, thanks again for your support!

Ready to rock

The last couple of days have been really nice -- almost normal, actually. I got a couple of pints of blood which gave me a bit more energy, the cough is on its last legs (only really coughed about five times yesterday and none yet today), and I've had a great time relaxing and doing mostly nothing with my friend Paul. We've eaten well, went to a pub and watched the MSU / UConn game last night over a few pints of Guinness rather than blood, etc. It almost feels like I don't have cancer...until I notice my port, and my aching back, and my bald head. :)

Today begins the next ass-kicking for the disease. I told my cancer cells last night to enjoy their time while they can because the brutality starts soon, and it will be merciless.

Chemical diet for the next four days, as an example:

- 10 pills of dexamethasone (4mg each) to kick the cancer in the face
- Acyclovir horse pill to ward off viruses
- Metanex prescription vitamin B pill to provide energy and combat neuropathy
- Protonix to counteract heartburn from chemo

Chemo: antinausea medicine (I hope!) plus 50mg/m2 of Melphalan plus Velcade via IV push -- kicking cancer in face big time

- another Metanex
- Another Acyclovir
- Huge horse pill of Levaquin (antibiotic that I'm now seeing FDA warning ads on TV for...)
- Fluconazole to ward off fungal infections

- 200mg Thalidomide (another kick to the cancer)
- another Protonix for heartburn
- Senna and Docusan, two kinds of "keep ya regular" pills which I will be popping like candy this time out to avoid a repeat of the last disaster

Tomorrow morning I'll add the "keep ya regular" pills in the AM as well, and also Cymbalta for four days which is the anti-depressant that helps with neuropathy.

PLUS I'll get injections of Lovanox/Lovamax/Lovawhatever in the stomach to ward off the deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) that the thalidomide brings on.

I am ready. I'll write more after the treatment and let you know all about it, dear readers. Have a good one!