Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday on floor 7...and sympathy for the Kurds...

Yesterday my friend Tom from business school arrived so it was the three amigos for most of the day, which was a lot of fun and continued to give me a sense of normalcy. Graeme has returned to Montreal, and Tom will be here tonight and tomorrow night when Jill returns, just in time for my transplant tomorrow.

In yesterday's session, they had to draw blood from my arms and had a hard time finding working veins (I understand this is a problem after chemo) so after the third try, I was about ready to tell them to just use the central line. That started the blood flowing. :) They evidently run special tests on Mondays which are corrupted by the presence of heparin (an anti-clotting agent that they inject into the line to ensure it works) so they have to take blood peripherally. Lovely.

Anyhow, things went fairly normally yesterday although the chemo is having an impact: white counts are spiking (which happen right before the collapse into neutropenia) and my uric acid levels and calcium rose, the former to outside the normal range. This is a function of the tumors being broken down, which is a good thing. But I still had to have an extra bag of saline attached, which added about 45 minutes to my time here. More of a nuisance was that despite the Kytril and Emend anti-nausea medicines, I still feel a little nauseous afterwards. I popped a Ragalin and that helped do the trick, and I was able to have a nice steak dinner with my friends.

The Ambien is no match for the Dexamtehasone. I lay awake in bed until 5:30 and then get 3 or 4 hours of sleep. Not satisfactory. I'm going to try tonight without the Ambien and see if it makes a difference. So far in the great gastrointestinal wars, regularity is winning out over the Thalidomide, but some ground is being given. I'll be watching for the impact of the Melphalan, which will kick in shortly, I'm sure.

Speaking of which, I'm about to receive my third of four infusions, and the nurse today informed me that Melphalan is mustard gas, essentially, in liquid form. Lovely. Bring it on -- the cancer's gonna die, die die!