Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Thanks to the assistance of my wonderful sister in law Dore, I received my last standard chemo this past Monday. Tomorrow I return for my major end of standard therapy check up (blood tests, CT scan, Doctor exam), Monday I continue the experimental part of the treatment (avastin every 3 weeks for about another year), and Tuesday i start back to work. Knock on wood I will have the endurance and not have to back off for more leave.

My apologies to folks I worried by not posting this Monday night. Between the last chemo, visiting with Dore, and napping while Dore worked like a dog I sort of ran out of time.

More details latter I promise.

Monday, April 5, 2010

SEcond of 3 treatments in the last cycle DOWN!

This morning I received Taxol, the second chemotherapy dose in my last cycle of 3 weeks of treatment. So far, all went well. My blood counts are really staying up - the tests last Thursday showed a hemoglobin staying up at close to 10.4, good platelets over 130,000 (100,000 are needed before they will give me treatment) and white cell counts in the 2,0000+ range.

So far, so good. That week vacation from chemo seems to have done me a great deal of good as far as the strength of my cell counts. It was also good and encouraging to have the week off chemo and recognize how much better I felt, how much my mental concentration and physical stamina improved.

However, back on the chemo both have done right down hill to a remarkable extent. My week vacation from poison raised my ambitions but the return to chemo has dashed my ability to do anything to enact them. So I am more aware than ever of what needs to be done but inable to do much of it. Oh well, just this week and one more left before I come off standard chemo and hopefully start improving.

Other issues: My lawn has started growing and the front is totally covered with fast growing weeds. If I am not able to do something to them soon I fear they will totally take over. Hastings (A local garden place) tells me I can buy a weed killer, hook it up to the garden hose, and spray the area and it should get rid of all weeds without bothering the grass. Sounds great. Also sounds like more than I can manage at the moment. However, my sister in law Dore is arriving from Dallas Saturday afternoon with the primary intent of driving me to my last chemo on Monday. But last night on the phone she offered to help with other things, and had spent the day gardening. Maybe I can convince her to spray the front lawn for weeds. It is a departure from her approach to gardening - she and my brother Davis are very organic - but she may be willing to compromise to help me out. JUst hope all the seed pods do not develop and bloom out before she arrives Saturday afternoon. 4.5 more days to go - we may make it!

My doc started me on neurotin, a medicine used to treat siezures, to try to slow the progression of the neuropathy and then speed its withdrawal after the chemo is over. The neurotin seems almost worse than the neuropathy. Not really, but it does make me drowsy and unsafe to drive - but it also seems to diminish the neuropathy. The neuropathy really improved during that one week off chemo - a hopeful sign that things will improve once i finish chemo (does not always happen, but usually does). However, it has rapidly gotten worse again on chemo. Also the "chemo brain" has worsened - I feel generally off balance, weak, tired and unable to get anything done. Fortunately there are only 2 weeks left. If the neurotin will improve / prevent worsening of this then it is work working with I just have to be sure I finish all my tasks that require me to drive in the morning before I take the morning dose of neurotin on any day I will need to use the car.

A friend from work and church invited me over on Easter morning to have leftover ham and potates gratin, plus lovely desserts. She had cooked a beautiful meal for visiting family the night before. They took off headed home early Easter morning, Sue went to services and then fed me afterward. It was a lovely opportunity to get out (no crowd, I could emerge) a delicious meal as always at Sue's, and a good opportunity to get out of the house confinement. but I was surprised how much energy it consumed to dress nicely and put on makeup - something i have not really done since I quit going to work. MAde it clear that my energy level was lower than I realized. And the visit was delightful, I returned home and then slept all afternoon in the recliner. I mean slept. Could hear myslef snoring but was too tired to bother to get up and readjust.

Well, you can never have too much naptime. May suggest that returning to work full time the week after chemo may not be totally realiztic, but you can only try. If i can't manage it, I can always cut back again.

Happy Easter everyone - 5 cycles and 2/3 treatments in the 6th cycle down, 1 standard treatment to go. Perfect timing to coincide with the major religious celebration of rejuvenation and rebirth.