Monday, July 25, 2005

Chemo 1

Well, my first round of chemotherapy is coming to a close today. For my particular kind of cancer, the standard treatment is called "R CHOP", which is an acronym for the 5 major drugs used. All but one of them is given intravenously at the hospital, with the fifth in pill form over the next 5 days. All of the 5 attack the cancerous cells in my body in various ways, and it seems to me that they're doing their job so far. Almost all of the symptoms I had from the cancer itself have gone away for now; I take that as a pretty good sign! The side effects from the R CHOP, on the other hand, have been pretty serious as well, although the main one probably could have been avoided.
The major side effect from the CHO part is nausea, but to counteract that, the doctors prescribe some hardcore anti-nausea drug. Unfortunately, in my case, the docs and the pharmacist decided to neglect to tell me when to take the damn things. The bottle itself said "Take as needed." Seems simple enough, right? However, what it doesn't say is that this particular drug is only effective as a preventive measure--once nausea hits, it doesn't do a damn thing for a loooong while. I found that out first hand my first night of chemo, when I went through 5 hours of some pretty excruciating sickness. On a scale of 1-10 (which is becoming a favorite phrase around the household, lemme tellya), where 10 is OHMYGODIT'STOOLATEI'MGONNAHURLNOW, I was hovering between 8-9 the whole time. Ick. That mistake will not happen again; I'm going to take that stuff as soon as they hand me the bottle!
After that night, things have gotten a whole lot better. The following day, when I received my R at the hospital, I felt great. No effects from the R, no lingering nausea (once the drug finally kicked in, it worked like a charm); yay! The P drug, on the other hand, has kept me down for days with all kinds of weirdness. A major, daylong headache ruined my chances for a nice day 3, and now I've got some semi-permanent vision loss due to the P as well. Luckily enough, a good friend of the The Beautiful One and I had some old prescription glasses to lend me, making yesterday the best day yet--I could see again, my headache's gone (for now, I'm sure), and I had energy to burn.
A little too much energy, as it turns out; I hit last night wide awake and I never got tired enough to fall asleep for more than a fit at a time. In addition, one of the other drugs given to me for counteracting effects makes me go to the bathroom about once an hour as well, so that was no help. Oh well, I think I'd easily trade a night or 100 of insomnia for anything like last Wednesday's nausea. As if I get that choice, right?
Well, I guess I'll save more prosaic or insightful thoughts for another entry, but I wanted to get this report out there for those interested enough to want to keep informed. I want to take this opportunity, though, to express my eternal thanks to The Beautiful One for her unwavering and unstinting support; I don't know what I'd be doing without her help through this, that's for sure. I'm also grateful to our dear friends T & E for just being there, but also the glasses--what a godsend!
I know my mom feels lousy about her bad luck, which will prevent her from helping out as well, but her love showers all she knows, and that's enough for me.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

:*
--TBO

12:39 PM  
Anonymous jason said...

Thanks for the update. Here's to hopin' that the R CHOP will be choppin' the cancer down like the Reds will be choppin' the Dodgers down at Chavez Ravine this week. Boo yah! Maybe I shouldn't turn everything into a baseball metaphor. Or is that a simile? Regardless, take care and keep feelin' better.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Wondersnail said...

I'm so glad that you're feeling better! And I bet you look so very intellectual with those glasses. :)

Take care!

1:45 PM  
Anonymous T said...

He actually looks kind of German in the glasses, you know, in a good way. Thanks for the shoutout, Bry--woo-hoo I made it into the surly blog! You're well on your way to achieving the kind of specialness only cancer survivors can attain (per Al Trautwig's comments re: Lance Armstong's 7th TDF win). Rock on.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous R-chop symptoms said...

Its very good that you are feeling well. There are many who suffer side effects and some don't. You are lucky to not have those side effects.

10:31 PM  
Blogger bryduck said...

Well, as time would tell, I have suffered side effects on a more or less permanent basis--see my post on "chemo brain", for example. Otoh, I have survived so far, so I really have no complaints. What side effects are you or your loved one experiencing?

7:23 AM  

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