Thursday, February 12, 2009

What's Up With the Doc 39? - Yet Another First

Tuesday was my third cycle of Alimta. Labs drawn before chemo showed that my anemia is getting worse, not unexpected with the Alimta. There is evidence that survival is actually shortened for people with lung cancer who take red cell stimulators like Procrit, so yesterday I had my first ever blood transfusion. It seems as though circumstances are conspiring to make sure I get to experience as many therapeutic and diagnostic interventions as can possibly be crammed into my life. Maybe that’s karma for all the tests and treatments I’ve “inflicted” on my patients over the years. As these experiences go, this one wasn’t so bad. I worked on a cryptic crossword until the Benadryl made me drowsy enough to nap with the iPod. The chair was comfortable, there was a warm blanket and the staff were both nice and competent, a great combination. I received two units of red cells without a hitch.

Today people keep asking me how I’m feeling and I can only respond that I think I’m OK. Shoulder injection on Monday, chemo and vitamin B12 on Tuesday, blood transfusion and Neulasta on Wednesday. I’m surprised my body even knows which end is up. I still have my aches and pains for which I take Ibuprofen and feel a little better. The shoulder is better today than yesterday. I’m slightly queasy but not really nauseated. My energy level is pretty good. No Neulasta-related bone pain that I can identify. So pretty good, all in all.

My oncologist is concerned that the CT angiogram I had on January 30th shows progression and so we tussled a little on Tuesday about whether he was even going to give me this cycle of Alimta. We finally agreed to do two more cycles and scan after the 4th. I know it’s not any fun having to argue with me all the time, but I’m worried that we’re in different places about treatment objectives. He’ll throw anything at this cancer that might possibly control it. I’m not willing to sacrifice quality of life for what everything tells me is little chance of significant prolongation of life. But a friend reminded me that I really won’t know how any treatment will affect my quality of life until I try it. So for now we have an agreement that gets me through to March 17th on the current treatment. If that scan shows progression I’ll give whatever he wants to do a try, as long as he lets me push it off for a week so I can go to my daughter’s last volleyball tournament without worrying about feeling awful.

So really I am doing just fine today. Another first under my belt, a plan in place and I’m feeling OK. Here’s hoping this holds through my volleyball weekend in DC.

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