Thursday, June 25, 2009

What's Up With the Doc 62? - Positively Positive

Overall, this has been a much better week than last. I really have only one complaint, so we'll get that out of the way early. Navelbine stops my gastrointestinal tract dead. I am still fine tuning my combination of stool softener and laxatives to try to keep things moving but not by way of painful cramps and explosive you know what. It's weird. It's not just constipation - everything stops. I get bloating and heartburn after I eat and later on lower abdominal bloating and pain. Right now I'm taking Colace and Senna and Miralax.

The fatigue that was so debilitating last week miraculously lifted Thursday evening. It happened again this week on Wednesday, the day after chemo, but was pretty much gone this morning. One day a week, three weeks out of four, of fatigue so severe that I can barely stand up long enough to complete a patient exam I can deal with.

The nausea I was experiencing last week, aggravated by the GI not moving thing, has been much helped by Reglan with no side effects that I can identify.

My pain is currently well controlled on Ibuprofen 600 mg three times a day and Oxycontin 10 mg at night. I add .5 mg Ativan at night and am sleeping well through the night.

Today was the stereotactic radiosurgery. That was a good thing, as I have been having more and more frequent tingling in my right forearm. That's consistent with the tumor in my neck pressing on the C6 nerve root. The radiation oncologist thinks the surgery will take care of that. I asked him how long that would take and he said I'd have to tell him. He promised me some guinea pig food if I'm a really good lab animal. I premedicated myself with 10 mg of Oxycontin and .5 mg of Ativan and a good thing it was. They laid me on the hard CT table and clamped me down with the mask. Here's a picture of me with the mask on my family room floor and Emma's dog looking on:

It was a long and sometimes uncomfortable 45 minutes but was over soon enough. Once they unclamped and released me the radiation oncologist sat me down at the computer to show how they had used 2 different CTs and an MRI to exactly target the radiation and try to avoid structures like my spinal cord and esophagus. It was really cool and Boy! I bet that's a big bill. Thank goodness for insurance. In addition to explaining all of this to me, Emma and Robert wanted to see the linear accelerator and control room and the techs were nice enough to give them the grand tour while I was getting ready. I'm not sure how much they liked seeing me clamped to the table, but it didn't spoil their appetites (they had some awful cafeteria food while I was on the table) and they were very happy to see me walk out of the treatment area alive. I ate on the way home and took my Oxycontin and Ativan to bed for a three hour nap and here I am, good as new.

My mother's visit and the birthday weekend were just as wonderful as I hoped. Everyone is crediting my mother with the miraculous lifting of the fatigue, since that occurred while I was driving to the airport with Emma to pick her up a week ago. The flank steak sandwiches and Boston Cream Pie were perfection (thank you Robert, Lindsay and Emma!).

Best news of all - I get next week off from treatment! The Navelbine is three weeks on, one off and the Zometa is every four so nothing is due until July 7.

Hannah and Philip are finally out of school. Philip leaves for band camp on Saturday. Hannah is working and starts volunteering at the hospital in New Haven next week. Getting Emma enrolled as a grad student in an internship at CSU so she can volunteer at the animal hospital has been a Herculean task but is accomplished and, hopefully, she will start there next week and should be able to get in a couple of good weeks before she heads for Pennsylvania. We are heading to Long Island for my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday and have friends coming for a quick visit on Sunday.

Here's hoping for nothing but visit reports next week (and maybe some guinea pig food if the arm tingling goes right away).



Daria said...

Wow that is some head gear.

All the best to you ...

Catharine said...

Lisa -

Here's hoping the radiation does the trick -- no more tingling -- and that the "guinea pig food" tastes good. Glad you had a great time with your Mom.

Enjoy your upcoming week off.

- Catharine