Sunday, September 30, 2012

Docetaxel…Day three begins…

Here we are...Sunday morning...and all is still well..... Gotta like it.

Yesterday was a pretty normal day… Other than neither Cindy or I slept well Friday night… So we got up early and took our dog Tessa for a quick walk before doing anything else.

I felt pretty good considering the lack of sleep...and we did our regular Saturday morning things… We even managed to get to the farmers market for some fresh fruit and other yummy things… Then it was time to head home for a quick nap…

Again it didn’t work out as well as hoped...so we got up and continued our day… Some stuff around the house… Some shopping… Lots of good eats!.. Another attempt at a nap for me...which worked quite well the second time…

It was a good day… I felt pretty good, but am noticing some patches of skin that are becoming a little itchy...lotion helps… My face has also been a little flushed at times… But my temperature remains normal and I am feeling pretty good…

I slept very well last night...and I’m hoping to get out and enjoy a little fresh air while the weather is cooperating…

Life is Good!!

Until next time....

Posted by John on 09/30 at 08:16 AM
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Friday, September 28, 2012

Docetaxel…Day One

I slept well last night… Not as nervous as I thought I might be for the night before chemo… So that was a bonus to the day.

Cindy and I followed our regular morning routine with the exception that we left together and headed to the Jack Ady cancer Centre.  By this point Cindy was much more nervous than me...lol

I checked in and we waited for my appointment to begin. We didn’t wait too long before being greeted by my nurse for the day...Denise.  She took me to the chemo area and told me to pick a chair...choice of four chairs...hmmm… The window seat won out… At least I could look outside!

We went through the usual routines...checking to make sure who I was and explaining the routine for the day...quick vitals...and then the nice warm blankets...one for me and one for my IV arm…

Next came my Eligard injection… It just happened to coincide with my first chemo treatment day… So we got that over with while waiting for my chemo to arrive from the pharmacy… Same old response… Quick poke in the belly with a syringe...and as the Eligard is injected, FIRE happens at the site… It still feels like I’m being branded from the inside… Thankfully that settled quickly and we went about waiting for my chemo to be started.

Here we go...finally time to get started… Denise got an IV going in my left wrist...a short time later we had saline flowing… Then after being reminded again of what to watch for, the Docetaxel was started… No big deal...didn’t notice a thing… I had no reaction to the infusion, thankfully, and the day rolled on as the chemo flowed into my system…

While all these things had been happening to me, others were being brought in… We ended up sharing our little area with two other chemo patients...one a first timer like me and one lady who has much more experience with it… We all ended up chatting with one another...sharing our stories ... We also all had our own support team right beside us…

The day progressed....drinks and cookies were offered… Chemo flowed...time passed… I managed to get some reading in...got Denise to take a picture of Cindy and I while I was tubed up… And then it was time to go...the last of the drug had made its way into my body… I was patched up and sent on my way with further reminders of what to be watchful of...most importantly ANY FEVER or SIGN of INFECTION as those can be life threatening… So with that we were on our way…

First stop… Starbucks for a frappuccino… It was great… Then a quick stop to pick up some needed items and home to stretch out…

So far I’ve been feeling good… Still eating well… Getting lots of fluids…

Lots of text messages and emails sent and a few phone calls made to let people know I survived the day…

Life Is Good!!

Until next time....

Posted by John on 09/28 at 07:36 PM
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Countdown to Chemo….

I had an appointment, on September 20th, with one of the 2 new medical oncologists in Lethbridge… Dr. M. Brigden. 

At first we weren’t too keen on the doctor… but after talking to him for a while, catching him up on what has been going on, and figuring out what our options were, we had a very different opinion… We REALLY like Dr. Brigden....  First hurdle overcome!! ;o)

Cindy and I asked a LOT of questions, to which we got very easy to follow answers… He was straight forward with us...never talked down to us… and treated us as people rather than just a patient… We both truly appreciated that. 

Once it was established that the pain in my hip was increasing… he went over the medications I was on and offered a different course of treatment… Then he got me set up to start chemo… Thankfully he was able to get us in on Fridays so that Cindy can be there for help and support without missing any work. My first treatment is this coming Friday… September 28th…

We then got a bunch of prescriptions for other meds I will need to take along with the main chemo drug, Docetaxel.  These other meds have various jobs… from aiding in reducing nausea to combating some of the side effects…

We were also set up with a teach session on chemotherapy… which we went to this past Monday… It was informative - especially for Cindy… we also got a tour of the area where chemo is done, which I have seen before, but Cindy had not.  After that I had some lab work done and then we talked to the pharmacist.  He explained all the medications I would be taking and why ...  Now I’m only mildly confused due to information overload… LOL

So, here we are… just two days away from my first infusion of Docetaxel… Not sure what to expect… hoping I am one of the VERY lucky ones who experience little to no side effects...but prepared for the worst!

I will try to post more frequently over the next few weeks and report on how things are progressing…

Until next time…

Posted by John on 09/26 at 02:08 PM
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Good News, Bad News… Just News…and More Waiting….

I was able to go to Calgary to see my oncologist at The Tom Baker Cancer Centre on the 30th of August… While not much has changed, there are a few things that have…

My PSA level has gone from 6.7 to 9.9… that is an increase of 3.2 in less than 4 weeks… NOT a good thing… My oncologist explained a few things (which I already knew) about the PSA level… It’s not always just the number, but the change and doubling time that makes a difference.  Because of the change, and how fast it has increased, he feels that chemotherapy with Taxotere (Docetaxel) is an option… The clinical trial that was open during my visit at the beginning of August has been filled, so is now closed.  So, my options now are chemo, or wait…

I opted to try the chemo… I can’t get to any other treatment until I have at least tried chemotherapy… Now I am back to waiting… Since it’s a 2 plus hour drive to Calgary, and we have 2 new medical oncologists starting in Lethbridge this month (September), my oncologist has referred me to one of them.  It will make treatment easier, as I won’t have to travel as far.  Also, if any problems do arise while on chemo, I have my doctor close instead of hours away.  My appointment is on September 20th… so just over a week of waiting to see how much longer we have to wait…

Since the beginning of August, my left hip has been getting more painful… My oncologist gave me a prescription for some morphine to help with the pain… I have tried to use it sparingly, but the pain continues to increase… as does my use of the morphine… With the increase in use of the morphine, I have less and less energy and find myself taking a couple of long naps through the day… Where I used to get by with an hour in the morning or afternoon in most cases… I am finding that a couple of hours in the AM and PM are needed on a lot of days… and even then, these last few days have been fairly uncomfortable… So we may end up having some radiation as well (or so the oncologist has suggested) I guess it will depend on how long we have to wait to get started with chemo… In any case, I try to stay active and continue to enjoy life! 

This has been another roller coaster event… lots of ups and downs… We are now preparing to take on chemo… it is a challenge that Cindy does NOT want me to have to go through...although she understands that it is the only course of treatment right now, she is terribly afraid of what might happen… up until now, we have managed through the slow changes in my body… the roller coaster of emotions… we were hoping to be able to avoid this part...but we can’t… We will fight through this together, as we have every other step of the way!!  I am prepared and not afraid at the moment… that may change as we get closer...but I doubt it… I’ve done my homework and know what to expect… I’ve talked to others who have gone this route… I AM READY!!

I hope this all makes sense… if not, I blame it on the morphine… LOL

Until next time…

Posted by John on 09/11 at 04:39 PM
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