Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ten Rounds Completed…

It feels like 10 rounds in a fighting ring, but it’s 10 rounds of chemo that are completed… Number 10 was on June 6th… It went well, even better than I expected… more on that in a bit.

Since my last post, I have done 3 chemo treatments and a couple of Zometa infusions… All have gone well except for the last Zometa treatment… Since I have a Port (to make the infusions easier for myself and those giving it), it was expected to be an hour or less stop at the cancer centre. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned.  I was hooked up for the infusion...but before starting, the port has to be checked to make sure it is working properly. This time, although fluids were running in, blood could not be drawn back… We tried numerous things… Coughing, flapping my arms like a bird...almost everything but standing on my head… They could not draw blood!  Because of that, we had to make sure the port was still properly in place… Off to Medical Imaging for X-rays to check positioning.  While waiting for the results, an IV was started and my infusion done the regular way.  When the results came it was good news.  The port was still properly placed. The Port was then injected with a clot busting drug and we had to wait around to give it time to work… An hour and a half later and we had flow both ways… thankfully it was working again… So my one hour visit ended up taking almost 3 1/2 hours.

Chemo infusions 8 and 9 went well… With the usual tiredness, nausea and other not so fun side effects… Each time taking longer to get back on track.  So long in fact that I was just feeling better two days prior to round ten… Because of that, and the other side effects that are starting to show themselves, the oncologist and I have decided on going 4 weeks between treatments from now on. Yes...ON…

My last visit with the oncologist was June 5th.  At that time, although all my other blood work came back good, my PSA level was up again… They were at 17.8 this time...up about 3 points from last time.  After all this time we were hoping to see either no movement or a decline… Instead they continue to climb slowly.  The oncologist always reminds me that it’s ok… It’s time to worry when the doubling time is shorter… Although I understand that, I also understand that as long as they are climbing, it’s not optimum for me!  We also discussed continuing the Docetaxel (Taxotere) treatments until my PSA levels take a big jump, or until I can no longer handle the treatments. We talked about the fact that treatment options are extremely limited now...and that continuing with Docetaxel is probably the best option for now.  In the end I agreed with him and we opted to continue indefinitely.  At our last visit we talked about 13 treatments...now we are talking indefinitely… :(

Friday, June 6th was my last treatment… I wasn’t sure whether my Port would work after the last Zometa treatment… Thankfully, without any problems whatsoever, we got good flow both ways.  My first worry overcome!  The infusion itself went well.  We were in and out in a reasonable amount of time...and I was feeling pretty good considering how crappy I felt just a few days before.

I was feeling pretty good on Saturday, which is normal.  As long as I don’t over do things I can generally function pretty well.  I did a little work out in the yard which actually felt pretty good...and shut it down before wearing myself out. 

Sunday I was feeling a little more tired...again, as usual.  I decided to take it easy all day to avoid crashing… We had a very nice relaxed day...well, I did… I think Cindy worked more than she needed to...but she enjoyed her time out in the yard.

On Monday I was feeling pretty good again, so I opted to do a little more work on the job I started on Saturday… It went well, but I could feel myself wearing out, so I shut down before finishing up… I spent the rest of the day watching Netflix…

Tuesday was the beginning of the side effects kicking in… Nausea… exhaustion… diarrhea… bloating… Sweats and chills… The chills are always on the back of my neck...they get so bad at times that they give me a headache… Covering it up works except I get really hot and then sweat more...which causes more chills… All of these things are normal for me on the fourth day after chemo. It is also the day that my mouth gets tender and some things begin to taste TERRIBLE.

Since then, things have progressed as normal… I have been feeling good at times and not so good at times.  The soreness in my mouth has settled down… my tastebuds seem to be coming back to normal… but I still get tired very quickly.  The pain in my hip flairs on some days, but is really good on others.  It hasn’t really been the same during any of the treatments… other than it flairs for sure on days 3-5 after treatment… then kind of comes and goes.  If I over use my left leg, it will definitely flair then and usually the next day. 

I started doing physiotherapy for my hip about 2 months ago.  It didn’t take long to find that doing the prescribed exercises caused significant increase in pain.  I had to stop for a few weeks just to get things to settle completely again.  Since then, I have been trying to add some of the exercises into my daily routine… I can do very little without causing the flair in pain, so I continue to adjust what, when and how often I do the exercises.  Hopefully I will get to a point where I can exercise my left leg/hip on a regular basis without the long term increase in pain… I could handle it if it was for a few hours or even one day… but when it goes on for a week or more, it seems pointless to do anything.  Living in pain is not really living!!

It has taken me over a week to get this post completed… but I think it is mostly done now…

I have just over two weeks until the next chemo treatment… This week is my next Zometa infusion… I am hoping I have things figured out enough that I will feel better well before chemo… I will let you know (at least that is the plan) how I make out and what the oncologist has to say at our next meeting…

Until next time….

Posted by John on 06/18 at 06:28 AM
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