Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chemo #3 Tomorrow

The appointment went well with Dr. Hamm...but it was a reminder of how shitty this is.

Diletta and I showed up at the cancer center around 9:45 and there were no parking spots. Diletta had to drive to the other side of the hospital (to the main entrance) to park.

When I first go into the cancer center I check in at the front desk where they hand me my appointment forms and a form to fill out what testing I have had done, if any, and to list what concerns I have for my doctor. I then go upstairs to Dr. Hamms office where I drop off my forms at her front desk. Then to the waiting area.

For today, after I checked in at the first front desk, I went to get my blood work done. There was only 1 person in line and it went quickly.

I was called in for my appointment around 11am and finally got to meet Pam, Dr. Hamm's regular nurse who has been off for some time. We talked for a bit to discuss my concerns and to see how I was doing. She spent about 20min with Diletta and I. She is great and was able to straighten out a few things and help me with getting some more reports.

Then Dr. Hamm came in...apparently she has found my blog. I had actually assumed that she had read it before. She didn't say too much, but did mention that Isabella is beautiful! I also told her that my family calls her 'Hammy' - hahahaha.

So, about the questions that I had for her:

  • 8 treatments instead of 6 - She started answering by saying 'good question' - and then proceeded to tell me what the research says and handed me a summary of the research. To summarize, nobody has really studied whether 6 is better than 8 is better than 12. She feels that 8 is fine and may have considered doing 6 CHOP-R's and then 2 Rituximabs + the maintenance Rituximab, but we will wait and see what happens after the 6 treatments. As per an email from a fellow Follicular NHL'er - I asked about the effectiveness of Rituximab over time and whether or not it decreases - she told me that there is NO evidence of the effectiveness decreasing. If that were the case then continuing with the maintenance Rituximab would not be an option. So, we are sticking with 8 and I feel comfortable with this. However, to consider will be what I asked next;

  • CT scan of my head, neck and chest, Gallium and MUGA testing schedule - I will get all of these tests in early January. The CT scan and Gallium to see the activity of the cancer. This will tell a lot. We will be hoping for decreased activity. I asked what would happen if there was no activity - would that change the treatment plan - No it would not. We will proceed with the next 2 chemo sessions and then get the PET scan done and go from there.

  • Dr. Gascoyne at the BC Cancer Agency - she is going to set up the referral. No problem! Woooo Whoooo.

  • Blood Count Judy had told me, my WBC went up to 53.3 (normal is 3.6 - 11.0)and my Neutrophils went up to 42.6 (normal is 2.0 - 7.5) and they are now at WBC = 3.0 and Neutrophils = 1.4. The key to remember here is that the neupogen shots did their job and likely protected me from getting sick during the down time and now my blood counts, although low, are good enough to get my chemo tomorrow.

  • Drugs - I am going to try Zofran instead of Kytril and Adovan instead of Stematil/Gravol.

So, after Dr. Hamm I went to check out and get my next appointments. Then to the pharmacy to pick up my drugs, and then to the pathology department to drop off my slides and arrange for them to be sent to BC Cancer Agency. They will send them via Canada Post for free, but you can pay to have them Purolated. Based on my previous experiences, I don't want to feel stressed at all so I paid to have them sent out West.

That pretty much sums everything up.

Tomorrow is Chemo #3 - so wear your shirts if you got em.

P.S. If you want a shirt, let me know and we can arrange something.



Dora and Dave said...

Good luck tomorrow Jeff. We'll be thinking positive thoughts for you!!

goooooood girl said...

your blog is very good......

KJR said...

I wish I was there to help out. I hope the new drugs make #3 even better. You are in such good hands with Hammy. She sounds amazing. I promise that some day in the very near future this will be just a memory, although a painful, fearful one. You are just putting in your time right now, and once #3 is done you will be almost half way done. WWWOOOOO WHHHOOOOOOOO.

Although this sucks, you have so many blessings in your life. Like me as your aunt for instance!

Keep telling yourself about the great prognosis that Hammy has told you. You are LUCKY!, although when you feel like ralphing 24/7 for the next few days, you will not feel all that lucky.

Take care and we all love you and support you and are there for you.


Angela Chaulk said...

Good Luck tomorrow Jeff. I think you need some rep's out in BC so let us know how we can go about getting shirts!! The Chaulks are so proud of you for your thirst for knowledge and the strength you are bringing to this difficult time. You are truley an inspiration to us!! We love you all and think of you daily!!

Federica said...

Jeff, I can only imagine that it feels like a long road ahead, but already 3 sessions have passed. You are almost at the half way mark. This cancer will teach you more about yourself than you will learn about it; it has already taught you strength, patience, hope and your capacity to love and be loved.

p.s. I would love a t-shirt and will reimburse you for the cost to purchase and print the saying on the back.

Love Fed