Tomorrow I will go for round two of the deadly cocktail dose-dense Adriamycin and Cytoxan. This time I know what to expect, and my doctor knows what to expect, so we have lined up three appointments for IV fluids on days 5-7. I know what drugs to take at home (and when) to try and manage the nausea. I have a stockpile of Jell-O, Popsicles, and Gatorade. In other words, I’m feeling more confident and prepared going into this next round.
Since the first round, I’ve had two ER visits — one for severe back spasms, which I thought were kidney-related, and one for a fever, just last night. It’s all good though. My white cell counts came back up after the first week, and everything is okay. Neulasta did its job, just more slowly in me for some reason. It was good that I pursued each new problem as it came at me. I was able to determine that there was a problem with my mediport.
Today the vascular surgeon confirmed that I had a fibrin sheath on the tip of the catheter that he needed to remove. Sometimes our bodies do weird things, like trying to cover foreign objects with tissue, which is all a fibrin sheath is — tissue and debris covering the end of the catheter. The result is that you can infuse but not get blood return, a very bad thing when you consider what chemo does to your veins. It’s important to have a port that you can freely access because your veins become damaged from the toxic drugs. Over time, after treatment is done, they can recover, but using veins in your hands and arms during chemo is not advisable.
To fix the problem with my mediport, the surgeon threaded a lasso of sorts through a vein in my groin and ripped off the fibrin sheath. Though I had a light sedative, I was able to watch the whole thing on the fluoroscope. It was pretty cool! I was happy when they confirmed they could get blood return. Back in business!
After the procedure and a short recovery time, we headed to the oncologist. She reviewed the labs from last night and said I was in good shape to move forward. Even better is that she said my tumor has become spongy, rather than firm. That means the chemo is doing its job! I was very happy to hear that. It makes it all worthwhile, going through the difficulty of chemotherapy.
She asked if I was ready to move forward with treatment number two tomorrow or would I rather wait until next week. I said, “Let’s do it!” Although chemo isn’t pleasant, certainly not something you would willingly go through, it is necessary. I’m ready to keep fighting. So tomorrow it is off to the infusion center to get the cocktail and to blast more of these cancer cells to oblivion. Thank God for modern medicine. It’s so much better than the stuff my dad went through. I feel him with me sometimes, infusing me with his strength. I grab his hand and we go forward. He believes I can beat this, and so do I.