Chemo and food

chad-n-meSecond round done. Had my father-in-law over to keep me company, thanks Chad!

If you listen to the hospital, there’s not a lot of control with what you feel you can do to alter your treatments – they give you chemo, you try to eat what you can and that’s it. But I’ve seen some articles (thanks Dave) that address the other logical half of this treatment: nutrition. And that’s a significant part that is definitely under our control and is not really addressed when I go in to get the medicine part of this treatment.

I mean, look at what they gave me: a puny sandwich, no lettuce or tomatoes, a bag of chips and any soft drink i wanted (Chad brought in the pickle spear, the only vegetable seen in the place). Where’s the whole fruits or vegetables? I feel like they’re sending the wrong message to patients when they say they just want you to eat what you like in the name of sufficient nourishment. Perhaps they have to because they haven’t done enough studies, or they don’t want to recommend a diet that would be incompatible with more sensitive patients (e.g., lactose-intolerant, gluten-free, etc) in the fear that they’ll get slapped with lawsuits. It’s just a shame more attention isn’t paid to this half of the treatment equation.

I read an article about how denying nourishment worked on reducing cancer in mice, so I did the same — I fasted for about 34 hours before I had breakfast this morning. I had a dull headache all day yesterday and generally felt crappy, as you do when you don’t eat for a day and a half. I fasted partly because that article makes sense to me, but also because it gives me some sort of perceived control over the cancer. And that gives me the most strength of anything, to feel like I can participate in actively determining how my body will react to treatment. Whether it will make a difference remains to be seen. I will say that my CBC / CMP numbers are holding steady (with the exception of my white blood cell count which is expected), and my CEA is on a downward trend.

While I didn’t see any cookies out, this article also gave me pause, as I like a bit of coffee with my sugar. Maybe this is only about breast cancer specifically, but it seems like I should definitely consider cutting sugar out of my diet for now. Another self-imposed restriction is cutting back on drinking homebrew to maybe 3-4 pints a week, and I’ve dropped 10 lbs in the last 2 weeks. So there’s a silver lining in all of this, where I can work on keeping some of these habits when I’m done with surgery and chemo, which should be somewhere in February. Thanks, all of you, for your sustained thoughts, prayers and energy.

Keep your friends close but your enemas closer

Been getting many inquiries about how I’m doing so I figure it’s a great time for an update.

thumbs-up

Went in to visit my colon surgeon first thing Monday to discover he wanted to do another scope so he can determine exactly where the tumor is within my colon, as well as take a larger chunk of it to test and see if perhaps I might be a candidate for another flavor of chemo that would be more effective on this colon thing.

I’ve been having some, ah, discomfort in that area for a while now and asked if we could perhaps do this another way? Luckily my doctor doesn’t want to hurt me, so today I went in for the scope under sedation. For breakfast, it’s just two delicious enemas and then dope and scope, baby. Go ahead, take your measurements, grab a sample, and wake me up when you’re done.

flamingoesLast night we got ‘flocked’ by a bunch of zombie flamingoes, courtesy of come crazy college friends of mine. They look great in the yard, I’m afraid of some kid absconding with one of them, as these are definitely the coolest plastic birds I’ve ever seen. My friends also put up some headstones and spiderweb too – hey, BA and Mel, do you do festive holiday decorations as well?

Whew. I’m glad I got that procedure behind me.  [snicker]

Happy Friday

Tweaked the way my posts show up now so that the most recent is on the front page. I figure most everyone who’s gonna visit has already done so, so this is to make it easier to catch up (thanks Cathy for the suggestion).

Today I got my homework chemo pump taken off so I’m unhooked for the next 12 days, yay! Exactly 2 minutes later I was in the shower for the first time in 3 and a half days, a new personal record for me.

The nurses have been warning me that I should start to feel crappy about 2 days after the main chemo session, but I haven’t had many issues yet, other than an increased sensitivity to cold, which happened almost immediately after coming home on Wednesday. Being in good health going into this treatment is going to make the difference I think, and I plan on dodging the other nasty side effects by keeping my strength up, both physically and spiritually. So far it’s working, people!

First session of chemo complete… sorta

chemo-tower

Had my first round of chemo this morning, took 6 hrs from check-in to check-out. Lots of info flying around and machines beeping. The nurse hit me up with a half-dose of Benadryl to start things off which made me pleasantly fuzzy-headed but nowhere near the tripped-out state I was yesterday when they put the chemo port in my chest (that was fun…. didn’t feel a thing).

Anyhow, they’ve sent me home with homework in the form of a small pressure pump filled with another chemo cocktail that is supposed to stay hooked up to my port until about noon Friday, when a nurse will come out and end the final part of this first salvo. Sleeping oughta be fun tonight!

After we received the reality of my situation, Christine would often ask how I felt and I would have to remind her that I was still the same doofus as before we got the bad news. Not the case now: I’m changing because of the chemo’s effects and it’s one that i’m owning. I may not have caused this cancer, but I’m sure going to end it…. with your help, of course. I’m on the warpath and am flying to each cancerous cell on the wings of your support and prayer. Together we’ll end this and it started today.

First week of chemo

Here’s the schedule for this week:

Monday AM – I go in for an MRI, the last scan scheduled – at the last minute by my oncologist. I don’t have claustrophobia so I think I’ll do okay, it’s the super-early start time (6:30AM) I disagree with, as some of you are aware I’m not a morning person.

Tuesday AM – I’m back at the Duke University Hospital to receive my port implant – again with the early start time (8:30). I’ll be sedated for this one so no eating or drinking anything beforehand. Bleah.

Wednesday AM – back early (8:00) for my first round of chemotherapy. Finally we get the show on the road and the physical destruction (and subsequent healing) can begin. This will take several hours, every 2 weeks, for about 12 sessions.  For those of you following along at home, I’ll be taking a combination of Folfox and Avastin, along with Fluorouracil 5-FU , Leucovorin, Oxaliplatin, and Bevacizumab. With a water chaser, hopefully.

Howdy

So my brother Billy hooked me up with my own blog via WordPress so I can write a little bit about what I’m going thru, without having to constantly be updating everyone i know via social media. I’m blessed to have so many friends and family but i’d never get anything done if i had to keep them all up to date individually. Thus, this nifty blog. Thanks Billy!

I’ll write more later, after i figure out how to make the site purty. That is, after all, what I do as my day job…