Cycle 6 – Day 4: Sleepless & Waiting – Updated

Last night was the usual interrupted sleep. I think I was up 4 times for the bathroom as the increased water consumption and the drugs seem to keep you pretty “busy”.  Thanks to the prednisone it takes a long time to fall back a sleep each time. I just lay there thinking about all sorts of random things but eventually I drift off for 1-2 hours before the next “awakening”.

And now its waiting. Waiting for the PET scan and the result review with the oncologists in about 7-8 weeks. Seems like a long time right now. Trying to keep positive and in faith about the results.  Psalm 103:3 and Psalm 91, especially Psalm 91:16

Update: The wait is not as long as I estimated. My PET scan is scheduled for November 1st and the oncologist review will be shortly after that.

Cycle 6 – Day 1: The Last Planned Chemotherapy

I don’t get a phone call about any problems with my blood work, so it’s full steam ahead and I’m back in the chair.

In the chair with the IV hooked up to my port.

Shirley is with me and this time we drove in on our own. The morning seems to fly by once again with a bit of napping in the chair towards the end of the process when there is one drug on the IV for about 1hr.

Back at home it’s a quiet afternoon with some computer stuff, some reading and another nap. I’m feeling good with no serious side effects, for which I’m quite thankful.

Cycle 5 – Day 21: Blood work & Dr. Visit

Nothing to exciting to report today, just the (now) usual blood draw for lab analysis to make sure I’m “OK” for Cycle 6 tomorrow. It’s quite the process of talking to various folks after getting the blood done. First there is the nurse who does the vitals and asks a number of questions. We discuss the cold I’ve had for the last 2 weeks, doesn’t seem to be too much f a concern. Then there is the doctors assistant who asks all the same questions in a bit more detail plus a little poking and prodding of my various lymph areas & my stomach/bowels, plus some stethoscope listening. Pretty thorough all in all. Then finally the oncologist doctor pops in, asks how I’m doing and if there are any questions. We talk about what’s next.

4-6 weeks after the end of Cycle 6, some time in late November or early December there will be a PET scan to see the status of the cancer. I’m believing it will be totally gone and treatments will be over. After that it’s periodic monitoring for some unspecified amount of time.

 

Cycle 5 – Day 10: The Thermometer

For the last couple of days I’ve had a sore throat and runny nose, both very annoying but not fatal… unless.

One of the things CancerCare drills into you about chemotherapy treatments is the need to be very concerned about infections. The main issue in my case would primarily be a low white blood cell count, which I have. That along with a bunch of other things make me more prone to infection.

The one thing CancerCare really emphasizes is if you have high temperature, hence this bad boy.

The “magic” number is 38°C. The advice if you see this number is to go directly to the ER, do not pass GO, just get there ASAP. Tell them you are on chemo and your are immediate bumped to Priority 2 and started on IV antibiotics. Priority 1 is in progress heart attacks and/or you’re about to die.

I’m good and the sore throat is letting up and the number above is me this morning, so no ER for me! 😀

Cycle 5 – Day 1: Will this ever end?

Another chemo treatment. Hopefully, the 2nd last chemo treatment.  While I’ve been tolerating these treatments quite well physically, I’m definitely getting very tired of the process and the fact that it’s a constant reminder that I’m dealing with cancer. Treatment day plus pills and injections for several more days afterwards just keep putting the issue in my face. That plus every little feeling in my body gets put through the filter of “Is that something to do with the cancer?”.

Enough whining. I’m very fortunate to have so very few side effects and such positive progress on eliminating the cancer.

Today was a little different as Shirley was at another appointment during my treatment so there was nobody sitting with me, which for me at this point in the process was OK. However, I can really see the benefit of having somebody with you when you’re starting treatment or when things aren’t going good. Normally, most people undergoing treatment have one or more companions with them but today, there were several people, in beds, who appeared to be alone. Not good.

The treatment went about the same as previous sessions and the time flew by. As I’ve mentioned before the first 2 hours are quite busy with starting and stopping different IV drugs, and doing the 10 minute injection. The last hour of IV is generally a nap so I’m not the best company for that hour as I drift in and out.

Chris F. (Thanks!) dropped me off this morning and Shirley is doing the pickup and drive home. Getting closer to the end, yes!

Cycle 4 – Day 21: Results of the last CT scan

A bit of apprehension leading into today as I check in at the hospital to get my blood work done and find out the results of last Thursday’s CT scan.

Thankfully, it’s all good news

  • The tumour in my chest has reduced from 12.4 x 9.4 cm to 4.1 x 3.3 cm, an 88% reduction in area! This means prayer & chemo is working!
  • As per previous tests, there has been no other cancer detected (Neck/Chest/Abdomen).  This means there has been no spread from the initial site, also a very good thing.

As good as this is I must admit I was a little disappointed. I really was hoping & believing it would be totally gone. I know I’m healed and it will just take a little more time for my body to catch up with the Word.

There are two more Cycles of chemotherapy planned at this point starting with #5 tomorrow. After Cycle 6 there will be another CT & PET scan followed by a decision on next steps, if any are required. I continue to feel well with minimal negative side effects. Still hitting the bike on a regular basis 🙂

Cycle 4 – Day 17: CT Scan

Today is the CT scan to check up on the effect of the chemotherapy.

This is a CT scanner, but that’s not me

Just in case you’ve never seen or experiences a CT scan, this is what they look like. I’ve had a couple now so the process was familiar and went smoothly. The nurse that started my IV for the contrast injection was a riot. He had a constant upbeat banter with me and the other nurse he was working with. Interesting that this time after a 4 hr no eat, no drink rule I was asked to drink 2 large glasses of water right before the scan. Previous scans didn’t do this.

Today, I also broke a cardinal rule. I left the house in sweat pants, something I’ve told Shirley to never let me do. I never want to be “that guy” with the baggy, dumpy grey sweats roaming around in public. Now, these were quite nice Bench sweats in a tasteful dark blue colour that, I think, fit quite nicely. All the same I only wore them to the hospital and straight home where I changed back to jeans. Why the sweats? Well, if you show up for the CT scan with no metal in your clothing, you don’t have to change into a really stylish hospital gown 😉

Cycle 4 – Day 12: Figuring things out

Later in the Cycle is not so good for long distance, high intensity cycling. Who knew!

In today’s FOG ride I was starting to struggle as we came up to Hwy 44, 60km into the route. Would I push on to Birds Hill park, or listen to my body and cut the ride short a bit. The body won out and I took an easy pace back to the Legion parking lot via Henderson Highway. Pretty zapped when I got back and spent most of the afternoon laying around and napping.

I guess effects of the chemo on my blood chemistry really are taking a toll on my stamina and endurance. I know that things like WBC (White Blood Cell) and a whole lot of other things are well below normal levels.

In general, I’m still feeling quite well. Breathing is good and so is my appetite 🙂 Nothing to complain about here as the treatments seem to be having the desired effect. I’ll know more specifically how the treatment is going after the September 6th CT scan is reviewed with the oncologist on September 10th

Cycle 4 – Day 2: Doping works for me

Today’s ride was much better that last weeks! I was able to keep pace with the group, take my turn on the front several times, and get up the small hills on our route in an acceptable manner.


A couple of changes since last weeks disaster. The Karma road bike is fix with new shifter cables and housings and a shifting tune-up, and I have 200mg of Prednisone on board as part of my chemotherapy regime. While I’m sure this is not what the pros might use, I’m pretty sure this steroid is on the banned substance list!

This stuff gets you pretty jacked up. I was awake last night form 2-4am and then got up for a light breakfast and some reading. After that I caught a short nap before getting up for the day feeling quite talkative and energetic. I suspect there will be an early night crash to come, but generally a great day!

Cycle 4 – Day 1: Half Way

Today marks the half way mark in the planned treatment program and we’re back in the chair for another chemo treatment.

Strangly, it’s getting harder to do. Physically, things are pretty good but psychologically I’m less and less “up” for the process. Perhaps the seriousness of the situation is sinking in. Last night’s sleep was restless and I think with all the benedryl I’ll get today it’s likely that I’ll be taking it easy for the afternoon. Either that or because I’ll be jacked up on Prednisone I’ll be washing the car and doing all kinds of stuff around the house. 😳💪

The IV is hooked up and the pre-treatment stuff is flowing in.

The retuximab injection is next.

You know the chemicals are serious stuff when the nurse is fully gowned and wearing gloves just to carry the drugs from wherever they mix up the concoction to my chair side.

I napping in the chair for a good part of the treatment and before you know it, I’m done.