Cycle 6 – Day 21: End of Chemo & YANT (yet another new test, at least for me)

The big day is here! The Chemo cycles are officially over and I’m looking forward to getting a few things back like my immune system, normal blood work, my full energy level, and my hair (or what’s left of it 🙂 ).  Next milestone will be the PET scan on November 1st, and the subsequent doctors report.

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Cycle 6 – Day 17: My visit to CancerCare’s Urgent Care Clinic

First off, relax, it wasn’t that “urgent”, I was just following up on the dizziness thing

Th Urgent Care Clinic was awesome! they provided very quick, and thorough examination to investigate my symptoms. The diagnosis was narrowed down to a couple of possibilities.

The most likely possibility is a viral infection of the vestibular nerve, called vestibular neuritis, which can cause intense, constant vertigo. Thankfully, mine is not too intense. This would link in with the cold I’ve had for about 4 weeks.

Continue reading “Cycle 6 – Day 17: My visit to CancerCare’s Urgent Care Clinic”

Cycle 6 – Day 10: Off Balance

Well, something new is going on. For the last three days I’ve been experiencing what I’ll call “dizziness”. This is something different from the periodic experience of getting up and feeling very light-headed and the possibility of fainting.

This new dizziness, loss of balance is a constant thing where I need to exert extra effort to walk in a straight line and find myself holding on to things to steady myself.  I checked in with my oncology nurse and she’s going to discuss with the doctor. I’ve not heard back yet. The advice was I it was “bad” or I was super concerned to go to the ER. Not there yet, so I’ll wait it out for a bit more and see what happens. My GP is booked up and I couldn’t get an appointment until near the end of the month.

I did a little shopping today which involved a lot of head swivelling and looking around which really aggravated the symptoms. After a while my stomach started to feel a little queasy. Sitting still and lying down are all good. Not exactly conducive to being active and getting things done.

I rode the bike yesterday for a couple of hours and surprisingly it didn’t cause too much trouble. The ride was pretty good for the first 50km and then I really started to feel tired.

The cold, which is still hanging on into week three now, seemed to cause me to struggle on the slightest climbing efforts and breathe abnormally hard. Also, an annoying running nose which just wouldn’t let up probably didn’t help.

Over the last few days when lying down, rolling over or getting up I had a cough. Not the typical tickle in the throat cough but one where you breathing fine, then there is an increasing gurgling feeling in your chest that increases with each breath until you are forced to cough and then it goes away for a while (minutes) and then is starts all over again. After a longer period of time (30-60 minutes) as long as I don’t change positions, it settles down and I can try to fall asleep. A couple of nights were nasty as getting up for the bathroom triggers the whole coughing thing and the meds & extra water intake are making getting up in the night a frequent event. Thankfully, last night, no coughing! Hopefully, that’s over.

Another highlight for today, the last injection of Grastofil ! Yahoo!

Cycle 6 – Day 7: Mixed up emotions

Feeling frustrated, tired, sorry for myself, angry and who knows what else after a night of being up every 2 hours. Will this cold ever let go? Does my life now revolve around peeing? Is there going to be a “normal” in my future?

I know it’s just a temporary thing and I’m trying not to slip into a dark hole but it’s a bit of a struggle today for some reason. I really crave a good night’s sleep.

Thankfully, fittingly on Thanksgiving Day, I read this and find it speaks to me.

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:36‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Patient endurance – I will calm myself and rest in this.

I have so much to be thankful for. A wonderful wife who encourages me so much. A great family who support me in so many ways. Good and steadfast friends and a God who loves me beyond my wildest dreams.

Thankful.

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 🙂