Chemo Update

I’ll post to this every week or two, the latest information will be at the top, followed by the evolving history.

 

Update 6/6/17

Twelve days after my 4th infusions:

I am feeling good. The effects of chemo are cumulative and I was tired longer than usual after the last round. I’m feeling better now. There are two more rounds of chemo to go, and it looks like I’ll get through them fine. The rash has started to go away and I’m just taking things easy until the chemo is complete.

That’s all the news for now. I’ll post another update in a week or two.

 

Update 5/14/17

Thirty days after my 3rd infusions:

I am feeling good. My chemo is postponed, because I have a skin rash, and need Dermatology to check it out before continuing. The Doctors are being careful to avoid creating a problem.

(After seeing the Dermatologist):

It looks like Petyriasis Rosea. They took a biopsy to confirm it. The Dermatologist doesn’t think it’s related to chemo and he will message Oncology that I can continue with infusions. I’ll get some topical steroid to treat it, in the meantime.

I’ll update, when I know more.

 

Update 4/24/17

Ten days after my 3rd infusions:

I was really sick, and thought I had an infection.

My last round of infusions was Thursday and Friday, 4/13 & 4/14.

On Saturday I was nauseous, vomiting and had intestinal distress, in the form of cramping, no bowel movement. I also had joint and muscle aches. The nausea medicine helped, and I took Advil for the aches.

Sunday I ate lightly, slept most of the day, there was no vomiting, but all the other symptoms were there, along with being cold.

Monday I felt better, but ran out of gas by mid-morning and rested. I still had intestinal and bladder pain, but not as strong. No fever or chills.

Tuesday I felt better in the morning, but was tired by mid afternoon. I had diarrhea in the afternoon. Still some aches and background bladder pain.

I had lab tests on Wednesday. The results, despite feeling so bad, were encouraging. I didn’t have an infection, and the symptoms were not from Chemo. I probably picked up a virus and was dealing with it. The labs showed my immune system is strong and that I could fight it off normally. That is, as it turned out, exactly what has happened.

No issues today. I’ll have another update this weekend.

 

Update 4/14/17

I just finished my 3rd set of infusions, I am at the half way point of my treatment.

Weight: Steady at 197lbs, +/– 3lbs. My appetite is good, I’m eating well.

Headaches: Few. I may have 1 or 2 in a week, and they are mild.

Body and joint aches: Some joint aches, but nothing a hot shower doesn’t cure.

Fever: None.

Blood Pressure: 114-128/ 48-73, This is low to normal for me.

Rest Pattern: I’ve started sleeping longer; 4- 7 hours, shorter if I nap during the day.

Energy: I feel good. I still go to bed between 8:00pm and 10:00pm. I am tired after Chemo. That lasts about 2 days.

General status: I’m back to a normal schedule.

 

Update 4/7/17

It’s 21 days since my 2st infusion sessions, I noticed the following:

I feel fine. There is no update this week. Family was in town. I’ll pick up on 4/14/17.

 

Update 4/2/17

It’s 14 days since my 2st infusion sessions, I noticed the following:

Weight: 197lbs, +/– 3lbs. My appetite is good, I’m eating 3 – 4 meals a day.

Headaches: None.

Body and joint aches: Muscle aches after pruning the lemon tree, nothing else.

Fever: None.

Rest Pattern: I’ve started sleeping longer; 4- 6 hours most days, but shorter periods, if I nap during the day.

Energy: I feel good. I still go to bed between 8:00pm and 10:00pm.

General status: I’m back to a more normal schedule, errands in the morning and putter around home the rest of the day.

 

Update 3/25/17

It’s 7 days since my 2st infusion sessions, I noticed the following:

Weight: 195lbs, +/– 3lbs, although I popped up to 203 last Saturday and drifted back to 195lbs by Monday.  My appetite is still good.

Headaches: Slight headache after chemo. That is gone now.

Body and joint aches: I have some joint aches. I take Advil if they show up. None today.

Fever: None.

Rest Pattern: I still sleep 3-4 hours, then get up for an hour before returning to bed. I have to nap after chemo for 1-2 hours. This pattern hasn’t changed.

Energy: I feel fine. I go to bed between 8:00pm and 10:00pm.

General status: I’m inclined to stay close to home the 1st week after chemo, in case I get tired. My regular routine is to run around and do errands in the morning and relax the rest of the day.

 

Update 3/17/17

It’s 36 days since my 1st infusion sessions, I noticed the following:

Weight: 196lbs, +/– 3lbs.  The normal fluctuation is between lighter in the morning and heavier in the evening. My appetite is still good. I’m eating 2 or 3 meals a day.

Headaches: Slight headache after chemo.

Body and joint aches: I have minor joint aches after chemo. I will take Advil before bed.

Fever: None.

Rest Pattern: I still sleep 3-4 hours, then get up for an hour before returning to bed. I have to nap after chemo for 1-2 hours. It’s just the nature of the therapy.

Energy: I feel fine. I go to bed between 8:00pm and 10:00pm.

General status: I had my delayed chemo sessions yesterday and today. My lab work looks normal for me, meaning I am at my baseline numbers, with little deviation. My next sessions are in 4 weeks. Retention of lymph vanished 3 weeks ago and my lymph nodes are working fine. That is an indication that the cancer cells that were clogging them are significantly reduced. All in all, I am doing well. I’ll check back in next week.

 

 Update 3/10/17

It’s 29 days since my 1st infusion sessions, I noticed the following:

Weight: 193lbs, +/– 3lbs.  The normal fluctuation is between lighter in the morning and heavier in the evening. My appetite is still good. I eat 2 or 3 meals a day.

Headaches: None.

Body and joint aches: I take Advil when I have aches, which is seldom now.

Fever: None.

Rest Pattern: I still sleep 3-4 hours, then get up for an hour before returning to bed.

Energy: I feel fine. I took a nap in the afternoon last Tuesday. I go to bed between 8:00pm and 10:00pm.

My 2nd infusion sessions have been moved to next week. I have to finish some antibiotics. One of my labs indicated I might have an infection and that would affect the white blood cell count, which is used as an indicator of how the chemo is working. I will pick up on chemo next Thursday & Friday.

 

Update 3/2/17

It’s 21 days since my 1st infusion sessions, I noticed the following:

Weight: 197lbs, +/– 3lbs. – one day I was 190lbs in the morning and 195lbs by evening. My appetite is still good. I eat 2 or 3 meals a day.

Headaches: None, until the last 2 days.

Body and joint aches: I’m taking Advil when I have aches, like abdominal discomfort, and lower back muscle aches – 2 or 3 days a week.

Hot flashes or Fever: None.

Rest Pattern: I still sleep 3-4 hours, then get up for an hour or two before returning to bed.

Energy: I wash the car, do shopping, fix things, do some tree trimming, and I feel fine. I took 2 naps in the afternoon, in the last week. It’s kind of relaxing. I should nap more. Lastly, I go to bed between 8:00pm and 10:00pm.

 

Update 2/24/17

It’s 14 days following my 1st infusion sessions, I noticed the following:

Weight: I have stabilized at 197lbs, +/– 3lbs. My appetite is good.

Headaches: Not so much now, if at all.

Body and joint aches: I take 2 200mg Advil in the morning and, other than a knuckle that aches, I don’t notice any.

Hot flashes: These have stopped.

Rest: I sleep 3-4 hours at a stretch, then get up for an hour or two before returning to bed.

Energy: I am at 80%. I don’t nap in the afternoon anymore. I go to bed between 8:00pm and 10:00pm.

 

Update 2/16/17

In the 7 days following my 1st infusion sessions, I noticed the following:

Weight loss: I have gone from 206 lbs to 193 lbs. My appetite is good.

Headaches: They come and go throughout the day. Nothing severe.

Body and joint aches: They show up midday and go away after a nap.

Hot flashes: 2 or 3 times a day.

Rest: I sleep 2–3 hours at a stretch at night, get up for an hour and return to

bed.

Energy: I am only at 60-80%. I take a short nap in the afternoon. That seems to

help.

This morning I got up at 6:00 am, which is late for me. I felt good, for the first time since last Friday. I did some running around, had breakfast and spent time on Twitter. It’s noon and I’m getting tired, so a nap is in order. That’s all I have to report for now. I’ll update you all next week.

 

Update 2/11/2017

I have CLL, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, it is not curable, but is very treatable. It is a non-Hodgkin’s leukemia.

The prognosis is good for me. It has been caught before attacking any organs and is contained to my lymph nodes.

I am being treated with a broad-spectrum chemical (Bendamustine) that kills b-cells, the precursor to White Blood cells and a biologic agent (Rituximab) that is targeted to a marker (antigen receptor), specific to my cancer. I just finished day 2 of treatment and feel fine. My lymph nodes are shrinking noticeably. One on the side of my neck is 1/3 it’s size 2 days ago.

My next session will be in 4 weeks. A typical course of treatment is 6 sessions over 6 months, if I’m tolerating the therapy well.

Just before my next session, I will have labs done, to measure progress and side effects, then go over them with my Oncologist. At some point during treatment, I will have a 3D CT scan, to get a visual of my lymph nodes, to see how much they’re shrinking. My immune system is being reset, from the ground up. When the cancer is knocked back to a low enough level, for some measurable time, (6 months?), I’ll stop chemo and go back to monitoring every 6 months.

The expectation is that the cancer will remain at a low level for a good long while, before I must treat it again.

 

 

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About jackdetate

Married, 2 children, retired, enjoying unstructured time: "And then he drank a dew From a convenient grass, And then hopped sidewise to the wall To let a beetle pass." ~ Emily Dickinson
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5 Responses to Chemo Update

  1. Adam B says:

    Thanks for the info and update. You and Myra are going to have to plan a visit to Seattle after your treatment. Its a liberals paradise.

  2. Benny says:

    Well, I’d say a remodeled immune system is at least as much fun as a new kitchen!

  3. jackdetate says:

    Damn! That’s the nicest thing I’ve ever heard.

  4. Cindy says:

    Oh Jack! I was unaware. If there was a previous post I missed it, and they do come to my inbox! Wishing you the very best w/ your treatment! I am not the wordsmith you are, so am not waiting to express my very deep concern in just the right words. There are no right words for this, except that I am sending my love and healing thoughts. My very best friend ( much younger than I am) was recently diagnosed w/ colon cancer, and her treatment is also progressing well. Chemo to shrink tumor before surgery. Your joy of life and philosophical bent will stand you in good stead and you will be with us for a long time! You’re the best! ❤️❤️🌈🌹

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