One in Nine had his inaugural infusion today…. They pumped him full of what they say is 100 steaks’ worth of iron over the course of an hour. It was like Man V. Food but without all the chewing. Happy to say that tho’ the port was still tender from last week’s insertion, it worked well and overall, an improvement on a regular IV line.
The bone marrow biopsy and aspiration were done today… still barbaric and still not enough meds to keep the horror of the whole procedure at bay. We were certainly back in the Pit of Despair with Count Rugen. But it’s done and that’s the important part. Now we move forward.
The MUGA scan showed a slight weakness in Rich’s heart which is probably due to his severe anemia. We’ve got a quick pit stop at a cardiologist this week to see if they recommend some meds to help with that. Then next week, chemo begins! The decision is, given Rich’s previous chemo, this time it be given over three consecutive days every few weeks to prep for the stem cell transplant. There are dosage life limits on some of the chemo meds, and although we’re well within the limits, it’s felt that a slower infusion over a course of three days instead of all in one day as before would keep the long term effects of these beneficial poisons at bay. Overall, there will be six sessions in total, part with the original RCHOP and part with RICE so that we don’t exceed those limits and still effectively combat the NHL.
In addition to the laundry list of chemo drugs, there are a number of other drugs that will offset the debilitating side effects. This is where cancer medicine really shines. There is a medication for virtually every side effect imaginable and, while not a pleasant course of treatment, it is nowhere near the experiences of decades ago. The trust we have in our medical group is precisely because of the compassionate care we received from them ten years ago. Every complaint was met with a solution and most importantly, we were listened to. So we expect to see some old friends: Neulasta, Reglan, Ativan, Kytril, Compazine, Allopurinol…. The list goes on and on. But each one was an integral part of the success of treatment ten years ago… we expect to find some new friends this go ‘round.
But the best medicine of all is the support, prayers and energy we get from our friends and family whether it be messages here, on facebook, calls, visits, transportation… that list goes on and on. The support of our coworkers and management at our office has taken a huge burden of concern from our shoulders, and that is invaluable. We know we’re in for some tough times ahead, but we know we can come through this stronger than before because we’ve got all of you behind us. So the bumpy ride begins… hold on tight, it’s gonna be a doozy!