Saturday, December 11, 2010

The first Chermo treatment - or - "If You Poison Us, Do We Not Die?"

The quote in the title of this blog, from The Merchant of Venice, addresses something I've heard a number of times in the last few weeks about chemo. Yes, the cocktail of drugs given in any chemo therapy contains mainly poison, but it's really not as bad as that sounds. While doctors cannot yet give a drug that can distinguish healthy cells from cancer cells, they can give toxins that do much less harm to mature cells, but target recently divided early development cells. And that is what most cancer cells do all the time. Unfortunately some other cells do that as well, leading to the well known side effects. Hair cells are constantly growing (baldness, no biggie for me if it happens, though they say this regiment of drugs does not generally do that), some stomach and intestinal cells are constantly regenerating (nausea), bone marrow constantly makes blood cells (anemia and fatigue), to name a few. What really dies in the poison of chemo, or what should die, are the cells I really don't want!

Well, I'm pleased to say the first treatment went well, or more accurately is going well. I had no bad reactions to the drugs during four hours of instruction and drug administering in the clinic yesterday. I left with a pump that, for 46 hours, will administer one more drug while I go about my 'normal' weekend. A brutal storm is going to make this anything but normal. Events have been canceled already, but we will go get a tree this morning! So far no real nausea or fatigue. No feeling bad, no pain other than the discomfort of the port.

Next time they will be able to administer some drugs more quickly because they do not have to monitor for a reaction or go thru all the education and explanation. The process will be around 2 1/2 hours.

The next treatment is Dec 23rd, so I won't really have much news to report until then. Julia, my daughter, will be up visiting from Texas, so she will get to visit and see some of the whole process. I may make a post between now and then, just to say hello and happy holidays.

Take care, stay warm if you're up north, and enjoy...

Chris and Julia


Gary said...

Glad to hear it, Chris. You're in our thoughts every day!

Anonymous said...

So good to hear, Chris. Our thoughts are with you. Mary P.S. You explain the science in lay terms very nicely. You're becoming, of necessity, reluctantly, unexpectedly, an expert.

Robin said...

I hope you found some time in this crazy whiteout to snuggle in, safe and cozy, for some special healing with your family. It is kind of nice to be snowed in! Glad to hear that the first treatment is going well.
Happy 12-11-10! ~Robin & Joe

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your updates, Chris. You are in my thouhts everyday.


Sherie said...

Glad to hear the first treatment went well!! You are always so upbeat & make me laugh, especially to know that you have your first Borg part!! :) You and Julia are in my thoughts daily!