Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cardiac Aftermath -or- Chemo Part Deux

Julia and I went to see the oncologist today. I learned that in all the years Mindy, the oncology nurse for Dr. Banck, has been doing this, I was the first sudden cardiac arrest. Not a great distinction, but unique. The drug that caused it all, 5 FU (also known as Fluorouracil) is no longer going to be part of my treatment. If the odds of a cardiac event were pretty much independent, like the odds of winning the lottery, I'd be happy to stay on the drug cocktail. The only real side effect (aside from the heart attack) was fatigue for a day or so. Not too bad. And it is the most effective treatment. But alas, I would have a high chance of another cardiac event of some type.

5 FU drug.

So, the new chemo will start in three weeks, after the heart medicine has left my system and I'll be ready to stress my body again. The two concerns I have are how much the cancer might grow with a month off from chemo (Probably not so much. It had been around quite a while before it was detected, and I did get two treatments in before all hell broke loose.), and how much less effective this second or third line of chemo drugs are compared to the first choice. We shall see.

I will have different side effects. They include a potentially painful rash about the face and upper torso, nausea, and general weakness. Hair loss will happen as well with the new regimen of drugs, but I really do not care that much about that one. I will lose the sensitivity to cold. That will be NICE up here.

So, the new chemo starts on roughly Jan 28th to Feb 4th. We do that for two months (every other week) then rescan to tell how effective the treatment is. I'll of course post results and thoughts.

I see the folks at cardiac rehab tomorrow for an evaluation and exercise. I expect the exercise they will allow me to do would be much less strenuous than the exercises I am used to doing. While I've lost about 30 pounds, I think maybe as much as half is muscle mass. I don't know if I could do sets of 225 at the bench press anymore. As they give me permission, I will continue to work out and stay as strong as I can. I can't help but believe that aids in both recovery and beating cancer.

Take care and thanks for the good wishes. It has been very appreciated.

Chris (and Julia)


Robin said...

So how many jokes have you heard about the drug that F'd U? Sounds like a very good idea to get off 5FU, Chris. It is reassuring to hear that your doctors have a sensible plan in place, and we trust that everything goes well from here on out. Really, Joe would rather you not have to visit him at work!

We'll be thinking of you!

Big hugs,
Robin and Joe

DP said...

thank you for the updates. i think of you always, and hold visions of you healthy and happy and strong. your humor is awesome.

Anonymous said...

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Having just read Joe Mish's "well written" January "music notes", I'm borrowing this to reflect on the tenacity and inner strength you have shown Chris. I think of you and your family often these days. You have it in you - the determination and resolute spirit - to meet the challenges ahead. Meanwhile, may each day prove special for you, caressed in the love and caring of family and friends who carry you in their hearts.