Well today, as the title suggests, Cancer just got very real for me. Although I’ve been spending a lot of time at the Kellogg Cancer Center, everything was still kind of hypothetical in my mind, it was real and happening, but still somewhere in the distant future. Well that distant future is right around the corner.
This morning started off with an IV infusion to stop my cancer from causing too much calcium to enter into my blood stream. Overall that part of the morning was pretty uneventful, Joe the nurse that administered the drug was kind and competent. Once the IV was started, Narissa, the education nurse came in the room to start my Chemo 101 Class.
The class started out talking about the Chemo drugs, Taxol and Carboplatin. The total drip time for the 2 drugs is 3 hours and 30 minutes. The most surprising thing about the Chemo treatment is the 8 other drugs that I will be on to counter act the side effects of the Chemo. Which include, problems breathing, shaking and chills, unusual bleeding (is any bleeding usual?), pain with urination, mouth sores, nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, fatigue, cough, redness or swelling at the intravenous site. WOW.
I was really hoping for a few of the fun side effects, like an erection that lasts more than four hours, or a greater than normal desire to sleep.
The thing that I found most interesting is today Cancer became a very real part of my life. I’ll be honest Chemo scares the hell out of me. It’s not a fear of the unknown, cause the side effects of the drug are well known. It’s the fact that I know it is going to suck and suck bad, and there is nothing I can do about it. The bravado that I’ve written about and the fearless patient routine have come to the point where the rubber is meeting the road and I hope I am strong enough to look it in the eye and carry on. As I told a friend of mine today the good new for me is I don’t have a choice but to win, failure to do so is truly not an option. Another friend of mine likes to say the road is the road. When someone will say it looks like a bumpy round a head, Ron will respond with “it is the road”. This is my road and quite frankly I need to be happy there is a road that has been proven to get people where they need to get.
It is really interesting that none of the class today focused on immunotherapy. Not a single word about side effects or how they are addressed. When Veronica asked why no time is dedicated to immunotherapy, the nurse responded with “we don’t know”. The technology is so new with my type of cancer that the medical community isn’t comfortable talking about side effects. I’m not sure how I feel about that. But I think it is safe to say that just adds to the scary factor. The best news about the immunotherapy is the treatment time is a fraction of the time for Chemo – so if the treatment sucks it won’t suck for as long.
I am still waiting for the official word about getting into the clinical trial. However are signs are pointing in the direction that I will be accepted. We hope to get the official word today or Monday. The Cancer Center has scheduled me as if I am in the trial.
So Tuesday will start with a procedure to insert a Chemo port in my chest, then a meeting with Dr. Hensing, then 3 hours and 30 minutes of the Chemo drip.