Saturday, July 4, 2015

Chemo #2 - the new Normal!

Every other Wednesday until Thanksgiving (if all goes well) our routine is Lab Draw, Doctor Visit and then Chemotherapy. (Details on that below.)

Oh - and the packing!  We pack laptops, a lunch, magazines, newspaper.  The chemo rooms also have TV, but we don't seem to turn it on.  I think it would be hard to concentrate when the nurses are coming in and out and such.

The "off" week - the days after the first chemo - and before this chemo:  Brett was feeling great!  Eating a lot - and maybe even more than normal.  His weight went backup to 154!  (Still very thin - but better than 145!).

So - it's Chemo #2 - and Brett was really feeling great when we went in for his 2nd dose of chemotherapy!  We got a great room (it was a double-room - so I got a recliner also!).

Brett did well.  He is still getting chemo in his arm, but soon will be going in for day surgery to get his port!  He's pretty excited they won't be poking his arms (as much) anymore, but a little nervous they are going to be inserting this in his chest and making a (tiny) cut into his jugular vein!

Notice his new shirt!  He's been craving frozen treats lately - and we recently went to the Mall (during a very non-busy time.. there was barely anyone there) and he picked this popsicle shirt from H&M!  Isn't it "cool"?!  (*groan* at the pun - it's okay).

During the chemo - during one of the drugs, they give him a frozen treat or ice chips.  It slows the blood flow in his mouth and (hopefully) makes it so he doesn't get (as many) mouth sores.

We thought it was funny that he opted for a cup of lime sherbet instead of a popsicle! And he's wearing his popsicle shirt!  The nurse thought that was funny, too.

What do we do on "Chemo Day"?
Chemo Day starts at the Lab on the 2nd Floor, where they put in his catheter (to get the chemo later) and take vials of blood to test for blood counts, liver function and kidney function.  

Then we go up to Grace Clinic on the 4th floor and see the Nurse practitioner, the Research Coordinator and the Doctor.  They check his tumors - and blood tests - and they ask us questions (and we ask them questions).  

Then it's to the 3rd Floor to the Day Clinic - and onto the Translational Research Unit to get Chemo.  Chemo is usually 4-5 hours.  He gets 3 anti-nausea drugs/steroids - followed by 4 chemo drugs (given separately).  It should get faster once he gets his port.

The Nurse Practitioner (who we see first) let us know that Brett's blood counts are really low.  He needs to wear a mask anytime he's in public now (and likely throughout the rest of treatment).  

The rest of us can handle germs and bacteria without even thinking about it - but Brett shouldn't take chances or it's a 3-day hospital stay minimum.

What happens after Chemo Day?
The days after chemo - Brett sleeps.  He went right to bed after this treatment and slept most of the next 4 days.  He has no interest in eating or drinking - so I have to wake him up and get him to eat and drink.  He started to perk up on Sunday - and by Monday and Tuesday was feeling more normal. The following week he eats like CRAZY!

Support!  Wow!!  The letters, cards, meals and just overall kind words and hugs are so sustaining.  We are grateful to everyone for everything!!

Brett (and us) decided to make this public because we think it's sort of a "all hands on deck" approach.  So many know and care - and why not share the struggles and achievements with everyone?  We feel it may help others going through things.

Our hearts are full - and we have nothing but gratitude for the Lord, family and friends.  No life is without trials - it's how you handle them that is important -- and how we come together to help each other.  Don't hold back hugs or words to those you appreciate!

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