Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"How was your summer?" plus Chemo #7

That's the latest question that's sort of strange to answer.  I mean, don't get me wrong - we've done some fun stuff this summer.  But we haven't gone anywhere, including swimming or camping, because that's off-limits for someone with a suppressed immune system.

"It was good.  How was yours?"  That's the best reply, I guess!

I guess not everyone knows what we've been up to!
This is on the wall as you go to the Grace Clinic.
We've had fun with drives and eating at new restaurants, or enjoying our family which came to visit - like my step-mom Debbie and Phoenix, my sister Carrie and Beth and the girls even came for an overnight visit!  We went to some new stores and went to State Fair (of course).  Scott, on the other hand had a great summer with EFY ("Especially for Youth" church camp at a college in Minnesota) with his cousin Jenni, Scout Camp at Camp Phillips, going up North to visit my family, Youth Conference, and also a lot of football practicing.

So life with our new house-guest (named Cancer) this summer hasn't been all bad.  We plan things with Brett during the "week off" or the "non-chemo week"... and we've been letting Cancer know he's not welcome to stay any longer.  We're really over it now... and would like things back to normal.

Today is Chemo treatment #7 (or Cycle 4, Day 1 as they call in it the medical world).

It was a quiet morning.  I think it's getting harder knowing that he's not going to feel well afterwards for days.   We woke up and I made him a homemade eggs/bacon/cheese english muffin sandwich... and packed our lunch bag (a Minion bag we got as a gift from a dear family in Utah whose son is serving the same mission Brett was serving) and laptops and we were on our way.
Thank you to the wonderful "N" family!
It's perfect for chemo day lunch!
(The lunch choices close to the cancer center are not great...
and since we're usually there all day, it's good to
pack a couple sandwiches
and fruit and yogurt, etc.)
Brett's been experiencing a deep cough, so they omitted the Bleomycin (the "B" drug of the ABVD chemo drugs) for this treatment.  He got a chest x-ray and he will get a pulmonary function test next week.  If those tests are okay - then he goes back on the B-drug for the next treatment (or was it cycle? hmm).  Dr. Fenske says studies have shown that dropping the B-drug halfway through doesn't affect outcome usually - and about 25-30% of the cases actually omit the drug during treatment.

Brett was already pretty tired... he couldn't sleep last night, so he slept through most of chemo.  The labs look pretty good (of course - still neutropenic... or barely any white blood cells) but all other numbers are looking good.  Sharing a few pictures from our little cube/room today...

After he finished with all the chemo regimen, we were off to get that chest x-ray!

We always tease that Brett has 3 white blood cells left...

Neutropenic means Brett follows a modified "diet" of sorts.  He can't eat things like the "dirty dozen" of fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries and lettuce because they can't be washed quite enough.  (Fruits/veggies with skins that can be peeled - or if they are cooked well, are good.)  Brett can't go to buffet-type restaurants or cafeterias for the most part.  Eating out is always a risk - but if it's a place that does made-to-order, then there is a better chance things are okay - just not lettuce on his sandwiches, etc.

If you have normal blood counts (or at least somewhere in the "normal" range), then you can handle normal bacteria that is in/on food.

September is Blood Cancer Awareness month (includes lymphomas, leukemias, myeloma) - so you might see that around Facebook for different cancers.  I think that means we want people (for ALL cancers) to be aware of signs for early detection so treatment doesn't have to be so harsh and the cure rate is higher.

Next stop... Pulmonary Function Test on 9/15 and then chemo #8 on 9/23!

1 comment:

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