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Cancer Blog

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


day nine

Hey, things are getting a little better. Today I took my second dose of the Temodar. No vomiting whatsoever. Among anti-nausea drugs, Zofran's the best. As we go through time, the chance of nausea or vomiting from Temodar drops off dramatically, so hopefully I'm in the clear. Yesterday was almost routine. One curiosity is that this past Friday, April 30, my weight was 159.5. Yesterday, it was 172 pounds. Yeah, I've been making a concerted effort to gain weight, but this is ridiculous. It turns out that I'm retaining a lot of water, specifically in my right thigh (the one with the big tumor on top) and in my midsection. Yesterday afternoon, after the regularly scheduled program, they performed an ultrasound of my right thigh. This was to check whether there were any blood clots. I haven't heard back, so it's probably just a lot of fluid. What happened was that the tumor in the lymph nodes of my right groin grew and grew, and eventually choked off the lymph nodes; this caused lymphatic fluid to build up in the thigh. It's basically lymphodema, but without the surgery (this is when lymphodema usually occurs). My doctor was also not too surprised or concerned to see water retention in my abdomen. I've got so much disease in there that lots of little pockets and cavities are available for fluid to build up in. And so it builds up. If it gets a lot worse, they could start removing some of the fluid with needles. But hopefully, we won't have to do that. We did receive a hint of not so good news. Results from stool samples indicated that there is some blood in my bowel movements. Very little -- not enough for me to tell on my own -- but it's there. Again, my doctor is not surprised or overly concerned about this. With all the tumor in my bowel/colon area, it's not surprising that some disease should penetrate the walls of the colon and cause a little internal bleeding. What it will lead to in practical terms is more blood transfusions for yours truly, which I actually enjoy; you feel a noticeable boost of energy and strength after a couple of units of the good stuff. I think I'm supposed to get some more blood next Tuesday.

My temperature has stayed down, glory be, so it appears that I am infection free, and the anti-inflammatory drug that I'm now on seems to be able to deal with these tumor fevers. It's much easier for me to move around the house now. When I had a significant fever, I'd start breathing hard and my pulse would shoot up after very little physical exertion.

My next assignment is for this coming Friday: I will go in for another (fourth) injection of the experimental drug. Next week, we take a break from the experimental drug and just take the Temodar.


Monday, May 03, 2004


complications

This past Friday's treatment was supposed to have been straightforward. Instead, I had a fever of 101.6. That was enough to put everything on hold; blood tests were done, my doctor was called, etc. Meanwhile, the fever goes down and I'm finally able to get my treatment and go home -- after seven hours. The mysterious fever elicited an ultrasound of my right neck area -- the most probably location for infection. That was done this morning. But yesterday evening, I had a fever of 103.1. High. This morning it was at 103.7. Damn high. So we went directly from the ultrasound, which was at 7:30 a.m., to the emergency room (per doctor's instructions). There, I got some fluids, more blood tests were done, and the fever subsided. Thankfully, my doctor let me go home rather than admit me into the hospital for a couple of days. The ultrasound results did not indicate any sign of infection in my right neck. So my doctor concluded that these sporadic fevers are most likely resulting from tumors rather than an infection. Fever from infection is dangerous in the very short term, whereas fever from the disease is a controllable nuisance. Just in case, I'll be on antibiotics for another week or so.

Hopefully, tomorrow will go as planned: doctor's appointment in the morning followed by my third dose of the experimental drug and my first dose of Temodar. It's important to start the Temodar. This is what actually kills the cancer cells. Tomorrow, if in fact I do get the dose, will mark the first day of whatever benefits I will get from this trial.


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