Monday, February 2, 2015

The chemo trio

As we close in on go-day, I decided it's time to disclose the name(s) of the chemo(s) I'll have streaming through my body in two very short days...

Obviously, this isn't everything there is to know. But it's the high (and the low) lites.

Enjoy the crap out of this list of good times...

Doxorubicin

Side Effects
Orange/red/pink urine (ooh-la-la)
Mouth sores
Decreased heart function
Fingernail and/or toenail changes
Decreased liver function
Fever or chills
Abdominal cramping

Ifosfamide

Side Effects
Kidney problems (including an awesome bladder infection that will cause bleeding when urinating, "this can occur soon after medication administration or weeks later"... note that this bladder infection is separate from the orange/red/pink urine caused by the D drug)
Neurological effects ("generally goes away after a week or two" ... oh, goodie... just in time to start another round in week three)
Heart complications ("usually reversible")
Sterility 
Electrolyte abnormalities ("symptoms may include: fatigue, muscle weakness, numbness/tingling, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, shortness of breath, confusion or irritability"

Mesna

Side Effects
Joint or muscle aches/fatigues
Headache
Allergic reaction (this is one of my favorites, "Go to the emergency room if you have any of the following symptoms: swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, dizziness or disorientation, irregular heartbeat, sudden shortness of breath, chest or throat tightness"

And then, there are the side effects that are the same, across the board and for every blessed chemo they'll be shooting me up with:

Low blood cell counts
* Risk of developing an infection may increase
* May feel more tired
* May bruise or bleed more easily, blood unable to clot

Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite

Diarrhea

Hair loss

Which brings me to... 

I've had a few people ask why, exactly, I'll be camping out at the hospital for days on end when I have a treatment. Well, I'll tell ya... it's that damn Ifosfamide and its effect on ye olde kidney.

Since I lost my left kidney to Tumor #4 back in 2012, this part of the blend is my particular danger zone. The literature shows that the administration of this drug is typically pushed in a 3-24 hour infusion. ... Dr. H has decided he'll start my infusion with a 72 hour spread. The thought process is that by spreading that dose out over several days, my lone kidney should be able to eek its way through the experience. They'll take my blood and test my kidney function morning, noon, and night to make sure we're not killing my kidney as we try to save my life... but the long and short of it is that it's that particular side effect of that oh-so-special-in-so-very-many-ways chemo that's made the decision that my infusions will all be inpatient. 

I've been told to expect to be in hospital for 3-5 days, every treatment. (And, knowing my body like I do... I'm expecting it to be around the 5 day mark. Every blessed time I've ever been admitted, something "interesting" has come up that pushes for an extra two or three (or seven) days in the big house.)

So, there ya have it. Some info on the chemos. It's pretty grotesque, right?

I know there are all kinds of medications to combat as many of the side effects as they can. I'm not sure yet what kind of cocktail I'll be given, but I do know that H is pretty big on pain control and have every confidence in the world that he'll make this as easy for me as he possibly can.

Like or not, I'm about to come up against a "Drink Me" bottle. And while I happen to know that the stuff inside said metaphorical bottle is, in fact, poison... I also have hope that it will take out those cursed cancer cells at the same time it kills my hair follicles and wrecks my fingernails.

Gulp, gulp, gulp!

1 comment:

Debbie said...

Keeping you close in my thoughts and prayers, Laurie. Glad you will be monitored in the hospital while they do your chemo treatments. My heart goes out to you.