The report first, and then my musings below:
Met with the new oncologist and a heme/onc fellow at the UMC North Cancer Center today - nice place with great services. We were there for 3 hours, which was a bit exhausting for Kel, especially since he was in a lot of pain. Got new script for other pain meds that he can take more often, and I will pick those up soon. He also begins a few meds over the weekend in preparation for chemo beginning Monday.
The chemo schedule:
M-F infusion of Etoposide and Cisplatin.
T infusion of Bleomycin
T infusion of Bleomycin
T infusion of Bleomycin and F/U appt with oncologist.
Repeat 3 more times, for a total of 4. However, 4th cycle will not have bleomycin.
During whole regimen, Kel will be having bloodwork to check for progress via biomarkers (AFP, bHCG and LDH) as well as side effects (myelosupression, kidney function, and anemia).
After all 4 cycles are done another CT scan will determine any residual disease. If there is still a mass of any kind left (namely in his back), then surgery to remove it. If it is more tumor rather than scar tissue, then more chemo again to follow.
In general cases of testicular cancer treated with chemo this (meaning surgery and more chemo) happens about 15% of the time. Chances are a bit higher with Kel because a) the mass is so large to start and b) his disease has already shown itself to be aggressive by being so large and presenting so suddenly, indicating a rapid rate of cellular division and higher aggressive nature.
We then had to get his blood drawn to check for clotting factors - I still have to give him shots of Lovenox 2x/day - then drop off scripts and then finally home. We were only gone for 6 hr, but Kel spent a lot of that time in pain, and is exhausted.
So: today's things that suck - everything (minus really good doctors). We haven't even really started any treatment and it all sux - it is all so painful for Kel, and tiring, and the worst he will feel is yet to come. The pain should abate in week 2 of treatment, hopefully, but it is constant and intense for now. He is barely able to find a good spot/position. His golden hour(s) when the pain meds kick in and he can move around is getting shorter and shorter. I am exhausted from today and can only imagine how devastatingly tired he is.
The cancer sux; the waiting sux; the inability to help really sux. All I can do is chauffer, wait and watch ... that sux.
Things that don't suck - Kel. In as much pain as he is in, and as miserable as he feels, he can't wait to get started and get a move on getting cured. His spirit is amazing and inspiring. He (and we) are confident that treatment will go well and hope that chemo will be all he needs and all of this will be over by the end of March. That would definitely not suck.
I was told by Kel that I have to end each post with something that either does, or does not suck (although I am getting tired of that word, so any alternatives are welcome):
Today's ending, because today just really took it out of us, is a 'suck':
Not having the boundless and endless energy of a 7-month old puppy sux, because Saja can take a lickin' (just see how Hudson treats him) and keep on tickin'.