Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Taxol/Gemzar Chemo Cycle 1 Treatment 1

Sean had his port placed this morning at IMC. Everything went smoothly with that. For those of you who don't know what a port is, it's a device placed beneath his skin in his chest that allows IV access through it so that he doesn't have to endure needlepricks for IV's in his arms and hands. This is beneficial because chemotherapy can cause damage to veins making it extremely hard to start an IV....and Sean's had trouble with that in the past so the port will definitely be a good thing throughout his treatment.

We met with Rick Hansen, Dr. Chandramouli's PA this morning. He gave Sean some prescriptions for anti nausea and pain medications to help him deal with the side effects of the chemo that are sure to come. He told us that Sean will be doing the taxol/gemzar treatments 1 day a week for 3 weeks, with a 1 week break after, which equals 1 cycle. He will do 4 cycles (16 weeks) of treatment, so long as he is responsive to the drugs. They will run labs each time he comes in for chemotherapy to determine if his cancer is responding. Rick said that Sean will most likely lose his hair again, experiencing the same sorts of nausea/vomiting that he had in the past, have a bad taste in his mouth again (which really sucks because the holidays are coming up and Sean really likes the food), and the overall sick feelings that come along with doing treatments like this. Rick said that the gemzar lowers patients blood counts quite significantly, so while he won't be neutropenic like he was when he had his transplants, he will still need to stay away from anyone who has a contagious illness and will need to be aware of overall hygiene. Rick gave us a prescription for an antibiotic to take in case Sean develops a fever that goes above 100.4 degrees. (Note: Sean will still be out and about in public, and has been told by Rick to get both the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccinations). The plan is to move Sean's treatments to Friday's after this week as he has a full day of classes normally on Wednesdays, meaning that Sean's next chemotherapy treatment will be on October 23. We expect to meet with Dr. Chandramouli at that time as well for another follow up visit as he was out of the office this week.

Sean's chemo treatments will last between 4-5 hours each time they are done because the taxol chemo requires a lot of premedications in order to allow the body to tolerate the poison. I'm not sure what my plan is right now on whether or not I'll be with him during treatments so for now we'll plan on seeing how he copes with the side effects and whether or not he'll be able to drive himself to and from the cancer center.

For now Sean is doing well in the sense that he's staying positive, doesn't feel sick, and is ready to go through all of this again. As his treatments go on, things will get harder and harder but we know that we'll make it through this just like everything else we've been through. We know that this is his last real shot at a full cure so we're doubling up on hope. For now, please keep praying for us. We'll keep everyone updated with Sean's progress and condition. Thanks



Matt K said...

If he needs a ride and someone to stay with him for his treatments sign me up if you can't make it karen.

Terry said...

Hi Karen and Sean, just reading your blogs and I'm sorry you both have to go through this again. My prayers are with you both to kick this thing in the ass!!! You guys can do this. May the Lord give you strength through this process. I love you both. take care. Lots of love. Auntie Terry :o)