So...it's been awhile since I shared a health update on this forum (though some of you are pretty caught up via The Facebook). Thought I'd share what's been going on, medically-speaking.
I am a Vampire:
I finished 3 rounds of my latest cocktail (Cisplatin and Gemzar) on February 9th. I had my final blood counts done that morning and by that evening I was checking in at la casa de Suburban Hospital for some overnight blood-transfusing. Seems that this cocktail really did a number on my blood. And by "did a number", I mean...I had like no blood. This last round, my hemoglobin was at 7 gm/dl and my platelets were at an all time low of 3. To give you an idea of what this means...normal hemoglobin levels should be between 12-16 gm/dl and normal platelets should be 150-400. So 3 was pretty much...well almost 0. Eeks.
It was a long night, but by Saturday morning I was all full of The Blood-Infused Energy. It was awesome. In fact, the other day, when I was feeling a bit rundown (even though I know my blood counts are great now), my first thought was..."I wish I could get some blood". I am officially a vampire.
The Scan and the Results:
After an energetic weekend, I had my follow-up CT scan on Tuesday morning. The scan was uneventful and I braced myself for the results, which were scheduled to be revealed on Wednesday at 3pm. It was a long 30 hours or so of trying to quiet my mind.
The results came back...eh...notsogood. The liver masses (there are 3 total) are a teensy bit bigger. Nothing notable in my pelvis (though my pain is back, so I am cornfused about this result). Time to put the kibosh on the Cisplatin and Gemzar and try something completely different. Sigh. I, again, have mixed emotions. Disappointed, yet ever hopeful.
Adios to Cisplatin and Gemzar:
I am actually kind of glad to be moving on from this cocktail...as it knocked me on my tail for reals. The Cisplatin made me nauseous, non-hungry and left an awful metallic taste in my mouth. The Gemzar is what destroyed my healthy blood cells. I am glad to say adios to them. I am 3 weeks post chemo and I feel so much better, physically...minus that nagging pain in my back and pelvis...little bastard.
The New Plan:
Monday, I start topotecan (brand name: Hycamtin). I get this infused everyday for 5 days straight and then get 2 weeks to recover from it. I have no idea what to expect, but I feel hopeful and optimistic that a) it won't destroy my blood in such an aggressive way as the last stuff and b) the 3rd time's the charm. Topotecan is gonna work.
I tried tapering down to 5mg of prednisone, which I take to keep my optic nerves from blowing up. It didn't work. 5 mg was too low, I guess, and my right eye clouded over and started hurting. I am now back up to 20 mg for a bit and instead of my optic nerves blowing up, now my cheeks are about to explode. Hmph.
My hair is growing back!! I have dark brown/maybe blonde, maybe gray hairs coming in all over my scalp. I am thrilled. I feel beyond excited and seeing fuzzies on my head gives me hope that there is life after treatment. Normal life. Without hats or scarves or wigs. Of course, I have no idea what the topotecan will do to my hair follicles. But, for today, I celebrate my fuzzy wuzzy hair!!
Alright...I wanted to write more more more...but I am going to a support group tonight (which will undoubtedly give me some blog material) and I don't want to be late!