Friday, January 26, 2007

Pre Chemo Information

Well, all is set to begin chemotherapy this afternoon at 4:30. Prior to that today I have to have a long line catheter inserted for chemo delivery. Looks like another long day at MDA.

The specific chemo treatment consists of Docetaxel, 5-Fluorouracil and Oxaliplatin (D-Fox). The Docetaxel interferes with the cancer cell division, the 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) interferes with cell metabolism and the Oxaliplatin interferes with the DNA. The last ingredient, Oxaliplatin, is a drug that shown good success on colon and stomach cancer and positive results on esophageal cancer. This is a Clinical Trial and I will be #37. Most the patients in the program have been getting positive results. There are no placebos and all participants get the same cocktail. Everyone at MDA was very encouraging because so far this regimen has had good results and the cancer shrinks and people feel much better – traveling, working, eating normally.

The way it will work for me is on a two week cycle. Today I go in and get the first two ingredients at MDA. We’re not clear but we think it’s one hour of the first one and 2 or 3 hours for the second one. The third one (Oxaliplatin) is fed in with an Ipod-sized metering pump over the next 48 hours. For the first time, we have to go back to MDA to have the pump removed and then they’ll teach me how to unhook it at home. We headed down a 6 month path with a cat scan every 2 months to see how things are working. Next milestone will be the first CAT scan at the end of March.

Side effects are interesting – very sensitive to cold for the first five days – can’t touch or eat anything below room temperature. Hair loss is a maybe – hair thinning is reality. The clinical trail nurse says that a number of the people in the trail take their treatment on the weekend and work the rest of the time. When things settle out we anticipate 12 good days out of 14. We are grounded for the first month to insure everything’s going the way it should.

I’ve been having quite a bit of trouble eating and drinking and so I’ll be getting a couple hydration sessions on Saturday and Monday. If the trouble eating continues I may also get a feeding tube (limited menu selections). The chemo should reduce the size of the tumor that’s causing the problems and, hopefully, things will get back to normal in the eating department.

In the meantime I’ve dropped 20 pounds, love handles are almost gone and I’m about ready for a speedo.

Stay tuned – the next posting will tell you what really happens when the fill your body with all this junk.


Ernie and Jo said...

We're rootin' for you on this day of days, Bob Jr. Keep up that PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) that you have shown, so well. It looks like you have all of the background down, pat, so you just need to go with the forward part now. We're all praying and hoping for the best!
Ernie and Jo

Anonymous said...

Best wishes Bob! Know that we're thinking of you as you begin this treatment.

As for the speedo...I just don't want to catch you out working in the yard in it! ;-)

your neighbors,

Daniel said...

Hey Bob,

It sounds like you need a new blender!


rindy said...

well, i can tell you that cancer caregivers and xom are a lot alike - they tell you what they need to get the most out of you and the result they want - a successful project! in this case the project is you and result is what we all want! but just like all projects - you can never gauge what it will really be like until you break ground - the engineering, weather, work quality, safety all that stuff isn't able to be determined until it all gets going - and everyone reacts different ways to different things.

i, unlike you, am blowing up like a blimp! seems i never get the stuff that makes me have the shape to go walking next to you in the speedo - unless you want me to be confused with the fat lady in the circus. but you do what you have to do.

i mean this...i would change places with you in a hearbeat - i wish i could take it all.....

i go downtown a lot if verva wants company, let me know and i'll be there to visit with her - now that the blood drives are over i have some free time.

we love you and are pulling for is everyone!

Sarah said...

Hi Bob: With all this staying home for a while, maybe you could take up knitting. It's the new rage, you know. You could also get some use out of that new 5th wheel even though you can't go anywhere. Park it in the driveway and have dinner/tube and spend the night in it. Variety is the spice of life! Take care, Buddy. We're all right there with you every step of the way. Sarah

Anonymous said...

Bob -
I'm still betting on you to win. You've got a great PMA and support team. And I know because of Verva you are getting the best care in the world.


rindy said...

forgot to add that they don't call the "fu" "fu" for nothing! i've had some of that.

must not be 'foxy" enough to get the other. but can see where the fox might be appropriate for you - personality wise and medically!

hang in and i've asked about putting some alcohol beverages in with the "cocktail" but no go...too bad, alcohol mainlined - always seemed like a no brainer to me!

more rain...more grass to mow - i can't wait to get my chance at the deer!

Wayne Thompson said...

Hi Bob and Verva,
Thanks for the blogs. Your protocol sounds alot like Anetta's. I hope you and Verva have spoken with that leg of the family. You have my love and good wishes!!! I hope this next month goes as well for you as is possibly imaginable. Remember the morning we spent on the pier? I want to visit with you again soon!

Suzie said...

Wow - I knew I should have paid more attention in chemistry! Sounds promising and coupled with your great, positive attitude (easy for me to say) you've got the pluses on your side. You always were cutting edge, so being #37 (your new lucky #?) in a clinical trial fits. It's just the speedo concept that I find a bit scary. Can you get a cosmo chaser for the chemo cocktail?

We're all rooting for you through those long days at MDA. I guess with the many hours there you start feeling like they're family. Good luck with improvement on the eating and drinking. So sorry you're going through so much but don't lose faith. You've got a big team of cheerleaders on your side. Go get 'em tiger! xo Suzie

Dick McPeak said...

Hey Bob were keepiing your trailer spot ready here on the North Coast and are looking forward to the time the old "Bulldogs" can get together. Both Cindy and I send our best.

jane said...

Count me in as a cheerleader too, Bob and Verva! I have my pom poms at hand, a prayer routine ready, and a nasty chant for the Big Black Bear.
- Katy's friend Jane

Barbara said...


Just want to let you know that I've been thinking about you and Verva on this, the day after your first chemo treatment. You were in our thoughts today at the League's board meeting too. If a strong, positive, can-do attitude counts for anything, you and Verva will beat this thing!


Paula Criswell said...

So, Verva: as this chemo assault begins, maybe you'll be wearing the Speedo while Bob is wearing a winter coat?!!! I'm trying to visualize that--still trying--can't get it!

I'm sorry that I can only offer you company at MDA, hugs, and food, besides doing my best to channel the forces of the universe for you.

Your loving friend and fellow UU,

Bill Weidenfeller said...

I am so pleased that you are receiving the best of care from the top doctors in the field of cancer care at MD Anderson.
It was such a relief to Betty and me during her sickness to receive the advice and recommendations of the staff at MDA.
Your strength of spirit and determination will be of immeasurable help as you battle this disease.
Accept the help and support of family and friends and know that we pray for you. You are not alone in the fight!
Bill Weidenfeller

Janine Clements said...

Hi Bob! My husband had both the 5-FU and the Oxal as treatment for his colon cancer. They both did a great job of reducing the tumor size. He experienced very little in the way of side-effects...and never lost his hair from either of these drugs. However the cold sensitivity was pretty intense after several months on the Oxal. And might I suggest that with the sensitivity to cold...the speed-o might not be such a great idea! LOL Keep your positive attitude! And thanks for keeping us all posted on your journey.