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.