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Round 3– Blow by Blow

8am
Early start to the day. While getting jabbed for her bloodwork (picc line team doesn’t get here until 9) she chatted with an older gal who is getting the same folfox, but for colon cancer. Kinship in cancer. Kathleen’s cancer aunt.
9am
Nice choice of seating when you are here first thing. Super kind and cheery nurse today. They all are. Different personalities of course, but all cheery in their own way. It was a peak fall day outside and we had a great view of the morning sun from the corner seat. I snapped a series of portraits of Kath that really captures the emotional range of the day. Crying about what might come, wondering what will come, laughing at whats here now. All over the map all in the first hour.

9:30am
New drug teaching with the pharmacist. These are not your shoppers drug mart, “here is a pamphlet” pharmacists. They are really into what they do. They are up on new studies, they keep track of progress across treatments. You really get the sense that in school, these were the kids you would go to for help if something was beyond you. Its a good feeling that they are in your corner when you are about to take all these freaky deeky drugs into your system
10am
Blood results finally back, so good to go. Lots of little markers to check and make sure. First the dexamethsone and ondansetron via IV. Then more hydration to make her pee and then the new one, Avastin. A full treatment (possibly 24 cycles) costs up to $40,000. So $780 a blast on 24 treatments. A dollar a drop ?
11am
About half a bag of avastin done and vitals are unchanged. Good. By now she would have had a reaction if she was going to have one
Nice to be through the unknown part. This drug has an expire measured in hours, not days. Best before 18:47. Witch’s brew. Let’s hope its better than eye of newt
The rest of the trip is more of a known.
I am always surprised at how kathleen is usually the youngest person in the room. People are generally here for a few hrs. Almost half are alone. Most folks don’t have the flexibility in their lives to take even more time off. As I look around at the faces, I always wonder what their stories are.
3pm
Having fun looking at the dog shaming website (thanks Megan for the link!). Kathleen is the only person here laughing out loud. For such a smart woman, nothing makes her laugh like a football to the groin! The dog shaming site is the canine equiv of that in some ways. I like it too, but its much more fun to see kathleen laugh. The anxiety is lifted a lot since we are through the critical phase with the avastin. Now the regular folfox stuff… Steroid, anti barf meds, cal-mag with a lot of saline, then the benedryl, hydro-cortezone, oxalaplatin, lucavorin, 5FU bolis, another bag of hydration and about 8 trips to the WC and finally take away bottle of 5FU for 46 hrs
4pm
Still some time to go. The drugs need to be spaced apart in certain doses so it takes a while. What’s the rush anyways
5pm
Technical difficulties. Small kink in the one iv line so it slowed the oxalaplatin down to the point where it adds another hour to the day. Drag. Have to move over to “chemo detention room” aka next to the charge nurse’s station where all the other stragglers are left as 5pm is the end of day for our nurse.
6pm
Finally on the last bag of cal-mag…. Out the door at 6:30pm

A long day, but an OK day. Well, better than OK. As I have said before, Kath and I at least look forward to spending time together. Not exactly our first choice venue (Maui is just a little bit better).

—Mike

About In the Cancer Bubble

I am Kathleen's partner of almost 25yrs supporting her through this very tough and rough spot.

3 responses to “Round 3– Blow by Blow

  1. Stacee Forrester ⋅

    Hi there,

    Wow, what a day for you both. I do hope that you have a good sleep and that somewhere in those moments of sleep you can let yourselves feel relaxed.
    Isobel did her run/walk for Terry Fox today at school (she is in grade one now, and did a walk up to High Park). I meant to ask you beforehand but she did the walk in your name Kath and she really wanted to do that, with your name on her badge. So, you are in our thoughts, both you and Mike. I talked to Drew last night and got caught up so that was great. That photo of you Kath with Drew, the one that Mike took was so wonderfully full of love, just great.
    Hugs to you both,

    Stacee and Isobel too, though she is fast asleep which is a good thing.

  2. Colleen and Terry ⋅

    Kathleen and Mike, you continue to amaze with your strength and determination. What a sweet picture of you both at the Thai restaurant, sorry we missed it with you last time. But will make sure we accompany you there next time! Your great love for each other shines right through! What a day you experienced, but glad to hear you made it through it with the new treatment. Our thoughts are always with you. Huge hugs! Colleen and Terry

  3. Megan ⋅

    I knew you guys would get a kick out of that site! Think of all the signs you could prop up in front of Orville!
    Glad to hear the new drug was problem-free!

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