Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Brace for Impact

Here it comes.

Tonight at 10:00 pm, I pop a handful of steriods to get ready for chemo. Tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m., I pop another handful of steroids, along with my usual morning drugs, and Home Health Partners' Nurse Ann will be at my house to hook up the 5FU pump. At 7:45, one of my friends will drive me to St. Mary's for my 8:15 radiation treatment. Then we'll go to the Virginia Cancer Institute infusion center for more steriods (intravenous this time), a massive dose of benadryl, some powerful anti-nausea medication, some hydrating saline, some other stuff I can't keep track of and a dose of taxol and a dose of cisplatin, these last two being actual chemo-therapy.

Despite have gone through this chemo course twice before, I'm still apprehensive because:
  1. I've been through it before and know what to expect. Although I'm apparently a model chemo patient, it is still a hateful, disgusting experience that I'd forego if I weren't more fearful of dying from cancer; and
  2. I'm already feeling lousy and weak from the radiation, though, again, not as lousy and weak as everybody seems to think I should feel; and
  3. I can see the end of my presurgical treatment, tantalizingly near, just a week away. You know how you can sit patiently on a plane through boarding, take-off, inflight movies and tepid "meals" for hours on end, but that last few minutes while you're waiting for the inexplicably slow people in front of you to retrieve their freaking carry-on luggage and get the HELL OFF THE PLANE can seem interminable? It's like that. Only more.

Still, I'm upbeat about the final lap. I've got action adventure movies to watch. Our feeders have resumed feeding us. My parents have arrived to maintain the kids' normal schedule of eating, sleeping, bathing and going to school and assorted lessons and activities.

My doctors aren't worried, or at least they don't seem as worried as they did when we first met. I met with Dr. Trivette (radiation oncology) yesterday and Dr. Evers (oncology) today. Like Dr. Rowles last week, they seem pleased with my condition and bullish on my progress.

So, I've got five more days of treatment, with a weekend in the middle. Seven days from today I'll be done with radiaition and (except, possibly, for the cursed 5FU) with pre-surgical chemo. On the 12th I'll get some blood boosters, and then I'll percolate for a couple of weeks. I'm advised that even after the treatment stops, I'll feel worse before I feel better, but that in two weeks or so, I'll start to improve.

On January 31, I'll have a CT scan to see how it all worked. Then on February 1, I'll meet with Dr. Evers to review the results of the CT scan, discuss doing an endoscopy (but NO BIOPSY) and see about meeting with Dr. Parker to discuss scheduling surgery.

Oof.

Please redouble the prayers, positive vibes, etc., this week.

11 Comments:

Blogger Jenn said...

Jim,

I got my scapular, my Rosary beads, my four leaf clover, my candles, and my Happy Thoughts and Vibes hat on. I have Buddhist friends on prayer standby to help out the rest of us (I think the list now also includes Catholic, Christian, Wiccan, Jewish, and Interdenominational). I have arranged for the Uisce Beatha Desperate Housewives GoGo Dancing Troupe (they debuted last Thursday on the tables of Rare Olde Times) to dance the Dance of Unending Luck. Also, in order to ensure your chemo experience does not really really really suck, (just sucks significantly less) I have John and FiFi engaging in some meditative trance work. Yep, there they are, engaging away, in my easy chair. Oh, it only LOOKS like they are sleeping, but through their trances and chant-like snores, they are working quasi-miracles!!!

Seriously Jim, our thoughts will be with you tonight, tommorrow, and in the future. We love you!

Love,
Jenn, John, FiFi

9:10 PM  
Blogger jtucker3 said...

Jim:

My confirmation class ends each session with The Irish Blessing. It seems appropriate to repeat it here and now.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May God be with you and bless you:
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

Peace,
John

10:42 PM  
Blogger Sweet Distraction said...

I found your blog by accident. Your account of your day reminds me that my mother has just finished chemo and is still recovering from breast cancer surgery. I know how hard this has been on her. It has been nothing like what you are going through. My prayers that everything worked are with you.

10:50 PM  
Blogger UisceBaGirl said...

Jim,

You want it, you've got it - lots of prayers and positive thoughts.

We love you and believe in you,

Pamela

PS: Loved your metaphor about de-planing. I used to travel to London a lot for business, and the longest part of the travel process seemed to occur between 'landing' and 'customs'. After that it was morning in London and I was ready for anything.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Pat_N said...

Our prayers continue for you. Monday night we gathered at the Columbian Center grotto. With a little bleach I got Mary back to a holy white (she was looking a little too Irish with the green mildew). As we prayed the rosary for you I swear she had a tear in her eye but it could have been a drop of bleach remaining. That night I had dream we were at Rare Olde Times having a pint and you had hair as long as John’s. I don’t know if this vision came from angel Gabriel or the Guinness I had watching the Tech game. I believe you are going to be all right.

Glad to hear there is a finish line in sight. Stay on course we'll keep the prayers coming.

8:40 AM  
Blogger vkenny said...

Hi Jimmy, I'm happy that you are still doing so well so far into your treatment. Ed has had some effects from his use of steroids bruising, bleeding and when he has had high doses some hallucinations so just be aware. We will of course be keeping the prayer vigil going and all the positive thoughts we can send your way. Keep fighting the good fight the finish line is near. Remember if God brings you to it he will bring you through it.
V

8:49 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Let's not call it the cursed 5FU. Let's call it the blessed 5FU. Pace, dear Jim.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Drew said...

5 FUs! Just how many FUs is a person supposed to put up with? You and yours have been, are and will remain in the nightly Dolson prayers.

9:12 AM  
Blogger JMNJFL said...

Jim,

Per your request!!!! Kelly leads a children's rosary group on Wednesdays... so she will have between 25-35 children praying the rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament today around 3:00. I have asked that your intentions be added. You are in my prayers today as well.

Joe

1:22 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Well, I hope you're at home resting by now, and hanging in there! The plane analogy is wonderful, I know exactly how that feels. Here's hoping you're disembarked and facing the wonders of a cancer-free destination soon.

I've got all of my friends here in Roanoke praying for you, and between us Catholic, Episcopalian, Jewish, Agnostic, and Pagan prayers are on their way to you already. We lit candles and sang songs for you today.

I've also pledged to you nice, soft, comfy, hand-knit hats. If someone out there will just send me head measurements/color preferences for you and anyone else (Judy & the kids) who wants one, I'll be at the yarn store within 24 hours picking up materials. Within 36 hours, the hat will be well underway. In 48, your hat should be ready to mail, and I will start on the next one. I promise.

Hang in there, Jim. Be strong, get well. I do believe in you! I do, I do!

1:40 PM  
Blogger Kain said...

Your courage will get you through, Jim. I wish I had the motivation skills of a Bela Karoli, but I don't. In the 96 Olympics, he simply told Kerri Strug, "you can do it!" We all saw her second vault.

I simply know you can do it, because you believe in yourself and I believe in you.

2:31 PM  

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