Posts Tagged ‘Xeloda’

Saturday.  No treatment for two days – thank goodness.

I’ve been wanting to post a quick update for a few days, but it’s definitely getting harder and harder to do anything now.  I spend much of the time either lying half-conscious in bed or struggling through another episode in the bathroom.  I’ve managed to eat at more-or-less regular intervals (but only with the help of my new “anti-nausea” drug).  In the past couple of days it has become a challenge to be in an upright position for more than fifteen minutes or so.

Transferring Gases

Transferring Gases

After being so sick following last week’s chemo, Dr. Fekrazad and I discussed the option of reducing my dosage, both of the Oxaliplatin infusion and the Xeloda pills. While he was willing to reduce the dosage for the final two weeks, he also reminded me that we’re hoping for a “complete response” to treatment (i.e., no evidence of cancer following chemo and radiation), and a lower dosage raises the chance of having only a “partial response” to treatment (i.e., cancer cells still exist even after chemo and radiation).  So, while my body was shouting, “lower dosage! lower dosage!” – my brain went ahead and told Dr. Fekrazad I’d stick with the original dose.

Somehow, I made it through Wednesday’s chemo infusion with no incidents, no vomiting, etc.  My dear friend Shawn brought a picnic lunch to the Cancer Center for me once again. It’s quite a treat to have her show up with her basket of homemade food, cloth napkins, ceramic dishes, and real silverware! This time she had fixed miso soup, a bowl of rice, and some berries for dessert – all things I could manage to eat that day.  Although Wednesday went pretty well for me, by Thursday I could feel myself beginning to slide downhill.  Today, I’m still really shaky and weak, but hopefully by tomorrow I’ll have recovered a bit – so I can have the strength to start again on Monday.

But I am in the home stretch now.  Next week is my last full week of treatment (I’ll finish up in three days the following week).  My final chemo infusion is on Wednesday the 23rd.  My final radiation treatment is on Wednesday the 30th.

I may not have it in me to write much between now and the end of the month.  In the meantime, my gratitude to everyone who is keeping me in their thoughts and prayers.  Thanks for helping me hang on until I can get to the other side of this – which will be soon, I hope.

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My actual treatment begins in earnest today.  Here’s the regimen (for now at least – there’s always the possibility of having it change it as we go along):

  • I’ll go to the St. Vincent’s Cancer Center five days a week (it’s only about 15 minutes from my house so that’s handy). 
  • I’ll have radiation therapy every time I go.
  • On the days I go in for radiation, I’ll also take chemotherapy in the form of a pill (Capecitabine, a/k/a Xeloda:  two in the morning and three in the evening).
  • Once a week, I’ll also have a chemotherapy infusion (Oxaliplatin, a/k/a Eloxatin) given through the port they just put in on Monday.

The whole regimen lasts for about six weeks. Radiation treatments are quick, taking only about 15 minutes – most of which is simply getting me and the machine set up in exactly the same configuration each time. There are four blasts of radiation, one from above my pelvis, one from each side, and one from below. The machine makes a circle around me as I lie still on the table. It takes less than five minutes to do all four sides.

The chemo infusion takes longer.  Today, which will be my first time, may take up to four hours as they’ll run the drip very slowly.  They’ll speed up the process a little each week, but it will probably take about two hours even at the quickest rate.

As I’ve been sitting here writing this, the time has arrived to take the first two Xeloda pills. Yesterday, when I picked up the pills, the pharmacist spoke to me about some of the side effects I could expect.  He also warned me not to let any pregnant friends touch the pills!  Apparently the chemo can actually be absorbed from the pills right through your skin.  Since chemo works by killing any fast growing cells, you don’t want a pregnant (or nursing) woman to handle them.

So, just now, as I was about to take the first two, I opened the bottle and thought: I don’t even want to touch these things much less put them in my mouth!  But, I did.  I’m sitting here now half expecting to need to run to the toilet to vomit any moment.  I know it’s not likely to happen quite that fast, but my mind is running rampant with all kinds of weird scenarios.  I only took the pills about eight minutes ago and I swear I can already feel something awful coursing through my veins…

So, in a while, I’ll head over to the Cancer Center to have more varieties of poison injected and blasted into me.  I’m also taking some reading material with me on the subject of expecting miracles to happen.

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