Friday, July 8, 2011

Stanford Medicine babay!

March 11th I started the neo-adjuvant chemotherapy study at Stanford. Neo-adjuvant is just a fancy way to say "pre-surgery" or before surgery. Cancer sure does have its own language, makes your head spin sometimes. Lucky for me I ended up with the best oncologist EV-ER Dr. M! Dr. M has an awesome sense of humor and a very caring bedside manor and always makes sure I understand what is going on. Needless to say I have been in good hands!

The chemotherapy I am getting is a little different from what they call the "traditional chemo". My treatment includes 2 chemo drugs and an experimental drug. The experimental drug is named Inipirib but the docs and infusion nurses call it BSI. To me it looks like mountain dew, which i hate. The BSI was designed to target the cells that the chemo killed and not allow them to grow back (or at least that's my understanding). The chemo drugs I am getting are not suppose to make you vomit or lose your hair and the recovery between treatments is quicker.

I had a meta-port installed the friday before my first treatment. The meta-port is a silicone type circle about size of a nickel and it has a tiny tube that comes out of it and then they insert this into your vein. The port allows them to draw blood and deliver chemo with a special needle through the port and then your only get stuck once a day! Mine is installed below my collar bone. My schedule is chemo plus BSI on Mondays and BSI only on Thursdays for 2 weeks and then I would have the 3rd week to recover. Those 3 weeks are called a cycle and I will have 6 cycles.

I had my first chemotherapy treatment on March 21st. It was scary and emotional day. I was surrounded by some amazing supportive women that day fighting the same fight (and of course my amazing hubby and mom). They first accessed my port and drew blood to check many things including white and red blood count, iron levels, liver enzymes, etc. Then I received my first bag of chemo (30 minutes), then the 2nd chemo drug (1 hour), then the BSI (1 hour). I felt like shit!! ICK! First of all you feel like that girl who turns into a blueberry on Willy Wonka because you are so bloated a full of liquid poison. I felt disoriented, tired, queasy and my sense of smell seemed heightened so the smell of just about everything was disgusting to me. The day after treatment was worse than the day of. I felt weak, nauseous, my head hurt and the nausea medication made me sleepy. The 2nd day after chemo, Wednesday, seemed to be the worst...I felt like I had just gotten hit by a truck! The nausea, weakness and exhaustion intensified.  Thursday meant it was time to go back to Stanford and get the BSI only treatment, it was not suppose to cause nausea....but for me it did.