Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Steve's Lamb CHOP Report

Hello Gentle Readers: As expected, Day 2 is when the chemo effects started to become real. It's amazing how much macho bravado gets knocked down by the reality of running the medical equivalent of battery acid through your veins. Yesterday was the CHOP part of the R-CHOP regime. You can read Kathleen's erudite post below to learn more about that. All I wanted to know was where I would be getting the lamb chop or the pork chop. They let me go with the lamb. Speaking of food, one of the drugs they gave me was called something like "aloxy" and I did give the nurse pause for a moment by asking if I could get "a bageley" with my aloxy.

Things change; things stay the same.

Anyway, I felt fine while I was at chemo, which was a good three hours. Thanks to the wonders of Wi-Fi, I was able to get a handle on my inbox, write a poem (which involved me double-checking the difference between turgid and turbid, thanks to Google's handy-dandy online dictionary), crack more bad jokes with the nurses and patients, write more emails—in other words, I was mostly bored out of my skull.

Don't get me wrong. Boring is good. I've been way too interesting to my doctors and my friends and family the past month, even for an unreconstructed narcissist. The day this whole ride started, in early October, I had been at my internist's office for a routine blood pressure check. He brought in a Harvard med school student who follows him on Thursday rounds and made some offhand joke about most of the patients being boring, especially fit, healthy 45 year-old males with hereditary hypertension. He then asked if there were any other medical issues I wanted to ask him about, and I brought up these swollen glands in my neck. Within three minutes, the tenor of the meeting had changed and my doctor said to his student, "Well, you got to see something interesting after all."

So everything going according to normal—blood chemistry, tolerance for the meds, water retention, etc.—is exactly what we want. Of course part of normal is getting nausea later in the day. Don't worry, I won't get too graphic here and give you specific colors, consistencies, etc. You need to have some room for your imaginations to run wild. When I got home from chemo, I was feeling a little light-headed but otherwise fine. I took Lucy on a 45-minute walk since it was sunny and the two of us had a nice time. I then sat down and continued working on a deck for the MY TURN board meeting on Friday. By 5:00, I was out of gas and crashed on the living room chair with NPR for white noise. When I woke up, my stomach let me know that we weren't in Kansas anymore.

The good news is that I did not throw up, but I did feel my stomach at work all night long, so not the greatest night of sleep ever. I'm keeping myself hydrated and just made myself a hard-boilded egg and toast for breakfast, to help wash down the five prednizone tablets, the emend anti-nausea pill, the allopurinol to keep my kidneys functioning while all of this stuff runs through me, and the blood pressure pill that started this whole thing. Well actually, that last one may just end up having saved my life, my internist's snarky comments notwithstanding.

Today, I head in for more blood work and a shot of something that is supposed to stimulate generation of white blood cells. I may actually go into the office for a little bit, but don't worry. If my body says no, I will listen.

Hugs to all of you for your amazing support and friendship,



Mark Alston-Follansbee said...

bad jokes? you? OMG, looking forward to the Mr. Clean look. xxxx, Mark

Blaze said...

Hi, Steve. We hear "bald is the new black", so as usual you are on the cutting edge. What would Shari Lewis say about this report? Helene and I are both holding you in our hearts.

SMP said...

well, bald is the new something, that's for damn sure...and in my case, it wasn't that far off 'irregardless,' as the old ones say. Thanks for the good thoughts all around!