Kill all the cells!
#Hartnation is amazing
Monday, November 5th, 2018
I limp into Brampton Civic around 8:15 a.m. I take the elevator up to the 5th-floor: oncology. I take a number and wait for my turn – 20 people ahead of me. I look around the room. So many people. Some smiling, some coughing, some look sad, some look happy. They call my name. They know me so well they don’t even ask for my health-card. “Have a seat and wait for your blood work”. Around 9 a.m. I go into a little room and they take my blood. If my blood work is okay I start chemo at 9:30 a.m.
A nurse comes out and calls my name. I guess my blood work was okay because it’s time to go to the treatment area. They lead me into a room with two recliners and two IV poles. I take a seat in the recliner closest to the window, I figure I may as well look outside while I wait.
A lovely nurse named Evette put a 22 gauge IV into my left arm. It doesn’t hurt a bit – by now I’m used to it. She starts the saline drip and leaves the room. I sit and wait.
Before I start the chemo drugs I get an IV bag with bone medication. Being on dexamethasone for so long has weakened my bones. Evette comes back into the room and informs me that there’s a minor hiccup – my chemo drugs have not been approved yet. (I’m not sure who hasn’t approved it), but she tells me that it will most likely happen soon. I’m worried that they will send me home without treatment and I’ll have to come back. It’s not that I’m particularly excited to get chemo, it’s that I already came to terms with the treatment plan and was prepared to start today. I hate when plans change, give me the toxic cocktail!
Around 12:30pm Evette tells me that everything is in order, let’s do this!
Stephanie goes downstairs to get herself a coffee and something to eat. While she’s gone a nice lady with a lunch cart asks me if I would like something to eat and drink. This is nice! I choose a tuna sandwich and pass on the drink. Stephanie comes back with a Hershey’s hot chocolate from Tim Hortons for me!
I sit here for about 2.5 hours and let the drugs soak in. I’m nervous that I will start feeling nauseous and have to throw up. Every movie or show I’ve seen always depicts cancer patients throwing up from chemo. Go watch Creed with Sylvester Stallone for an example. Oh – spoiler alert – he has cancer.
Luckily the entire treatment is over without incident. They gave me anti-nausea drugs to mitigate side effects. I took the drugs the day before, day of and day after chemo. They appear to work well because I feel relatively fine.
Now that round 1 is over a lot of people have asked “how was chemo? how do you feel?”
I’ll try to summarize:
- The actual treatment session was fine. Uneventful.
- I’m toxic. No, really my bodily fluids are toxic for days after treatment.
- If I throw up, whoever cleans up has to wear gloves.
- I use a bathroom separate from the rest of the family.
- I’m tired. Really tired.
- My taste and appetite are still good.
- Anyone coming around me should have their flu shot and also wash there hands before touching me.
- 7-10 days after treatment I’m most immunocompromised. Which is now (12 November 2018). I’m avoiding leaving the house and being around people outside of my family. I would really love to have visitors and I’m actually craving hugs (yea yea, don’t judge) but I can’t risk getting sick.
- I have weird numbness on my right side. Not sure if it’s a chemo side effect, or the Leptomeningeal killing me. I’ll keep you posted.
So that’s about it. I just wanted to thank everyone for their kindness and support. You really make a guy feel loved!
Also my wife created a fundraising page for ROS1 research. In case you didn’t know ROS1 is the mutation on my cancer cells that allow me to have more effective targeted treatments. It has literally altered the course of my life as well as countless others. With more funding more research and development can progress on new treatments!
I’ll leave a link to the page here:
(Please note that donations are in USD currency)
Any money donated here goes directly to ROS1 cancer research. Not to me, though hopefully it benefits me in the future. (Does that sound selfish?)
You’re not just helping me, but countless others! Listen no pressure. You don’t have to donate. You can share the link and if it finds another donor, then great! Or ignore it, that’s ok too. I know that other people have their own battles to fight, and this in no way trumps that.
For those that have donated, thank you so much! The outpouring of support and generosity is really overwhelming! Stephanie set a lofty goal of $10, 000 and we’re more than
Round 2 of chemo is on November 26th at 10:30am