Session Six is in the books

Yesterday I completed my sixth chemo session.  Well it’s not actually complete until tomorrow when they unplug me from my portable infusion pump.  This marks the half way point in the initial chemo regimen.  The regimen is 12 treatments total, one every other week.  Blood tests for CEA (a measure of cancer activity) and CT scans that provide denifintive imaging of the tumors are done one periodic basis. 

At the end of this initial 24 weeks of treatment we will decide the next course of action. If the final CT scan shows that the tumors are sufficiently diminished, I can do just Avastin (what I call “chemo light”) which would be a one hour infusion every other week instead of three days every other week.  Or I could forgo treatment and just watch via CEA tests and CT scans for any renewed activity.  If lung tumors are small I can “fry” them high intensity radio frequency …burn baby burn!  If my liver tumors are small enough they can selectively radiate the little bastards to smithereens.  If, after this initial 12 treatments, the tumors don’t respond to the current program there are other chemo cocktails they can try.  My initial four sessions have been very successful with significant tumor shrinkage and the CEA test revealed a 40% drop in tumor activity.  While we are quite pleased, we are also very aware that cancer is devious bastard of a disease and the cancer can and most likely will mutate and defuse the effectiveness of the chemo drug.  Lots of uncertainty and decisions to be made in the future.

Someone asked me how this last treatment went and unfortunately I had only the foggiest recollection of the 2 1/2 hour session.  No doubt inspired by the Mary Poppins technique of “a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down,” my chemo nurse provides me with a “healthy dollop of Benadryl to make the Avastin go down.” Benadryl alleviates some potential allergic reactions to Avastin.  So the net result is after I am all settled in my comfy recliner with just the right amount of pillows, a stiff dose of Benadryl combined with some mellow jazz streaming from my iPhone, I be dozing in no time.  The nurse occasionally wakes me up to show me the next poison she will inject into my artery to make certain that it is indeed my name that’s on the package.  This is muy importante , if they mix up the medicine with another patient it could be curtains. Did you know that they actually make chemo patients sign an acknowledgement that chemo treatment may kill you?  Fun stuff!

Enough of this medical mumble jumble! Now for something completely different!!  Actual paintings by Jimmy Asbell that were not cats. Unbelievable!!!  As most of you know I have embarked on a new career as an artist of cats for the past year.  My most prized model and feline assistant, Lord Cotswold the Handsome (aka, Cotty) suggested I expand my repertoire and paint prey (bugs, moths, birdies).  I settled on birds, although the roadrunners I selected may consider Cotty the prey. Who knows what I’ll paint next, but I know they will be colorful, fun and hopefully a little goofy.

Lee and I also had an adventure this week.  We had dinner with a rock star!! A first for us.  Jake is the son of a dear friend, his band was playing in Tucson, and he invited us to dinner and the show.  We had a great time, and that what’s it is all about… life to its fullest!



18 thoughts on “Session Six is in the books

  1. Congratulations, Jim, on reaching this first benchmark. I’m a little jealous of your Benadryl as you know. I wasn’t offered the choice when I started Avastin and I’ve been doing okay without it so it’s too late to fake it. I think your feisty courage (and your wife, Ann’s) is a powerful cancer killing tool.

    May all your side-effects be light ones! May all the birds get in line to pose for you.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hurrah for more positive news. Just keep up the good fight Jim. I’m stockpiling a few good bottles to share in the hot-too-distant future!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another good realistic report. A step at a time. What will occur at 12 weeks will require another decision. Wait till then. For now just let Jimmy’s AAA team attack the invaders in the LLL. That is short for lungs, liver and lymph. Another session in the game is over. Now ready for next play. Also I LOVE your roadrunner!!!! He should be your mascot. Have you seen how the roadrunner attacks and makes dinner of snakes. Besides he is a fast little bugger. Looking forward to seeing you when back from vacation.

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  4. Beep beep Jimmy A is running through! He might be painting Roadrunners, but there is no doubt that is a Duck masquerading as a roadrunner! Look at that yellow green aura around that bird. That session six brings you to 50% of the 12. In wine vernacular is your glass half full or half empty? You radiate the best coaching going
    for me & congratulations on all your news as your glass runs over. Thank you Lee for the addition of the Achieves.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’ve come a long way, Baby… so many parts of your life!!! We love the paintings of the roadrunner (it is the one the often visits our backyards?) Keep up your incredible work and keep healing and painting!!!


  6. Nice Jim. As you may remember I love birds and although I have rarely seen roadrunners I have loved every second of it when I have. I watched for the first time a hummingbird take a bath in the wine barrel fountain I made a number of years ago in our backyard earlier this week, I was mesmerized!

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  7. We witnessed two “airborne dueling Roadrunners” on our back patio a few days ago. Seems there was a 3rd road runner whose attention they were vying for. They were young guys…looked a lot like yours. Wonder if they get down this way? Very fun to watch! Love your rendition of them!!


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