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…..live life to its fullest!