Sunday, October 19, 2008

An Unwanted Journey: Day 1061 - PICC'd, Flushed, Infused

One chemotherapy infusion down, 5 more to go before the next CT scan in about 3 months.

The first Avastin and FOLFIRI treatment is coursing through my veins. The PICC line is in place, finally. And I did the first of my daily flushing of the PICC line with separate saline and heparin solutions after the Comcare nurse disconnected the Baxter "baby bottle". Side effects have been mild thus far...mainly insomnia from the anti-nausea drugs, very little diarrhea, and of course some temporary chemo-brain.

The latter reminds me of an article we read at the cancer centre Friday by an observant and funny breast cancer survivor:

" If cancer offers you a glimpse of your mortality, chemotherapy offers you a glimpse of your senility." - Jenny Allen, "Memoir: Enough about my cancer", in More: Canada's Magazine Celebrating Women Over Forty, Feb/Mar 2008, p.116 (of course, I was only interested in the articles!)

If I could count on chemotherapy being like this regularly, then it really wouldn't be so bad (at least after 2 days of continuous infusion). But I know from experience that it gets progressively worse, so I need to reserve judgement a while longer.

My biomarkers are reasonably good right now too. My temperature is steady and my blood pressure and pulse rates are all good. In a couple weeks, I should have updates on the CEA levels, white blood cell counts, etc. So at this point, I'm feeling pretty good. Even the rash on my chest and right biceps from the first attempt at inserting the PICC line is starting to clear up.

And so the roller coaster ride begins again.

If you've followed any cancer blogs before - including my own - you'll recognize that nothing can be taken for granted. There are good days and bad days, times when the therapy appears to be working, other times when new metastases appear from nowhere, days of strength and vitality, days of fatigue and fear.

But today is unequivocally one of the good days.

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