April 21, 2010

Started my first cycle of treatments. Below is what each cycle looks like.

Think of my treatment cycles in Days with Day 1 (D1) being the start of each treatment.

D1: Rituxan, Cytoxan, and Etoposide (VP-16), (7 hour day). Start taking Prednisone (two 50mg tabs per day) and Procarbazine, or Mutulane (three 50mg tabs per day). Put them all together and you get R-CEPP which is the name of my treatment. It's fairly aggessive.

D2: Etoposide (2 hour day)

D3: Etoposide (2 hour day)

D8: Cytoxan (4 hour day)

D9: Neulasta (booster shot for white blood cells in and out)

Day 28: Start the cycle again for six times.

September 17, 2010

I’m feeling well and happy to have the treatments for the last cycle over. I started to swim again although I haven’t been as consistent as I would like. I went to the pool to swim a while ago and couldn’t complete 500 yards without stopping. I’m happy to say I am able to do that now. I will gradually add 100 yards every week until I get up to 1,800 to 2,000 yards. The swimming helps me feel better physically and mentally. I should have started doing this early in the chemo regimen.

I have a PET scan scheduled for early October but I won’t know the results since I have two forms of lymphoma. I will simply wait to see if it begins growing again and we all have better things to do than wait around for that. If it does, the aggressive Large B-cell is still there and we will pursue another form of treatment. If it doesn’t, then we are back in maintenance mode with the slow growing follicular lymphoma.

This blog was more about the process than the results so this will be last post. Feel free to email or call in January for an more conclusive update. Thanks for reading.

September 10, 2010

I’ve finished the treatments for week 1 of my last cycle. I got tipped again the first day but it wasn't as dramatic since I knew what to expect and the nurse was a bit more athletic. I am feeling well. I am taking the Procarbazine and Prednisone for the last time. That’s a good thing, especially the Prednisone. I think Eunice will be happy when I am done with it too.

I feel like this will be a good cycle. My appetite is strong, too strong, and I have put on most of the weight I lost. Glad this is almost over.

September 3, 2001

I felt pretty normal this week. I get a little tired early at night but that's no big deal. I'm anxious to start my last cycle next week and complete the treatments. One more time!

August 27, 2010

Not much new to report. Feeling well. Another week until the 6th and final cycle begins.

August 20, 2010

I completed the last infusion and booster shot for the cycle this week. One more cycle to go – I’m anxious to be done. I’ve been feeling much better this time than last and my attitude is much improved. I asked my oncologist about my lack of patience. He said he could give me something for it but I was taking enough stuff as is, the impatience was common to the drugs, and basically told me to deal with it.

August 13, 2010

Friday, the 13th. I just finished the first three days of infusions of cycle 5. My sleep is disrupted again, hands shaking from the prednisone, attitude good, a little fatigue occasionally, feeling well, and think this will be a better cycle than the last. My blood sugars still skyrocket early in the morning. Starts about 4am and by 7 goes quite high. I know because I'm up and have tested through those hours. Anyway, just puzzled but feeling well.

August 6, 2010

Feeling pretty normal. I start feeling normal earlier and earlier it seems. Fatigue seems to be cumulative and hits harder the second week of each cycle. I'll see what happens as I start my 5th cycle on Monday.

July 30, 2010

Not much new to report. Feeling well. I'm feeling more "normal" earlier and earlier in each cycle. Feeling pretty normal right now. I start my 5th cycle in about a week.

July 23, 2010

Had my last infusion and booster shot for this cycle. Feeling pretty good although sometimes very on edge. Get angry when things don't go right. Eunice said she is starting to experience some "cancer fatique" - just getting tired of the whole thing. Me too. I had an active week. I went fishing twice, on a bike ride, and a couple of walks. Feeling well.

July 16, 2010

Completed the week one of cycle 4. The three treatments went well and I am feeling well too. My sleep is a little off and my hands are shaky again but other than that I feel fine. My throat was a little sore again but I think that is just a reaction to the chemo and not another cold coming on. We will not do a scan after this cycle since we know it is working and we are going to complete the six cycles regardless. won't really know if the treatments have been entirely effective until a while after they conclude. Because of the mixture of cells, if there are any fast growing cells left at the end, they will start growing well, fast. If that happens we will have to consider other treatment options. My oncologist and I are optimistic that that will not happen and we will be left with the older slow growing lymphoma and be back in maintenance mode. I'm tolerating it well and my labs are good. My only complaint is that it's been hot and humid and I need to get more exercise.

July 9, 2010

Not much new over the past week. I am feeling much better. The cough isn't completely gone but is definitely on the way out. I'm feeling close to normal right now and Eunice and I were joking that my sleep is getting more normal too. I am due to start my next cycle Monday. Went for a walk with Eunice and played nine holes of golf yesterday so must be feeling pretty good. No complaints.

July 2, 2010

The cough is finally getting better although it still sounds bad. The flight delay on Thursday evening tired me out more than I thought. I've been taking naps and am feeling like I am catching up. Not much else new. Start my next cycle on July 12.

June 25, 2010

I caught a cold last week and am still getting over it. I felt better earlier this week but can't seem to shake the cough. I did get an antihistamine from the pharmacy but it didn't seem to make much difference. I was hoping it might stop sinus drainage and help relieve the cough. Hasn't really happened and will stop using it today. The cold also makes me tired and when you put that on top of the normal chemo fatigue it gets a little wearing. My mental attitude took a bigger hit this week than any other but still good. A couple of friends came through with unexpected offers to do some things and that makes me feel good.

Finished my treatments for the third cycle this week. The Neulasta brought a little discomfort in my back but not too bad. Done with this round of Prednisone and Procarbazine and looking forward to two weeks "off" before I start the next cycle. Shaking in my hands is already better. I'm counting down to the end now.

Looking forward to the weekend. Eunice will be home. Feeling well.

June 18, 2010

Started cycle 3 on Monday and it went well. Slept quite a bit through all 3 treatments. Had more discomfort from constipation Thursday and today. Eunice picked up some generic Senokot-S for me that brought some relief and I am feeling better.

Also have a sore throat and am afraid I may have a cold - not a good thing since I can't take a lot of OTC medications due to the Procarbazine.

The shaking in my hands seems to get worse with each cylcle of Prednisone. Taking insulin shots with shaking hands does effect my aim but it's not a big deal.

My port looks much better and the antibiotics are doing the trick. The redness and itching are gone. It also seems to be healing better.

On the whole, still feeling very well and have very little to complain about.

June 11, 2010

I got the results of my scan and labs on Thursday and everything looks good. The scan indicates things are getting smaller and the labs were good. My oncologist is "very happy" with the results and that I am tolerating the treatments well. One thing is that we won't know precisely if the Large B-cell (fast growing, aggressive) lymphoma is gone at the end. Chances are the follicular (slow growing) lymphoma that I have had will still be there so we will stop treatments at the end of 6 cycles and see what happens. If it starts growing quickly we will know the more aggressive lymphoma is there and pursue some other treatment. If it doesn't grow, we will go back to maintenance mode for the slow grower.

I did get some antibiotics for my port. He didn't like the look of it either and with chemo and diabetes an infection would be a bad thing.

Feeling well and very optimistic.

June 4, 2010

No labs this week. I did have a scan on Thursday and have an appointment to review the results next Thursday. Will also have labs drawn at that time. Everything is good. My port still looks funny to me and seems to be oozing a little. I'll have the oncologist look at it at my appointment next week. My diabetes is under good control and I'm tolerating the treatments very well. I'm active, working, and feeling well.

May 28, 2010

I had my final infusion and booster shot for this cycle Monday and Tuesday. My port looks a little funny to me. It is red and itches. I'll keep an eye on it to make sure there isn't some sort of infection. I also have shaking in my hands I think from the Prednisone. It's a minor thing but a little weird. Feeling very well and had no discomfort from the booster shot this time.

May 21, 2010

Cycle two is started and still feeling very well. Still adjusting to new sleep patterns but it is OK. Took a couple of naps this week and they were refreshing. Experiencing a little more mental confusion and forgetfulness and starting to leave notes for myself to make sure I take meds. Had a little discomfort from constipation on Thursday that lasted about a day. Feeling much better now.

May 14, 2010

Nothing much new to report. Had labs drawn again and they were very good so I am ready for the next cycle. Saw the dentist on Wednesday and everything is right with my teeth. I do have a nascent cavity but we will take care of that in October after chemo is over - not a great time to go digging in my mouth. Sleeping well but short hours. But I actually feel less fatigued than when I started. The fatigue I was expereincing prior to treatment crept up on me and I didn't realize it. Doing well.

May 7, 2010

I did expereience a little discomfort from the Neulasta last weekend and early this week. Not bad but a little uncomfortable. Had labs drawn on Monday and they checked out fine - everything is normal. White blood cells a little above normal but that is a good thing. Able to switch my next cycle to start on a Monday which gives me more flexibility for travel and work. Things are looking good and going well.

April 30, 2010

Had my fourth and final infusion for this cycle on Wednesday and my booster shot of Neulasta on Thursday. The booster shot is to stimulate the bone marrow to produce white blood cells and can cause some discomfort in the large bones. Not experiencing any of that right now. The NPH insulin seems to be working controlling the increased blood sugars from the Prednisone and adapting well to my new diet restrictions. Feeling very well.

April 23, 2010

Prednisone is a tough drug for diabetics. It increases your blood sugar dramatically and 100mgs/day is a massive dose. I normally take Lantus insulin for a baseline 24 hour coverage and use a sliding scale of novolog for meals and corrections. My endocronologist suggested taking 25 units of NPH with each dose or half the #mgs of Prednisone for each dose. This is working well.

Procarbazine has many dietary/food restrictions. Alcohol and cheese are the key ones but the list goes on and on. Without going into a lot of detail Procarbazine interferes with the inactivation of Tyramine in various foods so that "serious events" can happen. They put cardiac failure at the end of the list which I suppose is appropriate. So we are focusing on fresh, natural, and packaged foods with less than 5 ingredients. So far, so good.

Felt very well after the first three days of treatment.