This past Thursday night, I continued a tradition that started on December 5th, 2012. I didn’t now then how long this tradition would last, and it changed a bit over time; however this time I carried out the tradition just as I did on that first night. On that night I new I was going to be admitted to begin treatment for Leukemia. I knew I would be away for awhile, although I didn’t know how long. I picked up each of my children one at a time and told them that daddy would fight. No matter how long it takes. No matter how much it hurts. I would fight and I would come back to them.
As they’ve grown older it’s a bit harder to pick them up while asleep, but I always touch them and have the same speech before I get admitted. Thursday, October 8th, I carried out the tradition in full and picked each one up and held them in my arms. Tucker, Daddy is fighting for you so he can see you grow up and we can be buddies for life. Natalie, I don’t know how long I’ll be gone but I’ll be thinking of you and longing until we can play together again. Sydney, it doesn’t matter how much this hurts. It’s all worth it to see your smile and hear your laugh. And after laying each one of them back down, I gave one final look and left the room. Ready for the next fight.
In the SCT world, the day you receive you new cells is day 0. Any day before day 0 is a negative day and any day after is a plus day. So yesterday was Day -7 and today is day -6. Day -7 started off easy enough. I checked in at registration and then went to Interventional Radiology to get my central line placed. I got some good drugs, but not quite as much as I though I would get. Nothing hurt, but I could definitely feel the line getting pulled through and inserted. After that, I was transported to the Bone Marrow Transplant unit to await my chemo.
Etoposide isn’t my favorite chemo ever. I mean, I don’t think I have a favorite chemo, but if I was going to rank order them Etoposide would be at the bottom. In defense of Etoposide, I did receive a really really big dose. My target does was 60 mg/kg, which would have been 6,540 mg. Due to policy and not wanting to kill me, the actual dose was 5,530 mg. In the video below, you can see the globs of Etoposide fall into the normal saline. Kinda like a lava lamp, but without the good endorphins when you watch it.
Now, I’m no pharmacist but I did look up typical doses of Etoposide when it is used daily to treat different types of cancers. The largest dose I could find was for consolidation treatment of AML and that was 250mg/m2/day. I’m roughly 2.4 m2 so that would be 600 mg per day for 3 days, or 1800 mg total. And I received 3 times that total amount over 4 hours. Ya, bad things were bound to happen.
Etoposide Side Effects
Now in the grand scheme of things, these side effects weren’t too bad. For awhile there I was sweating a whole lot and turning a lot in bed. I just couldn’t get comfortable and every time I’d wipe my forehead, more sweat would instantly appear. This went on for a bit before it started to subside and that’s when I felt the rumbly in my tumbly. I’ve felt nasueous on chemo before so that wasn’t anything new. You just hold on and try to think of other things. I also find that if I snack on graham crackers or other items that helps. But this rumbly was on a whole different level and added a brand new side effect for me. As the kids would say, I pooked. I was actually trying to pee in the plastic urinal when it all went down, or came up, so to speak. I did a quick look a the toilet, which had a blue cover over it since I am getting chemo. Nope, not gonna make that. Then I looked down at the trash can that was already full of trash. Nope, to much chance for blow back. So I went with the 3rd option which was the sink. And then proceeded to fill the sync pretty full with what was definitely my dinner. I puked 3 more times that night. Nothing too debilitating, but nothing to fun either. So far today I’m feeling somewhat nauseous but not pukey, so that’s good.
Aside from the puking that started day -6 and the nausea that has lingered, day -6 hasn’t been too bad. Day -5 will be another rest day, because in the words of my nurse “when you get a dose of chemo that big, you need 2 days of rest.” On Day -4 we will start the total body irradiation. I’m sure I’ll have more fun experience to share from that. Until then, I hope you all enjoy your Day -5 and make the most of it!
A Duck Dynasty Prayer
Well we’re off to a good start. Or at least as good of a start as can be expected. I know darker days are coming, but I also know no matter how dark those days get, your light can overcome them. I am never in total darkness with you God. Let me see your light and hold on to that glimpse of you. As I toss and turn in my bed, let me realize it’s just for the moment. And that your light will overtake the darkness. Thank you for all the support we have. All the gifts, all the well wishes, all the notes/texts of encouragement. I thank you for it all. As I battle these next days, weeks and months I know you are by my side. Thank you for another day.