September 12, 2011

Chemo Monday

After three weeks off treatment, today I started another round of Abraxane and Avastin. According to Dr G's plan, I will have several rounds of this chemo combo, until my tumor marker reaches normal (30). Right now it's at 85. Then I'll get a PET/CT scan. If all looks good, then two more rounds of treatment before I get a "vacation."

A round of this combo lasts four weeks and looks like this:
Day 1: Abraxane/Avastin
Day 8: Abraxane only
(Day 9: usually a Neulasta shot to boost white blood cell count)
Day 15: Abraxane/Avastin
Day 22: no treatment; recuperate and get ready to start it all over again the next week

Today I also received a monthly injection of Xgeva to strengthen my bones. This is the third such drug I've been on in the past nine years. For the first few years I had a four-hour monthly infusion of Aredia. Next was a one-hour infusion of Zometa. In comparison, the once monthly shot of Xgeva is a huge improvement, at least in terms of time!

Today's treatment went slowly but smoothly. I checked in at 8 AM and after a few minutes' wait, got my lab orders. I walked down to the lab, where I had a short wait until a nurse could access my port and draw blood. Then back upstairs, was called back quickly into a chemo chair but had to wait another 90 minutes until the lab came through with my test results and Dr G could approve my orders. Around 10:00 I finally started the treatment, which lasted until just past noon. Thankfully my good friend G was there to chat the whole time. I STILL cannot wrap my head around the fact that it takes four hours to get through this whole thing every week.

G and I had a delicious lunch at Cafe Presse. (G: zucchini soup with dill and green olive tapenade garnish and baguette. It smelled heavenly. Me: chicken liver pate with mustard, cornichons and dried cherries, butter lettuce salad with hazelnuts and vinaigrette, plus baguette. YUMMY.) I do prefer, on chemo days, to not limit my diet and I eat anything I want.

This lunch might have been a smidge too rich, because I experienced a bit of a queasy tummy while napping this afternoon. However, all was resolved with a bit of dry cracker. I never know if a queasy tummy is due to food intake or chemo but am always prepared at home with ginger ale, crackers, and of course, ondonsetron (anti-nausea medicine).

Because I'd woken up at 6:15 this morning in order to get to treatment on time, I took a marathon two hour nap this afternoon. I awoke slowly, ate that cracker, then fed and walked the dog. Poor Bob, he was short-changed on the walk front today.

Rik is at an evening meeting and after my enormous lunch, I don't feel hungry for dinner. I believe I will take it easy and watch another in the "Harry Potter" movie series. I'm slowly working my way through all seven movies and then will see the last one a second time.


  1. I'm sorry you are having to go thru this again
    I am slowly reading thru your blog learning what you have been thru (((hugs)))
    I hope your tummy is feeling better and it's not a lasting SE from the new meds

  2. Starting a new treatment must be just as scary as starting the very first treatment. I'm glad it went well but wish it didn't have to take so long. In all of this I'm hoping that your counts go well below the 30< you are shooting for. That would be the best news ever!

  3. I totally agree on the incredibly inefficient waste of time with chemo. I also go in for a set appointment, then wait at least 30 min to get port blood draw and wait another hour for the results and then more minutes to hang med. So a 30 min drip turns into 3 hrs. Ridiculous. Lots of retirees in the chairs but I have a job to go to. Rant rave.

  4. Stephanie10:00 PM

    I had an infusion today - and was out in one hour! Took longer to access my vein than for the drip (10 minutes only this time). Still running on steroids - ate lunch and dinner too. And I'm still awake.