Tuesday, December 30, 2008

12.30.2008 - Good MRI

On 12.30.2008, I went to work for a bit and then left for the hospital for my MRI. I always go to see my chemo nurse first because she starts my IV lines painlessly. The MRI staff could care less if you suffer while they poke and/or prod. You need an IV for the kind of MRI that I get because I get a MRI scan with and without contrast. First, the regular MRI without contrast. Then, the MRI scan with contrast solution added to your blood stream. The contrast is a metallic compound that is harmless - gadolinium. If any part of your body that they are scanning is using more blood than the rest of the area, it will light up in the scan because there will be more metal in that area. MRI means Magnetic Resonance Imaging. There isn't radiation involved.

I met with my doctor and he reviewed my scans with me after the radiologist reviewed them. They showed no change - all was stable and unchanged. My neurooncologist was pleased with the scans. There has been no new disease since I had the surgery a little over 14 months ago. That is good when you are dealing with a grade four tumor. We'll do a blood test next week to see if my counts are good enough and then schedule chemo that same week if all is well.

My chemo nurse wanted me to give myself a Neupogen shot that afternoon and in another 48 hours. I had two shots left in my refrigerator. Hopefully, that will be enough to raise my white blood cell count for next week.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

12.23.2008 - Platelet Count Rising

On 12.23.2008, I went in for what I thought was just lab work, but my chemo nurse added Avastin treatment in addition to the blood counts. I get Avastin via IV every couple weeks. It doesn't have any side effects that I can tell. I have a MRI in a week and perhaps we'll schedule chemotherapy a week after that. They could have scheduled chemo for the same day as the MRI, but it is treatment that I would need a ride for and I am not going to subject Carissa to finding a babysitter for all three kids or taking them all to the appointment to see if I can do chemo. We will wait for a blood test that guarantees that I could do chemo before we schedule the next round. My platelets were still low, but rising from what they were last time. My white blood cell count was low, but not low enough to require any treatment for it.

There isn't anything like learning how bad someone else's situation to let you know that you aren't so bad off. A guy and his wife sat down in the same chemo room that I was in and were chatty. They told me about his situation. He has the same sort of tumor that I had and in the same general location - R Temporal Lobe. He was older than me and I learned retired from the US Army. He was on long term disability and can't return to work, he is taking BOTH Avastin and Thalomid, he had aggressive regrowth that grew substantially in only a month, and they live in Colorado Springs, so they have to travel 64 miles to get to the hospital. I drive about half that - 33 miles - to get to the hospital. He and his wife wanted to know all about my situation and since I was stuck doing Avastin, which only takes a half hour now, I thought I would chat with them. Usually, I don't enjoy chatting about cancer stuff with other patients, it can be depressing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

12.17.2008 - Low Platelets

My blood test wasn't bad on 12.17.2008. White blood cells and hemoglobin counts were good, but my platelets are low. They weren't low enough to warrant any special treatment to raise them, but I need to be on the lookout for significant nose bleeds and bruising after hardly any contact.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

12.10.2008 - Feeling Good

12.10.2008 was a scheduled CBC at the doctor's office. My blood counts were good and I received Avastin via I.V. line. Everything went great! I will likely have a MRI scheduled within the next few weeks. The only signs of my horrible flu/cold that remain are a light to moderate cough and a runny nose that needs to be blown often.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

12.03.2008 - They Couldn't Do Much For Me

The past several days have been horrible. Now, we knew on Thanksgiving that Grant had a cough, but we didn't know it would turn into the nightmare of all colds and flues. I hardly ever get sick and have been suffering from this since Saturday. My nights have been so awful. I get hardly any sleep, toss and turn, and am so congested from the excessive phlegm. I had an appointment on 12.03.2008 to get more Avastin and have my blood counts checked, but I was so out of it that I thought I might run the risk of crashing my car. Carissa and I packed the kids in the car and she drove me to my appointment. I had already decided that I wouldn't be doing the Avastin IV due to my illness and I wanted to have my nurse and doctor assess my symptoms. The doctor told me that I did not have pneumonia. I told him about the restless nights, the neverending phlegm, the coughing, the hacking, the fatigue, etc. I also asked him for a prescription for something to help me sleep. The sleepless nights have probably been the worst thing I have been dealing with. Severe sleep deprivation can exacerbate the risk of seizures too and we don't want that. He also wrote me a prescription for a cough suppressant with codeine to help with the coughing. What I really wanted was to be magically alleved of all my symptoms, but that was not to be. I was only at work for 90 minutes yesterday and didn't go today. I don't anticipate being at work tomorrow either based on how this has been going. I just want it to end.