I have now completed six treatments of Opdivo, the semi-experimental chemo drug. So far, things have gone well. I’m not puking my guts out every day any more, and I can feel that the masses are getting smaller. I don’t mean that in an existential way. The masses are so big and hard that you can actually palpate them with your hand. And now they’re smaller. So hooray for that.
On Wednesday of this week I had a CT scan done. Can I just say that I hate barium? That stuff is so nasty. I had to drink a bottle of it the night before, a bottle of it the morning of, and then the tech had the nerve to hand me a cup full of it when I got there! Needless to say, I threatened to puke on him. And we all know I can make good on that promise. Then he shoved a needle in my arm for the IV contrast. That stuff is awful, too. It burns like the dickens going through you and then makes you feel like you just peed your pants when it hits your bladder. I suppose having cancer is not unpleasant enough. Trying to take pictures of it needs to be as miserable as possible, too. Okay, cranky rant over. But seriously, my insides are still angry with me. We’ll just leave it at that and spare you the details of the barium leaving my body.
Thursday morning the CT report came in, and I got a text from my oncologist in ALL CAPS – EVERYTHING IS SMALLER AND NOTHING NEW!!! I love it when my docs and nurses get excited over good news with me. It reminds me that they have a vested interest in my well-being and that I am more than just a patient to them. Then my Dr. McDonald talked to my transplant doctor. He was happy with the results and ready to move forward to the stem cell transplant. He wants me to do radiation on the big masses in my chest first. (They are smaller, but still there. He wants to try to break them up even more to give the transplant the best chance possible of working.)
So yesterday afternoon I went to see the radiology oncologist to do my initial visit. Have I mentioned lately how much I love my doctor? She got me in to start the radiation process the SAME DAY they decided I needed radiation therapy. I went back this morning to do another CT scan and start the simulation process. Before they hit you with any gamma rays, they scan you and write all over you with Sharpie to make sure they are hitting the precise spot to be radiated at the correct angle. They’ll finish the simulation on the computer next week and I’ll go back next Friday for a dry run to be sure everything is correct. Then I’ll start treatment on Monday, November 2nd. I’ll do 25 doses of radiation – Monday through Friday for five weeks. After that I’ll go straight to transplant. I haven’t heard from my nurse coordinator at BMT yet, but I’m assuming I’ll do the transplant workup and all the preliminary tests while I’m doing radiation. So my transplant date should probably be sometime in December. It’s funny, I feel like I’ve been waiting and waiting since May and now all of a sudden, everything is happening super fast. Before I know it, transplant will be here and done. Crazy, right? I mean, crazy that all this is happening so quickly. Not me. Well, maybe me too. I’ll let you be the jury on that one! Love and hugs!