Lionel and my parents went with me to my appointment with Dr. A yesterday. When they call us in I tell the nurse “Sorry I brought my entourage with me today.” But I was glad to have my entourage there :) so very glad. Nurse Dee then takes me to the scale. As we walk to the back Dee calls Nurse Erica over to check out my shoes. My shoes are H-O-T! Erica loves them so much she escorted me personally back to the exam room where my entourage sat tensely.
My HOT shoes!
While the waiting for Dr. A we made jokes…. I don’t think Mami was too keen on the jokes though. The Exam room is adequately equipped with an 8x10 laminated page of the human body. What to do??? What to do?? What else would I do? I defaced it. I took the marker and wrote “I’m Hungry” on the stomach and “I’m constipated” over the intestines. Then I put the diagram back on the little shelf behind the tissue box and a few hand outs. Oh to be a fly on the wall when someone finds it. HA HA! They’ll never know it was me.
So after 45 minutes with Dr. A we walk away knowing that I am a stage 3B and will undergo eight BEACOPP chemo treatments. 3B means that I have the classic Hodgkin’s symptoms and affected lymph nodes are both above and bellow my diaphragm. I was so glad to hear that my bone marrow was clean. It was such a relief.
“The best way to treat this is aggressively.” Dr. A says. Great! By nature I’m not exactly an aggressive person. I better buckle up for the ride! I’ll start off this ride by taking four chemo treatments at an aggressive pace. This means weekly treatments. Hang on tight we’re going full speed ahead!
After those four treatments I’ll have another PET scan done. This pit stop will determine how well we have kicked cancer’s ass! From here we’ll fuel up and we’ll continue the drive. Yep continue chemo! Four more rounds, not so aggressively paced…..I guess we’ll drive slow then.
So anyone up for a BEACOPP Cocktail?
1 part Bleomycin
1 part Etoposide
1 part Adriamycin
1 part Cyclophosphamide
1 part Vincristine
1 part Procarbazine
I looked into these drugs through the Leukemia Lymphoma Society website. http://www.lls.org/
It’s amazing what exact jobs each of the drugs in the mix does. For example the Bleomycin and Adriamycin drugs interact directly with DNA in the nucleus of cells; they prevent the DNA from functioning normally and kill the cancer cells.
I think is the Etoposide has a very specific job to do. This is a DNA-repair enzyme inhibitor. This drug attacks the cancer cell proteins (enzymes) in the cell nucleus that normally repair any damage to the DNA. Repair of DNA damage is normal and vital process in the cell. Without this repair process, the cancer cell is much more susceptible to damage and is prevented from growing.
Some of these drugs I will take through an IV, others by mouth, and maybe by injection too. OYE! I’m gonna be on quite a regiment.
Along with chemo drugs come other meds too….party favors if you will. I’ll have medication for the nausea, which I’m hoping there is not a whole lot of. I will also be taking some growth factors to my keep my blood counts up.
One thing I have learned so far is that cancer throws you curve balls. I’m glad I learned this early! First I thought I was looking at taking ABVD chemo, so I familiarized myself with those drugs. Then a curve ball comes flying in my direction changing the chemo mix to BEACOPP. Okay more drugs to research. I also prepare myself of a PICC line…a line in my arm that will be used to administer the chemo drugs through infusion. So I read about that, check out pictures, educate myself and WOOOOSH here comes another curve ball. Forget the line in the arm; we’re going to do a port in my chest. More reading and educating! I’m going to grab my softball glove and get ready for the curve balls of cancer.
Monday April 6th I’ll start chemo. I shall mark this as C-Day on my calendar.