Tuesday, August 19, 2008

FEC cancer...

home sweet away from home, the stanford cancer center.

feels like it was just yesterday that we were here...
ahhhh thats right... we were here just yesterday, but we will get to that later.

so we hopped in the car around 8:50am this morning and heading south.
by 9:10am we were checked in at the infusion center, and at 9:13am we had a seat for the blood draw with nurse sherry. nurse sherry had a little trouble accessing trish's port, as it may have been a little clogged.. but by 9:40am everything was done and we were on our way downstairs to check in with doc carlson's office.

after a stop to get trish some hot chocolate and a quick chat with trish's chemo buddy, christine, we were checked in and had a exam room at 9:55am. the nurse mentioned that the doc had three patients ahead of us, so we knew it would be a little wait.. but what we like about doctor carlson is... once he is in the room with you, you have as long as you want with him.

anyhow.. its 10:35am and the wait shouldn't be too much longer.

i expect doc carlson to examine trish as he does every month, and then fill us in on all the details of the new flavor of the month that trish begins today.. FEC + Herceptin.

more to come later..

11:45am update

10:55am: dr. otis, an ocology fellow under dr. carlson, met with trish.. she informed us that trish's blood counts are good today, and the echocardiogram trish got yesterday came back normal.
the herceptin and epirubicin can damage the heart, so the echo keeps a close eye on whats going on inside trish's chest.

11:05am: dr. carlson came and and examined trish. the doc continues to be pleased with the progress, and said he didn't feel anything abnormal. we discussed the coming weeks of chemo, and we know understand exactly what our schedule will be, and how the side effects of the FEC + Herceptin will differ than Taxol + Herceptin. the nausea an possible vomiting is gonna come back, as well as some fatigue. the little bit of hair that has returned on trish's head will again fall out.

11:45am: after meeting with mark to get the next few weeks scheduled, we are back up in the infusion center waiting room, again hanging out with trish's chemo friend christine, another young mother of twins with breast cancer.

so, for the coming weeks this is going to be our schedule:
trish will get 3 rounds of FEC + Herceptin, a round consists of 21 days.

Fluorouracil (5-FU)
Ellence (epirubicin)
Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide)

Herceptin (Trastuzumab)

day 1.1 (tuesday 8/19):
she will receive F, E, C, H. the F, E are short IV's that are manually pushed by the nurse. the C and H are drip IV's. she will get the normal pre-drugs, plus some new stuff... 3 decadron pills for allergic reactions and 2 zofran pills for nausea. trish continues to get her IV of benadryl, and shot of pepcid as well.

day 1.4 (friday 8/22)):
back at stanford, she will receive F, again, this time is a shorter push IV from the nurse.. this "should" be quick.

day 1.5 (saturday 8/23):
she will come back to stanford and receive 1 shot of nuelasta, this 1 shot replaces the 12 shots of neupogen she currently gets.

day 1.8 (tuesday 8/26):
back to stanford for herceptin, hopefully ~ 1 hour

day 1.15 (tuesday 9/2):
back to stanford for herceptin, hopefully ~ 1 hour

days 1.16 - 1.21 (9/3 - 9/8):
nuthin :)

day 2.1 (tuesday 9/9):
day 1 of round 2 (thus the 2.1), start all over again, same order as above.


so there will be a lot of back and forth to stanford, but aside from the "Day 1's", the other days should go relatively quickly... we hope....

trish's nausea is gonna come back, but hopefully its only for a couple days of these 21 day cycles...

12:55pm: nurse jackie finished up all the pre-drugs ~ 12:30pm. we are gonna wait about 45 minutes for them to kick in... then its on to the good stuff.. its gonna be a long, long day...

so for a quick week in review:
tuesday: after chemo, trish took caden to a playdate. story time at the schaberg library is on hiatus, so the moms still get together each week to let the kids run around and get their fun time in. after the play date, we ordered in some amici's pizza & pasta and had trish's family over to "celebrate" the completion of the Taxol.

wednesday:in the morning trish headed to the story time at the woodside library, and in the afternoon we met with our lawyer to finalize our living trust.

thursday:trish went over to kelly's house and helped her with the cake kelly was making for steph & gabe's wedding. tuesday was the chevy's fundraiser, so trish headed over there at lunch time and saw a bunch of people supporting the cause. in the afternoon, trish got her wigs cut for the wedding by jen. around 5pm we headed back to chevy's for dinner, and by 6:30pm trish was off to her healing touch appointment.. needless to say, it was a full day.

friday:trish took it easy, but went to lunch with julie and carrie.

saturday:we headed out to patterson with christina and ricardo for gabe and steph's wedding. the wedding was a lot of fun, and this was the first time trish and i were away from caden on the same night.

sunday:woke up at the lovely best western in gorgeous patterson and headed home. it was a long couple days, so once we picked up caden, all three of us took a nice long nap and relaxed the rest of the day.

monday:in the early afternoon we heading back to good old stanford university medical center.. this time it wasn't for chemo, but for an Echocardiogram of trish's heart.. its about a 20 minute procedure that is basically like looking at a prenatal ultrasound, but a heart instead of a baby... this was trish's second ECHO, which they compared with the previous baseline ECHO they took 3 months ago prior to beginning the herceptin.
in the evening, we had steve/cerena/lucas/casey/jane/judas/ria over for dinner to celebrate cerena's birthday.

so its been a pretty busy week for all of us...
and that brings us to today... chemo should begin pretty shortly..

another update later..

blood counts:

white blood cells, Absolute neutrophil count (ANC):
was 4.5
is 5.9

red blood cells, hematocrit (HCT):
was 29
is 29 (hasn't changed in a month)

3:40pm update:
the special guest star today was racquele. she stopped by for a few hours this afternoon to hang out with trish and see what this chemo stuff was all about.

the 5-FU & epirubicin manual push IV's finished up around 2:15pm.
the cytoxan drip IV finished up around 3:30pm..
herceptin has been going for about 10 minutes, and should finish up at 4pm.

a long day, but now we know what to expect..

the "first tuesdays" are gonna be long, as we need to meet with dr. carlson each of these days, and have the predrugs, the waiting, the real drugs, etc...
but the good news, we only have 3 of these "first tuesdays", and we are just about finished with one of them.

herceptin is done... just a quick flush and we are out of here...

more chemo fun & games on friday & saturday at 11:30am as we return for trish's second dose of 5-FU on friday and the neulasta shot for her white blood cells on saturday..

thanks for reading..

trish & racquele

31 flavors
(l-r) 1 scoop of 5-FU, 1 waffle cone of cytoxan, 1 waffle cone of herceptin, and 3 sugar cones of epirubicin (with strawberry topping)


Anonymous said...

Trish...Good luck as you begin your new journey today in the "chemo world". I pray these chemos won't be to harsh and hopefully very few side effects. We'll chat soon...my chemo went well last week...next chemo is a hospital stay :-(. Hang in there...you are doing AMAZING!!!

Staying strong-

Lipgloss Lovah said...

You look wonderful Trish! Your kicking some serious cancer ass! I'm glad taht you guys got out to the wedding and have a night together. I know you don't like leaving the lil' man. See you guys in a few weeks!

Jane said...

FEC cancer... haha, good one Oak.