the chemo guy

The chemo guy on the team is Dr. Bruce Culliney.  I went through my story first with his nurse, and then with him.  The story is important as it helps entire picture clarity.

He explains that the chemo drug I’ll be receiving is Cisplatin (trade name: platinol), which is platinum based.  The principal purpose of the chemotherapy drug is to enhance/promote the effects of radiation.  It also kills any residual cancer or tumor-type cells anywhere in the body (along with other good cells it accidentally kills along the way).  The program is three does: once the first day of radiation, once in the middle after three weeks, and once at the end (of radiation).

The side effects of nausea/vomiting, kidney damage, decreased blood count, hearing loss, electrolyte depletion, (and so on) are minimal (normally), and (to a point) controllable.  What he prepares me for are the side effects of the radiation, which become more severe with chemo — i.e, acute soreness in throat, very difficult to swallow, dryness of mouth (saliva glands getting bonked), etc.  Basically all the things that the radiation guy told me.  It’s good to have it repeated though, as it minimizes the chances of heading into treatment with a rosy picture.  The only thing rosy will be the color of the inside and outside of my neck.

The chemo guy explains that for each dose of chemo, I’ve got to spend a night in the hospital — a precautionary measure in case of kidney failure.  So my schedule for radiation begins Monday at 845 am on Oct 4th (2010), I’ve got to show up for radiation and then immediately check into the hospital.

During the first session of chemo, when conveniently in the hospital, is when I’ll receive the hole in the stomach — which they call a PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy).  Not so thrilling to think about, but I’m guessing, knowing how hard it’s been at times to swallow, that this will be a smart alternative to taking in nutrition towards the back half of treatment.

So we banter a little bit more, then he has one of his assistants draw some blood for additional base line measurements and I’m out of there.

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