Chemo (Week 15) – Joy and Pain

Simply put, the last three weeks have been hard. I have been experiencing more and more side effects that have left me feeling less and less like myself. The big new symptom was chemical depression for a couple of days due to the after-effects of three days of the dexamethazone steroid that goes along with the FOLFOX/Erbitux chemo I had two weeks ago (week 14 of chemo). Not fun. I was angry about the whole cancer thing. I finally got back to being myself after a couple of days 0nce the steroid hangover wore off. Overall, it took me a week and a half to pull out of the FOLFOX/Erbitux chemo symptoms (with the Erbitux-only chemo in between) and to feel somewhat good this past Friday.

On the bright side of things, my youngest brother and his wife were here for a week and, even though I was feeling bad, we managed to have a good time. It’s always great to see family!

I recovered just in time for my old high school buddy, Simon, to visit this past weekend. (Thank you Kurt and Sarah for offering up your wonderful guest house for Simon.) The whole family had so much fun. We went to see an exhibit at UT Austin called “The Body: The Universe Within.” The exhibit shows the inner workings of human anatomy using actual human bodies. They have been preserved with a unique process known as “polymer impregnation.” Polymer impregnation replaces fluid from the body with polymers that prevent decay and decomposition. Very educational and breath-taking. As long as you don’t get queasy. Interesting to look at where my appendix used to be, as well as my liver, in a real body.

Today another high school friend, Alison, is coming to visit for the rest of the week. We spent the summer after high school in Cornwall, England together. One of the highlights of that summer was attempting to sail across the English Channel. But we got fogged in for five days at Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, and decided to return to England since there was no end in sight to the fog and the north coast of France is rocky. Not a good landing in fog.

Alison is a radiation oncologist now and will go with me this week for my 8th FOLFOX/Erbitux chemo treatment. She knows what I’m going through. It’ll be great to have her company for the three chemo days this week.

Yes, you heard me right – tomorrow I am having my last FOLFOX/Erbitux treatment. Whew. Next week, I have my last round of Erbitux which will complete the total 16 treatments ordered way back when.  Celebration time!! Then the next couple of days, I will be at M.D. Anderson to see what’s going on inside. Kinda nervous. What happens next depends on what they find (or don’t find) in my liver, as well as seeing how my second tumor has responded so far.

That’s all for now. Wish me luck!!

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