Sunday, December 23, 2012

EPOCH Chemo-Time

The other day I decided to be honest about how hard this struggle with Phil's cancer has been on this blog. I was thinking it would be best to keep it light and just use the blog as a way to update you all with the latest news. But after all the comments I received, I have decided it is best to keep it real when the time calls for it. I want to thank each of you for your amazingly encouraging and supportive comments- you have no idea how much they comforted me and will continue to keep me from feeling alone!! Mom has continued to be an amazing friend and support through this ride. She's so beautiful through and through. I have never met someone so generous!

Friday we were blessed by an influx of visitors and it truly recharged my batteries. Though Phil was out of it by the afternoon, he was so happy to have the energy of good friends about him. And he is also happy for me to be laughing! The generosity continues to overflow. Even after all this time. The Thorslunds took the day off work and spent it hanging with us in the afternoon, and even picked up Phil a juicy burger and me a yummy burrito! Later on Dolans dropped by with pizza, pop and hugs- we watched Jeopardy and caught up as night fell. Just as they were about to leave Dan and Ashley, Vanessa and Travis walked in with anniversary gifts and treats, even a whole baked banana bread loaf for Phil made by Vanessa and Ashley's mom!!! Thank you so much for that, we are loving it!!! 

We talked and laughed and got to know each other a little more, as we are new'ish friends with all of them. It touched our hearts when Dan asked in a text that he would like to come more often to see us. I find it hard to imagine you all wanting to spend your evening in a hospital, but I must say it truly does keep us strong!!

Dad arrived late Friday night on a backed up plane. You can imagine the traffic. Yesterday we changed rooms to Oncology and things are quieter over here. Phil woke up with his hair falling out, so we decided it was time to buzz his head. That they did! Many thanks to his personal barber, Tom! We all agree, he has a great shaped head :) After I gave Phil a nice shower to wash the day away, he snuggled up in a freshly changed bed for the night. He looks so cute with his bald head, so vulnerable. So far he hasn't been cold, but I would like to get him some beanies for the future. Dinnertime was frustrating as the nurse was busy and forgot to give Phil his nausea meds in time. He ate dinner but it came back up. Thankfully he always has the Boosts around for nights like that. The rest of the night he was fine and we just hung out.

This morning Linda brought me breaky and we hung out with mom and dad while we watched tv. Afternoon we listened into the meeting. Phil slept the afternoon away, as did I. We are all exhausted. As of today there is talk of Phil's chemo starting tonight. It would be the Rotuxin IV which lasts about an hr. He has never really had bad side effects from that part. The rest of the mix would be administered over a few days, continuously. Afterward they will keep him here for a few days to watch him for infections and provide the support he needs. I am very happy about that, as I have realized this edited chemo concoction is extra yucky and intense. However, we are 100% onboard and ready to face the storm.

Mom and Dad will be going back Monday and will be missed!. I'm not sure how he will be feeling mid-chemo, but sometimes it's just nice to have friends around in the backround while he sleeps. We will be here in the hospital for at least another week. We would love to see you :)

Dad had an in depth conversation with one of the Drs and he made this up to share with you all:

Phil Update – Sunday December 23rd 

Q.  What caused the fluid around his heart?
A.  There are a number of reasons for fluid build-up, but the specific cause in this case is unknown. The fact that the fluid receded on its own, and is almost completely gone, is good news.

Q.  Did the first round of chemotherapy produce the intended results?
A.  It’s impossible to gauge success by 1st round results. It’s only after multiple rounds that doctors are able to determine success.

Q.  How would you describe Phil’s current condition?
A.  The current strategy for treatment is not palliative. In other words, it has not been designed for the purpose of relieving or soothing symptoms without effecting a cure. The strategy is to aggressively fight the disease with full recovery and remission as the intended outcome.

Q.  How dangerous is the new, more aggressive chemotherapy?
A.  The greatest danger is the possibility of infection due to reduced white blood cells caused by the chemo drugs. However by keeping Phil in hospital, all of the resources needed to fight potential infections are available in-house. Because doctors and nurses can monitor his condition around the clock, the team feels more confident about introducing 2 additional highly aggressive drugs into Phil’s chemo cocktail. He likely will stay in hospital until the New Year.

Now for information on the new Chemo regimen for those of you who like the details:

EPOCH, dose adjusted for Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Here's what's in it:

I will tell you more about it when I know more about it, lol!
Apparently his white blood cell count is back up as is his hemoglobin, so it looks like he's on track for a best case scenario Chemo-ride!

Let us know what you're doing over the holidays, we'd love to see you :)
Much love and more dets soon!

1 comment:

Sandra Petryna said...

I just read the link to your blog that your dad shared. Please know that Dave and I are thinking about you and Phil during this difficult time and we are praying for his speedy recovery. You are lucky to have such wonderful parents, family and friends to support you. Sending you strength and love from Sudbury!