Month: May 2017

The last chemo of the second part of the first course

This afternoon I had the Methotrexate (MTX) IV. This is the only chemo agent that they will give to end the first course. Based on the MTX level in my blood, they will have to administer an antidote, every six hours starting from tomorrow 12h. This will for sure last until Friday.
The hematologist told me that my white blood cell counts were low and that they will keep me in the hospital until these reach a higher level. Monday was mentioned, as a likely, but early, day to go home. So up until then, I will be here, let’s hope I can get some sleep between the toilet visits to rid myself of all the additional fluids they are giving me.

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Back for the second part of course one

The past days were nice. The weather was amazing, we had some great outings, awesome visitors, and I was feeling better every day.
I just checked back into the hospital for the second part of the first course of treatment. It feels like going to the hospital to feel worse instead of better, so I am doing my best to keep the longer term plan in mind.
Tonight at 20h they will start with the hyper-hydration which will go on at least until Friday, so I expect to swell up again. Tomorrow at 12h they will start with the second infusion of Methotrexate, the bright yellow stuff.

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Enjoying the nice weather

Today we enjoyed the nice weather. Luckily my new cargo-bike is electric, which makes it a breeze to bike around.
Fortunately, I don’t feel any nausea. Unfortunately, I am incredibly tired most of the day. As an MS patient, I am somewhat used to being excessively tired sometimes, but this is on a whole new level. At times it feels as if gravity is doubled. I find it hard to explain this “lassitude”. This fatigue is not due to lack of sleep or the extreme effort needed for the activities of the day. It is as if almost all energy has been drained from my body. I am playing Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild on my new Nintendo Switch (which is awesome by the way) when the main character has only one heart of health left and no more stamina, his animation looks the way I feel sometimes.

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Today I was sent home. My blood values are ok, the level of Methotrexate in my body is low enough, and I feel ok. I had no acute reactions to any of the chemo agents, Methotrexate, Teniposide, and Carmustine. I do feel bloated still and my colon is hurting somewhat, but this can also be due to the high dose of Prednisone that I had to take up until today. Overall I must say that these first days have not at all been as bad as I anticipated. From what I had seen on TV (always the best reference), I was expecting the hard times to start as soon as the chemo agents would enter my bloodstream. I understand now that there is a delay as long as that no acute adverse reactions occur. The cytostatics are inhibiting cells from dividing, but it will take some time for the already existing cells to die. Therefore the real side effects mostly occur later. For now though, apart from being tired and having pain in my colon, I feel alright. On Tuesday the 30th I have to be back for the second part of the first course.

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I’m swelling up due to all the extra liquid they are giving me. When I came in on Tuesday I weighed 88.9 kg, this evening I weighed 95.6 kg. I can’t even wear my fancy Apple Watch anymore, ah well, at least it won’t complain about my inactivity.

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Reading to the kids

The hospital has a special crate for kids that visit. The crate has toys, crayons, dress-up material and children’s books about cancer. I read these to them, as they explain what is going on. The book that I am reading in the picture explains cancer cells and chemo in children’s words. Unfortunately the book explains later that these bad cells are in the body of ‘Thomas’, the protagonist. Luckily I didn’t read the story word for word, and could tell the story of papa instead.

The tiger in the background of the picture is Thomas’ favorite stuffed animal. He lend it to me for as long as I am sick.

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The second chemo is running

Yesterday went quite alright. Even though the Methotrexate couldn’t look more poisonous, there were no direct side effects other than very yellow urine. I even managed to get 20 minutes of exercise on the home trainer. The Prednisone that I get now every morning is giving me a stomach ache. Regardless I managed to sleep well (apart from having to get up to pee three times). The major side effects of the chemo would start in 2-3 weeks.

Today I am getting Teniposide, which doesn’t have a funky color. It is being pumped into my veins now.

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Here we go

This stuff couldn’t look more poisonous…

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Checking into the Jeroen Bosch Hospital

My room is ready for it. Today they did some tests, they examined my blood, lymph nodes, my heart, lungs, and asked me many questions about my history.  Now (since 20h) I am getting lots of liquids trough an IV, to make sure that my kidneys continue functioning with tomorrow’s Methotrexate in my system. I am exhausted, so I should go to sleep. To keep myself motivated I am playing a slideshow of my family pictures on my iPad, which makes a nice photo frame. Check out the video below if you are interested.

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