Friday, April 13, 2007

First week of chemo complete....

On Thursday - April 12th, Renee had a blood transfusion since her hemoglobin was low.

Renee completed her first week of chemo, and did not get sick during the treatments. She did experience nausea about 1 week later, but was fine after taking an anti-nausea pill.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chemo and rituxan begins.....

Renee's schedule was for 4 complete weeks of chemo, spread of 4 months. She also was to take 4 treatments of rituxan, one day a week for 4 straight weeks. These treatments work independently of each other, so they did not need to coincide.
The chemo would be adjusted to give 5 days worth in 4 days, as we were starting on Tuesday. Renee was to take both on this day, and the rituxan would take a long time, since it has to be given very slowly at first, to determine if Renee may experience any dangerous side effects.

Renee had to take some benedril first, for fever like effects of the rituxan. The benedrill made her drowsy, and Renee fought the drug, since she was nervous and did not want to go to sleep, as she knew the rituxan could have bad effects. This put her into a "fight or flee" mode, as described later by a nurse, with her adrenalin kicking in. She got over this, and was able to relax.
Everything Renee took was administered intravenously, including the benedrill, anti-nausea medicine, chemo (fludorabine), and rituxan. It was a long day, and the rituxan did not have any bad side effects. The day lasted between 6 and 7 hours.

I kidded Renee later telling her that she did fine with the chemo and rituxan, but had trouble with common things like needles and giving blood, and taking benedrill.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Blood phoresis (dialysis) before chemo.

Renee could not start the rituxan and chemo without having a blood phoresis to clean her blood. The cancer also has the hyperviscosity condition, which means that Renee's blood had an enormous amount of a protein called IgM. Her level was 6383, and a normal amount would be between 40 and 230. This is why there were hemorages in her eyes, as the blood vessels are very small there.

Renee started the week with this blood phoresis. Renee was nervous and sitting up, and almost passed out when they started taking her blood. She lay back helping the blood pressure, and was ok. The phoresis lasted about 2 hours, and was successful. When Renee's IgM level was checked, she was down to 4055.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Renee and I met with Dr. O to go over the Mayo clinic results, and plan for treatment. It was determined that the spleen would not be removed, as this is not a spleenic cancer. Instead, we would treat this with a combination of a chemo called fludora, and a drug called rituxan. Both of these would be administered intraveneously.

There was an urgency to begin treatment since the hyperviscosity was present, and there could be permanent damage to Renee's eyes, or other areas. Since it was a short week with Easter coming up, we would have to wait for the next week.