Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Round #3 Day #2 Cisplatin + Gemzar

Some of my garden. My friends Judy and Steven helped me get the flowers and get the beds ready. My mom planted, and I (Joanne) mostly bossed around the workers...... They look great and it is so great to have lovely flowers around.

Thanks to Judy, Steven and mom.... Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves - James M. Barrie

The first week of my chemo cycles are always the "big" ones.... not only does it take about 8 hours at the cancer clinic to get all the work done, bloodwork, infusions, etc... it is also the "big" one for side effects.

Cisplatin is an "oldie" heavy-hitter chemo drug. It is mostly used in bladder cancer, but can be approved for use in metastatic breast cancer. The cisplatin is very hard on the bladder and kidney, and so I have to drink tons of water constantly in order to prevent damage. It is a platinum based drug and so I think it interferes with DNA production of fast growing cells (cancer is particularly fast growing). It is also "high" on the nausea scale, but I do have numerous drugs on board to manage that. It also causes a fair amount of weakness and fatigue and is hard on the blood counts, esp. white blood cells. All this crap seems to last about about 6-7 days, then I feel pretty "OK" again. I get Cisplatin every 28 days.

Gemzar is a "newer" chemo drug, and also used mostly in bladder cancer, but found to have some use in metastatic breast cancer. By comparison it is a LOT easier. It causes nausea and general flu-like systems, but only for 24-48 hours, so it is much more managable.... also hard on blood counts, esp platelets.... I get Gemzar every week, with a one week break.....

So, in a nutshell, this first week is a challenge, then the rest of the month is much, much better.

It was great to have our family here - Gord's mom and dad were able to attend Craig's graduation dinner and dance, - my mom, dad, Darryl and his family, Kelly and her girls...... were here to visit and attended the convocation of Craig's grade 12 graduation.....Mom has generously stayed on to help our household (again), just before she leaves for China to accompany my niece (Heather's) choir on a tour. All of Kelly's family is going as well as my mom and dad and they should have many adventures to tell us about!!!! We're very excited for them.

Everything is falling into place with the house (officially sold)..... the kids are moving into their apartment (furniture is moved this Friday)... and we all keep moving forward........

Cheers to all..... joanne


Anonymous said...

Thanks for these updates. It is helpful for us to better understand what you are going through.
We all had a great time in Winnipeg last weekend. It was wonderful to see all of you doing so well.
Take care and best wishes for the rest of this "week 1".

Anonymous said...

It was great to see your beautiful flowers in person, especially the Canada Day flowers!
We also had a fantastic time visiting everyone and celebrating Craig's graduation.
Thanks for your hospitality - I need to get your pasta recipe - delicious!
Thanks for having the blog - we enjoy reading it as well as the comments. I'm glad you have so many people who care about you.

Anonymous said...

Auntie Joanne,

I know that I was just there but I miss you already. I hope your ok.

Love Heather

Anonymous said...

Joanne I regularly visit your blog and I really enjoy the opportunity to know how you are doing on a regular basis. It sure sounds like you are keeping very busy and that Craig's graduation was a wonderful family gathering. We loved seeing your kids in Toronto and hope we will have the opportunity to see you all again soon. - Erin in Toronto

Anonymous said...

We keep checking in on your blog and are happy to get your updates. Sounds like you had a wonderful family weekend. We're so glad that your sale went through and I'm sure Michelle and Craig are getting excited about their new place. We're coming to Regina in (late) August for a wedding so will look forward to seeing you and your new home then.
Love, N & L, Calgary

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanne, I love your regular updates. I am so thrilled that you had a nice time at Craig's grad. I am also glad to hear that you are tolerating the treatments and still able to keep doing things that you enjoy. When are you moving to Regina? We are planning to be home the long weekend in September. I think that you will have nonstop company once you hit Regina. Take care and please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Lots of Love and Hugs, Loretta