First Chemo


I had my first chemotherapy on July 17. I was planning to write about the bone and CT scans from the week before, treatment options, and another Pearls Before Swine cartoon, but the chemotherapy hit me so hard that I couldn’t. Therefore, here is the first 1.5 weeks of my first chemo in unanalyzed numbers:

  • 169 mg : docetaxel ( + ~700 ml IV solution )  [corrected 2014-11]
  • 90 minutes : duration of scheduled appointment for infusion
  • 3 hours : approximate actual duration
  • 1 day : felt good after the treatment (3 guys in support group thought it was probably the dexamethasone pre-med)
  • 2.5 days : felt so sick it was exhausting to get out of bed to go to the bathroom
  • 2 : opportunistic infections
  • 1 : emergency room visit for opportunistic infection
  • 500 : neutrophil count ( down from 55,000 )
  • 3 : drugs for infections
  • 1 : nurse expressing surprise at the phrase “awesome diarrhea”
  • 12 hours : sick leave the following week
  • 2 hours (so far) : playing merry-go-round on the phone trying to get the followup appointment the ER doctor said I should have in 2-4 days
  • 2 weeks : when my oncologist will be back in the office
  • 40-50 ml : amount of blood drawn in the ER
  • 4 pairs : gloves used by phlebotomist in following excellent sterile procedure
  • 1 : cleaning staff who came in to sweep the floor while the phlebotomist was following excellent sterile procedure
  • 4 : x-rays
  • 12 dollars : parking at the ER
  • 50 dollars : pack of 10 parking stickers for use at Kimmel
  • 0 : vomiting due to nausea – this number is pretty good.

Plus, I’m on vacation this week and feeling like crap.  I see a cost/benefit analysis in my near future.

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One Response to First Chemo

  1. Carolyn says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed the meticulous sterile procedures for the blood draw.
    I can add another number:

    1 : number of souvenir signs we took home — the one that was made and hung outside the opening of our room’s door “neutropenic precautions – thank you”

    It’s not quite like the bumper-sticker you might have from a visit to Disneyland, but you gotta take what you can. ;> Have a good rest, my little sweetie.

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