Monday, May 21, 2012

21. Chemo Begins

Chemo by Peter Sorenson
After a week's delay caused by the trip to MD Anderson, we had a new plan in place to start chemo today, Monday, May 21st.

The plan is this: Chemo first, chemo/radiation second, surgery (in Houston) third and chemo to follow up. So it's gonna be an even longer haul. But I'm much more confident in the surgical side of things, since Dr. Chang, the surgeon in MD Anderson, has done more of these types of tumors, where my previous doctor really hadn't. (Also? Dr. Chang was nothing like Senor Chang on Community. A relief, but also a minor disappointment.)

At my urging/insistence and with no real resistance from the folks at MD Anderson, we're doing all the chemo and chemo/radiation here, and just the surgery and follow-up scans in Houston. So we'll be there for a day and a half in July, then again following the radiation (probably late September-early October) then for a longer stretch for surgery (I'm guessing November). But most of the work will be done here in Austin, or technically Round Rock, at Texas Oncology, which is great, because I really like everybody there.

Today just confirmed that, because everyone was fast, professional, nice and easy to talk to. Dr. Kocs, my oncologist, is a funny guy who shoots straight but helps maintain my positive attitude, and all the nurses were fantastic as always. The doctor made me very happy when he said he didn't expect me to have any nauseau due to the meds, and so far, the pre-meds and pills I've been given are keeping even any hint of nausea at bay.

I was there from about 9 AM - 3 PM, spent a lot of time on Facebook, watched several episodes of Bob's Burgers, dozed a bit while half-watching Serenity and a George Carlin special. No pain at all thanks to the numbing spray and my port, got the Omega Pack hooked up for the next couple days and it's a little annoying but really not that bad.

Came home and was just wiped out exhausted, took a three hour nap. Still felt a bit groggy (but hungry) at dinner time, and found that one of my friends had changed his Facebook photo to Chemo (the DC supervillain) in solidarity, and had exhorted other friends to do the same, and as of now, about 20-some of my friends have done that, including that cool one above drawn by Peter Sorenson. I was touched and a little teary when I saw Facebook's "So and so has changed their profile pictures" and saw that almost all of them were Chemo.

I got a touch of the cold sensitivity side effect, I think, because my ice water with dinner was tingling my mouth unpleasantly, so ice cream, shakes and *sigh* Cherry Limeades are probably off for a little while, but that's not so bad. Otherwise, I'm feeling better right now than I have at any time in the last week or so. I don't know that it'll last, there's always a relapse of pain or discomfort, and I'm certainly not 100%, but I feel pretty good now, which is where I wanted to be when we started down chemo road.

The amount of support I'm getting from friends, family and casual Facebook acquaintances is just overwhelming, and it's making the whole thing a lot easier. All things being equal, I'd rather not have cancer, but if I've gotta go through this, I think this is the best possible way in which to do it.

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