May 24, 2012 - 9:05 am
At last my chemo is scheduled to start next Thursday. During the work up in preparation for my surgery there were a number of problems discovered with my heart. I had a 90% blockage in my coronary artery, and my biventricular-pacer/icd which I have had for 5 years as a result of cardiomyopathy needed replacement. These procedures were addressed very quickly and a stent was placed. However, we had to wait for the stent to settle into my artery before they could do anything else, as some of the drugs will affect my heart and arteries. Finally, (I was diagnosed on the 30/3/2012), I am now beginning my Cancer treatment. I do not want to know how this wait may have affected the spread of my cancer, as there is nothing that could have been done about it, so it is now full throttle ahead with the chemo. At diagnosis there was no spread at all and my tumor was T2-3. However my cancer is adenocarcinoma of the gastric cardia and is poorly differntiated.
I am being put on 5-FU via a PICC with a pump bottle for the whole 9 weeks. I am having Carboplatin (as a substitute for Cisplatin due to heart concerns) and Epirubicin. I will be having Epirubicin, Carboplatin intravenously every three weeks. I start this protocol next Thursday the 31st May. Almost 2 months since diagnosis, which considering they had to wait 5 weeks for the stent to settle, is a pretty good achievement on behalf of my doctors.
I have taken the advice of the Doctors and I have a good supply of moisturizer, bought a new thermometer, lip balm and the salt for doing my 4 daily mouth washes. I am also taking a liver tonic to help my liver cope. I am currently building up my strength, as when the pain is controlled I am able to eat pretty normally. No appetite, but I am forcing myself to eat to keep my strength up. The nausea pills will be given to me by the oncology unit, and each time I get the Epirubicin, Carboplatin I will also have anit-nausea drugs intravenously.
I am seeing a dietitian next week, but have already been supplementing my meals with hospital strength meal supplement drinks with full cream milk. I also put a raw egg in as well as flavoring so I am enjoying a pretty rich milk shake twice a day. I have organized home help and have a bevvy of volunteers to look after me when I require them. I have used an antibacterial soap for years now, and use antibacterial bench sprays and have the hand cleaning gell everywhere. I really would like to remain as independent as I can during this time, but will not hesitate to ask for help if I need it.
Another query that I have is radiotherapy. My oncologist was of the opinion that it could mess up my esophagus and become a mess. My surgeon has referred me to the radiotherapy unit as well. But honetly I really don't want to go through radiotherapy. I was supposed to see them on the same day I saw the oncologist, but cancelled the appointment. I have another one in June, but really would like to keep the radiotherapy until after the surgery. The surgeon will be cutting out half my stomach and 10cm of my esophagus, so shouldn't he get the lot then????? Any experience of this would be wonderful. l can't have MRI's because of my heart device, and I think the the radiotherapy would be the same. Will of course keep my appointment in June, but really don't want to go down that track.
Is there any practical advice that anyone can offer me so that I can be a bit more prepared. I know I won't know how I am going to react, but getting prepared is helping me to cope with all this, and hopefully should make this chemo journey a bit easier.