Today was my fourth and final day on chemo and I am so happy to be finished with that part of my treatment. I’ll be honest on here, no need to sugarcoat things. The first days were ok, but this last day hit my hard with nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue. The good news is now I just have to work at getting my health better. Hopefully some of these side effects from the chemo will start to simmer down a little so I get back my will to actually eat something. I have gained weight since I have been here so do not worry about me being skin and bones.
Before I get my stem cells in a couple of days I just wanted to mention that the journey does not stop there. The recovery from the procedure and be outstanding, but results might be immediate. I am ready for the challenge, for my stem cells, and see what is in store for me. It is time for me to rest now. It has been a long day. Mahalo everyone!
Today was my second day of chemo and to be honest, there isn’t much difference yet. I did feel a little bit of nausea, but I think it because I missed my morning oral drugs to help with that. It was all bearable though.
Since I mentioned yesterday that I will post a third day, I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I am half way through the chemo process and it’s a lot better than I have anticipated. Granted the next two days could get a little worse, but it is for a couple of days and then I get my stem cells back on Friday! That’ll be my new birthday.
Well, I’ll go for now. I will let everyone know tomorrow if it was the early morning medicine mishap that made me feel a little off today. Keep in mind though that I am still doing ok. In fact, I thought I’d lose weight here, but I’m really gaining weight. LOL Stay tuned for tomorrow and thanks for watching.
Today was my first day of chemo. The day started off a little slow because they wanted to check my Hickman line to make sure it was good to go. After a quick ultrasound I got the green light to begin. I would tell you that I was dreading this day, but things went pretty smooth. My biggest complaint is visiting the bathroom a million and one times. They gave me like 8 bottles of IV during the day. Not sure if I’ll get some more tonight before bed, but I’m ready for it. Hopefully tomorrow will be as good as today and there is no Chemo Beast around the corner waiting to pounce on me. Ain’t nobody got time for that! LOL Hope you know where that line comes from.
Well I am glad I posted something in two consecutive days. Who knows, I could do a third. Stayed tuned. One cool part about this process is many people that want this procedure belong to a forum and we’re always sharing information. These are people that usually never meet face to face, but become close friends. I’m very lucky to have two ladies, Tammy and Brooke, that is/will be doing this with me in Russia. If it wasn’t for MS or HSCT we would have never met, but since we did, it’s like we go way back. lol It is good to have someone to talk to that is going through this treatment too. I am lucky that I have my wife, Tammy, and soon to arrive Brooke. It makes the journey that much more happier.
The stimulation process is complete and me stem cells were extracted. This part of the treatment is not that bad. I did not have any side effects from the shots. After getting the four days of shots the extraction begins. This is pretty cool, but takes a long time. The device they use actually comes from the US and it separates the different parts of the blood and collects the stem cells. I was hooked up to this machine around 8am and did not stop until 1:30pm. The doctor said they are going to send them to the lab to find out how many we collected. The goal is to collect 2 million stem cells per kg or body weight. The doctor returned at 5pm and said we only got 1.5 mil per kg and we will have to do some more the next day (yesterday).
At 8am yesterday, I was hooked back up to the machine for another 4 hours. He said he’ll get a count for this batch and let me know. During that time it was time to install my Hickman line. This was one of my fears because it is not every day you have someone putting something in your neck. The installation was uncomfortable, but not unbearable. They numb you, but you can feel some pressure and an occasional pinch. This process takes about 20 mins or so.
The doctor came back at 5 and let me know that we got over 600,000 per kg. We have enough stem cells to proceed.
I had pain and some discomfort during the night due to the line. I should’ve asked for pain meds like the doc said I could, but I toughed it out like the good soldier that I am. I won’t do that again. When he came in this morning he got me some pain meds and it doesn’t feel that bad.
Tomorrow is the big day with the start of 4 days of chemo. Who knows how I will be feeling, but if I feel bad rest easy that I will be letting it known.
The treatment has been what I expected to this point. Hopefully the next 4 days will go by quickly and smoothly. Mahalo for staying tuned and I will try to update over the next couple of days since this is what people want to know about. Take care!
Well as I mention the stimulation process has begun. I am past day one of four with the stimulation shots. There really isn’t anything to report really. They come in at 11pm and 3am every night and give a little shot under the skin. I barely even felt it. Not sure if it is because the needle is so small or the huge muscles on my arms. LOL I didn’t have any of the side effects some people report like heavy sweating and aches in the bones. I am usually fortunate when it comes to side effects and hopefully that will continue throughout the treatment.
One cool note is a friend I have been chatting with on the HSCT forum on facebook was admitted today to start her treatment so I have another person I can speak English with that is going through the stuff I went through this past week.
So far it has been a great experience. For people considering Dr. Fedorenko to be your doctor for this, you can not go wrong. He is an awesome doctor that truly loves his patients and does everything in his power to make sure you feel comfortable. i was a little nervous about having a non-US doctor, but when you talk to him about the procedure you and hear his passion and knowledge come out.
So that is it for now. Once again a big Mahalo for following along. I will keep updating as things move alone. Hope you’re enjoying the ride as much as I am!
Just a little update on my situation here. The doctor went over all of my test results with me yesterday and said there really isn’t anything what would prohibit me from going through with the treatment. I’m starting the treatment on Sat the 30th of March. The treatment begins with injections that will stimulate my bone marrow to create an enormous amount of stem cells that will be extracted after 4 or 5 days of the injections. Extraction will last one or two days depending on how many stem cells that are able to collect one the first day.
I’ll probably write more again on Sat to let everyone know how the first day of shots went. I heard there could be some discomfort, but I’m not sweating it too much. Nothing but a temp thing. Stay tuned! Love you all! Mahalo!
This is my first report coming straight at ya right out of Moscow. I’ve been here a for three days now and admitted yesterday. I thought I’d share some of my initial thoughts.
First is that Dr. Fedorenko is fantastic guy. He’ll do whatever it takes to make his patients feel as comfortable as he can. Also one thing I thought was interesting was during a conversation about the procedure he gave props out to Dr. Burt. Thought that was cool.
The first thing that people need to be aware of is that there is a huge language barrier in Moscow. I’m not talking about just the hospital, but really everywhere I’ve been in the past few days. I’ll talk specifically about the hospital itself. I’ve only met two people that speak English, Dr. F and a young lady that works in the x-ry office. It’s a little frustrating when someone is talking to you or them and you’re acting it out with your arms. This is a hurdle that can be overcome though.
The second thing that I’ve come in contact with is the food. If you’re a picky eater, be aware that the food may freak you out a little bit. I’m trying to keep an open mind and do the best I can at eating most of the food. It may be a challenge at times. Also you get delivered food 4 times a day. Breakfast is around 8:30 am, snack at noon, lunch at 2 pm and then dinner around 6:30 pm.
That’s my first observations so far. The first day getting settled in was a little overwhelming but it’s better now. I have to go through a bunch of tests this first week. I’ve completed a swab test, blood draw, ultrasound of my stomach region, x-ray of my nasal area and an ECHO. I have a few more tests like a MRI and then we’ll see if there is anything that might disqualify me. I don’t see that happening. I think I’ll probably start the first phase this coming week. I’ll keep you all updated the best that I can. If anyone has questions, please let me know. I’ll give you all the info that I can to the best of my knowledge.
Thanks for staying tuned. Aloha!