Topic: 4 Months post surgery and chemo fun
First off, my apologies for taking so long to update. It's been quite the ride, as you all well know!
To recap so far, my 78 year old Dad underwent surgery on Feb. 3rd with the GREAT Dr. Hemming in San Diego. 3/4 of his liver was removed, along with the gall bladder and bile ducts. Intestines, bowels, and anything else in the immediate area was rerouted, resected, and generally messed with. He stayed in the hospital for a couple of weeks, and home health care for a few more. A lot of complications arose from a rogue infection he picked up in the hospital.
We met with our oncologist and decided to proceed with chemo. Even though my Dad had clean margins, Dr. Hemming told us that if this crap returns there's nothing left to operate on. So.....a beautiful clean PET scan and wonderful blood work gave us the go ahead. Our oncologist sent my Dad's tumor to a geneticist to figure out the best course of action. In his words, " We want to give you a better chance of no re-occurance, not kill you". They came back with 5FU, Oxaliplatin, and avastin. Decided to hold off on the Avastin because of the side effects. His first infusion went okay....have to say the port was a Godsend! For the first 48 hours his only side effect was hiccups. We discovered that pineapple juice helps tremendously...who knew??
By day 7 my Dad was feeling like he was run over by a Mac truck. He hurt everywhere and lay in his bed for 3 days. The weight that he had so painstakingly gained back went away. By day 11 he was feeling okay, but his next infusion was only 3 days away. His bloodwork came back kinda iffy, but they decided to go ahead with his next treatment. Here come the hiccups!
Day 4 hits, and my Dad is so tired he can't function. This prompts an ER run, where we stayed for 7 hours. They requested a return the next day for more bloodwork, which we did. Day 6 arrives bearing a temp..BAD news. The rapid rise sent us back to the ER. More bloodwork, and we learned some new terms.
Neutropenia and absolute neutrophil count (ANC) were the terms being tossed about. He was admitted to the hospital. Bring on the antibiotics!
An ANC of under 500 is considered critical. At admission my Dad's was a whoppin 33, and continued to drop to a paltry 4. Neupogen was administered. My Dad slept, and kept on sleeping for 2 more days.
So here we are. We brought him home yesterday when his numbers rose to acceptable levels. He's pretty darn tired still. We have an appointment with the oncologist Monday. He's scheduled to resume chemo next Friday, but there's just no way that is going to happen. SOMEthing needs to change, because he can't go through this every 2 weeks. He's back down to 140 (they want him around 170) and boy is he angry! Right now he says that if it comes back, oh well....he doesn't want to go through life like this! I totally get it.....chemo has not been nice to him. We will talk to his Doc, see if we can change things up so he doesn't end up in the hospital every 2 weeks.
I just have to say.....I am constantly amazed and in awe of the people I see in the infusion center. These people are the sickest you can be, yet still have time for a quiet smile. Such dignity and grace....I am just stunned by your spirits. I pray for a cure and good health for all of you