Saturday, May 06, 2017

Chemo Update: Cycle 1

Cycle 1 of Andy's chemo is complete!

Each cycle is 3 weeks long. The first week is the most grueling with 5 straight days that are 7 hours each. The second and third week have only one short treatment each week.

Andy did surprisingly well during the first cycle. He has not experienced much sickness. The first week left him completely wiped out with little to no energy and a desire to lie in a dark room with minimal lights and sound for a couple days. He has felt much better during the last 2 weeks of the cycle. He's had an increase in energy and has been able to get out and about some.

His appetite tanked during the first week of treatment. He managed to stay hydrated and eat small meals and snacks but didn't want to eat much. His appetite has increased significantly in the past week and a half though and has been able to eat a very healthy balanced diet.

Andy had an appointment with his oncologist yesterday. So far everything seems to be right on track. He had lost a good amount of weight and at yesterday's appointment his weight was up a little again which is good. They don't want too much weight loss too quickly.

The oncologist said that most patients react similarly to each cycle of chemo so we are hopeful for another fairly smooth cycle. Andy had extreme pain during the first night of chemo which they call "tumor flare". This is when the chemo drugs find those areas that are or were affected by the cancer. The cancerous cells get very "angry" causing extreme pain. Fortunately, this pain completely disappeared within 24 hours and hasn't been back. The chemo nurses said that it could come and go but the oncologist believes it is unlikely to return this time around. We do have a plan in place to deal with the pain should it happen again but it was very scary and quite horrible to see him in such intense pain.

Our concern right now is that his white blood cell count will continue to rise so as not to delay chemo. On Tuesday, the white blood cell count was lower than they like--not dangerously low--but low enough to delay some of the chemo treatment is it continues to drop. They drew blood again yesterday and his white cell count had increased some. Not quite enough but definitely headed in the right direction! The doctor feels that between Friday and starting treatment on Monday, there is enough time for it to get to normal levels. We pray for this to happen! In the meantime, we are following the precautions that the chemo nurse gave us. I also did some quick research for some foods that can help provide needed nutrients to help elevate white blood cell counts. We've added some of these foods in to every meal since Tuesday. Lower white blood cell count in cancer patients is quite common and can be caused by chemotherapy.

Meanwhile, we continue to pray in hope. We are so thankful for the peace of God that has been present in our hearts since the beginning of this ordeal. We have felt the prayers of God's people around the world and I know they have helped!

We've received a lot of cards and packages which has been so much fun! The picture above was sent by a friend. So appropriate for the season! A few days after we received this picture, my aunt sent me a letter which included this same verse (Isaiah 41:10). She went on to say that this verse was what helped my grandmother (Dad's mother) through many difficult times. I have really loved this verse but now it holds even more special significance to me. Isn't it wonderful how God's Word brings truth and comfort down through the generations and is always relevant to our lives?


Jo said...

What a beautiful Bible verse gift! Glad to hear things are going mostly according to plan. I will continue to pray. It sounds like you are taking very good care of him, Mary Ann. God bless you both!

Anne said...

Dear Mary Ann,
Thank you so much for the update. Praying for Andy, particularly that his white blood cell count will continue to rise as needed. Praying for both of you, that God will continue to strengthen you and continue to grant you that wonderful sense of His presence and His peace.
Love and continued prayers from Ireland,

meme said...

Hi Mary Ann -
my husband has his CT scan and blood work scheduled for may 24th this month - results on may 26th. We are praying he is still cancer free. his last ct scan and blood work was in february which showed he was cancer free.

I am continuing to pray for your husband. Chemo is so hard on the body - my husband had three aggressive rounds of chemo, surgery, radiation and more chemo. he has only gained back 4 pounds of the 60 he lost....he will be weighed again at this appointment - we are hoping he has gained back some weight. the intense ringing in his ears from chemo has finally subsided - he was left mostly deaf from the chemo.

you are in my thoughts and prayers. I enjoy reading your blog

thehomespunheart said...

Thanks for the update Mary Ann! So glad things are progressing as smoothly as possible at this point and grateful that you have a plan in place for the pain management if that occurs again. Hang in there friend - love the verse!!!

Paula Furtado Santos said...

Hi there!
I'll also be praying for you and I'm sure that God will do the miracles that need to be done and that Andy's white blood cell count, will continue to rise.
God bless you both!

Laura Lane said...

Hugs to you and Andy!
I started chemo May 23rd. Unfortunately, I've been sick all the way through. I pray Andy has good experiences and full recovery. I bless him in the name of Jesus.

Thank you God for Andy's healing.

Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage