Posts Tagged ‘neulasta’

Banquet of life: It is free.
August 15, 2015

At mass, the priest told the story of an immigrant family on a ship bound for the US.  The father and his family kept to themselves in their cabin with their food and belongings.  Until the son ventured outside and found himself in a banquet of food, eating to his heart’s content.  The father found the son and was worried how he was suppose to pay for all the food his son ate, and the possibility of jail sentence.  The son saw the worried look of his father, and said:

Father, it is free.  It is part of our passage.

Life has many things to offer and it is free for us to enjoy.  Everyday we wake up is a gift, as many have said.

That gift was recently enhanced by the news that my CT scan last August 7 was good and I can remain in my current clinical trial.  I know I should have written much earlier as some of my friends have already sent messages asking for news.  I am sorry but I was busy in a banquet.

Stable was in the medical impression.  It means my current clinical trial is containing the tumor growths in my lungs and liver.

Unfortunately, my white blood cell (WBC) count took a hit, and I was not allowed to started my third cycle last August 10th, Monday.  A low WBC makes me susceptible to infection and further treatment would make it worse.  My doctors delayed my next cycle for a week to August 17.

So I have been busy eating any thing that will increase my WBC.  I can almost hear my mother prescribing the latest herbal diet she heard of to increase white blood counts.  Stop it, Mom.

There are drugs out there that can boost your WBC, like Neulasta, which is injected under the skin.  It is painful, expensive, but it works.  However, I am in a clinical trial program and cannot take it.  Instead, I am eating my way like a rabbit: kale, spinach, broccoli, hemp., etc.  More kale, spinach, organics, etc.  You know what I mean.  I am also keeping active by walking and yoga.

Living with cancer, and restricted by the clinical trial rules, is not exactly easy but I am not complaining.  Right now, this drug has given reprieved in the growth of my tumors and gave me another week of chemo holiday.  However, I am not naive to say I am cured only that I am still here.  I know how this works.  It is a matter of time that my cancer will adapt and I myself would have to adapt as well.

In the meantime there is the banquet of life to partake of, and it is free.  Come and enjoy it with me…in appreciative moderation.


P.S. My doctors warned me that they might have to reduce the dosage of my treatment to help maintain my WBC.  Huh?  This is like winning fight by a draw resulting from a stable scan but next time they tie one hand to your back because your WBC is low.  WTF.  Later in the week they double-checked the counts and said, there was no need to reduce my dosage.  I was .02 above the limit.  Whew.  I am glad .02 is not the alcohol-limit test otherwise I would have been in jail for drunk driving.

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On the attack.

January 10, 2012

couldn’t believe the energy I had this morning at my 5:15 am spinning class. I was angry and was taking it out on the bike. I was imagining myself attacking a hill on the climbs, then pushing, jarring, and coaxing the bike for the last sprint to the finish.

I hate cancer!

That’s payback, sucker. I am still up after you gave it your best shot.

Saturday early morning:

I drink my anti-nausea pill, Zofran. Oh no, only two left. I need to have this refilled. Nausea woke me up from an unrestful sleep and it is threatening to take over my day. My chemo ended Thursday, as usual, and I got my usual dose of vitamin infusion right after (given by my wife) to help me recover. Then, an injection of Neulasta Friday to boost my immunity.  I thought I was set for normal recovery.

Wrong. Very wrong. Nothing is normal this Saturday early morning. The house is quite but I am very nauseated. Got to eat. I crawl to the fridge careful not to disturb the wife sleeping and started with yogurt. It kept for a while, then out it goes. Ah, nothing like the taste of vomit to perk up your morning. I struggle throughout the day of trying to keep food in my stomach with apples, soup, bread, grapes, cherries, smoothies, whatever. My normal recover diet is not working. Each time I thought I make slow progress, out it goes. WTF.

My patience is getting short. My wife has never seen me this way before; struggling to cope, balled up in front of a plastic basin, nose dripping, mouth frothed with saliva and stomach mucous. She warns me if I keep this up she will bring me to the hospital. I snap and stubbornly said “NO!” I am so tired of being sick and I do not need another place where there are sick people. In solitude, I bear the pain staring blankly in front of the TV. I should not be hard on her. In all honesty, she is my life. I need her. A hospital bed would keep me from feeling her warmth beside me.  That’s the truth.

My meds are not working and it is almost gone. She calls the pharmacy for refills, then of course nothing is simple. Insurance problem. I have new insurance for the year. From the pharmacy she calls me, do have the new prescription card, babes? I don’t know, I replied in even tone holding down the frustration in my voice. The pharmacy is about to close too. Not my day, I guess. She pays the full price.

She tells me she will go to her hospital and get some saline solution for me. By now it is night-time and she finds me in the sofa recovering and have not eaten. Armed with two liters of saline solution and a paraphernalia of tubings and needles, she arranges everything as if I am in the ER. She is on a mission. She dismantles the curtain rod that was tied to our headboard, which we use to hang my vitamin infusion, then ties it to the back of the dining chair that she dragged beside the sofa in our living room. She hooks a liter of saline and connects all the tubings.

This is going to hurt, she tells me as she surveys my left hand for a good vein to stick. She ties a tourniquet, steadies my hand, sticks the needle, aims for the vein but it rolls. She pushes and chases the vein, then it collapse. That hurts. You are dehydrated, she tells me. You veins are rubbery and apologizes for hurting me more since I am already suffering. She moves to my right hand, surveys it, and feels something. She uses a smaller needle, since it is deep, and goes after it. I close my eyes expecting the worst. Success!

Back to present:

As I spin away, I look back at the events after finishing two liters of saline solution. I thought my agony had ended when I started to stabilized and got some intermittent sleep that night, but then comes diarrhea. I managed to contain it through the weekend. I gained back my strength and even made to a yoga class with mask on for protection. Now, I am attacking this hill in my spinning class . Push. Push. Push. I want to punish this cancer for putting me through the painful meat grinder. It even made me lashed out to those who love and care for me. I am going to kill this SOB. FU, cancer! It is payback time and I am also giving it to you full price. I HATE CANCER!

It was a good workout this morning. The sun was just rising when I finished too. New day. Another chance on life.

I lost 3.4 pounds. I need to gain it back by Tuesday. My stomach has shrunk from all the vomit contraction but I am slowly eating my way back. Today, after that hard workout, breakfast was a pancake along with a three-egg cheese omelette, then later I snacked on half a bag of edemame pods with green tea while working. For lunch, baked mac n cheese I made with egg wide-noodles, fontina, mozzarella, and parmessan cheese, then I snacked on apples and edemame again. For dinner, a bowl of lentil vegetable soup with toasted garlic bread and finish off with fresh avocado with milk as dessert. But wait…as I was writing this I craved for pasta, Maggiano’s spaghetti marinara and some calamari fritos. Done. After posting this, I think I will have ice cream before going to sleep.

Whoa is me. I am going to do this eating again tomorrow…sucks (joke). Life is good.


P.S.  I think I have used up all my allotted profanity for the year.  Sorry, mom, I promise to go to confession this Sunday.

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