June 3, 2010

liveblogging - a day in the life of chemotherapy

1:30 pm the next afternoon
30 some hours and over six hundred miles driving and the 4th round is in the bag.  Well, the hard part is just beginning for my brother as he has to endure the next 5 to 6 days.  But to hear the doctor reinforce that my brother had a "phenomenal response" makes it all worth it.  I'm going to sleep now.

7:30 am the next morning
Pull into Dallas 268 miles later, have a couple of eggs courtesy of my sister-in-law and back I go from whence I came.

2:30 am
Chemo's finally done.  Now time to pull the IV and head back to Dallas.

1:48 am
Hulu is great because there ain't much on at 1 in the morning.  Just watched The Simpson's listening to my brother snore away.

9:00 pm
I was always an advocate for open access to medical records.  I'm starting to realize why some doctors are hesitant to release their notes, though.  MDACC posts everything electronically.  During that 2 hour span in the waiting room with nothing to do but stare at the ceiling tiles, my brother asked me, "do you think Dr. XYZ would hold back some of the truth?"  I stared in disbelief because a physician not telling the truth goes against every grain of being a physician.  You see, the question was spurred by the radiology report from the CT scan 3 weeks ago which was very good news by the way.  The report, though, read like a medical report.  It's full of medical lingo, suggestions, thoughts, unknowns and interpretations.  After I read the first half, I turned to my brother and said "nothing new there to me."  I keep reading and finish it relieved.  Nothing there that's disturbing or with held by the doctor.  It's just that it was written in a foreign language and if you focus in on some keywords that are intelligible to the layperson, it can completely mislead the patient.  It caused needless worry in my brother's case and so I told him not to read them or if he did, have me read and interpret them.  I'm still a proponent of open records but I can definitely see how doctors would choose their words carefully knowing that a patient could see them.  It would perhaps behoove the physician to go over the report in person to avoid any misconceptions.  I'll have to consider that in my practice.  That and for the love of Pete, don't keep patients waiting for hours without end.

8:00 pm
Chemo started just after six.  I quick grabbed dinner at the cafeteria which consisted of a vegetarian lasagna and the rest of my brother's Blue Bell cookies'n'cream ice cream.  The anticipation of chemo sets in pretty quickly.  Call it a prodrome since so far he's received saline, anti-nausea meds (emend, zofran, dex) and the bone drug zometa.  He was only able to eat a few bites and then passed the pint onto me.  "Do you want to try some meditation or humor?"  The Office sufficed and after a few episodes of laughing at Michael being the obnoxious idiot, my bro's asleep.

5:45 pm
Still waiting on chemo.  Doing the math, if we get started at 6 (and that's a big IF) then we'll get out of here by 1 am to head back to Dallas.

4:10 pm
Doc was only two hours behind which is pretty much par for the course here.  Now we wait for the chemo to call his name to start the 7 hour process.  Note to self, need to look up the BATTLE trial as well as review the data on the MEK inhibitors as those are potential clinical trial options down the road.  The wait is bad but the opportunity for every possible therapy is top notch.  Give a little, get a little.

3:15 pm
PA says "what time was your chemo?"
"15 minutes ago"
"They gave your spot to someone else"
I love their humor here.

1:48 pm
Wow, we got into the room early and it's a different room for the first time.  No paint peeling on this door.

1:06 pm
After a last supper of steak, we're at MDACC waiting for the doctor's blessing that he's fit enough to undergo the next round of chemo.

11:03 am
Arrive for bloodwork to see if his white blood cells have recovered, mainly his neutrophils.  It takes all of 8 minutes which is the only thing here that moves quickly.

5:50 am

Out the door.

5:00 am
Up to drive north towards Dallas to meet my brother halfway (someone's bringing him down) and then turn around to head back down to MD Anderson.


Josh Van Sligtenhorst said...

Thanks bro for all your help!

Isaac said...

Anytime. Two more rounds to go.