April 8, 2011


It felt weird being away from md anderson for my brother.  I kinda felt like I was letting him down but I had exams.  He was down there to meet with his attending oncologist as well as a radiation oncologist to go over the plan as to what to do next.  I'm not sure I completely understand the results in their entirety but the plan is two-fold.  Regarding the numbness of the facial skin, the plan is to irradiate the cervical spine.  The radiation oncologist put the odds at 50:50 at being able to restore sensation to the face.  The radiation is done daily Monday through Friday for two weeks.  He'll be staying at a hotel down here and starts on Monday.  The second aspect is to begin taking the newer chemotherapy Tarceva.  It's an oral pill so he's already begun that one.  He then has a follow up in about a month to check in to see how he's doing.

My dad is making up for me missing my missing my brother's appointment.  In a stupor, I bubbled in answers on my scantron, hopefully the right ones.  Afterwards, I skipped on over to MD Anderson for my dad's appointment.  Several hours later, he's starting his second round of chemo. 

Here is before the chemo.  And once again, the antibody Rituximab is giving him problems. (I won't show the picture from that since he looks ugly.)  Last time, he had a typical allergic reaction by itching as one would with hives. This time, his body decided to shake things up by presenting as chills. It's amazing how quickly it progresses. He mentioned that he was really cold. I went to go another blanket and by the time I got back, his whole body was shivering. Stop the rituximab. Give a benadryl and hydrocortisone push. Wait. Slowly bump it back up.  Only his blood pressure is very low.  So that can slow the restart, too.  Only he's on a beta blocker and the chemo nurse is having time understanding his blood pressure was low before he started this chemo round.  That's what beta blockers do.  Physiology 101 and all that jazz.  Oh, and he's received 100 mg of benadryl so just maybe that cns depressant effect might just be adding to that.  Doesn't he know not to argue with doctors?  That courtesy should obviously extend to know-it-all med students.  Well, at least to me, because as my wife and son can attest, I'm never wrong.  It's going to be a llllooonnnggg night.  But it's all for a good purpose.

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