I'll probably have these updates fairly often over the summer. It helps me to write about John's cancer treatment.
It was really hard, being at work all day and not being with John while he went through his first day of R-ICE, the treatment he's getting for his Lymphoma. The best I could do was text him from time to time to ask how he was.
They started his first batch of drugs around midnight, with Rituxan. When John went through chemo 2 years ago, the Rituxan gave him really really bad chills. He said he was colder than when he was stationed in Alaska and living outdoors for 2 weeks a year in -50 degrees! They told him to expect this and they made adjustments and from that day on he didn't have that reaction. They call it "Infusion Reaction" aka a severe allergic reaction to the drug (sort of). Benadryl taken beforehand helps ward this and other reactions off.
This time around, John got terribly itchy. They gave him Benadryl or a similar drug and the itching subsided. Side effect from the Benadryl??? He falls asleep and snores really really loud!!!!! I did warn the nurses. :)
They are also giving him a drug called Mesna to help protect his bladder and other parts. With the drugs they give him to ward off different side effect of the chemo drugs, he's had a fairly easy time of it today.
John's also getting some kind of steroid which makes his blood sugar skyrocket and also Zofran, to fight off nausea. I'm not even sure what other drugs he's getting!!!
The doctor did tell him that any adverse reactions will probably come as he's finishing up his treatment this week. I did find out he has to wear a mask if he's around any crowds, especially after they do the stem cell harvest and while they are doing the transplant.
Today John was given a packet that describes a Neutropenic diet
This is the actual packet he was given (now I don't have to ask anyone for a copy!) John's immune system will be severely compromised and he has to take great care not to get infections and bacteria that could possibly kill him! He's not allowed to eat some of the foods that we just take for granted are ok to eat.
For instance, no fresh fruits or vegetables unless they are cooked. No raw fruits, vegetables, nuts. He can't have any ice cream, water ice, custard from a machine because the dispenser might have bacteria. No yogurt, soft cheeses... only individually wrapped cheeses, like Kraft American singles or mozzarella sticks that are individually wrapped. No deli meat because they might not clean their blades correctly. The link has a whole list of things he can and cannot have. The thing that's gonna kill him is no fast food!!! LOL So, if I get a hankering for Burger King, I have to eat it before I see him!
So, Day 1 went fairly well for him. I hate not being able to be there, not knowing what's happening. I went to every one of John's treatments 2 years ago, but he had a 1 day treatment every 3 weeks and I was able to schedule my day off to coincide with it. Now he's doing 4 day stints and there's no way I can take that kind of time off from work. Fortunately, the next treatment is scheduled for the week I had originally planned to go to the beach, until I cancelled the trip. I kept the vacation time to see what was happening. I'm glad I did! I do get 3 weeks vacation this year and plan to take 1 of the weeks when John comes home after the transplant in September.
On another note, I am completely overwhelmed by the generosity of the people here in this blogging community! Your generosity will help me defray some of the cost of gas, parking, meals I'll need to eat at the hospital. I'm sure there are expenses I haven't even thought of, but this will help tremendously! Thank you, thank you, thank you! And, as I told Braja this evening, I will most certainly, at some point, pay this generosity forward! Damn! I keep getting filled up!