Bald 'n Sassy

Life is for the living. Live simply. Expect less.

Archive for the tag “chemotherapy”

Possible new form of cancer treatment

  I was surfing through TED website last evening.  There was one talk that grabbed my attention and the headline read “Bill Doyle: Treating with cancer electric fields”. Doyle’s company, Novocure has found a fourth type of cancer treatment using electric fields.   He touted that this could be the fourth form of cancer treatment   This electric fields treatment could possibly be used by oncologists’ in addition to the traditional modern medicine to treat cancer we know today – surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

During the presentation,  there was a video clip where one see how cancer cells regenerate at a rapid rate.  This is the first time I have ever seen.  From my understanding and in layman’s terms, the electric fields has the same result to that of chemotherapy whereby the electric fields prevents the cells from doubling.  The first set of clinic trial using this method was with brain tumor.  The end results after 12 months was positive.  In some patients, the tumor was gone.  A great sign.

The way the electric fields kill off the cells is using “patches” with wires attached to a battery pack.  The patches and battery pack is with the patient 24/7.  Although it is may seem cumbersome to carry the pack, it does allow the patient to gon with their daily lives with minimal problems.  The positive side of electric fields is  no side effects such as fatigue, nausea, diarrohea found in chemo.  To me, that is music to my ears.

The US FDA has approved this treatment but at this stage it is still in its infancy.  Novocure is looking to test the treatment on lung cancer patients and slowly rolling out to other forms of cancer like breast and ovarian.  I am going to track the development of this treatment.  I find it always good to know what treatments are available for me.

Here is the link to the presentation Bill Doyle: Treating cancer with electric fields.

The question is to Oral Chemo or not Oral Chemo

I know, I know.  It has been a long, long while since I updated my blog.  I am not going to give any excuses either. Since my last chemo in October 2011, I have kept myself busy looking for work.  Plus I took another short break to visit my homeland of Australia.

Anyway, coming back on to chemo or not chemo.  I have gone for a regular check up – 6 weeks to be exact.  In the last blood test just before Christmas, my liver was good.  I always look out for the red numbers in the report.  They show if I am below or above the normal range for various elements.  The December blood test was a little more colorful this time.  There were at least half-dozen indicators glowing in red.  But my oncologist reviewed that the key elements are my liver, my haemoglobin, white and red blood count cells.  Not forgetting the cancer (CEA) markers.  Liver was good but the haemoglobin, white and red blood count cells are still below the normal range.  The doctor mentioned that my white blood cells may not recover to the normal range for the pure simple reason of past radiation treatment coupled with chemo.  Basically my body has taken a good beating.

My CEA marker for Dec crept up to 30.  I was a little alarmed but I stayed calm. The doctor did ask if I was feeling under the weather in the week leading up to the appointment.  I didn’t have any major symptoms like cramps or flu. I did have diarrhoea but nothing serious.  Believe it or not having the tummy runs does spike up the CEA markers.  l learnt something new. Even though my markers increased again, it was still too soon for any next steps in terms of treatment.

Last Friday, 3 February it was my second follow-up post chemo. This follow-up was a little unconventional.  The nurse from the pathology lab took an extra vial of blood.  My oncologist rushed into the treatment room explaining that the extra vial will be tested on a separate machine.  The lab introduced a new machine and the readings for CEA Markers plus Cancer Antigens 19.9 is vastly different.  This is a major concern for my oncologist because she is not able to decide if her patients need further or not.  The “discrepancy” was discovered through another patient. I am so happy that she found out about this soon enough.  I hate to think that patient’s having to continue chemo unnecessarily.

The blood tests took longer this time round. I zoomed in on how my cancer markers were performing.  I got a real shock when the CEA doubled from 6 weeks ago.  The doctor asked the same question if I had any symptoms.  She reminded me again not to focus on the number.  If the trend is going up, then it  just indicates that the embryonic cancer cells are active once again.  Since that I pose no symptoms, she would not recommend any treatment.  I did ask about oral chemo.  I recall from earlier consultation that there was an oral chemotherapy yet to be introduced in Singapore.  She shared the oral chemo drug is now available. From the trial, the drug has 40% to 50% success of keeping the cancer cells from producing.  That is not too bad of success rate.  Of course with oral chemo, you would need to take several tablets per day everyday for up to 4 weeks.  Then a 2 week break and then you resume.  The beauty of the oral chemo is side effects are much less severe in comparison to traditional intravenous chemo.  diarrhoea and low white cell blood counts are the reported side effects.

So the question now is to whether switch to oral chemo. I am trying alternative treatment via diet and exercise to bring down the markers.  At this stage it is good to know that I have the oral chemo available.  Furthermore, at least I don’t have to spend hours at the clinic and not be sick for 1 week.  I am going to do my own research on this oral chemo.

Time to wrap up this post.  Till next post.

Round 1 is done and dusted

Ok, I am guilty for not sharing my post any earlier on this.  My energy level was so low that I had to muster myself out of bed, take a shower and eat when I am hungry. So here is the low down on what happened on the day.  Having a pretty good idea from the first batch of chemo, I knew the drill as soon as I stepped into the clinic.

First task is to get a blood test done.  Blood drawn and sent to the lab to test for cancer markers so fast that I didn’t have time to leave my butt imprint on the seat.  Normally I would have to wait at least 2 hours for results to come back but it wasn’t necessary this time.  I went in to see my oncologist so she can do her normal checks before I start my chemo.  She shared the expected side effects once again and answered my questions I had.  The drug will take 2 hours to administer.  I was ready to start but not before I had a quick bite of breakfast.

For those who remember from my earlier posts, I have very small veins and I knew it might take the nurse to hunt for one again. Tap! Tap! Tap!   I love the way the nurses keep telling me that I have such nice skin but pity that my veins is not the same. Ha! Even with the tourniquet in place, it took a good few minutes to find a possibility. Note to self –  I must resume my “squeezing the ball” exercise to bring out my veins.  She found one vein and a quietly confident to poke me with the needle. I felt the first prick and that was ok.  She pushed in a little further and it hurt a little but tolerable.  As she pushed a little further into the vein she stopped concerned that there was no blood coming through.  A little further nudge of the needle and a sign of blood trickled through.  Phew! With tape to secure the needle and place, the drug started to drip into my system.  For comfort, lights were dimmed in the room and I kept myself occupied by watching some TV series, “The Mentalist” on my iPad.

Over the side effects, I was ready to deal with the side effects.  Fatigue and waking with a headache the following morning was the first signs to crop up.  Then the nauseous feeling started to creep later in the day. Imagine waking with a hangover feeling that last for days.  Took a couple of Panadol hoping to relieve the symptoms.  I guess the drug in my body is not reacting as well to such medications.  I endured it. There was a glimmer of hope 2 days after chemo when headache subsided a little and some energy picked up in the evening. But it didn’t last for very long. By the 3rd and 4th day, my energy level was all time low and the headache returned.  I slept for most of the day. The best Rx for I could give myself is pure rest.

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6 days on and my energy is back to normal.  Looking forward to step outside of the house to get some fresh air and some natural vitamin D.

The results are in

Yes, the results are in. The CEA markers increase two folds from 24 in April to 54 in May. It wasn’t the kind of result I wanted to see at all. Shock was the immediate reaction but remained calm. Since she prepared me a month ago about the possibility of resuming chemo, I was somewhat armed with information. At the same time, I kept firing questions to my oncologist on how many cycles do I need to complete, what are the options available, alternative treatments, etc.

Here is what she shared with me:

  • The absolute numbers indicated in the results should not be the main focus. The objective of the test is to see if the protein (CEA) population is active and the population increase.
  • Suggested course of treatment is to administer a different drug.
  • Chemo treatment will last 6 months and the frequency of treatment will be once every fortnight. Total of 12 cycle.
  • I can choose to start the chemo as soon as possible OR wait till a later time till I develop further symptoms. I call this the chicken and egg game.
Now it is really up to me when to start the treatment. Before I could set a time, there are critical factors to consider. First and foremost my job hunt will have to be put on hold. My oncologist made a point that

What’s up doc?

Is it that time already? It was only 4 weeks ago that I came back from my trip in Israel. Returned just in time for my monthly blood test to see how my treatment is coming along. I am little anxious once again when I will be poked to draw blood. Last month results indicated that my CEA markers were at the same number range prior to the start my chemo last year. I felt a little numb and shocked for a good few minutes. However, my oncologist mentioned that the levels escalates when I am not well. I did feel a little under the weather during the last few hours of my flight home. Though I couldn’t pin point if it was the airline food or a virus circulating in the plane that caused me to have the bad case of the tummy bug. A round of antibiotics was prescribed to reduce the symptoms somehow it persisted for at least another 10 days. Feeling a little unsettled, a call to the oncologist to ask why it hasn’t gone away. She explained that sometimes these bugs will just take a little longer to expel from the body.

So what happens next? This depends on my blood test results tomorrow. The oncologist did prepare me if the markers are still high, I may have to resume another round of chemo. She walked me through my options of trying fortnightly frequency with another drug and the side effects that comes with it. I am keeping positive that my markers will come down to a single digit. I don’t wish to go through chemo all over again.

Tomorrow is a full medical day. First appointment is my bi-annual follow-up with the surgeon. Followed by the oncologist to do the blood test. While my blood is being processed, I will have my back adjusted by the chiropractor – all by 12pm. Break for lunch and return to the oncologist to get the results. It will be a nerve wrecking Thursday for me. I shall be crossing my fingers and toes.

Time to get some shut-eye! Stay tune for the results.

Project Comeback

It has been a while since my last post – naughty me! Well I have been keeping myself busy researching for my upcoming travels. Yep, I am going travelling once again. There are so many places I have yet to leave my footprint. I even thought of blindfolding myself and throw a dart at a world map and see where I hit. I didn’t want to go back to Europe since I spent 4 months there. Gave some thought to Asian countries like Japan. It would be timely as a friend recently moved to Tokyo for work. Middle East was also considered. I was eyeing on going back to Israel and visit neigbouring countries such as Jordan and Egypt. But with the political unrest that was stretching for several weeks, I quickly strike Egypt off the list. I have visited Israel twice back in 2008 and 2009 for work. As with business trips, I only managed to see a small part of the country and haven’t completely soaked the flavour of the place. Morocco is another country on my bucket list that I would love to visit. So I included in the list to see if I can squeeze in some time there.

Ok, after much thought and research, the countries who is lucky enough to have my presence are Israel, Jordan and Switzerland. Switzerland is my transit hub to reach Tel Aviv. I am excited because I want to do and see places in the Israel. And I will also have the opportunity to catch up with ex colleagues cum friends. Since I am in Israel, it would be shame not to pop over to Jordan. I will be spending a very short time to see the 2 key highlights – Petra and Wadi Rum. While Zurich is my transit hub, I may just spend a few days in Lucerne to wind down before I fly back home. It’s only one week to go before I embark on my trip.

The travel plans is part of what I call “Project Comeback”. This trip is to reward myself for completing chemotherapy session and a good opportunity to do some travel before I start work. It was one month ago that I had my chemo and I had to wait before I could find out if treatment worked. On Tuesday, 8 March I had to do another round of blood test and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Scan. I couldn’t sleep very well the night before the tests plus I had to wait for another day before I knew the results. I visited my oncologist Wednesday morning. I have to share the FANTASTIC news. The scan showed that tumor is gone in my body. I am very happy. The treatment has worked. I was silently confident that it did (grin). Why would I make travel plans ahead if I didn’t..haha!

Project Comeback:

1. Plan a holiday and make sure I enjoy my reward.

See the world

2. Look for work upon return from the holiday. Unless someone has a magical formula to turn my bank account to a bottomless pit. Anybody has a spare magic wand I can borrow???

3. Continue to work on my inspirational list.

4. Formally create a bucket list. We all have some form of bucket list floating in our heads but how many crossing off the list?

Bucket list

5. Get my health back into shape: Chemotherapy kills all the good and bad cells in the body. Even though I am physically ok, I am working on getting my internal back on track especially on my immune system. My doctors’ has advised that it will take several months for my immunity to return to “normal” – mind you I don’t think I can be “normal” like an average healthy person. I am still trying to understand what my body can cope with. I have incorporated some light exercises such as swimming, brisk walking and pilates.

I am delighted to report that Project Comeback is underway and shall be a work in progress.

Signing out for tonight.

Chronicles of Chemotherapy – Cycle #1

Oh my! I have been neglecting my blog lately. It is not a deliberate act but I have been spending some time researching and planning for my next vacation. But I am back. The chronicles of chemotherapy ended at last week when I completed my sixth treatment. But the chronicles is not complete without sharing cycle number one. So here we go.

After three rounds of consultation with the oncologists, the date for the first chemotherapy treatment is set for 7 October, 2010 at 10am. I have been mentally preparing myself for this day. I attempted to sleep by midnight but I kept looking the clock. It was past 1 am when I last looked. Perhaps feeling anxious and a tad nervous about chemo. I was awake by 7am and started to get ready at a steady pace. I was ready by 8.30am. I sat down on the lounge catching a bit of the news whilst waiting for my sister to return from dropping her kids off at school. I decided to skip breakfast this morning. I just didn’t know what happens prior to start of the session.

We left the house a little by 9.15am just in case we encounter traffic jam on the highway. True enough it was a bumper to bumper traffic along the way but at least it was moving albeit at a snail’s pace. Arrived at the Mount Elizabeth medical centre 10 mins to spare before my scheduled appointment. Checked in at the receptionist and the two nurses greeted me with a smile. First task of the morning was to record my weight. Followed by signing some paperwork for insurance claims. Meantime, a phone call was placed for a nurse to come up to the clinic to draw some blood. A blood test is performed prior before the chemo drugs are administered.

The nurse arrived five minutes later and she showed to what I call the “lounge”. Just like when you imagine business lounge at airports, you sofas, music to rest before boarding. Well this “lounge” has three sofa seats and one single bed. This may not sound very sexy like the business lounge but the sofas are very comfortable and soothing music to relax patients. The nurse took out her toolbox of needles and tubes. I am not a huge fan of needles. I looked away when they poke. The nurse was nice enough to let me know when she is about to insert the needle and to take a deep breath as this happens. Ouch! I still felt the sting when the needle when in. I am just glad that this blood test process took less than 10 minutes to complete. My blood test was sent to the lab and the results are expected to return within 1.5 hour. The nurse cum receptionist suggested that I go for a walk and come back to see the doctor when the results are ready. Since I haven’t had breakfast, we walked across to the shopping mall to grab something to eat.

The results were back and my oncologist sat down to explain the objective of the test. Firstly, the blood test shows the tumor markers present in my blood. The CEA results for a normal person should be in the range of 0 to 4.7 ug/L. In my case, the CEA level recorded 28.4; almost six times higher. Basically, we need to stop this number from going further north. The oncologist shared that the CEA as a tool to see how the chemo progressing but in no way will it show that the tumor has reduced in size. The major goal of the chemo is to kill active cancer cells spreading any further. Ok, it was time to start the chemo.

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The nurses prepared the drips while I get comfortable in one of the sofas. I wasn’t looking forward to be poked again for the second time in the matter of hours but I have no choice at all. For a large body frame, I have small veins and this always poses a challenge for medical teams to find a suitable vein. She taps my left hand first to “wake up” the veins. This tapping continues for a good five minutes. One vein is located and attempt number one is progress. I looked around the room to find something as my focal point to distract me. One of the tricks I use to help me during this prickly moment is to think something funny or happy. She pokes me and I cringed with pain. Unfortunately when she tries to poke further into the vein, it wasn’t good enough and I let out a small cry. Damn! She had to try my right hand now hoping it would be better. The second attempt on the other hand worked. Mind you I still felt the pain… sigh!

A separate syringe filled with some saline solution was injected into the needle to do a test run to make sure I don’t feel any pain when the drugs are flowing through the veins. Test run was successful. Now they can begin the drip. This first session is expected to last at least three hours. I was prepared to keep myself occupied by reading. I was reading “The Time Traveller’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger. My sister walked into the “lounge” to see me how I was and she helped to take photos of me all hooked up.

I started feeling a little drowsy an hour into the session. Not sure if it is the drugs or waking early this morning that made feel tired. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and I surrendered to a nap. I fell into a deep sleep that I had to be woken up by the nurses to tell me it was over. Still dazed I checked my watch and it was almost 3pm. It took almost 3 hours to complete. I took a good 5 minutes to compose myself before walking out to collect my post chemo medication. When I reached home, I was still feeling the after effects and climbed into bed to nap again.

I was hoping that I would feel a little more rested after sleeping during and post chemo sessions. It was quite the opposite. I was physically drained. My body is trying to adjust itself. For the next seven days, I was house bound resting and having to deal with the side effects.

One cycle completed. Five more to go!

So my chronicles of chemotherapy is complete. Thank you for stopping by to read this. My life adventures continues and I shall share with what I am up. Keep a look out.

Chronicles of Chemotherapy – Cycle #6 (The Final One!)

I woke up with feeling nauseous and suffering a hangover. And the hangover lingers on for at least 4 to 5 days at least. It’s an expensive way to have a hangover.

Anyhow… I made it! Yep, I have crossed the finishing line. I had my sixth and final chemotherapy session on Wednesday, 9th Feb. On the day itself, I woke up at 6 am, a good 1.5 hours earlier than the scheduled alarm clock. I put it down to anxiety together with the movements of my niece and nephews getting ready for school made it more challenging for me to catch extra 40 winks. I decided to wake up and slowly get myself ready for the 10am appointment.

Arrived at the clinic on time and I saw my favourite nurse from the external lab waiting at the receptionist. I couldn’t be more happier to have her draw my blood for the last time – it was fated. I happily made my way to the treatment room and sat in one of the sofa chairs ready for the test. A few minutes later, a different nurse was assigned instead. I tried to keep my disappointed look as subtle as possible. I wanted to ask, “Where did the other nurse go to?? I demand that she comes back and to take my blood!”. I had to accept that it wasn’t to be. I forged on and let the other nurse do her job.

I looked away as usual while the needle is being inserted and adopt my “happy thoughts” at the same time. I felt the poke and it hurt a tiny bit. Glad that this part of the treatment is over in less than ten minutes. Now, I just have to wait for 1.5 hours for the lab to turn around the results. Meanwhile I step outside to feed my tummy some breakfast. I was craving for an egg sandwich. Walked across towards the food basement of Takashimaya shopping centre and grabbed my egg sandwich in a Pomodoro bread roll from the Peck bakery. It really hit the spot. Walked around the atrium investigating the post Chinese New Year sale with my sister. The 1.5 hours flew by and time to head back to the oncologist’s office.

I didn’t have to wait for long before the lab faxed in results. Found out that only half of the report is ready but my doctor proceeded to ask me the usual question if I had any side effects from the last chemo session. She also checked for any physical signs such as swelling in my legs and around my neck for lumps. All good so far but she did notice the my tan lines on my back. She commented that I was burnt but I replied that I diligently apply sunscreen with SPF50 when I swim. She wasn’t overly concerned and mentioned in the past that the chemo drugs can darken the skin a lot faster than a normal person. I was also advised to reapply sunscreen every 15 mins instead of the 2 hour rule as I have come to learn. However, I should return to “normal” a few months later when the drugs are out of my system.

My haemoglobin is low which is expected. Other vitals such as red blood cells are also in the low range. What I am keen to know are the tumor markers/CEA results. It is this number is that will decide if I need more treatments beyond the six cycles originally prescribed. If the number increases or decreases by more than 10%, this indicates there are active cancer cells in the body. The ideal result we are looking for is within the 10% mark. In cycle five, my CEA markers recorded 6.7. The results for cycle 6 is 6.4. A huge sigh of relief for me. My sister shared the same sentiment. My wish for not wanting to endure another two cycles has come true. The oncologist is happy as well. Let the last chemo session begin.

Made my way to the treatment room and sat down ready for the nurse to poke me again (for the last time.. yeehhaaa!). She looked at both my hands and decided to use my left. Once again, the hunt for a good vein commences. Tap, tap, tap the hand to wake the veins and successfully finds one. Sprays a numbing agent before she inserts the needle. In all honesty, the numbing agent doesn’t work for me. I can still feel the pain when she sticks the needle in. First prod – ouch! Waits a few seconds before she pushes the needle a little more and I could feel my vein being enlarged (yes it did hurt). Low and behold, she wasn’t done and poked a little further in to make sure she gets the needle all the way in (ouch again!). Overall, I am delighted that she managed to find a vein within the first try.

Got my book ready to keep me company for the next several hours. Reading a police mystery this time called “The Ritual Bath” by Faye Kellerman. I wasn’t sure if it was the drug or waking up early that made me feel drowsy into an hour of the treatment. I didn’t fight the feeling. Closed my book and closed my eyes. It only felt like a few minutes when I dozed off but when looked at my watch, I woke up just a few minutes just as the last few millilitres of drugs was administered. I developed a hiccup not longer as soon as I woke up. I found it very odd. The nurses gave me some water but the hiccup persisted. The senior nurse did mention that hiccups could occur because of the drugs. This is the first time this has happened. As I have shared in my other posts, there is always something new crops up in each cycle. So, the hiccup was my last surprise.

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What is the next step? Well, I have to do a PET Scan in 4 weeks time to check if the tumor has reduced and any further signs of cancer still visible. In the meantime, I will use the next few weeks to rest and spend sometime researching on my reward – another vacation! I so deserve it!! I was toying an Asian country like Japan but I am more inclined to visit the Middle East & North Africa – Israel, Jordan and Morocco. Egypt would be a great place to see but given the political unrest, I have to strike it off the list.

Despite not feeling one 100 percent well right now, I wish I could show a dancing emoticon here in this post to illustrate how I am happy not to be poked again for a very long time.

I am back from my hiatus

Yes, I am back from my break in Chiang Mai.  The one week break was what I needed. The weather was perfect – warm in the day without low humidity and the evening temp drops to a pleasant 18 to 22 deg. I enjoyed the flexibility to choose what I wanted to do and when.  One day I may decide to walk around to explore to soak in the sights or the following day I am more than happy to sit by the pool reading my book.

One of the things I cherished most during the past week is sleep.  Such a simple thing I know but the ability to have a deep quality sleep for more than 5 hours per night is a luxury for me – no phone calls or someone pottering around the house early hours of the morning.  Even though I may have only 6 to 8 hours of sleep, I feel rejuvenated.  I will share another post on what I did in Chiang Mai – so bear with me.

Tomorrow is another round of chemotherapy and it is my LAST session!  Wooo hooo!! I am so ready to cross the finishing line.  I just hope that this will the last one I have to face for a very long time to come.  I hope my blood test will be also be positive news.  In my last catch up with the oncologist, she did forewarn me of the possibility of two additional sessions.  This is on the premise that my tumor markers/CEA does not stabilize by the last session.  I keep reminding myself that everything will be fine and I don’t need any further chemotherapy.

The clock is fast approaching midnight.  I should be sleeping soon and ready for a long day.

Bonne nuit from moi!

Chronicles of Chemotherapy – Cycle #2

Oh my!  It has been 4 days since my last post. It has been a very active 4 days.  I had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon to see how my wound has been healing and any problematic symptoms since I started my chemo.  So far so good and the next follow-up will be in 4 month time.  Phew – one less doctor to see for now. Resumed my swimming exercise and squeezed in a lunch with some ex-colleagues.

I am going to reflect back on my second chemotherapy.  Initially, the scheduled date was 28 October but I didn’t want to be sick for my birthday.  It was my 40th and I had plans with family and friends.  The doctor agreed to allow me to postpone my date with the drip to 2 November 2010 🙂 . I was awake by 7am but didn’t crawl out of bed by 7.30am.  All dressed by 8.30am.  Prepared my cooler bag with ice pack to hold my 3 boxes of Neupogen injections.  Neupogen is a clear liquid prescribed to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy to help stimulate white blood cells production.  It is very common for patients white blood cells to be very low when chemo drugs are administered.  Hence, our body immunity is very low in the first week post chemo session and susceptible to catching colds or fever.

Arrived at the clinic before my appointment time.  The nurse called for the external lab to send a nurse to draw blood to conduct a tumor marker/CEA test.  It was a different nurse this time.  Will she be gentle with me and not make me pull “that hurts” face.  Thinking of happy thoughts to distract me and I braced myself as soon as she straps the small belt around my arms.  She forewarned me that she is about to insert the needle.  Took a deep breath while it is being done.  I could feel the pinch into my skin and needle sliding into my veins.  It was bearable pain.  She filled 2 test tubes with my blood, applied pressure on the wound and put a band-aid.  All over in less than 10 mins.  So the waiting for the results begins.  It is supposedly take around 1.5 hours to complete the test.  Since I skipped breakfast that morning, I left to fill my tummy with some food.

My sister and I were back at the clinic waiting to see the doctor and study the results.  One of the first data the oncologist scans for are the CEA markers and any abnormality numbers in white/red blood counts or liver functions.  These abnormality would be highlighted in red.  My CEA markers has reduced by 10% from 28.4 to 26. Always happy to see the numbers reduce.  A normal persons CEA markers is between 0 to 4.7 ug/l.  As you can gather my markers are almost 6 times higher than an average non cancer patients. From my understanding at this point, the cancer cells were very active multiplying.  We have to put a stop these cells breeding!  Once the doctor checked my blood pressure, any other physical signs of side effects, I was given the nod to start the chemo.

Being the second session, I was fearing that the nurse would have a tough time with my small veins again.  It was a different nurse who attempted to poke the needle.  She tried with my left hand first.  A vein was found that could be good enough perhaps.  Sprayed the antiseptic and she attempts to poke me.  Felt the first poke but when she tried to push in a little further, I yelped! Sigh, that hurt and a failed attempt. The nurse panicked.  I should be more nervous than her.  Another nurse stepped in to help!  She had to pull out the needle and stop the bleeding. I will have a bruise from this 😦 .  Time to switch to other hand.  The second nurse attempted and tried a few minutes to find a good vein.  She felt a few and now deciding one would be the ideal one to use.  She is hopeful that it would the one.  Needle goes in.  The nurse waits a few seconds before she tries to push the needle in a little more.  No screams of pain from me means it’s good.  Alas, it was a success.  Everyone breaths a sigh of relief.

Whipped out my Kindle to read my book.  Around an hour into my treatment, I was feeling drowsy, barely keeping my eyes open.  After hearing about the vein expedition, the doctor came in to check how I was. Not long after that, I dozed off.  It was a deep 1.5 hour sleep.  The nurse had to wake me up to tell me that it was over.

When I reached home, the tiredness feeling was still lingering.  Climbed into bed and napped for a few hours.  I am happy to have cycle number 2 ticked on the calendar.  The next 7 days is when I am confined to home nursing the side effects of the chemo.

Thats it from me for tonight.

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