2nd Chemo Treatment - Done!
Trip Start Apr 22, 2014
9Trip End Apr 22, 2015
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I am becoming a Boston regular. I even bought a commuter pack of bus tickets at the Dartmouth Coach, our bus between Lebanon, NH and Boston.
Because I developed a pretty significant rash 6 days after the first chemo infusion, I was scheduled for allergy skin testing last week at the Brigham Allergy clinic. I was exposed to a histamine (positive control) saline(negative control), and the two chemo drugs I need - carboplatin and taxol. There were three carboplatin & taxol skin tests. On two of the 15 minute readings, I had positive bump reactions but without the itching and red flare I felt with the histamine. The taxol bumps subsided overnight. The carboplatin bump got angrier.
In the morning I called my allergist and sent photos
Once again, I am so fortunate to be a patient at The Dana Farber-Brigham & Womens Cancer Center (DF-BWCC). Dr Maria Castells is a world expert and pioneered an allergy desensitization procedure for safely receiving medicine one needs when there is a likelihood of an allergic reaction. Not many places in the USA have the capability to do this. I don’t know what happens at hospitals that don’t have this expertise. Perhaps the drug protocol for the patient is changed. But we know that I need the carboplatin to kill the type of cancer I have. Thank you Dr. Castells for making it possible for me to get the best first line therapy that I need!
The procedure is highly specialized. The full prescribed dose of the drug required is titrated and given in low & slowly increasing doses over a long period of time, to prevent the IgE antibodies that stimulate an allergic reaction from acting against the offending drug. Translated, today’s chemo infusion, and the ones to follow will each take about 10 hours. That does not include time before and after, getting labs and waiting as the drug is prepared, and completing the administrative tasks
The outpatient infusion suite has curtains between the 6 patient areas I can see. While I have a bright and private area with windows and a view, it’s good that I came by myself today as I would chatter with family and friends and likely disturb the other patients. This is a good opportunity for me to limit stimulation and have a quiet restful day. Mark is heading down to stay in the hotel with me, just in case I get stomach sick. When I think I can manage the car trip home, we’ll leave then.
I am very grateful to all of the physicians and staff at Dana Farber. I am in the BEST place for treatment for my specific cancer and for my individual needs!
Boston Upbeat Summer Update
I stayed at my friend’s house in Coolidge Corner again for last week’s allergy appointments. I fully explored and tasted Coolidge Corner. It’s a wonderful walkable neighborhood. I’m a picky eater (vegetarian & fish) and there is no shortage of restaurants, fast food, & yogurt shops that please me. Trader Joes is right there and there is a Whole Foods at the St Mary’s T stop about 5 or 6 blocks back towards town.
My hair began to fall out as was predicted
When I left I went to Supercuts around the corner on Cambridge Street. I thought it time to get my head shaved. Adriana preferred to give me a really short cut and we hoped it would last for a few days. It was really cute and I can look forward to when it grows back and is short in “Tillie model” style.
I had the short haircut for 24 hours. It was time for a shave. When my nephew Houman (& Ellen) lived here, Houman raved about the Lebanon Barber Shop. He loved the traditional “no appointment” format where customers come in and sit and chat about town with each other until their turn. He had told me that Micah, the owner is such a nice guy. And that he has never had a better haircut from anyone
I have had good energy as long as I don’t do too much and get myself really tired. So far, I’m not too good at resting yet. That’s still a goal. But I’m doing a really good job so far of fitting my treatment into my life rather than making the cancer my life. This week, I went kayaking at Eastman Pond with Jeri C., Annie S. and I went to the Hello Cafe at Cedar Circle Farm, walked down to the river and then picked organic blueberries for us to eat this winter! I went to 2 regular 1.5 hour AHA yoga classes backing off when need be. And Mark and I went to a movie at the college and out to dinner too.
On Monday, I returned to Boston for an appointment and for the Chemo infusion today. Yesterday I walked a lot and got plenty of exercise. Adele and I went to 16 Handles for yogurt and awesome toppings. And I stopped at Nordstrom’s Rack to pick up a summer sweater I needed. Today I am a couch potato just sitting for 10+ hours. Just think if I were flying to Bangkok, I would be almost 1/2 way there already.:)
One thing has changed
Mark and I left the hospital well after 7:00 PM. I was able to sit with him at “Legal” and eat a baked potato. After dinner, I showed Mark the roses in the Boston public garden and we saw a little of the Shakespeare in the Park staying a safe distance from the crowds.
We came home the next morning. And after the trip, oh was I tired. I spent the entire afternoon sleeping.
Thank you all for your thoughtful cards emails and phone calls. It has made me feel very loved and I appreciate each of them and each of you!
PS: I’ll post another update when I have something to share. Sometimes I post without sending an email alert. If you missed a post and would like to see it, just scroll down below the photo thumbnails and you can easily read the past entries.