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Chemotherapy update on eight of nine infusions for distal cholangiocarcinoma survivor

Eight Out of Nine Ain't Bad

Nov 20, 2020

( blog / cancer )

I don’t know what the right ‘update period’ of time is for these, but it’s been about a month since the last update and there is a bit of news, so it must be about the right period of time to send something out.

Chemo Arm

I didn’t mention it in my last update, but the first few chemotherapy infusions where a bit brutal. I initially opted to not have a port inserted; my arms will never forgive me. The Gemcitabine can be painful for some patients, and it most definitely was for me. My arm would swell up and my entire body acted like I had an infection (fever/chills/etc). I was bed-ridden for about five days after treatment, and then have maybe one good day before I went in for treatment again. After three of these extremely exciting weeks, we decided to get the port inserted in between the first and second rounds of chemo (each round is three treatments, one a week).

Holy smoke! What a difference

After getting the port, each treatment since the fourth has gotten a bit easier to tolerate. I get treatment on a Wednesday and I generally hope to be well enough to “work out” from Saturday through Tuesday … then back in for treatment again. I’m getting no fever/chills/arm swelling. The side effects are mostly chemo-brain (fuzziness, hard to concentrate, etc) and exhaustion.

Riley D&D

In order to battle the chemo-brain I’m making bagels (there, seriously, are no good bagels in Ireland), reading, writing, attempting to write code (hello there GOLANG) and, get this, Riley has a sudden interest in Dungeons and Dragons! So we’ve rolled a couple of characters and are going to join a few online missions with other D&Der’s. I really never thought I’d be role playing a half-orc Fighter or teaching my daughter what a Paladin is … and btw, Dragonborn are a pretty cool race (new to me, it was the 80’s the last time I played this game)! </geek>

So, as the title suggests, I’ve gotten through Eight of Nine treatments. The great news to report is that my CA19-9 marker has gone from 3136 kU/L down to ~55 kU/L! I have another treatment this coming Wednesday the 25th and I’ll be getting a CT scan directly after to take a look at the lungs (and everywhere else). Depending on what my CA19-9 is and what the CT scans show will determine on my treatment plan going forward. Hopefully we see NO growth and CA19-9 is within it ‘normal range’!

Leia Hawk

Leia (Tony) Hawk

Last, but not least, I think it’s incredibly important to include an update on Princess Leia’s (our Frenchie) training. Connor and Riley have been working with her in hopes that she will attend the next Doggie X-Games … Meet Leia (Tony) Hawk; click on the pic to see her video on instagram.

Peace and Love

We hope everyone is staying safe and not going stir-crazy because of COVID!

Happy Thanksgiving 🦃 to those celebrating! We’ll be doing an immediate family only one here in Dublin (much like every other meal due to COVID, ugh).