Monthly checkup today at the oncologist, plus discussion of new chemo. We are still waiting on the full results of the echocardiogram, but preliminary results were almost exactly the same as the MUGA scan. At this point, both doctors think that I do not have either a heart or lung problem, perhaps high blood pressure and of course anxiety.
My doctor suggested a chemo called Halaven. It’s supposedly generally well tolerated and major side effects are low white and red blood cell counts (decreased immunity and mild anemia), neuropathy (nerve pain especially in the hands and feet), and nausea. 55% of patients have hair loss, but the others don’t. This drug is given in a three week cycle where chemo is on day 1 and day 8, then a one week break before you start again. So basically two weeks on, one week off. My “best” days will be toward the end of the three week cycle in terms of minimal side effects and energy levels. Most of my infusions will be on Wednesdays since that’s one of my days off. They will be monitoring my blood counts at each appointment. I’ll also still be getting the bone building shot on an every 4 week schedule, so that means I’ll be at the doctor’s office almost once a week.
The infusion of the Halaven will take only about 5 min, but I will also be getting 3 nausea drugs via IV: Emend, Decadron, and Aloxi. I’ve had all three of these before and they worked really well. So the total time for my infusion should be 45 min to an hour.
I still need to read up on this drug and do some research into the hair loss thing. I was expecting it to be either definitely yes or no, not this weird 50/50 situation. I’m hoping I can find out WHEN it is likely to happen if at all, so I know that if it doesn’t fall out by a certain point, I’m probably in the clear. My doctor didn’t give me a prescription for a wig yet, she says wait and see. I do have the one I used last time, but if I need one I want to get something shorter (I hate the feel of the fake hair on my skin) and also a baseball cap with attached ponytail kind of style.
Tomorrow I meet with the nurse practitioner for a chemotherapy teaching session. She’ll review all the possible side effects, what to do about each, and when to call the doctor. She’ll also give me any new prescriptions I need for things like nausea drugs and go over the dosing and schedules. Then next Tuesday (July 2) I get my first treatment. Mike is planning to come with me for the first two treatments, but after that I might bring a friend or a relative sometimes, just for a change.