Monday, February 25, 2019

DAY 062 -- "Yummy Bennies"

I really didn’t mean to begin this with a pic of me wearing a conforming tubular stretch dressing on my head, but part of my job is to get you to laugh at my expense.

The “Spandage” is meant to be applied on an upper or lower extremity to make dressing changes easier and more comfortable for the patient. I maintain, for the sake of a cheap laugh, that my head is also an extremity, and today I had a comfy head deficit.

Diane laughed and my nurses became even more convinced that I'm a little weird (mission accomplished). She told me that I looked “like a life-sized adult Kewpie Doll, with loosely on the adult." No debate.

Back to the infusion suite today. Isn’t that a lovely moniker? Sounds like hospitals could and should also have Pediatric Penthouses and in my case, Chemo Crashpads).

Today’s news: My recent lower region CT scan showed nothing, and with apologies and homage to a favorite film’s fictional Lucas Jackson: "sometimes nothing is a real Cool Hand." (If you’re a movie buff, you’ll know.) So …

The good news: my original lung tumor is “a bit better” and there’s no other apparent spread to my southern body biospheres.

The bad news: there’s a “slight increase in my mediastinal lymph node.” The doc also told me there was some “consolidation therapeutic effect” resulting from these past weeks of immunotherapy infusions with Imfinzi. I asked him what that meant in simple English, and before he could answer, I pre-interrupted him: “Oh, so it helped beat my tumor like chicken soup helps beat a cold?”

“Something like that,” he conceded.

In medicalese, if you insist: Imfinzi -- still very much a whole antibody drug used less than two years in the field -- is the current drug of choice for people who meet a fairly strict cancer criteria and treatment, like mine. So, no harm done, and only marginal healing in the works, but still worth the ride, with perhaps even long-term rewards yet unknown.

Today, we began a new treatment regimen. It will consist of an infusion course every three weeks for three months (sounds like high-end sweet dessert dining: “And for the infusion course, we have a chocolate chemo-ganache tart, or an immuno-orange cake.”).

Today, intravenously, in one sitting, I received seven drugs in five classes: an anti-itcher, two anti-emetics, an anti-inflammatory, two chemos and one immuno.

You demand to know names? I know there are word puzzle people out there reading between those hands, so let’s save time.

I’m home now, my bloodstream packed with a hefty intravenous shot of:

 with a Cyanocobalamin chaser.

(If I didn’t lose you with that one, my dear reader, you have more curiosity grit than your host).

Before I left my Chemo Crashpad, a new patient entered with his caregiver. She was carrying sugar cookies made by Cakes By Amanda in Barre, Massachusetts, for the staff and patients. I promised her friend a pastry plug.

Not only were they clever, funny and Caduceus-friendly, they were sweet eats.

Sometimes, cancer has yummy bennies. Thanks, Amanda.

More as we go, El

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