Maggie feels pretty crappy today. It might have something to do with her staying out until 1:30-ish last night with friends. Or maybe it’s the new chemo kicking in. Regardless, she’s slept a fair portion of the day away but still didn’t let it stop her from going to see a movie with her friends.
Wednesday was a big day – we switched our chemo formula to oxaliplatin. It’s funny how such amazingly important events can happen with nary a hint of fanfare. (I can’t help but wonder what other hugely influential decisions made daily just sneak by, significance unrecognized.) But it’s done and, ultimately, it was Maggie’s decision so if it bombs, blame her. I know I will.
Seriously, by the time it came to pick a path it was a well-beaten horse. We (or rather, she) picked the long-shot, the all-in, the bet-the-farm path. How exciting! I can’t wait to see what happens next! As we wait, we’ll be holding hands, skipping down this path together.
The day of treatment went fine. Overall, the immediate effect of the drugs were substantially less dramatic than previous treatments. Her last chemo, CPT-11, was a real ass-kicker. She’d go into The Spa with bright eyes and leave a sad zombie. This time she didn’t seem to be that affected other than some slight nausea and wonkiness*. She came straight home to bed but seemed to be doing fine. Mary, Maggie’s mom, kindly cared for her while I tried to push on with my unforgiving study schedule.
* Technical term that means “whoa, I feel funky!” but not in the James Brown “King of Funk” type of funky but more in the gosh-I-think-I-did-too-much-heroin funky.
The most notable side effect we’ve seen so far is the oft-mentioned cold sensitivity. She says that it’s not very subtle, especially when drinking cold fluids. So much for the Red Bull and vodkas for a while. She said that it’s similar to if you were to eat a potato chip or Doritos but not chew it all the way and then swallow – it scratches the throat in a quite uncomfortable way. Fun. This treatment’s maximum toxicity is at about 6 months (more on this later) so we are looking forward to continued increased cold sensitivity as we load her up with poisons. Hey, at least we aren’t heading into winter.
The official name of this new cocktail is FOLFOX. It starts with oxaliplatin, a platinum-based chemotherapy drug, given over about two hours intravenously while at The Spa. After that, she’s connected to a battery-powered travel pack full of 5-FU which is injected via her port over the next 48 hours. Showers are complicated.
After day two she heads back to The Spa where they disconnect the battery pack and give her the now-infamous $6,900 Neulasta shot. Thank goodness I don’t have to do that anymore.
One of the unpleasant changes with this new treatment is that, whereas we were getting treatment on a three week schedule with Xeloda, now we have treatment every two weeks. That, of course, means a lot more Spa time and a lot more down time for Maggie. I suppose it also means more Neulasta shots, too, which means more flu-like symptoms. All-in-all, real sucky. Have I suggested to you lately not to get cancer? Don’t. Do what ever it takes.