It’s been a long day and we aren’t done yet. It started ridiculously early after an ok night of ups and downs. They took blood, put in the catheter, and started new drugs. Finally, at around 6:45AM they took us down to put in the line to our liver. By noon we were back in the room and by 2PM we had started the chemo. And we’ve only got about 50 hours or so to go from here.
The surgery to place the line into her liver almost went awry. Thankfully, Maggie was only extremely drugged up but not asleep during the procedure and corrected the surgeons. Yes, corrected the surgeon. Dr. Kurzrock had said that we were going to attack one lobe at a time and, thus, we’d need the line placed directly into one and only one lobe. During the procedure they tried to place the line into both lobes. Maggie corrected them as to what was the goal. Eventually, they got the line placed into the right lobe of her liver, the one that’s the most enlarged and assuredly causing the most pain. That fiasco took over two hours.
In the room Maggie’s back was hurting. We attacked the pain with her dilaudid with many boli*. We also insisted on our additional dilaudid to turn down the pain. After some discussion with the nurse we got our relief as a 1mg shot.
* Plural of bolus, maybe? Bolus, by the way, means “an additional kick” as in, “Hey, give my pain meds a bolus.”
The liver infusion of oxaliplatin went off without any fanfare, other than all the protective gear that the nurse brought in to protect him from the poison they were about to dump into Maggie. It was a small, non-descript bag and it could have been water, for all the visible effects it had. But we know it was oxaliplatin because when supper came around Maggie exclaimed that she could no longer drink cold drinks. The cold sensitivity had begun. Not too long after that she announced that she could feel the tingling in her feet, a sure sign of neuropathy already kicking in. That little nugget is still sitting uncomfortable in our bellies. Last time on oxaliplatin it took numerous doses for any of those types of problems to show up. This time it took six hours. Dr. Loukas had warned us that it might be back sooner than we’d prefer. Ugh. And too much of it and we’re off the trial, too.
As you might imagine, Maggie was watching the clock to get both her catheters removed. Right after her oxaliplatin was done she asked to get the hip-tube pulled. Right about then Katie had come to visit so we took a walk to give Maggie and the physician’s assistant time to be alone with the tube. I’m glad we did because when we came back there was more blood than I would have preferred to see but Maggie was free, or at least didn’t have the tube in her any more. She still was required to lay very, very still for another six hours.
Maggie counted down until 10PM when she got the final catheter removed and she got to rise from the bed. She was very pleased but a little unstable as she walked to the bathroom. After a few more changes of chemo and drug bags and one more walk to the bathroom for her evening ritual, she was out like a drugged up cancer patient on chemo, pain killers and sleeping pills.
Tomorrow is a lighter load. We’ll just sit around as we continue to trade off bags of drugs. No more cutting and running tubes. It will be interesting to see how she feels tomorrow after all of today’s poisons. Typically, on Spa Days she feels pretty rotten afterword and worse the next day. But today she seems to be feeling ok. They told us that since the bulk of the drug was given straight to the liver we might have fewer side-effects. So far I tend to agree.
By the way, if you ever get the opportunity to stay at MD Anderson (and I hope you do not), don’t order the pork loin with gravy from room service. But I highly recommend -the mashed potatoes or the grilled tilapia.