Posts tagged consolidation therapy

My H-line for Healing

After more than a month of being on remission, I went back to the cancer institute for my scheduled consolidation or intensification chemotherapy. The goal of this phase is to destroy any remaining leukemia cells. It was also the start of the preparation for my stem cell transplant tentatively scheduled on July 2008.

First, my Hickman line was reinstalled. It is a silicon tube placed into one of my major blood vessels leading to my heart. It is used for giving treatment directly into a vein for my chemotherapy, administration of intravenous fluids, for my blood transfusion and for taking blood samples. The benefit of this thing is that it will save me the discomfort of having needles repeatedly inserted into my veins. I hate needles really. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

The procedure actually started with a lot of x-rays in my neck and chest. When the vein has been identified, the line was then fitted. The procedure lasted for less than 30 minutes. Of course, it was done with a local anaesthetic and some intravenous sedatives. The line actually enters a vein in my neck (my collar bone) and exits from my upper chest. It was inserted through a tunnel in my skin. There were tingling sensations and pinches of pain during the procedure. It was very uncomfortable and I got four stitches after the incision. Keeping my “dangling line” in place is a stitch placed around the catheter. I was told that the stitch will remain there until the normal tissues has grown enough to hold the line naturally. Also, I was informed that there’s a small cuff in the tunnel which supports the tube.

I had four chemo sessions already using the reinstalled line. And as expected I was wasted, nauseous and exhausted. The day after my second chemo I’ve spiked a fever and was given a liquid paracetamol. When I woke up the next day, my temp went down from 101.2 to 98.5. Thank God.

Just a while ago, I was told that my “precious” Hickman line is due for flushing and cleaning with saline and heparin anytime this week so as to prevent it from being blocked by blood clots and also to avoid contamination. The nurse also told me that they will teach me how to clean it so that I can do the cleaning when I go home. Yahoo!

My oncologist told me that this “thing hanging on my chest” will now become my constant companion and best friend and I better give it a name so that our “bonding” will become more personal. Okay then, so from now on, my hickman line will be called “Hickie”. Ha ha ha.

I’m still up for more chemo sessions the coming days and I’m praying and keeping my faith that God will continuously show His face upon me and that He will help me get pass through it. Bless God!

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next level: consolidation therapy

and so my treatment continues……… 

since i’m now done with induction therapy and got partial remission from it, i’m moving on to the next level which is the consolidation therapy. this phase is designed to further diminish the number of cancer cells and achieve complete remission.

my treatment plan is called three-plus-seven method. i was told that this is the most common drug treatment plan for AML. this would mean i will be treated with a combination of anthracycline (which in my case is daunarubicin) for 3 days and 7 days of ara-c.

so, two days ago i had my first round of chemo. daunarubicin was administered manually every 5-10 minutes. i was told that this was the standard procedure as to ensure that the drug doesn’t enter my bloodstream that quick. after almost two hours, they then hooked me to a bag of ara-c. i was a real mess after—was throwing up, grouchy and depressed.

yesterday, my numbers picked up. (ANC: 200; WBC: 1.0; HGB: 9.3 and platelets: 206) but there’s still a leukemia blast in my blood: about 5%. i had chest pains in the middle of the day and there were little aches and pains in my lower back and in my legs. it sure made sleeping very difficult that i had to ask for adavan so i could get some rest. i also got my anti-nausea pill, my all-time favorite, the yellow candy-like drug called zofran.

today, i woke up feeling very lazy and my spirit was down. how i wish i could convince myself that everything miserable will stop dead if i just don’t talk about it. (of course it won’t work that way). i had body pains and was throwing up. suddenly i felt like i was a little scrap of humanity lying in bed, sick and wet. damn!

some relatives visited me and prayed with me so i felt a lot better now. i’m looking forward to my chemo later. i hope my numbers will continue to pick up and then eventually i get complete remission at the end of the treatment. i’m keeping my hopes high.

“……though i walk in the midst of trouble; You preserve my life; You stretch out Your hand against the anger of my foes; with Your right hand You save me”…..Psalm 138:7

thank you my Lord and Savior for Your great love. i am in awe of You. i’m also sending my warm hugs to those who are continuously praying for me. words are not enough to express my gratitude. God bless all of you.

still a long way to go……..but i’m giving it a good fight……..the journey from brokenman to betterman continues!

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