Yesterday I sat through treatment number three in this current series of Rituxan sessions to treat a few of my leukemia symptoms that reappeared a few months ago. We made the decision to treat it once a month for anywhere between 4-6 months. So, 3 down and 1-3 to go. I feel great and I am looking at this as pretty academic at this point. But a little academia is a good thing.
If you have been following along, I have been having a little trouble in this series of treatments with reactions to the Rituxan. This has caused us to call a few audibles, and make a few redirects along the way to modify some of the offsetting drugs but all in all, it’s been fine. I have been trying to cut the Decadron a little short because I stay awake for days on that steroid. So for this series, we tried to cut the Decadron in half in hopes of being able to sleep after treatment and return to “normal”. Well that plan has kind of worked. I have been able to sleep but we’ve learned that I need the full dose of Decadron to offset the Rituxan. Lesson learned. Next time we will go back to the full dose.
So, yesterday started off like any other chemo day. MG and I had breakfast in the hospital cafeteria then made our way up to Dr. Shore’s office before the chemo suite. (He’s on the 5th floor but the elevator is NEVER an option). After a short wait I was seen and we went through the normal doc visit and pre chemo shtuff. The good news is that my blood work was again spot on perfect with no issues to report at all. So after we reiterated “the plan” and talked about dosing and timing, etc. we made our way down to the chemo suite where my favorite nurse, Mary Lou, ushered us in. But first came the traditional “my blood work is normal” happy dance that MG and I do in the hallway.
After settling in and getting all set up, I started out pretty smoothly. My musical taste was scattered and I jumped around between an old 1973 Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks album, to Peter Gabriel’s Secret World Tour, to Yes Fragile, to Of Monsters and Men, to The Postal Service, to DMB, to Lorde.
I drifted off and on in the recliner for minutes at a time. My attention tends to dart around the room and from TV to iPad to phone like a repeating loop. Usually interrupted by regular vital sign checks and by the fact that I have to constantly pee with all of the fluids being pumped into me. So my pole and I have to get up and take frequent walks to the rest room for excitement. Of course MG brought me my lunch and sat with me while getting caught up on some work of her own.
The issue I had this time was a hive-like allergic reaction to the Rituxan. So we needed to stop for a few minutes, push a little extra Benadryl through my IV and wait for me to settle down. I did settle down and the added Benadryl must have knocked me out a little because the remainder of that IV bag seemed to empty pretty fast. I was surprised that after four and a half hours I was done “already”. As Mary Lou was unhooking me and bandaging me up, I tried to look out the window to see what the weather was doing. It looked clear and that gave me the brilliant idea of wanting to run home. I knew I felt good enough to do it. MG was a little hesitant for all of the right reasons but we both knew it would be good for me. MG thought that Mary Lou would not approve. But I knew that Mary Lou wouldn’t have a care in the world, because I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell her.
We made our way to MG’s car; I dropped off my stuff, gave her a kiss, and made my way out of the garage and began my run. (I think it was easier running than navigating the after school traffic in a vehicle). MG asked which way I would be going just in case she needed to loop back and look for me. I chose the longer of the two routes home for a few reasons. None of them are that important. About 5 minutes later I heard the familiar honk of our Chevy Equinox and I just smiled and threw both arms triumphantly in the air. As she drove past and waved, I smiled and said to myself…