Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Treatment Phase 2 - Chemotherapy

Phase 2 of my treatment is supposed to consist of three weeks of chemo followed by five weeks of the drugs doing their work. That's 64 weeks total, and I just started Phase 2 on January 24th, so it's scheduled to finish in March of 2008. That's longer than I expected, but I learned (stubbornly) to quit making assumptions...

So, I've two treatments of Phase 2 Chemo at this point. For more detail, I'm supposed to receive three chemo drugs the first week, Cisplatin, Lomustine, and Vincristine. I also receive some steroids (Decadron), Saline and an anti-nausea drug (Zofran) at this time. I continue to take the anti-nausea for about five days as a pre-emptive strike against sickness.

The second and third weeks of chemo are supposed to be Vincristine. Vincristine is the only chemo drug I had during Phase 1 of treatment and my doctor has completely with-held it during Phase 2 because I have been suffering from a side effect of it, namely Peripheral Neuropathy. Peripheral Neuropathy is when your hands and feet become numb. I feel pins and needles in them constantly, but it has been wearing down since I haven't received Vincristine since late December. My first dose of Cisplatin also seemed to aggravate the Neuropathy, so it has been changed to Carboplatin for dose 2 forward.

It seems like the Peripheral Neuropathy can get worse and possibly be irreversible, so I trust my doctor's viewpoint. As of the third dose (scheduled for May 15th), I don't know what to expect. I did tell my doctor to give me everything as soon as he can because I don't want to "miss out."

And I haven't mentioned to this point that I will see the doctor every 8 weeks, a week before my chemo. I was glad to find out that he will review a new MRI of my head and my bloodcounts (more for chemo) at this time. Through 2 treatments of Phase 2, everything appears to be clear. My doctor doesn't tend to do spinal MRI's at this time, but I will ask for one. A medulloblastoma has certain areas it spreads to, the linings of the brain and spinal cord being the top two.

My endurance of Phase 2 follows. I haven't had any Vincristine during Phase 2 to date, so I don't know how it will effect me. The other week 1 chemo drugs I have received I can do without. I seem to feel bad for a week and then I have more fatigue for the next few weeks. The effects of chemo get much better as the 8 week cycle progresses. Unfortunately, I tend to forget about my bloodcounts, which chemo decreases, and my immune system is weak when I feel better. I still get out and do what I can...

Oh, and I see my Primary Care Physician (PCP) for bloodwork three weeks after I get chemo. My bloodwork is also checked when I see my Oncologist before chemo and the next 8 week cycle. There is only chemotherapy, no simultaneous radiation.

Updated 04/12/07


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