Wednesday, January 21, 2009

01/21/09 - Intrathecal Chemo #4

Last Tuesday, 1/13/09, I received my 4th dose of intrathecal chemotherapy. Besides that, I had my blood counts checked and MRIs of my head and spine. Including travel time of roughly an hour each way, I left the house at 11:45AM and got home at 7:45PM. A long day...

That was my last dose of "once every two weeks" chemotherapy. Now, it goes to once per month for 6 months. Better because I take a type of steroids (dexamethasone) twice per day for five days around chemotherapy and they cause me to not sleep much. At least now, that time should be limited to one week per month.

Intrathecal Chemotherapy Treatment #4

For intrathecal chemo, they must make a "withdrawal" of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) before they "deposit" the chemo drug (50mg of Depocyte - 0.00179 ounces by my calculations). The chemo has to be administered this way because the CSF resides in a small space (in and around your brain and spine). One nice advantage of this technique is my CSF that is withdrawn at each chemo treatment is microscopically examined for signs of disease spread (cancer cells). These tests have been negative (no spread). This process is detailed in my post about Intrathecal Chemo #2...

"Neck" MRIs, previous tumor location circled

The doctors also said that there wasn't any sign of disease spread in my MRIs. More good news!

Blood counts. I haven't updated them since mid-October. Needless to say, they are updated now, including details about my intrathecal chemotherapy doses. Since my intrathecal chemo is confined to my CSF, it should not have any effect on my blood counts. That is good because my counts (especially my platelets) still remain low, even though my last dose of traditional chemo was back in March of 2008... It doesn't make sense to me that they are still low...

Prior to my Ommaya Reservoir surgery on 11/25/08, my platelets were at 62,000. The brain surgeon wanted to see them at a minimum level of 100,000 before the operation. The morning of the operation, I was tranfused with two units of platelets. The first one brought my counts up to 90,000, and the second one brought my counts up to 115,000, so the surgery was performed.

Since I spent a while updating them please look at my blood count plot here, or at the link to the right... Thanks!

Monday, January 19, 2009

01/19/09 - More On "Stuffed Neurons"

I previously had a post titled "Fuzzy Neurons" in which I described giving small, stuffed-animal neurons (nerve cells) to my doctors. Just as a quick update to that, here is a neuron video from the Giant Microbes website.

Animated Neuron

I like the video a lot (as much as you could like a cartoonish video of a neuron, and the great people at Giant Microbes sent me a copy (by the way - I do appreciate their video and their products, so if you ever find yourself needing ANY type of "giant" cell, please see what they have to offer at any of the previous links to their website).