Days of Chemotherapy

person holding laboratory flask
Photo by Chokniti Khongchum on

-Dr. Wang and the entire staff in the Cancer Center at Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach, Missouri is wonderful.  Everyone is patient and acommodating and at the time I was volunteering in the infusion lab.  Watching those people progress, regress and smile all the way, made a believer of me. Faith was the answer. Everyone had some belief of a Power working in their lives.

Care and compassion and lots of smiles!

There is a lot that goes on with chemotherapy that we would soon learn. First the consultation, then the surgery to place the port for the infusion because he has very small veins. At last, the same day the surgeon placed the port, it was down to chemotherapy for the first infusion.

The cancer drug is not ready until a blood test is done to make sure all the blood numbers are good.  When that is approved, the chemo will be made. The excessive cost of the drugs prohibits the making of them until it is a GO.  Next he and I would sit for a hour of infusion, but he loves crosswords and he always amused himself.  Yes, he would rather have been playing golf, but he accepted what he needed to do and all went well. He would tell me throughout his time of treatment that life is too short to be overly concerned with things that can’t be changed.  Did he wear out the Serenity Prayer…

Still playing golf about 3 times a week, he did need a nap in the afternoon.  That was no big deal. I was estatic that he felt so well.  A few bumps in the road–a nasty little rash and losing a little hair but not all.  Pretty good I’d say.

There would be chemo once a week for 3 weeks, then off a week.  That schedule continues for 6 months and I will tell you that every 3 months there was another cat scan and another CA 19-9 test done by blood draw.  That is a cancer marker that will show cancer and not to be relied upon as a total indicator but is used with other diagnostic tests to show progress of the cancer.

Radiation began but for only 2 sessions.  A newly found report from the surgery in St. Louis indicated the extent to which the cancer had already metastasized even before the beginning of Chemo.  Reports got mixed up somehow and now the radiologist spelled out the problem with continuing to radiate the tumor in the pancreas. If those little growths found during surgery developed, they could not be radiated if he received a full treatment.  Just so much radiation is tolerated in one area.

The first CA 19-9 had a reading of 238 and at one point during the second 3-month session it lowered to below 50.  At the end of the 6 months of chemo, the doctor sent my husband on a three month Chemo Holiday!IMG_1095(1)

He he is with his two daughters in Destin, Florida in December 2018 just 9 months after diagnosis of Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer non- resectable. Looking really good and enjoying life.

When that 3- month holiday was over, Dr. Wang told him to take another 3 months off. This was exciting and the tumor seemed to be minutely smaller. Hooray!

In February 2019, the scan now showed a spot on the spleen. Oops…something new and the CA 19-9 was at 1248 and that was a terrible hop up. What was the next step in this whole process?

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