Done with first rounds of chemo (Day -9)

Yesterday (Day -10) started out pretty bad. But it ended just fine. Judy went down to the pharmacy and got four bottles of electrolyte drinks, two peach and two coconut. So, I drank lots and had lots infused in my drip. We’re supposed to drink a minimum of three liters of water per day during chemo, and today I clearly met that goal.

I’ve read that there’s a service in Vegas that will bring an I.V. drip to your hotel room if you’ve had a hard night of drinking. Hmm.

I finished yesterday’s chemo fine, and they gave me a second shot of Amal (anti-chemo-sickness medication) before I left, just for safe keeping. I did need to add another pill to that later, but I ate a pretty large dinner, most of a pre-cooked chicken from Walmart, where we had shopped earlier. I’m already in the “eat carefully” stage where everything needs to be fully-cooked, well-done. So, we cooked the chicken even further. Dr. Ruiz said that anything pasteurized is okay, and anything cooked for three full minutes in the microwave should be fine, too.

This morning, a doctor came by the apartment to give me a subcutaneous shot of Filgrastim, the stem-cell mobilizing agent. This mobilizes the cells out of the bone marrow and into the blood, which can become painful to the bones. I’ll be getting these twice-daily for a week now, followed by the harvest (aka apheresis). Apheresis is basically drawing the blood through a glorified centrifuge, which will separate out the blood components by density: white cells, red cells, plasma and stem cells. The stem cells are then cryogenically frozen for Day Zero.

Then, I’ll do two days of strong chemotherapy using mesna and cyclophosphamide. The next day is Day Zero, when I get my stem cells back. Some people start feeling energized with less disability, even before the one hour process is complete. I’ve seen videos online where people clap to your new “birthday” as you return back to the waiting room with the rest of the group. Fifteen of us will have a new, same birthday :).

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