05 August 2009

The Upcoming Schedule of New Treatment

"We can't predict all the struggles and storms in life, not even the ones just around the next corner, but as persons of faith and hope, we know beyond the shadow of any doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true and the best is yet to come."

Elder L. Tom Perry

We have received a tentative schedule, however not much of any other information.

Ford will have a central line placed on Monday. This is a catheter that runs through a central vein directly into the heart. The purpose of the central line is to simplify many of the procedures that need to be done. We have been told that the catheter will connect to three lines that will be accessible for blood draws, infusions, and other necessary things. These will be covered at all times (when not in use) so they do not irritate Ford's chest. He calls it "becoming Borg" (a Star Trek reference). I have the opportunity to learn to change dressings and flush the lines so they do not become clogged. (Do they have an age limit to nursing school?) Every medical procedure has its risks. This is just one of the many hurdles that Ford will need to overcome in this whole mess of treatment. The central line can be removed after all the treatment is completed.

Bright and early Tuesday morning is the appointment to meet with the
HCI oncologist, Dr. Glenn. We are planning that the chemo will begin after that.

One of the medications Ford will receive on the first day is
Rituximab. This is referred to as a designer drug, because it targets a specific enzyme found on the surface of B cells that can be a flag for lymphoma.

He had this in the first round of chemo (R-CHOP). That is what the R stands for. On the first infusion, the
Rituximab must be administered very slowly in order to watch for allergic reactions. It takes several hours. Even though he has had this drug before, we were told that the first infusion of this new series would have to start over. This means that on the Tuesday, it will take approximately six hours or so for the treatment. Then we will stay overnight in SLC (backdoor to the emergency services at the U of U Medical Center). On Wednesday, we call the Huntsman Hospital to find out when Ford checks in. Then it is a thirty-six hour stay with a IV drip of the other drugs. On Thursday afternoon, Ford should be released. On Friday, approximately 24 hours after the end of chemo, he goes back for the Neulasta shot. That will complete the first round of the new series.

If all goes well, we do it all again two weeks after that, with the first day of round 2 on the 25
th of August.

Ford was told that this is a harder treatment with more powerful drugs. Because he has undergone chemo previously, it will be harder.

How hard is harder than harder? My mind cannot even comprehend what that might mean. Ultimately I take it to mean one day and one step at a time.

Once again our prayers will be focusing on asking that the drugs used in the treatment hit the cancer, but that every bit, every inch, every ounce of what is healthy in Ford's body be protected and preserved from any adverse effects. Please, whatever your belief or values may be, join us in pleading for that blessing for Ford.

We have soaked in the warmth of the associations we have been able to enjoy the past few weeks. How wonderful it has been to be able to attend Church on Sundays, be out in public, Ford being able to attend the Temple, and even having the opportunity to attend the funerals of our dear friends and neighbors and pay tribute to them (five have passed in the past few months, three in the past week).

We were gifted tickets to the
Scera Outdoor Theater and enjoyed the production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. We are looking forward to the Annual Summer Ward Party this week also. We are figuratively filling our buckets to prepare for the coming weeks of isolation when Ford's white blood cell count will once again drop and his immunity goes to zero.

Thank you to everyone for the notes, emails,
Facebook posts, hugs, calls, visits, and the ton of support! You all are awesome and we are truly blessed continually.

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