Health Update: 22 February 2018

I had another Chemo session on Thursday, 22 Feb. For reasons puzzling me, I was a little apprehensive about the treatment this time, dreading or fearing that something was not going to go right. I was sleepless the night before. We were on the 7:05 boat for an 8:00 am appointment. First up was the blood draw and results were slightly improving. The Cancer marker actually decreased by 10% compared to two weeks ago, treading down for the first time in several months. Hopefully this is a good sign.

We had a thorough and open discussion with my Infectious Disease specialist, Dr. Woolston. The theory is that if the Chemo is effective, punching holes through my inaccessible ’egg shell’ tumor outer lining, the contents may consist of dead cancer cell, as well as my own battling blood cells, and most likely bacteria, which caused me to be hospitalized for systemic sepsis a few months ago. To counteract the bacteria, I have been infusing daily with antibiotics through my Power Port for over ten weeks in addition to taking the extremely bitter oral pill of Flagyl. On the one hand, things seem stable, why change? However, perhaps the current germs also have mutated over this period and have become resistant. Consequently, at the strong suggestion of Dr. Woolston, we dropped the Flagyl and switched to a different IV infusion medicine.

Dr. Picozzi, according to his treatment procedure, has me scheduled for another CT scan on my next visit, 8 March. Consequently, after my discussion with Dr. Woolston, I felt better to try this new more potent broad-spectrum antibiotic giving about two weeks to possibly show something on the next scan. Dr. Woolston also hinted that it may also enhance my ability to taste food. We are on this new regimen and so far, so good.

Treatment at the infusion center went well and relieved all my unnecessary anxiety. Feeling energetic, we finished some business at The Compass Housing Alliance and went grocery shopping at Viet Wah Chinese grocery in preparation of the Hinz visit. We returned to VM to pick up some meds and I had a very good pastoral visit with a dear family friend the Rev. Jimmy Hao there at the VM waiting area.

My brother, Dan had come from OH in early February to ‘downsize’ our Mom’s Tacoma Lutheran Home apartment where she’d been since 1997. He arranged and moved the heavy furniture, but left the sorting of clothes, kitchen, etc. to Kim Hinz, my twin William’s daughter. She came the day Dan left and did a terrific job, working for nearly three weeks! Her two collegiate daughters and her husband (and my Mom) came over this past week-end to spend time with Grandma, me and Elizabeth. Their presence boosted me with energy and we all had a great time. Chu can cook so I served them family favorite Chinese foods accompanied with family stories that Mom and I shared. A very receptive audience! It was a special, memorable time together. All company left today. Now I am writing my delayed report.

The first few days after Chemo, I do feel very good. Two days after infusion, my 5 FU pump is disconnected and I receive a Neulasta injection. Twenty four hours after the injection, I begin to experience severe soreness of 7/10 and pain of 5/10 of both knee joints, total weakness of both my gastrocnemius muscles (calf), and numbness and tingling of my feet. I hardly can walk and feel totally uncomfortable for about three days. Post treatment Day 7 on, I have thinning of my mucosal membrane throughout the digestive system and cannot eat anything ‘hard’. With the best possible oral hygiene, I have avoided getting mouth sores, but I am limited to soft steamed eggs or rice porridge. (I am tired of eating eggs.) I do get a little recovery of 3-4 days, and we start over again.

My dear brother Dan has arranged a short golfing vacation for us in Mesquite, NV next week end before my scheduled 8 March treatment. We are hoping for some warm weather and good chipping within 100 yards and putting! (It’s been uncommonly cold and snowy here.)

Hope everything goes as planned. We take one day at a time.
Deep felt appreciation again sincerely from my heart.
I’ll be in touch.