Shaved my hair!

Shaved my hair!

Santa and Joshua

Santa and Joshua

Saturday, December 5, 2009

1 day of chemo down

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. It has been cold and snowing here in Traverse City.
Yesterday I completed my first day of chemotherapy. I was amazed how all the nurses remembered who I was, a couple joking that they had hoped they would never see me again.
It was a long 4 hours, I need to remember the chair I sat in, as it was not very comfortable. It reclined but not as flat as I prefer. I noticed a couple of chairs that others were using that seemed much nicer.
Most of the other patients were very friendly, introducing themselves and asking what I was diagnosed with. No one had heard of thymic carcinoma, but all were sad to hear it had spread and that I was back for more treatments. There were also some patients that never said a word, looked very scared, and very sad. I always hope they will look up and catch my eye, so I can send some sort of a vibe that will tell them we are all here to support them. Almost everyone had some sort of support person with them, which was nice to see. Friends and family are so important when going thru this. I am very blessed to have such a great support group, my family here in Traverse, back in Canada, in England, Finland, Israel, as well as my friends all around the world plus the numerous strangers who send messages of encouragement. I can tell you all, it really does help.

They start off your chemo slow, to make sure you don't have any sort of adverse affect to the drugs. I always sort of laugh that they are poisoning me! You can see you skin go pale and you do begin to feel week. I was told some warning signs, such as if I get a severe pain in my lower back with in the first 20 minutes, to call for one of the nurses. I never felt any pain. After a while they let the IV drip speed up, but the Taxol still took about 3 1/2 hours. Then they started the Carboplatin and it went in quick, about 30 minutes. They also gave me some more steroids thru the IV, some antihistamine, and aloxi to keep the nausea at bay. They seem to have the nausea part perfected. I have not felt nauseous once.

Some strange side effects have occurred since my treatment. I have been battling the hick ups since last night. This is a known side effect of both the steroids and the chemo. I also could not sleep very well, partly because I would start hick upping out of the blue, and I was feeling very jittery though out the night. I was also experiencing a metallic taste in my mouth, which made eating anything very distasteful. So far I have still had an appetite, which had totally gone away last time. The steroids may be helping me keep my appetite up.

I woke up this morning, to Michelle saying that my face was red and I had a noticeable puffiness around my eyes. I figured it was from my lack of sleep. It got a bit worse as the day went on and I finally called the oncologist on-call, and he had assured me it was just a side effect of the steroid, not much could be done except wait it out, it would pass with time.

I did go in and get a shot of neulasta which will help keep my white blood count up. It does make my joints ache as well as my bones. I am already feeling the aches in my elbows. I have started to take some aleve to hopefully make it feel better. The nurse said I could feel the aches for about 2 weeks. I can deal with and continue to work with the aches, I wont be able to work if my white blood count drops too low.
And last but not least the chemo fog is back. I am not quite able to concentrate on what I am doing. I have had a continuous slight head ache that just doesn't allow you to focus. Hopefully I will get a much better nights sleep tonight and will feel better in the morning.

As draining as this all sounds, I know that it is all worth it.
Next step is my PET Scan on Tuesday. This will show if the cancer has spread to any other part of my body. It will be a very important scan, and I will be anxiously awaiting the results.

That's all for tonight. The Toronto Maple leafs are playing...and losing, and I am feeling tired which is good. I may just try and sleep on the couch for a while. Talk to you all soon.


Sheila said...

Hey Chuck!
I think your attitude is amazing and your honesty is incredible! I wish that those who were feeling "scared" could read your blog, I'm sure it would help reassure them that it is beatable and possible to get through with a sense of humour and a support network!
When will you get the results of the scan?
Hope the side effects are up today, I'm sure there's lots of sports on TV to pass the day.
Big hugs to you and Michelle!
Sheila and crew

Michelle said...

Hey Baby, I read your post this morning and fell even more in love with you, if that's possible. You are a truly amazing man, going thru all this and still so positive. As for the chemo fog, just be happy you know it will go away.... seems I live in a blonde fog all the
I love you and am so blessed to be your wife!
I love you more sm!



mom and dad lewis said...

Hey charlie,
Dad and I just read your blog and we have no words to tell what an amazing person you are. To want to have other people look up and to send them a vibe that everything will be okay is so heartbreaking. We are the ones that are learning from you, the true meaning of kindness, compassion and caring for others. We are truly blessed to have you in our family and we love you very much Charles Jokinen.

Anonymous said...

Hey Charlie,
I am so sorry to hear that it came back. i wish you the best of luck. Just keep your attitude positive (which you have no problem doing) and every thing will be ok. get plenty of rest and pray. You have a new beautiful grandson to keep you company and we all have your back if you EVER need anything.
Best of luck and wishes

Rich said...

Sending you much happiness to share this Christmas season. I remember a couple of years ago and the times that were good - they will come again...Merry Christmas

Rich Stubler