Monday, 3 February 2014

VanSel drug trial: Cycle 1 Day 1 of 42

It has begun!

We arrived at hospital about 10.15 am and went straight up to the clinical trials unit where Doctor Nick greeted us and directed us to Bay 37 in one of the four bay wards.  

Soon after we had settled in, Julianna the trial nurse arrived full of smiles and took four sets of blood samples for testing. These had to be checked in the haematology lab before Steve was allowed any medication.  Then the "usual" checks - blood pressure, pulse, temperature and SATS (98% which is good!)

As Julianna disappeared to take the bloods to the lab, Dr Nick arrived to do his physical examination, chat to Steve and ask if we had any questions.  He explained that most people don't experience side effects until they are taking both drugs - vandetanib and selumetanib - which starts on day 15 of the first cycle.  So while it's useful to have a packet of anti-diarrohoea tablets and factor 50 sun screen handy, Steve probably won't need either for a while longer.

Julianna reappeared to talk us through how to keep the medication diary and the timing of taking drugs, as well as the procedure to follow if there are any problems (which I'm pleased to say has improved since October 2012, when Steve was very poorly after his first dose of pemetrexed and carboplatin and it was a bit of a nightmare getting help).  We were given a new "red book" which is a record of his treatment and other useful information, and were almost ready for the off...

Although the drugs arrived on the ward at 11.20 am, Steve couldn't take his first vandetanib tablet until 12.20 pm when his blood tests results had come back and the all clear was given.  

So...Steve popped his first three 100g pills, we put on our coats, said our goodbyes and caught the bus home.  Simple and relatively straightforward.

Over the next few days, he will gradually bring forward the time he takes the tablets by 40-45 minutes, with the aim of getting to 11am as his regular tablet taking time, which is the perfect time to take the selumetanib capsules (no food for two hours before, or one hour after, taking that particular drug).

The next hospital visit later this week will be a long day as Steve will be giving small samples of blood over a 24 hour period for research purposes.  More about that in the next post, unless anything untoward happens in the meantime.  

Until then, we just have to remember to take the tablets at the right time; not to drop any, as there are no spares, and get up in good time for an early start on his next visit.  

So far, so good!

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