Monday 31 March 2014

VanSel1 Cycle 2 Day 15: Better out than in....

After a weekend of feeling vulnerable with frequent visits to the loo, Steve still felt rather agitated when we went to hospital this morning for his regular weekly check up.  Within a few minutes of sitting down on the ward, he stood up again and headed quickly for the bathroom.

Hearing him cough loudly, I followed him in and found him head over the loo, retching.  Then he was SPECTACULARLY sick - all over the wc, the floor, his shoes and new trousers.  

It's at times like that you really appreciate a nurse who doesn't flap, comes to the rescue with tissues and wet wipes, reassures you and tells you not to worry, and then gets on and deals with the mess efficiently.  

As the saying goes, it's better out than in.  And in Steve's case, that was true.  He felt much better by the time he was cleaned up and had got back to the bed bay, albeit rather weak and empty.

Although not scheduled, the nurse thought it prudent to get him checked over by the doctor before he took his morning dose of drugs.  So bloods and ECG done, we chatted with Doctor Nick about what had just happened and how Steve had been feeling over the last week.

It was reassuring to know that Steve's chest sounded no different, in spite of the cough continuing on and off.  All his symptoms - diarrhoea, fatigue, vomiting, mouth sores and skin disorders are known side effects of the trial drugs and are considered to be indicative of Level 1 toxicity (I dread to think what Levels 2 or 3 are like....)  

However, the doctor acknowledge that while such side effects are not considered to be serious in medical terms, when they continue for a sustained period it can be very draining and feel like the patient's quality of life has been compromised. He stressed that Steve can leave the drug trial at any time if it all gets too much.  The choice is entirely his.  

We had already talked about this.  All other things being equal, Steve intends to continue taking the trial drugs until the end of cycle 2.  By then we will know from the scan whether they are having a beneficial effect on the mesothelioma. 

If the cancer has shrunk, is stable or if any growth is small and has not spread into new areas, Steve will take this into account before making a decision about whether or not to continue.  Obviously, if the meso has grown significantly or to spread to new areas, then he will stop at once; we will take stock and explore whether there are other options.

So...two more weeks to see assess the manageability of the side effects of the trial drugs and then it will be decision time.  

Steve is taking a nap as I write.  Here's hoping that he feels better when he wakes up and that he manages to keep some food inside him in the coming weeks to give him a bit more energy.  

Reading Amanda and Ray's blog, made me start yearning for a long riverside walk ending up at a pub!  Tess has been making the most of her week off chemo, meeting with family and friends and enjoying Mother's Day.  As usual, Mavis is busy raising awareness and plugging the Saatchi Bill.  Perhaps this is the best way to deal with "scanxiety"?  Lou in Australia has been given the all clear to fly to the States for the ADAO 10th Annual Conference in Washington - great news, and very exciting! 

Last but not least, here is a special hug for Grace and her boys who said their final farewells to bravo meso warrior, husband, father and friend Ian on Friday xx

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