- Karen shouldn't have been as sick as she was after the first treatment. The issue we think was the nausea medication. She lost a lot of sleep and a lot of weight. Today they switched out her nausea meds (no more Kytril or Compazine). Now she's on a mixture of Emend, Aloxi and Decadrun. In the doctor's words they're "kicking it up a notch".
- Karen had some more severe neuropathy in her hands making her hands cramp up entirely with the Oxalyplatin but thankfully it wore off before she left the hospital.
- Ironically, the nausea meds make you sweat but because you're on Oxalyplatin you can't take anything cold!!!
- K's white cells were slightly low this week which is normal from chemo so on Thursday they'll give her a Neulasta shot to build them back up. Neulasta makes your bones and spine sore so she will have some pain medication for that.
- Constipation is another side-effect of the anti-nausea (how ironic again that you can eat but not poop) so they also have prescribed a regular cycle of prune-juice and anti-constipation meds to keep things moving.
- CEA stands for Carcino-Embryonic Antigen. It's a measure of how much cancer is growing in your body. The number is not important so much as the trend. Normal range is 0 to 2 and Karen's CEA was 237 when initally diagnosed. Today we found out that the CEA was 600 two weeks ago when chemo first started! By next treatment we will learn if it is trending downwards.
Finally, the Doc gave K an exam and confirmed what we had suspected the last few days. Basically over the weekend Karen had experienced some pain in her liver. K felt like the tumors were shrinking as things weren't "sticking out" as much. We figured the pain was related to the shrinkage. Sure enough Doctor Dan confirmed this in his exam today which is TERRIFIC news. The shrinking tumors can cause inflamation in their wake which is the pain she was feeling. This is fantastic news as it means the chemo is working.
Clearly God is sending us the help we need. We are quietly confident tonight that we can get through this. Keep praying for tumor shrinkage!