Round 1, June 27

The Journey BeginsIntestines

Although his first chemo treatment began on June 27, 2012, the actual journey began in early January 2012 when Lyle had a routine colonoscopy. Some polyps were found, a couple with cancer which had broken through the membrane. That required surgery to remove some of Lyle’s colon – the Sigmoid.

The surgery was on April 23 and several weeks later the lab report came back with the not-so-good news that in fact some lymph nodes were found in Lyle’s colon that would require chemotherapy to kill. After some delays, the treatment began on June 27th.

Credit Valley Hospital

Credit Valley Hospital (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lyle’s treatment takes place every two weeks at the Credit Valley Cancer Center and will continue for 6 months for 12 treatments. His first visit was a lengthy one. First, they (always) take his blood count – cells can’t be too low and many other factors. If anything is not right, the treatment is delayed. Then on this day, he had a visit with the doctor. He’ll see her every 4th visit. Then the treatment. The treatment facility is quite new and the staff are wonderful.

The Process
Most visits, Lyle will give blood then sit in the chair to receive the chemo. Prior to starting treatment, a surgeon installed a PICC line in Lyle’s arm. This is the intravenous line that is needed for the chemo and other drugs required. Thanks to this line, nurses don’t have to look for a vein every time Lyle comes for treatment, and, he can return home still receiving the chemo drip without needing the equipment. Just one “baby bottle” that is attached via a long tube and he simply carries it around (I’ll take a picture next time).

Lyle goes home and in 46 hours the bottle is empty and a home visiting nurse comes and disconnects it. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the visiting nurse comes to flush out the PICC line. It was suggested that I should learn how to do this flushing so that if we want to go away we can. I’m a little uneasy but will watch the nurse carefully over the next few visits. Once a week the nurse changes the dressing. This is something the nurse must do, not anyone else – this is fine with me, I wouldn’t want to do it!

Side Effects
Lyle was OK for a few days and was quite pleased with how it was going. Then on about the 3rd day he crashed and slept for about 18 hours. The other side effect is super-sensitivity to cold. He can’t touch or eat/drink anything cold, at least for the first several days. It got a little better later on but the sensitivity was still slightly there.

One down, eleven to go!

One Response to Round 1, June 27

  1. Lyle Southam says:

    Well, I am three quarters through this chemo (Thanksgiving Weekend) and I am reading Joanne’s Blog on this topic for the first time I knew she was posting news but I hadn’t actually followed it. So, I won’t give anything away about the future,, but I can lay some groundwork.

    Yes, the surgery went well – open rather than initially planned lapiscopic. No bag or even temporary bag (relief) and 29 staples in a perfect straight line from pretty low up through my belly button. So, now, I am a SEMI-COLON…

    While in the hospital, infection appeared in a couple of spots in the incision. I think it was day 6 when the staples removed and daily packing and dressing changes allowed slow healing of the infection. Left the hospital after 9 days and for the next 5 weeks, a visiting nurse did the daily dressing work – initially painful but it certainly got better over time.

    Due to the infection and then a cold, chemo start was delayed a few weeks, but once it started, it allowed us to meet Cindy Quinton (Oncologist) who would work with a team to monitor things over the next several months. Certainly helpful that she knows (and worked with) my brother-in-law Bill McMillan (Oncologist in Hamilton) Bill was able to provide some helpful insight into what is going on.

    Beyond the medical insight, support from family and friends is swelling and I am not at all short of folks who are offering encouragement, comfort and advice. (I take the advice in the spirit it is given. LOL)

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