As promised here is a new post sooner rather than later. We have a lot to discuss for only a single day. Wednesday evening just after completing yesterday’s post my pain began to intensify quickly. I tried taking a hot bath, and I took my fast-acting (break-through) pain medication, but nothing would shake the pain. I began to compare notes about the last 3 nights and noticed that my nerve pain symptoms were worsening. Fortunately I had a pain management appointment this morning to review my medications.
As we were leaving the apartment Thursday morning to go to our appointment, my dad went to pull the car around and noticed it would not start. After further inspection he also discovered the side window was broken out. I assume that the alarm system worked because the hood was up and the battery disconnected. Someone had broken into our car and stolen our IPOD and FM tuner out of the glove box, as well as our GPS power cord and mounting bracket. Probably much to their disappointment we had the actual GPS unit with us. We did not have time to evaluate further damage as we still had an appointment that wasn’t going to wait. We had just missed the shuttle bus from our apartment to the hospital by ten minutes. The bus, however, doesn’t include provisions for my wheelchair. Our car insurance has a deductible, so there probably wasn’t even enough damage to claim. Much of this apartment complex is dedicated to cancer patients. Also, my wheelchair was in the car, untouched. But, in my opinion, that is one desperate thief to steal from a cancer patient’s vehicle. God bless him/her. It appears that the earliest appointment for the window replacement is Wednesday, June 18. The internal contents taken from the car must go on homeowners insurance, which is of course filed under a separate deductible.
The first appointment on Thursday was with Dr. Lalani, a pain management specialist. This was a follow-up appointment that had been scheduled last week when I was discharged from internal medicine (inpatient). I was glad to have this appointment set up because over the last three days my pain symptoms have gotten worse. The nerve pain seems less and less responsive to the medications prescribed to treat it. The major downside to it all though is that the side effects (e.g., drowsiness! etc.) are showing up stronger than ever. I have discovered that chronic drowsiness is the most debilitating feeling that I have ever experienced. Dr. Lalani decided to add a few new additions but took none away from the regimen. Obviously, I was a little concerned that adding more narcotics was going to make me drowsier. Dr. Lalani said that it takes my body about a week to acclimate. He promised me that in a few days I would see a 70% - 80% decrease in drowsiness.
After a quick appointment with Dr. Lalani, Marissa and I set off for the Infusion Therapy clinic. For our 11:00am appointment we arrived at 11:05am. We were taken from the lobby waiting area around 11:45am. They started with vitals, and then placed me in a room very similar to an inpatient room but a little more lavish. The drugs were all explained again by the nurse, but it was all a little too much to absorb in one sitting. I have 3 main chemotherapy drugs: Ifosfamide, Vincristine, and Doxorubicin. There are a couple of others that are administered along with these three main ones for side effects. I do not know all of the details on these. The Ifosfamide is given at the first of the appointment. It is set up for a 30 minutes drip time. The Vincristine is set up simultaneously with the Ifosfamide and set up for a 4 hour drip time. The Doxorubicin is set up late in the appointment. It is set up for a 24 hour drip time along with a 24 hour drip of mesna, some type of side effect medicine. So far all is going great with the chemotherapy. I have not seen any effect of nausea, fatigue, vomiting, etc. The only thing that I have noticed is a slight aversion to my dinner tonight. My tastes seemed a little off and nothing seemed appetizing. After four hours in the chemo treatment, the nurse says a simple, “You’re done! I’ll see you tomorrow…” The treatment doesn’t feel any different than receiving a standard saline solution.
After chemo treatment on Thursday night, we all came home to an apartment with no cable. When we signed the lease on the apartment last Friday, we were told that cable was turned on in the room but billed under the previous tenant’s name. They said when the cable month expired we would need to transfer it into our name. The previous tenant did in fact have TV service but did not have internet. We decided to call Comcast to see if we could just add internet. Comcast said that they did not show record of any type of service since December, 2007. We spoke with a Comcast rep Saturday morning outside the apartment who was nice enough to handle the whole situation for us. He gave us a package deal on the internet and TV, changed the service to our name, and personally came back on Sunday to connect the service. He also said that since we had alerted Comcast of service in the apartment, they would schedule someone to disconnect it. Thursday night, June 12, we arrived and had no internet and no TV service. It quickly became apparent what had just happened. The rep took care of our service hook-up quickly over the weekend and Comcast had scheduled our “Free Cable” to be disconnected during the day on Thursday. My dad quickly scheduled a service call for Friday to reconnect the service. We were assured that no one needed to be home for the service call. Friday evening we arrived home to find once again that the cable was still down. A call to Comcast revealed that, “the tech knocked on the door, no one answered, and he postponed.” The next available appointment is Wednesday, June 18.
To top off the Friday the 13TH story, we also arrived home Friday evening to not only find that the cable was still down, but now the air-conditioner was down and there was no hot water. A quick call to the after-hours line at the apartment complex saw a repairman in about 30 minutes to address both of these problems. If only Comcast had this type of customer service.
Back to medical topics for a moment, I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Lalani Friday morning. He had scheduled a pain block steroid injection in my spine. The two shots were located between the L4 and L5 vertebrae. The injections came with a little bit of local anesthesia. The Doctor said the anesthesia would block my pain for approximately 6 hours. After 6 hours, the pain would return for about two days until the steroids started to take effect. The half-life of the steroids is approximately 3 weeks. Having this long-term pain relief should allow me to stop taking the fast-acting Dilaudid pain pills. I think these are the ones causing the bulk of my drowsiness. Also, Dr. Trent thinks that the Chemo, if effective, could shrink that tumor enough in as little as 3 weeks to relieve that nerve pain permanently. I could not be more excited at the idea of permanently relieving this hip pain.
In summary, we have had mixed emotions over the last two days. Always mentioning the positive first, my first chemo treatment is well on its way, and my hip pain is seeing some much needed relief. On the other hand, we were victims of theft from our unattended vehicle, we lost our cable, internet, air-conditioning, and hot water. Fortunately, the latter two have already been addressed.