Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Shell Shocked

The last time I updated my blog I was awaiting my PET scan which would determine the next steps of this cancer journey. After being hassled by UCSF's "amazing" (sarcasm) receptionists, I finally received an appointment to hear the results of my scan.
As I was sitting in the waiting room among numerous other cancer patients, I began to get really anxious and nervous. I didn't have the highest hopes that the ICE treatment had worked, because a week after the last treatment I began to feel the mass creeping up in my neck once again.
 A nurse called out my name and began introducing himself to me. I thought he was only going to say "follow me" and lead me to the room where I would just await the doctor to hear the outcome. Instead he said, "hi, I'm so and so, and I will be giving you your chemo today." At first I didn't think much of it then realized, did he just say chemo? I wasn't supposed to get chemo! I just was there to get my results! I freaked out a little and began to panic! Chemo?! What does this mean? Why was this not communicated to me before I came? I was not prepared to get chemo at all! Mentally, you have to gear up for this kind of thing, and I was just going to be thrown in blind. After throwing a little bit of a fit, the doctor came in to talk to me. She then revealed that I did not react at all to the ICE treatments. I then broke down completely. I didn't understand and was horribly confused. She then told me she would like to give me this new treatment right away. After hesitation, I gave in and decided to get the treatment right then.
The new treatment Brentuximab, or also called SGN-35, is the new drug I am receiving. This is an anti-body conjugate which targets malignant cancer cells. It is effective on most people and has less side effects, which is awesome! I am going to be getting a total of three doses, every three weeks. I already had my first dose which I just explained. The side effects were minimal. But after getting discharged from the hospital after the first round, I almost immediately got excruciating leg cramping in both legs. The pain went away by the next day and I only had a bit of nausea. Not too bad at all. I go for my next treatment, dose two, in a couple more days. I feel very hopeful that this will be the trick to get me into remission and on to my stem cell transplant!!