4th Cycle, 1st Infusion – January 10, 2019

This visit was the 16th week of my treatment, and it was a happy visit. I even did a little happy dance!

Every 8 weeks I get a new CT scan to let us see what the tumor is doing. This also marks the end of the most recent 8 week cycle of 4 infusions of “FloFiri” chemo, and the start of a 4 week cycle of 3 infusions of “Gemabraxine” chemo followed by taking the 4th week off. It was a busy day:

  • 8:20 am – checked in, got my Power Port hook up to access my circulatory system, & drew blood through that for the blood test. I’ve grown to really appreciate my Power Port. In the old days my veins would have been chewed up by now. With the Power Port they just attach blood test vials, injections, or infusions to this socket that dangles there after getting hooked up. No pokes!!!!
  • 9:20 am – get CT scan, using the now-accessible Power Port to inject contrast media.
  • 11:00 am – Consult with my Oncologist, Dr. Picozzi to, be examined, questioned about my handling of the last chemo, and go over blood test and CT scan results. There was good news here, see below.
  • 12:00 pm (actually 12:40 pm) – Receive my next chemo infusion. Before this we went to the hospital cafeteria and had lunch. Pretty good food at pretty damned good, probably subsidized prices.

With Gemabraxene I don’t have to take a pump home, and the infusions are relatively quick, taking less than 2 hours start to finish. Yay! Yes, I will begin losing my hair again, but also I’ll be a lot less nauseated. While both types of chemo make me nauseated up until the last 3 days of the previous infusion interval, that’s still 3 “good” days out of 7 for Gemabraxine. With the FloFiri it’s 3 “good” days out of 14.

So it was good enough this week to know that I could switch chemos, but I had a big time bonus happy news the second that Dr. Picozzi sat down to talk. First words out of his mouth was that the tumor is continuing to shrink! In fact, it’s shrunk 4 mm since we started tracking its size 16 weeks ago. 1st measure was about 31mm in size. 2nd measure was at 29 mm, and this measure was at 27 mm. My blood measures are all good with one slight elevation of one of my liver measures, but not the other one, a slight reduction in red blood cells, and those are to be expected considering the chemo. The pancreatic distress marker is still nice and low too.

I actually stood up and clapped my hands. Couldn’t help myself.

So we are on track to go through these 4 weeks of Gemabraxene, followed by 4 weeks & 2 more infusions of the FloFiri, a CT scan again, and very probably start planning the surgery to remove the tumor, known as the “Whipple Procedure” (Please don’t squeeze the Charmin).

I think you can say that I’m HAPPY!!!!!!