I’m a few days behind my normal posting schedule this week. I got the second dose of my new treatment regimen on Wednesday, and while the side effects are milder than the previous infusion, I still spent a couple of days feeling less than awesome. But things keep rolling along, as they do. A few updates:
- It’s been about six weeks since I got the injection of Restylane in my left vocal cord. It definitely strengthened my voice, which is nice. It also seems to have triggered a tickle that sometimes makes it hard to talk without coughing. That irritation comes and goes, but it is nice not to feel like I sound like a Muppet all the time.
- I’m still undergoing swallowing therapy, and I had another endoscopy and dilation. The consensus is that lymphatic fluid build-up and fibrotic tissue in my chest and neck are contributing to both issues. My doctors are concerned that I’m not managing to squeeze enough nutrition through my restricted esophagus, and the gastroenterologist doesn’t want to keep dilating me only to have external pressure narrow things again. So on Tuesday they’re going to place an esophageal stent, to remain for four to six weeks. I’m a bit anxious about it, but I do need to eat more, so I hope it will help and not be too uncomfortable.
- Meanwhile, my left arm is currently mummified, wrapped in a multi-layer compression wrap my lymphedema therapist recommended and showed me how to do. I’ll continue that for about two weeks. It seems to be helping, softening the fibrosis in my arm and moving some of the fluid. Hooray! Sadly, now I’ve got some additional fluid backup in my neck, so I’m trying to stay on top of that with manual lymphatic drainage massage. Some days it feels like I’m playing Whac-a-mole.
- I seem to be growing some hair back! My oncologist thinks I may lose it again, but we’ll see; it didn’t fall out the first time I received the two chemo drugs I’m on now. I have a fuzzy old man’s head at present.
My new regimen consists of two chemo agents, carboplatin and gemcitabine, and an immunotherapy drug, pembrolizumab. I’ll receive four rounds total of that cocktail, each three weeks apart, and then undergo a scan, with hopes that we can then move to an immunotherapy-only infusion. Despite the side effects, my body does feel like it has an ally on board. It’s hard to explain, but the pain I was experiencing has lessened, so I’m hopeful the drugs are in there kicking some cancer butt.
I don’t really have any philosophical musings to offer today, for whatever they are worth. I’m going to sit on the porch, drink some tea, and call my dad. And at some point, with hubby Steve’s help, de-mummify and then re-mummify my arm. Wishing you a good wrap-up (hee-hee) to your weekend.