So much been going on... I had started to update a couple weeks ago, and to be honest, I don't know where my post went...
Anyway... Joe had chemo last week. We had told the PA that he was going OFF the Xeloda.
The week after his previous chemo, 4 weeks prior, the diarrhea had hit again. He made it through the first week with it... it really wasn't as bad as the previous times. Memorial Day morning, we decided that he really needed some fluids... Since every time he ended up in the hospital, the oncologist played with him with fluids the first week, then called in the GI doc the 2nd. We decided to jump ahead, and we called the GI's office. The on-call called Joe in some fluids, so I dropped him by the local day hospital and went on to Mom and Dad's, and picked him up after he was done. He said he felt a lot better, but the on-call had mentioned something about his kidney function being a bit off...
He had an appointment for that Thursday, so we went in and saw the doc. Strangely, he didn't seem horribly concerned with Joe's dehydration. He had dropped 24 pounds from the Friday before... so 24 lbs. in just under a week. I asked about Joe needing more fluids, but he didn't think it was necessary, but he did have a stool sample taken. He never said a thing about Joe's kidneys, so we assumed all was well.
That next day, Joe was really dragging, so I called back and pretty much demanded that they call Joe in orders for some fluids. Well, he did... one bag for that day, one bag the next. ??? That seemed to help, and then, amazingly, the diarrhea stopped.
That week would have been chemo week, but with him having been so wimpy that week, we knew they wouldn't have done treatment anyway, so he had that week off, and then the next week, he'd already missed one full week's work, so we gave him another week to recover.
Having watched him go through this again and again... We got to seeing a pattern... We KNOW the Iranatican (Irantothecan) is famous for causing diarrhea. But even more than that, every time Joe's hands and feet start getting red and painful, the diarrhea would kick in. From all I've read, the Xeloda CAN affect a person's innards as well as their hands and feet. Joe gets the diarrhea, his taste buds get "off", he gets a "clog" in his throat...
That's why we were determined to go off the Xeloda. Joe had done the 5FU for over a year with no issues... Well, I guess we found out why. When Joe was doing folfox with the 5FU pump, he apparently was getting a very small dose of the 5FU. If he did the same amount of the 5FU as he was doing of the Xeloda, he would likely get the same symptoms. Before he wore the pump for 2 days... the Xeloda, he started out doing 4 pills twice a day for 10 days, then 4 off. They'd reduced the Iranatican down 25%, then another 25%, but they only took the Xeloda down 25%... so 3 pills twice a day, 10 on, 4 off.
We asked the PA about reducing the pills again, but she gave us a little dose of reality (we do need that every now and again, I guess...). Our previous visit 4 weeks prior, They weren't able to palpitate Joe's liver... well, I wrote about that in my last post. She said for the first time in awhile, we seem to be kicking cancer butt. We've already reduced the Iranatican by half... if we pull back too far on the Xeloda, we just may lose the lead we've got. We could very well get Joe into remission vs just keeping the cancer stable if we push on. If Joe can deal some with the diarrhea and us just stay on top of it, then maybe, just maybe... She was willing to make a bit of a concession... instead of doing 10 on, 4 off, we're going to go to 7 on, 7 off... give him a little longer break in between rounds. Today is our last day for this go 'round... as of yesterday, Joe's hands and feet started getting sore... We've been doctoring him pretty good with Imodium, and so far, so good. No diarrhea... not even a hint. 'Smatter of fact, Joe may be a bit... "clogged" up... but better that for a couple of days than the perpetual runs.
We're hoping and praying that this may finally be it. We may have the dosages of the drugs right that they will continue to attack the cancer, but NOT attack Joe. We can't live with the 2-3 weeks of diarrhea anymore. We are flat out busted financially... just barely holding on... On the verge of losing our house... we've had to quit paying on some of the non-necessity bills... The financial stuff is just insult to injury on top of the cancer... If you would... just pray that the new dosage keeps Joe healthy enough to work (and who knows, if he stays healthy, I just might be able to explore getting a job, or at least devoting more time to my crafting, which brings in a bit more here and there...).
We are fortunate that now and again, we get a blessing from unexpected sources... My sweet Mamaw... 89 years old, on Social Security, and she sends us a check now and again when she knows Joe's been out of work. We lost Pap to colon cancer just a couple years back... so she knows what we're going through, somewhat... Some of Joe's co-workers still occasionally donate time to him... or give him a cash gift. The new guy they hired to be Joe's helper... he's super sweet... He lost his mom to cancer just recently. He'll buy Joe breakfast and lunch during the week... told Joe he's his blessing. That it gives him a good feeling to do for Joe since he wasn't able to be with his mom for much of her illness.
Right now we could use a major blessing... It's happened before... I'm just holding my breath to see how we're going to make the house payment this month... and pay my truck taxes. I have faith it will all come together... but waiting with bated breath. (*"*)