Friday, October 2, 2009

Update and Quiz

Chemotherapy is generally not a subject that brings grins and giggles into a conversation. However, Lynn and I thought it would be nice to provide some fun and interesting facts about our experience with chemotherapy. At least we hope you find them fun and interesting. We put them in the form of questions and answers to increase the dramatic effect.

1) How many miles did Lynn and Steve put on the Subaru driving to and from the Huntsman Center from last November until now?

2) How many round trips would that be?

3) How many times a day would Lynn tell Steve that he is not staying hydrated and needs to drink more, and that means water, skim milk or juice; not Mountain Dew?

4) How much has this entire program cost to date?

5) How many rolls of Press-n-Seal did Steve go through and what purpose did it serve?

6) What is gray and soft, and never left Steve’s side day and night for six months? This sounds like Lynn if it wasn’t for Miss Clairol, but that is not the answer I am looking for.

7) What is the cost of one bag of Melphalin, one of the high dose chemicals Steve took multiple times during chemotherapy? One bag is about 4 ounces.

8) What is Steve’s favorite snack food that he hasn’t eaten for almost a year because his altered sense of taste makes it repulsive to him?

9) What tip did our Dentist give Steve prior to the start of treatment which turned out to be the second best tip we received next to the Press-n-Seal?

10) What do a cute young blonde and an ex Army Ranger have in common that is associated with Steve’s treatment?

Answers at the end of this post.

Medical Update

Following my six months of high dose chemotherapy I was given a few months to recuperate and then I started my maintenance chemo that I take in twelve, twenty eight day cycles over the next year. The first cycle was kind of rough as I had an allergic reaction to one of the drugs and broke out in a rash, crashed big time every other week as I came off the Dexamethasone (one of the three chemo drugs I take) and generally felt like dirt the whole cycle.

For the second cycle some of the dosages were reduced and the schedule for taking them was altered slightly. The second cycle went much better, no rash, minimal crashing and I felt pretty good most of the time.

I am now on day five of cycle #3 and so far all is going well. At the end of cycle 3 (late October) I will have my “Myeloma Markers” tested and meet with the Dr. to see how well we are doing at killing the beast. Results will be posted


1) 3,823 miles

2) 78 round trips

3) Lynn says five or six. I’d say it was more like ten to fifteen. I guess it all depends on your perspective.

4) I’m not telling, but I’m sure it exceeds the Gross National Product of a number of small countries.

5) Four. It was used to cover my port (access catheter) when I showered. Seals great against the water and unlike tape can be removed without taking any skin with it. One of the best tips we received at the beginning of treatment.

6) Hand knit hat from a neighbor that kept my bald head warm both day and night. Thanks Chris.

7) Almost $16,000

8) Popcorn

9) Buy an electric toothbrush for those days when you only have enough energy to hold it to your mouth, and there were many.

10) They were two of the great nurses that took such good care of Steve at the University Hospital