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Friday was one of the most interesting days in my chemo experience. It began with a trip to the Vancouver Food Bank. Cancer has been particularly debilitating mentally, stomach physically, symptoms as well as financially and I’m not able to adequately feed myself as I don’t have any income. I wondered what the experience would be like ahead of time as I took the bus there with a million thoughts going through my head. Thankfully the experience was 100% positive.
A couple of the people associated with the food bank came over to me while I was waiting and engaged me in conversation about life, which was nice, as well as answered questions I had about the process of getting food. When the doors opened, I first had to register as a new food bank user and then I was able to collect the different groceries they offered to me.
Another positive was a gentleman ahead of me in line that helped me along through the different stations, again everyone was super nice and friendly. One of the highlights was getting apples. I can’t remember the last time I could afford fruit, maybe 2012 and I certainly haven’t had apples probably since 2011 or 2010. I had one yesterday after dinner and it was yummy!
I then went home and took my cyclophosphamide, which is chemo (10 pills 50mg, 1 pill 25mg) and dexamethasone, which is a steroid (10 pills 4mg). This is my 27th week of chemo treatment so I have formed my pills as a 27. I then had breakfast – standard scrambled eggs and bread.
Later in the day, I travelled to my chemo appointment. We each have a chart that we use to self-report ourselves as we have to do our own blood pressure, oxygen saturation, pulse, and temperature, while waiting for the nurse to bring our chemo. In addition, there is a post-it note with our name that we put on the wall beside the door, so the nurse knows what room we are waiting in.
Blood Pressure: 132/81
Oxygen Saturation: 98
There was a note attached to my chart that listed the future dates I would have chemo appointments and I noticed that an additional cycle (4 weeks of in-hospital chemo, 1 week off) had been tacked on. This means rather than finishing my chemo in September as I originally thought, I will continue until mid October. It was a bit of a shock as I had mentally prepared to be finished chemo soon, but I’m guessing that the specialist would like my cancer levels (Aug 7.3 igG) to be lower. So this means I will have 6 cycles of chemo treatment rather than 5. I’m staying positive and I’m not going to let this get me down.
Just to give a recap, I am living with Multiple Myeloma (blood cancer). Since February 2013, I have been on my 4th chemo treatment called Velcade, which are weekly in-hospital injections, in addition to a variety of other pills I take to supplement my chemo treatment. You can read the background on my diagnosis and previous treatments on my blog.
You can view my self-portrait project on flickr.
I took this photo a week ago in one of the parking lots on campus.
You can also view photos related to my ongoing treatment here.