At University Hospital Feb. 2011

At University Hospital Feb. 2011
February 11, 2011 at University of Utah Hospital

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Home again!

Great day!--sunshine, warm weather, and we're home again! Phil drove from Sandy to Provo; I drove from Provo to Price; and Phil drove the rest of the way home! What a hunk!

Some of you have asked how chemo is affecting Phil.

1) Touching cold objects (like anything in the frig, the car door handle at 2:00 a.m. on his way to work, etc.) gives Phil a "10,000 volt shock" (Phil's words). I bought him several kinds of gloves at Cabela's yesterday, so if you see Phil in gloves, you'll know why! And after this cycle (cycle 2) Phil started getting the same sensation in his throat when drinking something cold--so now we make drinks warm, even water.

2) About day 3 Phil starts to feel pretty sick. Antiemetics help, but he still feels a gag reflex and bloating which translates to no appetite--he's actually afraid of eating because he doesn't want to get any sicker. During cycle 1 that feeling lasted from day 3 through day 5, and this cycle, so far, has been about the same. Some of the chemo drugs cause constipation and some cause diarrhea, so that goes back and forth, too. Go figure!

3) Tingling in Phil's fingers and toes has increased, and now he's having some numbness in his feet. This neuropathy will diminish somewhat as the cycle continues, we're told, but by the time he feels any improvement it will be time for another cycle. Eventually the neuropathy will be irreversible. That's why the Oxaliplatin will be withdrawn after cycle 6.

4) The new chemo drug introduced this week, Bevicizumab (Avastin), causes hypertension, which Phil already struggles with. So Dr. Weis prescribed potassium and Lasix, in addition to Phil's regular high blood pressure meds (Hyzaar and Norvasc). If I understand right, the potassium helps replenish depleted minerals and the Lasix helps prevent edema. However, the potassium has to be taken with food and Phil has to stay upright for 30 minutes (for why I don't know, but intend to find out). Since Phil hasn't been able to eat and has been mostly sleeping, he couldn't take the potassium. When the home health nurse came to disconnect his pump yesterday she was concerned because Phil's BP was high (190/80). Hopefully taking the potassium and Lasix today has helped.

5) Phil is always tired--some days more than others. Days 2 and 3 are spent sleeping and resting, which hopefully helps Phil bounce back faster. But like Dr. Weis said, "About the time you start feeling better, we zap you again." We're extremely grateful to Shon for giving Phil a key to his house, so he can slip away from work and rest while he's in Moab.

Phil is always anxious about missing work. When we're away he spends most of his time on the computer working, even getting up at 4:00 a.m. to do live news broadcasts for the radio stations. But some days are just impossible due to sickness and fatigue.

Thanks to all of you for your thoughts, prayers, and support!

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