At University Hospital Feb. 2011

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When life gives you lemons . . .

Phil is my hero! Yesterday he cheerfully endured a grueling seven straight hours of chemo. Before meds are mixed, Phil's blood is tested to be sure he can tolerate treatment. Then his chemical regimen (or recipe, as it's called) is mixed and infusions begin in this order: 1. pre-meds (saline, calcium and magnesium, and an anti-emetic to prevent nausea); 2. oxaliplatin (derived from platinum--with a price to prove it), 3. leukovorin (folic acid which binds 5FU to cancer cells); and 4. Bevicizumab (or Avastin). Then he's disconnected from the infusion lab pump and receives: 5. a five-minute bolus, or "push," of flourourasil (commonly known as 5FU) by syringe, and 6. then connected to a portable pump affectionately referred to as his "little friend," which pumps 5FU over the next 46 hours. This pump resembles a ball about the size of a large grapefruit and reduces in size as it infuses.

Since we were in the infusion lab from noon till just after 7:00 p.m., 46 hours later falls at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday. That's when the home health nurse will visit us to disconnect Phil's pump and we're free for another 11 days till cycle 3 begins. Right now Phil is scheduled for 12 cycles (2 down--10 to go). But as Dr. Weis wrote in his diagnosis, "this treatment will likely continue indefinitely."

As a neophyte who is fast becoming a frequent flyer of the infusion lab, Phil has learned to navigate while attached to his infusion pump/IV pole. All those fluids necessitate several trips to the rest room and on one such excursion, Phil escaped to the infusion lab across the hall to share some exciting "news" with Dov, who was also being infused. Earlier we had received a copy of the report Dr. Weis dictated regarding our previous visit which read, "Mr. Philip Mueller is a 67-year-old woman . . ." A what? Phil and Dov had some good laughs over that!

I told Phil, "Atleast it doesn't say, 'Upon examination . . .' !"

By the way, Phil's white blood count was lower this week (but fortunately not too low for infusion). Please be aware that Phil's immunity to germs, bacteria, and viruses is also compromised. Research proves that frequent hand washing is the best way to avoid spreadiing disease (that's the Extension Agent in me speaking). Avoid hand-shaking. Cough and sneeze into your elbow. And if you're not feeling 100%, please use the "six-foot rule." Keep a distance of six-feet between you and Phil, and know that we love you for your thoughtfulness and consideration!


  1. Oh I am so glad he isn't a woman haha! Loves to both of you!

  2. Thanks for the update...we're praying for you both.