Friday, July 22, 2016

CHEMO - Part 1

Okay, folks. I promised to blog with an eye toward sharing what I learned along the colon cancer trail. I, regretfully, have fallen way short. However, here I am with some insight into chemotherapy. This will be the first part -the part where I show off my knowledge of devices and chemicals. The second part will talk about my personal experiences.

Chemicals - Folfox
- Folfox is actually 3 chemicals, sort of specialized for colon and a few related cancers.

FOL- Folinic Acid
F - Fluorouracil
OX - Oxaliplatin

These are administered at different times for maximum effect, since they all do slightly different things. The Oxaliplatin comes first because it enhances the other two.

Hospital Regimen - OX, The Heart Port, and the Big Push

A typical chemo day has me arriving at the cancer ward of Penrose Hospital in mid-morning. I am led to a very comfy reclining chair.

and I introduce myself to the other folks in chairs (they are not there on a research project; they are there to receive chemo as well). I am introduced to the OX part of the chemo. This and some steroids and a final push (Hypo of 7.1 milliliters of F and Fol, the other two components of the trio, takes about two and a half hours. All of this goop is administered by a heart port (yes, into my very own heart).

This little device is under my skin up around my collar bone on the right side. A tube from the port runs under my ribs and into the bottom of my heart. Thus, when chemo is administered, it is my very own heart that is pumping the stuff into my cells.

Home again, Home again Jiggedy Jig - Chemo Fanny pack

At this stage, I go on home but not alone.  I take with me 105 milliliters of F and Fol and a compact device to deliver same and a fanny pack to carry with me. This process will take 46 hours ( 2.28 ml per hour) because the device only administers 1 microliter every 75 seconds or so. Now wrap your head around how miniscule this is. A milliliter is basically the amount of liquid found in a human tear. A microliter is one thousandth of that. Tiny huh?

Back to the Cancer Ward.

46 hours later my device signals me (an alarm) that it is empty. I turn off the  device and return to the cancer ward and the flexible needle that has been stuck into my port all this time is removed.

I am free.

For two weeks.

I'll do this process 9 more times.

Welcome to my world. It's not so bad.


  1. Dear Bob, I admire your spunk, wit, and spirit! You are truly dauntless. I will be praying for you through your treatments and beyond. ....Laura Nelson

    1. Thank you, sweet lady. I'll take all the prayers I can get.

  2. Bob, you are a fighter! I have no words to describe how difficult it is to go through this treatment. Best of luck for complete treatment.


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