It’s been one week since the doctor told me I was done with chemotherapy. Here’s a recap of how I got this far. I’ll write more about what happens next and how I feel about everything in a future post.
- Complete first ever MRI of brain and cervical spine.
- Learn I have a brain tumor.
- Rush to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis that evening.
- Have numerous tests and brain surgery to biopsy the tumor.
- Spend something like 9 days in the hospital total.
- Begin simultaneous radiation therapy and chemotherapy (Temodar) as an outpatient.
- Finish 5 1/2 weeks of radiation and chemo with relatively few side effects.
- Go back home to Urbana for a couple of weeks of rest before it’s time for 6 to 12 more monthly rounds of higher-dose chemo.
- Take the first higher dose of Temodar.
- Have severe reaction four hours later that dims my sight, muffles my hearing, turns my lips and fingers blue, makes me too weak to stand on my own, causes fever and chills and an unbearable rash, and makes me puke.
- Lose my health insurance.
- Try to go off the steroid dexamethasone, end up in ER.
- Buy Obamacare.
- See dermatologist about rash.
- Have skin biopsied. (All clear.)
- Declared allergic to my first-choice chemotherapy (Temodar).
- Begin alternate chemotherapy (Gleostine) to be taken ever 6 to 8 weeks.
- Learn that my tumor shrank. (Par-tay!)
- Get too poor to buy Obamacare.
- Sign up for Medicaid and SSDI.
- Quit dexamethasone.
- Begin inexplicable bout with permanent dehydration.
- Lose weight.
- Have another ER visit to replace fluids.
- Spend four weeks bedridden.
- Beg doctor for routine IV hydration.
- Begin routine IV fluids.
- Start feeling human again.
- Watch platelets plummet and wait impatiently to be cleared for round 6 of chemo.
- Take round 6. Finally.
- Be decalred done with chemo after 6 rounds.