Sorry! It has been an interesting and educational couple of weeks since our last update and we are just getting around to catching up. We started Round 2 of chemotherapy on Friday, 8/2, and went straight to our room since all of the paperwork and labs had been completed on Thursday. Travis was feeling pretty good and watched some movies to help pass the time. Tyler was supposed to go to the beach with Zachary and Bessie but he was not feeling well so he stayed at home to rest and hang out with Cisco. After work Tony came down to have dinner and stay for a few hours. At bed time, Tony left to go home around 10pm. Overall, it was a good first day!
Saturday started out ok but later in the afternoon, some nausea set in. We were able to control the nausea but the down side is that medicines combined (Ativan and Phenergan) make him feel very sedated so he sleeps a lot. Tyler was supposed to go down with Tony but we felt it was best if he stayed home since he was not feeling 100% the day before so he and Cisco hung out all day.
On Sunday, Lynne and Tyler went to church and came down around lunch time. The nausea was there most of the day and it really keeps Travis from wanting to eat or drink anything. So, we let the IV fluids do their thing and we were hoping he would be feeling well enough to go home on Monday.
Monday – Nausea was calming down some but Travis just did not feel like eating or drinking much so they decided to keep him on IV fluids and medicines. It was a little disappointing to find out we were not going home but everyone said that it did not make sense to rush going home only to have to turn back around and be readmitted. So, we accepted the facts and set our new goal of going home on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, we were given the green light even though Travis was not eating much and drinking a little water. Lynne asked the doctor about prescribing and appetite stimulant and they gave us Marinol (aka medical marijuana) to help with eating and nausea. Several people asked: “does he have to smoke it?” Funny! But the answer is NO since it is in the pill form. So, we went home a little after lunch time. Travis was excited to be home and he seemed to be doing ok. But then on Wednesday, he was not feeling too well and by the evening, everything was aching and his jaw was hurting so we gave him some Hycet so he could get some sleep.
On Thursday, one of the nurses called to check and see how things were going and they recommended that we bring him in to have his lab work checked. As it turned out, his electrolytes were all out of whack with his Potassium, Magnesium, Sodium and Phosphorus all very low. So they went ahead and admitted us so that we could run IV fluids. That was not exactly what we wanted to hear but at least that would help explain things and we were in the best place to get his levels straightened out.
After running the fluids with additives (Potassium) and taking supplements (Potassium/Sodium, Magnesium) over night, on Friday we could tell Travis was starting to bounce back and feel better. Even though his electrolytes were still low, they were slowly starting to climb up. The thing is, when your Potassium is low, apparently it can affect your heart rhythm so they kept him on the monitors. The good thing was that with all these things he had to take, Travis learned how to swallow pills with the help of the nurses and started taking pills Friday night. Big step! This made medicine time much easier, especially since some of those liquids taste horrible! This was also Day 8 of the chemotherapy cycle but since they did not want to complicate things more, they decided to hold off on the Vincristine boost until the next day.
By Saturday, even though some of his levels were still low, Travis was really starting to feel good and made it out to the play area about 5 times with one of the times being out there more than an hour. It was great to get outside and feel the warmth of the sunshine. By this time, his Potassium had crept back up but we needed it to be stable over a period of time before they would let us think about going home. So, we were in for another night! In the evening, we did get the Vincristine boost and the Blood counts (ANC, Hemoglobin, etc) were starting to drop as expected since this was in our 7-10 day window where the counts get the lowest. The nurse mentioned that if the Hemoglobin continued to drop below 7.5, we would need to do a blood transfusion which was something new. After dinner, we watched a “Duck Dynasty” marathon on A&E. Those people are Funny!
On Sunday, the potassium level stayed level consistently and we were able to take off the heart and respiration monitor which was half way to freedom. Travis was really feeling good and excited about the possibility of going home. But, after speaking with the doctor, it was too late to get the Potassium and Magnesium prescription from the pharmacy. Also, since the Hemoglobin was continuing to drop, we were going to need to come back on Tuesday for a blood transfusion. So, the doctor recommended that since we had to stay Sunday night anyway, we could just go ahead and do the blood transfusion so that we did not need to come back on Tuesday. Travis was a little nervous since this was something new but everything went smoothly over the 4 hour process. He did not feel a thing and there were no reactions. We ended up watching a 6 hour marathon of “Jungle Gold” on the Discovery Channel. Crazy stuff! Travis was able to unhook all of his connections (IV, Monitor, etc) and we had a good night of sleep.
Monday was a busy morning of waiting for nurses, doctors, medicines, etc before we could head home. By noon, everything was done except our new prescriptions ordered so Tony had to leave for work. On the way home, Lynne went to pick up the prescriptions at our local pharmacy but it turned out they were out of stock even though the computer said they had it. After hours of calling the hospital and calling around to find them, Lynne and Travis headed back down to the hospital to pick them up. What a pain! When you are on hospital time, you ask yourself: where did the day go? Doesn’t matter…Travis made it home!
Even with our crazy schedule over the last 2 weeks with the soccer tournament and exploring all of this new territory, we made it through! Since the chemotherapy regime was the same as Round 1 with Cisplatin/Vincristine on Day 1, Cytoxan on Days 2 and 3, and Vincristine boost on Day 8, we thought we knew what to expect. But that just goes to show you, we never really know exactly how things will go with chemotherapy.
Tony and Lynne