Tomorrow morning I will start Chemo. My treatment is called R-CHOP. I think it sounds like a 70s kung fu movie with cheesy English voice overs. Which is actually probably appropriate because I've decided cancer is like a Ninja. Oh so sneaky, you don't even see it coming. Give me Zombies any day. They are nice and slow. Hello! If you can't see them coming, it is your own fault. They are always moaning and probably stink like crazy since they are the undead. Sorry, a bit off topic I know but I love Zombies. Most of you already know that.
Drug Therapy Treatment R-Chop (courtesy of Leukemia and Lymphoma site)
Many drug combinations are used to treat NHL The drug choice depends on the type of NHL and the stage of treatment. A number of drug combinations include Rituxan - a monoclonal antibody therapy. Monoclonal antibody therapies kill certain types of cancer cells. They can cause side effects but do not cause many of the side effects caused by chemotherapy.
R-CHOP: Rituxan, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin (hydroxydoxorubicin), Oncovin® (vincristine) and prednisone.
From what I understand from the wonderful chemo nurses, they will start with the Rituxan. It is administered very slowly due to some pretty nasty reactions that can occur the first time you receive it. It is because of the Rituxan that I will be at the cancer center pretty much all day. They push it slowly and carefully while doping you up on Bendryl and monitoring monitoring monitoring. The good news is that after the initial treatment of Rituxan subsequent treatment times will be cut in half.
I can't remember the exact timing of the next 3 drugs but I know that it isn't in the CHOP order.
C - Cytoxan it will take about 1.5 hours by IV and it's the one that requires me to drink a lot of water.
H- Doxorubicin (hydroxydoxorubicin) It's the red one and it is the reason I'm having a MUGA heart scan today. It can cause heart damage so they need a baseline heart function test to compare. Thank goodness, I've been running for almost 5 years now. Yeah! Strong heart! This is also the one that will more than likely be responsible for hair loss. I think they focus on the heart damage so when you see the Red you don't think stupid Doxorubicin you took my hair.
O-Oncovin It has its own set of side effects. I think mouth sores are the big one with this drug.
P- Prednisone - The steroids - this is the only one in pill form. I take it for 5 days following the IV chemo. I've dealt with prednisone in the past. It was part of my treatment for shingles and there was the experience of having a 4 year old on prednisone at WDW following a nasty asthma attack. Talk about crazy!
Dr. Black has also put me on Allopurinol because of my history with kidney stones and the involvement of my thyroid. It is a preventive measure to combat the levels of uric acid that can be produced from the dying cancer cells.
So now you all know about as much as me. I'm nervous about starting the first round but want to get this treatment started. The next blog entry will probably come from my recliner at the cancer treatment center. So please ignore typos, bad grammar and ramblings :-)