Monday was marked by a visit to see “the little red haired boy” also known as the oncologist. The visit started by having 3 vials of blood taken. After the PA took the medical changes, etc, we saw Dr. F. He did a check over of Lee, talked about any changes with his body, pain issues, appetite problems, constipation and all those fun things. We didn’t receive a huge amount of explanation of the new medication from Dr. F, but we did receive a DVD before leaving. The medication is called Zometa and it helps the body to strengthen weakened bones. Myeloma patients have a 75-90% chance of having fractures occur. Hummm, this sounds so familiar! Like all medications it can have a string of side effects… but today, so far so good.
After the check-up with Dr. F, we returned to the waiting room until called back to the “other area”. We really had no idea what to expect except an IV and about 30-40 minutes. After telling the nurse it was our first time for an IV treatment, he did a lovely job explaining where everything was in the room but zip about how the medication was given. At the end of the hallway things opened up into a large room. There were 6-8 mauve chairs arranged around the edges with a large central counter with under counter cabinets. A bathroom and kitchen space acted as a divider to an identical space on other side. Several rolling carts contained the parts to start IV’s, bandages etc. There were already 4 people set up receiving chemo. The chairs reclined slightly. Patients have access to TV’s with earphones, magazines, 2 bathrooms with plenty of room to drag their IV’s along. The small kitchen area was stocked with 3 varieties of juice, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, instant soup, and pretzels. If patients wish to bring in their own food/drink, they are welcome to do so and place them in the fridge.
Administering of the medication: We learned that the procedure starts with a full 250ml bag of saline. After administering about 150ml alarms go off and a second bag containing Zometa is added to the line. Once the Zometa has been administered, they continue administering the remaining saline until the lines run dry. The entire process took around an hour, just a drop in the bucket compared to the folks receiving chemo treatment. Keeping Lee occupied and thinking of other things was challenging. He was extra fidgety and his hip kept him from sitting down very long. We were by far the bounciest of the cancer folks there. Lots of older people with a spouse or one of their children. It’s nice to see people there with family or some sort of support system. I’m feeling pretty lucky to be able to spend this time with my dad, learning more about him, planning our bird house project together, talking about artwork, architecture, my siblings and life.
From last week’s blood work we did find out his red blood cells were decreasing. Not a good thing. However, his platelets were increasing! It is very possible that he will require another 2 pints of blood before the next blood testing on the 23rd. We/he will be watching for signs of lack of energy and tiredness. He also needs to pay attention to better oral hygiene and increasing daily fiber intake.
My brother Tom & son Zac will be coming next weekend for a visit. Not certain where they will be sleeping… but something will get figured out. That’s all for now!