Saturday, October 18, 2008

More on ABVD, the Chemo of Chocie for Hodgkin's Lymphoma




First of all, one of the things I learned after my diagnosis is that there are many different kinds of chemotherapy. For doctors, or other people who may have in some way previously dealt with cancer, or chemo this may seem surprising but it's true. I had kind of always assumed chemo was chemo. This is not true at all. There are specific regimens and time tables for various cancers and various stages. I saw people who had to come in 2 days in a row for chemo and I saw others who wore a machine on their side that they walked around with, for how long I do not know.

My treatment was called ABVD. This is the normal regimen for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. My doctor explained I would need 6 cycles. This means I had one treatment every 2 weeks. Each two treatments was one cycle. It got confusing for me and my hubby more often than not reminded me which cycle and/or treatment I was on.

At each appointment we would start off with a small bag of anti nausea meds that would take about 10 to 15 minutes to drip into my port. After that they would bring my meds. There were bags that didn't take so long and there was one I think that took around and hour to an hour and a half. It matters how fast they set it to drip. They had two meds they had to push into me with a syringe. These meds had to be pushed during a certain amount of time. They couldn't push too fast or too slow. When a nurse is injecting this dark red medicine into me I often fell asleep. Seriously, you wouldn't think you could but I did.

My chemotherapy treatments usually lasted around 3 1/2 hours altogether. That's JUST treatment time. That's not counting getting blood drawn, lab work, test results (which had to be done before you could ever get chemo), mixing the meds, seeing the doc, and the nurse finally getting to you. I would always be there the whole day.

Here are the meds broken down:

Adriamycin
bleomycin
vinblastine
dacarbazine

They each come with their own side effects and even long term effects. Those are all just possibilities not guarantees. Everyone reacts differently to the treatment. I had said the meds were hard to pronounce. The Adriamycin is this dark red color and by the time you finish the treatment you have to pee of course. Let me tell you, no one wants to see red pee...much less when you are pregnant. It happened every single time. I was luckily warned prior to it happening. Bleomycin can cause lung problems. I sometimes wonder if it isn't the reason I still get pressure or run out of air while singing.

I get regular checkups and I'll always have to be more aggressive in checking for other cancers, like breast, lung and thyroid. I'll need to have my heart checked to make sure there is no damage there I believe more because of radiation to that area. I don't worry about any of it too much. I try to take every day, one day at a time. You can't live in fear no matter who you are, or what you've been through. I am just thankful for each day.

4 comments:

Jude said...

I am so happy to hear that you are in remission and I will say a prayer for you and your family, God Bless.

Hot Rocks said...

I recently started reading your blog, and I must say I really admire your strength and courage through everything you have been through with cancer. My heart goes out to you. I thought you may want to join in a bit of fun so I have tagged you! You can read about the details on my blog. Take care :)

Racn4acure said...

I know this is now well in the past for you, but it sure brought back some memories. I have a funny Adriamycin story I will blog about some day, involving taking a pee later. I used to call it "Jonestown coolaid", other people called it the "Red Devil". I ended up very sick from the bleomycin with lung damage. I was told that continuing to take it could lead to death or to being a pulmanary cripple. The latter was more scary to me than dying of cancer, so I stopped it after the third. I think the lung damage reversed itself, at least for the msot part - I was very lucky - as I am now doing the marathons without troubles. I hope your breathing is now OK, Sandi. Art

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