Well, we finally have a plan for my brother. First, he started chemo on Tuesday. Last time he was on something called Temodar, which was a pill he took for five days every month. This time it's Taxol, which is a more traditional chemotherapy that required him to go to the oncologist and get an IV infusion. He's supposed to do this every three weeks.
Last time the Temodar didn't have many of your traditional side effects. His hair got a little mangy and he felt pretty run down the week he was taking it, but in general he tolerated it pretty well. The Taxol this time is already taking much more of a toll on him. Although he swears his breathing is already better, it's making him feel terrible otherwise. The big thing is muscle and joint pain, very much like growing pains. The medication spurs bone marrow growth and so you get aches and pains from that. He feels run down and is alternating between chills and being too hot and has no appetite.
Second, on top of feeling crummy, he got word today that the gamma knife procedure is out. They have scheduled him for regular open brain surgery the afternoon of 2/20 to remove the tumor that's there. He'll be at PSL, the same hospital as last time, with surgery done by Dr. Lamond, who also did the last one.
The reason they can't do the gamma knife is because this is a melanoma we're dealing with, and it doesn't respond well to the gamma knife, so this is the only way. Steve is really bummed about it. He's had such a hard time in the hospital - it seems like something else always goes wrong when he's in there and he ends up staying longer than they originally told him. He'll probably still be in the hospital by the time he's supposed to do the next round of chemo, so I imagine they'll be postponing that until he's more recovered from the surgery.
We went over to see him this afternoon for just a few minutes - we brought him some prescriptions he needed and some other sundry items that he's just been too wiped out to go to the grocery store and pick up. We didn't stay because Mr. F has such a bad cold and we didn't want to get Steve any sicker with his immune system as compromised as it is right now. Poor guy just seems so down - I'm sure he's feeling pretty awful emotionally as well as all the chemo side effects. When you feel bad physically, that affects you mentally, and then to get the news that he's going to have to have the surgery, in a week no less - well, I'm sure he's about as down as he gets.
I am doing my best to keep upbeat and not worry so much about him. I hate to be going through all this again, especially knowing that I won't be able to care for him like I did last time. I just have to keep my spirits up and know that we will get through it. As always, good thoughts and karma sent our way are always appreciated.