Diary of a Brain Tumor Patient's Wife

Oct. 29, 1997

Renette Davis

Paul started his new chemotherapy protocol this week. Monday he got CCNU, a pill. So far, he's tolerating it ok. Next Monday he gets Vincristine, an IV injection. The third medicine that he'll be taking is Matulane, which he was on before they switched to the new protocol, so he doesn't have to take it this round, but normally he'll take it after the first Vincristine injection for a couple of weeks. Then he'll get another injection of Vincristine, then he'll have a couple of weeks off, and then he'll start all over.

I had a terrible time finding the CCNU. We got the prescription late Friday afternoon. On Saturday when I tried to get it filled, none of the pharmacies had it in stock. I finally found a pharmacist (who happens to be a member of our church) who could get it by 9:30 Monday morning. When we went to pick it up, I asked the pharmacist what kind of side effects we might expect with this, and he said it is a very strong drug and can have some pretty severe side effects - nausea, vomiting, lower white blood cell counts, lower platelet counts, etc. He said it varies widely from person to person, however, and so far Paul is doing fine.

Paul had a blood test on Monday, and they called yesterday with the results. This is the first time anyone has given us the results - he's been having these weekly since he began radiation treatments. The numbers didn't mean anything to me, but I wrote them down anyway, thinking they might mean something to some of you. His white count is 5.5, hemogloben is 13.9, and platelets are 253.

We also saw Paul's primary care physician on Monday. He has put in a referral for Paul to see somebody at the U of I, Chicago, regarding the possibility of radiosurgery, which is a one-shot high dose of radiation. We don't know yet whether HMO will actually approve it, but I went ahead and made the appointment anyway. That will be next Monday.

I'm reading the book called "Now that I have cancer, I am whole." It's written by John Robert McFarland, who has battled cancer himself. It consists of short meditations "for cancer patients and those who love them." I would like to recommend it for all of you. It's a paperback and costs $8.95 ($11.95 in Canada). It's a book that you can pick up and read a couple of pages whenever you have a spare minute. I think Paul found it very helpful. I know I am getting a lot of help from it.

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Created: May 8, 1999
Last updated: July 18, 2010