As requested by Dr. Ghimire’s office, George started his second round of chemotherapy on Thursday, the day after his lumbar puncture. This was going to be a different experience from his induction chemo and his last round of chemo, both of which were administered while he was hospitalized. This time, his chemo will be administered on an out-patient basis and will be given as two injections, rather than through an intravenous drip.
We arrived at MD Anderson in Camden and checked in. It took forever to get the doctors orders to the infusion lab for some reason. Maybe because George was originally scheduled to begin his chemo the following Monday and it changed and nobody told the lab? Who knows? Anyway, finally he was called back to a chair. It was surprising to see how many chairs there were back behind the door separating the waiting room from the infusion area. It was sad to see young and old people both sitting in their chairs, some covered with blankets and some scrolling their phones; some sleeping while the chemotherapy cursed through their veins. All these people were alone, unlike George and I thought to myself how very fortunate we are that George can provide enough for us that I don’t have to work and can accompany him to all his appointments. Of course, those people could have been dropped off for treatment and then picked up afterwards. I hope so!
Once seated, George was given an anti-nausea pill before anything got underway…just in case.
The next step was a visit from Joan, the “patient educator.” She gave us a drug information sheet about the medicine with which George would be injected and gave us a triage number to call in case he experienced fever or any other worrisome symptoms from the chemo or once his blood counts start to dive, as he’s vulnerable to infection.
We will drive to the infusion center, about a 50 minute drive, every day for seven days to receive the chemo injections. At some point, I’m sure they will draw blood to check his counts and other organ function, so I am hoping they can schedule blood draws at the same time as his chemo! George will also be taking an oral chemo, the Venclexta that was supposed to be a part of his induction chemo, but wasn’t because his insurance originally didn’t approve it. It was added to his last round of consolidation and will be added to this one as well, except with a dosage of 100mg rather than 400mg.
Once the patient was sufficiently educated, the nurse administered the two shots of Vidaza on the right side of George’s belly. The next day, he would receive the shots on the left side and it would alternate every time he went in.
George said it didn’t hurt at all, which was great! Especially since he would have to do it six more times! And with that, our visit was over and we were free to leave!
On the way home, George got a call from Dr. Ghimire. We had wanted to confirm the dosage of the Venclexta before he took any and nobody at the lab seemed to be able to do that. So they tried to get Dr Ghimire on the phone and were not successful for a good while. Finally they got him and Kim, the nurse, said that yes, the dosage is indeed 100mg. That’s what George had been told at his last office visit, but there was nothing in writing. She said Dr. Ghimire would call us in a bit…and he did on the way home! It was a great call, because he said he had been talking to Dr. Loren about the results of his bone marrow biopsy and they were happy to see there was no trace of leukemia there! So, some good news for the rest of the drive home!