Some Basic Info

I was first diagnosed with malignant brain tumors on 11-20-08 and I finished treatment for those on 4-13-09. I was recently diagnosed with a recurrence on 12-08-09. I set up this blog so people could follow along with my progress and keep up with what is going on in my treatment. I also wanted to put up information from my first go round so people could learn a little bit about what happened to me before.
The blog is set up with the newest posts first. Sometimes I will post stories from my first experience, in which casse it will be slightly out of order, but the titles will let you know. If you want to look at older posts, which may provide a better idea of the whole picture, use the "Blog Archive" tool on the right side of the page to browse them. The titles of the posts should be pretty self-explanatory. If you don't really know that much about me, or what happened, you should check out these two posts first: this one about what's happening now, and this one about my first experience.
Feel free to leave comments, it should be open to everyone now. Thanks for visiting, I hope this little blurb clears up some confusion, and I hope you like the blog.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

First Round of Recurrence Chemo, Pt.1

I did go to the hospital on thursday morning, but I ended up going to the ER instead of getting admitted. Early thursday morning I woke up and my headaches were significantly worse. My mom let me stay in bed as long as I could to see if they would get any better, but they didn't. We were scheduled to be at the hospital at 9:30 so I could get a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC line for short) which is basically a more permanent IV that they put into your arm. The tube actually goes to the tip of the heart and this makes frequent blood draws and IV fluids much easier than with a standard IV or needles. Also, some of the chemo can't be given directly into the veins because it will burn them, so pumping it into the heart first dilutes it enough to where it won't cause problems.
So we were planning on leaving at around 8:45 in order to be there in time for the PICC line placement, but after I got up, I threw up. After this, my mom called the oncologist, Dr. Fangusaro, and he said we should just come straight to the Emergency Room, as they would be able to get something done much faster. We went to the ER and they were able to get me on stronger pain medication pretty quickly, so that helped with the headaches, they also gave me an MRI pretty quickly to make sure there was no pressure or other complications. Luckily nothing showed up on the MRI. At this point they took a sample of my spinal fluid from the ommaya reservoir on my head (I know the website says it's for administration of chemo, mine isn't, it's just for drawing fluid.) All the signs pointed to a complication called aseptic meningitis, which is a chemical infection. This could've been caused by my brain rejecting the little bit of blood that got in the spinal fluid or other chemicals used during surgery, and it would explain why my headaches were getting worse. The main treatment for aseptic meningitis is steroids, so the doctors put me on a much higher dose of steroids. They also took some fluid from my ommaya to test and make sure that I didn't have a bacterial or viral infection. These tests took 24 hours, and they didn't want to start chemo until they were sure there was no bacterial or viral infection, so I was admitted to the hospital to wait. In the waiting period, I was given antibiotics just in case there was a bacterial infection. Also, thankfully at this point my headache pain was a lot more under control, and I had gotten my PICC line put in.
So that was thursday up until about 4 in the afternoon. I pretty much just rested until friday, when I got my chemo at around 3 in the afternoon, after the results of the tests came back negative. The chemo is coming up in part 2...

I just wanted to give a quick update about now too. I want to talk about the whole chemo process in a mostly chronological order but I also want to let everyone know how I'm doing now. I'm at home now, and I got out of the hospital yesterday the 12th. Chemo was for the most part successful, (more on that soon in part 2.) and now I'm at home and feeling a little bit better than I did in the hospital.

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