Posts tagged chemotherapy

When I was waiting for test results I tried to make up a description in my mind of the consequences of a bad outcome; for myself and then for my wife and my children. For myself it maybe is not too bad - straight to the grave - which is where we all go; even if we think it is too early whenever it comes to that. It is awful, it is difficult to get used to that thought - if you ever are able to…it would be worst for my wife…she is the one who has to take the blow.

When I heard of going to the cancer clinic, I began shivering all over my body. As soon as I opened the door here I felt the smell of the house of death. I can still feel this smell. The word cancer is loaded with fear, I think, and I know some persons who have died of cancer. A tumor is a tumor; uncontrolled cell division, something growing and attacking inner organs.

I react severely to the cytotoxic drugs. I feel so sick, and although I get other drugs to subdue the vomiting, the sick feeling is there, rocking my body all the way. I feel as if I am being run over by a steamroller - my whole body is reacting.

I remember when I woke up from the operation the surgeon told me they had found “islands of outgrowths” in the peritoneum, which was negative news. Something strange happened to me; all anaesthetics and all drugs disappeared from my body, my brain become crystal- clear and I thought: “How can I tell this to my wife?

An excerpt from Expressive Metaphors in Cancer Narratives by Carola Skott, PhD RN.

Superformula to Fight Cancer.

This is a very heartwarming idea. In a bid to give children afflicted with cancer hope and inspiration, the designers at JWT Brazil have created “super formula” cases for their chemotherapy regimens. These formulas come with a video vignette, showing the superheroes affected similarly, and getting stronger when they take their very own super formulas.

If this can give a child the strength the carry on, or even bring a smile to their face, then these cases have done their job.

A Girl Dying from Leukaemia Saved Using Altered T-Cells

Now this is very impressive.

Last summer, Emma, then six was near death from chemo-resistant leukaemia but is now in remission thanks to an experimental cancer treatment method developed by the University of Pennsylvania.

Doctors remove millions of Emma’s T-cells, and inserted new genes that enabled them to combat cancer cells. The kicker is that it involved using disabled HIV virions to deliver the genetic material. HIV particles are excellent genetic vectors and already have specificity towards T-cells. The new genes program the T-cells to attack B-cells.

The treatment very nearly killed her but she has emerged cancer free and still in complete remission.

This is very exciting stuff but make no mistake this is no end-all-be-all. Emma might have done extremely well with her treatment but the experiment has had its share of mixed results. Despite this, the researchers involved and the experts of the field think this approach has tremendous promise.

Life, Interrupted: Five Days of Chemo

"Every month, I go to the hospital to receive outpatient chemotherapy injections for five days in a row. My doctors say this will be my routine for the next year."

I remember when my father underwent chemotherapy. “Experimental combination,” the oncologist would say. The cancer was aggressive and advanced. A standard treatment protocol was out of consideration. There was not much they could do about his mets, but they were hopeful that chemo would prolong his life beyond the months they could foresee. 

Sadly, that never came to pass, but what did pass was the terrible after effects of chemotherapy. My father was a strong man, and even in his last days following chemo, the misery of it was plainly obvious. It is such a strange and horrible dilemma to suffer at the hands of either cancer unchecked or of the potent and toxic chemo.

To not have undergone chemo would have most likely made his last days easier, but then again, at that point, we were willing to take any chance.

Follow the link to read the first person account of Suleika Jaouad as she writes about her experiences as a young adult with cancer in the series: Life, Interrupted.

Jake Bouma meets with his oncologist on June 22, 2012, after four rounds of chemotherapy to treat his Hodgkin Lymphoma.

This clip is part of a documentary Nathan Matta is creating on his journey, “Let’s Do This: Facing Hodgkin Lymphoma.”

When I feel lost on my journey, when the challenges seem insurmountable, moments like these remind me again why I am here and why I have chosen medicine. More than that, it pushes me to continue onward.

My tumor is situated in the pelvic girdle inside the bone and growing out into the pelvis, and I find it difficult to imagine what it really looks like. I feel that it is an uninvited guest in my body and when I started this cytotoxic treatment I thought: Now this is for you.
Cancer patient describing her experience with treatment.