Wednesday, January 14
by Tony Kempster on Wed 14 Jan 2009 10:45 GMT
As suggested at the last meeting, the tumour on my liver has grown. However, the tumour in my bowel has stayed the same size.
To treat the liver tumour, I will be having a different chemo as well as the pills. This is Oxaliplatin and is given intravenously. It takes two hours and my first dose is on Friday and then every 3 weeks after that. It will be into the arm or back of the hand so I will not need a Hickman or Central line into the chest.
The pills remain the same but work with the IV stuff so I start taking the pills on Saturday for two weeks and then have a week off.
The main side effect of the new drug is feeling the cold which is likely to create dysaestesia (known to most of us as pins and needles). It is likely also that I won't be able to have cold drinks as they will make the back of my throat uncomfortable and may cause a throat spasm.
Seeing the diabetes specialist on Monday so will report on that then.
Tuesday, December 30
by Tony Kempster on Tue 30 Dec 2008 13:09 GMT
Saw the consultant this morning and he tells me that my recent blood tests indicate I am slightly jaundiced.
He thinks this may be the tumour on my liver interfering with the liver's blood cleaning process so he is sending me for a CT scan to see if the tumour is misbehaving.
This scan will be in the next couple of weeks before I go back to see him on 14th Jan. In the meantime he has stopped my chemo pills and will reassess the dosage when he has the results of the scan.
So hopefully in these couple of weeks with no chemo, I will be able to stay awake longer
Thursday, December 11
by Tony Kempster on Thu 11 Dec 2008 18:36 GMT
After a rest from the chemo pills to give my feet time to recover, I have now started again with them on a reduced dosage. I am now on 4 pills in the morning and 4 in the evening instead of 5.
I am also having to take 3 vitamin B6 pills 3 times a day. B6 is a vitamin that helps skin cells grow so are helping my feet get better as well.
We've managed to have several weekends away in Liverpool, Buckinghamshire (for my brother's birthday) and Croydon (visiting our son and his family) and thoroughly enjoyed them all.
I've also been diagnosed with borderline diabetes. This is nothing to do with the cancer but is something people of my age and lifestyle seem to get. Because it's borderline, I am currently controlling it by diet (basically no sugar). However, I have to have a 3 monthly check up and if it worsens, I may have to take pills for that so increasing my daily pill count to more than the 17 that I am currently taking.
In myself, I am still feeling fine and we are looking forward to Christmas (with our sons and families) and New Year (with our friends).
Next update when there is more news.
Friday, October 31
by Tony Kempster on Fri 31 Oct 2008 14:29 GMT
I received some very encouraging news from my doc this morning as he told me that the chemo has worked and both tumours, the primary one in my bowel and the secondary one on my liver, have shrunk.
I still have the sore feet and he has taken me off the chemo for the next two weeks until they recover.
The most surprising news that he gave me in astonishment is that I have lost the stent in my bowel. Apparently I am his first patient to have done this. I'm also astonished as I had no idea I had lost it. How you can pass an inch wide and 4 inch long object without realising is beyond me - but I have somehow managed it.
Friday, October 10
by Tony Kempster on Fri 10 Oct 2008 12:56 BST
The last 3 weeks have been good. I still feel tired but the sore feet and the constipation have gone.
The sore feet have turned into flaky feet as all the dead skin drops off and the new skin begins to grow. The hoover has been in full time use cleaning up bits of my feet which drop off all over the house - and particularly in bed.
Saw the doc again today and the blood tests show that the growth of the tumour is not slowing as much as he would like it to. This will be checked out at my 12 weekly scan which is due in 2 weeks time. If this confirms that the growth is not slowing then I will be on an extra chemo drug in adition to the Capecitibane. This is likely to be administered intravenously. However, the decision will not be made on that until my next appointment on 31st October.
Let's hope the next 3 weeks are as good as the last 3. Next report on 31st October.
Friday, September 19
by Tony Kempster on Fri 19 Sep 2008 13:04 BST
The last 3 weeks has been a story of sore feet and constipation. Both of these are well known side effects of the chemo drug that I am taking. The sore feet were so bad for a few days that I could hardly walk.
When I was told about the sore feet being a side effect, I wondered why so posed the question. Apparently the fastest growing cells in a normal human body are those on the soles of your feet, the palms of your hands, and the inside of your mouth. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense as these are the cells that are being worn away the quickest. The chemo drug I am taking is designed to attack fast growing cancerous cells but it has difficulty deciding between fast growing cancerous cells and fast growing normal cells so it has a go at both - hence the sore feet. I can probably expect sore hands and sore mouth as well over the next 3 weeks.
I saw the doc this morning and he has given me some more pills to try and counteract the sore feet effect. I have to take 3 of these 3 times a day so together with my 10 chemo pills and my daily vitamin pill, I am now on 20 a day.
When I had the constipation, I was given a mild laxative which did not work, then a stronger one with the threat of if that did not work the district nurse was comimg round to give me an enema. I'm not sure whether it was the threat of an enema or the stronger laxative that got me going
My body is standing up well to the treatment so I have been prescribed the full dose again for the next 3 weeks. In myself, I am feeling fine apart from the continual tiredness but if that is all I have to put up with, I will be well pleased. In fact Anne and I have spent the last few days in London visiting our son and his family so we're trying to do as many "normal" things as possible.
Next report in 3 weeks time on 10th October when I will have completed 9 weeks of the 12 week course of chemo.
Friday, August 29
by Tony Kempster on Fri 29 Aug 2008 12:33 BST
I have seen the doctor this morning after the first 3 weeks of the chemo course - 2 weeks of taking tablets and then a week off.
During the time I was taking the pills I felt very tired but in the last week I've felt nearly normal. Touchwood, no other side effects.
The doc was pleased with my progress and told me that the markers in my blood indicated a slight slowdown in growth of the cancer which is what he would expect after just 3 weeks. He also told me that I could relax my diet slightly although to be sensible in the way I do it. He also told me that I must still continue to exercise which means at least a walk round the block each day.
Start the next 2 week session of pill taking tomorrow and back to see the doc in 3 weeks time. Will report again then.
Tuesday, August 12
by Tony Kempster on Tue 12 Aug 2008 08:39 BST
Well, I'm several days into the chemo now and, so far, (fingers crossed) no side effects except for feeling a bit tired. I now find myself needing a nap mid afternoon.
I had the bowel stent fitted last Thursday. This is basically an inch wide tube in the bowel which allows waste product to get past the tumour which could otherwise block the bowel. I cannot feel this inside me as, so the doctor informed me, there are no nerve endings on the inner wall of the bowel. Plenty of nerves in the rest of the bowel but none on the inner wall.
Because of the stent, this has meant a change of diet and this is the thing that is taking the most getting used to. I am now on a low fibre diet which basically means no fruit or veg, only white bread and nothing made with non-white flour. I can, though,eat any meat or fish and any dairy products and tinned fruit. Any drink is OK providing it does not have bits of fruit or veg in it. This is taking some time to adapt to.
I report back to the doctor on 29th August so that he can check how I am doing.
Wednesday, July 23
by Tony Kempster on Wed 23 Jul 2008 19:03 BST
Saw the chemo man today and he is going to treat my condition in two ways.
Firstly, a 12 week course of chemotherapy. This will be in tablet form and I will take two a day (one after breakfast and one after evening meal) for 2 weeks and then have a week off. This 2 weeks on and 1 week off will be repeated for 12 weeks
Secondly by control of the diet. I am being put in touch with a dietician.
They will take a scan at the beginning of the treatment and a scan at the end of the 12 weeks to see how I am doing and adjust the dose/mixture accordingly at the end of 12 weeks.
There is likely to be some side effects - the most probable one will be feeling really tired. The drug I am being treated with is Capecitabane and more about it and its side effects can be found here.
Without chemo, my life expectancy would be 6 months. With it, I can expect 2-4 years and because of my relatively young age (58) and reasonably good general health, probably a bit longer.
Friday, July 18
by Tony Kempster on Fri 18 Jul 2008 15:22 BST
Saw the man today for the results of my scans and as I expected, the cancer has spread too far for them to be able to operate.
This means I will be going on a course of chemotherapy. Exactly how this will work we won’t know until next Wednesday when I go to see the chemo expert – a guy called Kim Last. He will then outline what I can expect.
It is also likely that, as they are not going to operate, they will put a stent into my bowel so that the waste product can get past the tumour and out of my body.
Wednesday, July 16
by Tony Kempster on Wed 16 Jul 2008 11:30 BST
I have spoken to my contact at the hospital today who tells me that the results of my two recent scans will be discussed at an MDT meeting on Friday 18th July. MDT is multi disciplinary team and is all the experts getting together to make a decision.
I should hear this decision about what course of treatment I can look forward to on Friday afternoon or evening.
The next post will be to let you know what that decision is.
Monday, July 7
by Tony Kempster on Mon 07 Jul 2008 14:29 BST
The dates for my two scans have now been confirmed. I have an MRI scan on my liver on Wednesday 9th July in York and a PET scan on my abdomen in Hull on Friday 11th July.
The results of these should be available on Tuesday 15th July when,.hopefully, I should hear what course of treatment I can look forward to.
Friday, June 27
by Tony Kempster on Fri 27 Jun 2008 18:13 BST
Saw the specialist today who wants to do another scan on me to check if the cancer has spread. This is a PET scan and can only be done in Hull or Leeds as York does not have the necessary equipment.
It is a radio nuclear scan where some dye is injected into a vein and then the blood glows a different colour in any "dodgy" parts and shows if the cancer has spread. Once the surgeon has these reults he can decide which parts of me he is going to cut away.
The scan will be sometime during the next 10 days.