Chemotherapy Treatment – Cycle 1 (CTC1)

CTC1 commenced on 20 May 2010. The day before, I was at JHC for a blood test to check whether my blood cells count was fine for the chemo to start the next day. Before my chemo treatment starts, Dr. Lopes met up with me to run through my blood test results taken the day before.

According to his review, my red blood cells count and haemogoblin was low. My Platelets count was high but fortunately for me, at least my white blood cells count was normal. My low red blood count was a bit of concern for Dr. Lopes. If the red blood count is too low, it can lead to anemia and fatigue. To boost up my red blood count, Dr. Lopes decided to also prescribe to me a course of Iron tablets together with my oral chemo drugs. But the blood test results overall give him the confidence for me to go ahead with my CTC1. I was glad for I want my chemo treatment to start as soon as possible.

After my consultation with Dr. Lopes, I had to wait for a further 2 hours or more before I was finally ushered into the chemo treatment room for my first taste of chemotherapy. The chemotherapy room had 6 retractable armchairs for 6 patients to receive their chemo drugs simultaneously. They were also 4 beds for those patients who preferred to lay in bed while having their drip.

There was also a room where certain patients can have their treatment done in private. I guess this was for patients that pays a premium.

From my first visit to JHC, I had noted that they had lots of patients from Dubai. Heard from the nurses that since 911 in USA, it had been rather difficult for their citizens to travel to JHC in America for cancer treatment especially for the ladies with their black veil and long black gown covering their entire body.

The entire IV drip for the insertion of the chemo drugs into my body takes more than 3 hours to complete. The reason being that beside the chemo drugs, they also drip me with certain drugs to suppress the side effects of the chemo drip. These other drips administered to me are supposed to reduce nausea and vomitting. Other drips given includes calcium and magnesium that are also meant to suppress the side effects.

The cancer drug given to me intravenously is called Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin). This drug itself took almost 2 hours to be totally emptied into my body.

Luckily my wife was with me to help pass the time. I also felt hungry and during the drip I ate lots of biscuits and also had a nice cup of hot milo.

On 27 May 2010, at the end of the second week of CTC1, I returned to JHC to do another blood test for Dr. Lopes review. The purpose of the blood test was to check how my body was reacting to the chemo drugs in CTC1.

The results came back was mixed. My white blood cells counts, platelets show a high reading. But Dr. Lopes advised that it was nothing to be overly worried about. So, he did not propose any changes to my chemo drugs dosage.

The drugs given to me during CTC1 were as follows:

  • Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) – Administered to me intravenously on 20/5/2010 at JHC during the 1st day of the cycle.
  • Capecitabine (Xeloda) – Administered orally twice daily for the next 14 days. Tablets to be taken in the morning and evening after food. Each session comprises of 3 xeloda tablets of 500mg each (i.e. 1500mg per session). Total consumption daily is 3000mg
  • Neogobion – Iron tablets. One tablet to be taken twice daily before or after meals. The purpose of this drug is to increase my red blood cells count.
  • Dexamethasone (4mg) – A form of steriods. One tablet to be taken twice daily after meals. This drug is to be taken only during the first 3 days of the chemo cycle. The purpose of this drug is for the relief of nausea and vomiting.
  • Granisetron (1mg) – One tablet to be taken twice daily before or after meals as needed for relief of nausea and vomiting.
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