second Rituxan Treatment
On Friday, 11/16/01,
I got my 2nd of 4 Rituxan
treatments. It went well and I had no
sickness or side-effects this time at all.
The day started out early. Mom picked me up for the trip to St.
Joseph's about 6:30 AM for my 7:45 AM appointment. She was
working out how to get the wheelchair folded up to get it into her car
when I announced that I'd decided to walk instead. I figured with
the exercise I'd been getting I
could make the short trips to the car and the car into the hospital and so
forth. Besides, they have wheelchairs at the hospital if I really
My treatments are actually in the McAuley
Cancer Care Center, which is another building near the hospital.
It's a very nice place with very friendly staff and of course, you can
tell by the name, it's for cancer patients. It's a warm, fuzzy place
that's very homey and personal, not clinical. Everyone's on a
first-name basis from seeing each other week after week as they get their
treatments. It's a really nice, friendly place that I guess I'll be
getting to know very well over the course of my treatment. They have
easy chairs and a little kitchen with snacks and drinks. TV and VCR
setups are there so you can just settle back while getting your treatment
through the IV and relax. You can get stuff from the cafeteria and
have a regular meal even.
So we got there on time and I walked in and found an admissions desk and
told the lady sitting there that I was new and she made me an red, St.
Joseph's ID card and got me started on my way.
I got my blood drawn, then a little while later saw my Oncologist.
He examined me and said that everything is looking better. Not
perfect, but certainly better. Blood platelets are up, lymph nodes
are not as swollen, stuff like that. It was good news that went
along with the fact that I'm feeling better and stronger every day.
He said we'll go forward with the 3 other Rituxan treatments and then move
on to chemotherapy as planned.
He checked the stitches where the lymph nodes were removed and said he
thought the stitches should stay in a couple of weeks because of where
Based on the facts that it's a slow growing cancer and it's now in stage
4, I asked him if there was any way to guess how long I've actually had
it. He said there was really no way to tell. He couldn't even
speculate. He also clarified for me that it's a B-cell Lymphoma and
a sub-type classified as "marginal."
Then I got a flu shot and a pneumonia shot, set up my next 2 appointments,
paid my $20 co-pay, checked out of that part of the center and moved on
over to the treatment area.
Because it was my 1st time there, the nurse decided to put me in a bed so
she could monitor me a little more closely. She said next time I
would be out in the lounge with everyone else, which will be
I asked how long it would take and the nurse said 4 or 5 hours. I
had no idea it would take so long (I slept through practically the whole
thing the first time) and my stomach growled at the
thought. I hadn't eaten yet. So mom went to the cafeteria and
got us some breakfast of eggs, sausage, cereal, bagels and more.
nurse gave me the 2 Tylenol that are part of the Rituxan treatment and set up the IV. Then the shot of
Benedryl into the IV and started the Rituxan drip. She increased it
as we went along, as planned. It lasted 4 or 5
hours that I spent mostly asleep because of the Benedryl, and I had no
illness or side-effects at all.
She came in every half hour to
check my temperature, blood pressure and pulse and mom sat there almost
the whole time, reading or watching tapes on chemotherapy. I was
planning to watch them too, but the Benedryl knocked me out pretty soon
after I got it.
When it was finally over, about 3:30 PM, the nurse came and pulled the IV
and I checked out and we were on our way, no fuss, no muss.
It was a longer day than I thought it would be. Next time I'll be
sure to have a nice, big breakfast before I start!