Living with Multiple Myeloma: Velcade Chemo Treatment Cycle 8, Week 4

Velcade Chemo Treatment: Cycle 8, Week 4Week 39 of treatment

This morning I woke up with a smile on my face. Yes, it was Chemo Day, which sometimes makes me sad, but it was my last chemo day (hopefully for a while). No more Velcade chemo injections for my Multiple Myeloma. After I did a little happy dance, I took my dexamethasone (10 at 4mg each) and cyclophosphamide (575 mg, 12 total) pills. I also took my Valtrex and baby aspirin, both I take daily. This is my 39th week of chemo treatment, so my pills are shaped into a 39. I then napped a bit before heading to the Cancer Clinic to get my chemo injections.

My final Velcade chemo injectionFinal chemo injection

Before the nurse arrived with my chemo, I checked my blood pressure, pulse, and temperature for my chart.

Blood Pressure 131/69
Pulse 72
Temperature 36.6
Oxygen Saturation 97

Velcade Chemo Treatment: Taking my blood pressureChecking blood pressure

Next week I will only be taking pills and then at the end of the month I will have a big blood test to find out my latest cancer levels.

My Velcade chemo treatment (8 cycles, 5 weeks each) since February has not been as I expected. My live been 100x more difficult than I thought and I really believe I’m lucky to have made it through it. There are still many challenges in my life, due to my cancer (mental, physical, financial) as readers of my blog know. However, I’m staying positive and I’m confident that my life will improve soon.

On my flickr photo-sharing account, you can view photos from my most recent self-portrait project.

UBC - A Place of Mind
I love UBC! – A Place of Mind

You can also view photos I’ve taken of my beautiful campus

UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences BuildingUBC Pharmaceutical Sciences Building

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OurHealthSystem.ca: New Website to help Canadians judge health care

 
Last week The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) released an interactive tool, called OurHealthSystem.ca.

ourhealthsystem.ca

The website focuses on five themes:

  • Access: While most Canadians are getting cancer radiation treatment in a timely fashion, waits are increasing for joint replacements.
  • Quality of Care: A significant drop in hospital deaths suggests that the quality of hospital care is improving overall in Canada; however, 1 in 12 Canadians is readmitted to hospital within 30 days of discharge.
  • Spending: Spending on health care varies greatly across the country, even after considering age differences in the population.
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: While smoking rates are declining in Canada, obesity rates continue to rise.
  • Health Outcomes: Canadians are living longer than ever, but they are not benefiting equally from improvements in health.

There are infographics that summarise statistics – e.g. Number of Canadians that are diagnosed everyday with cancer (512) or life expectancy comparison for richer neighbourhoods (81 men, 84 women) vs poorer neighbourhoods (76 men, 82 women).

According to Jeremy Veillard, Vice President, Research and Analysis, CIHI:

This is the first website in Canada to contain the information Canadians said they wanted to know about their health system. Material is presented in an interactive way that allows people to easily understand how the health system is doing close to home but also at provincial and national levels.

BC Cancer AgencyBC Cancer Agency

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Living with Multiple Myeloma: Velcade Chemo Treatment Cycle 8, Week 3

Velcade Chemo Treatment: Cycle 8, Week 3Week 38

Today, I’ve been reflecting alot on my life as I come to the end of my Velcade chemo treatment. I am focused on doing what I can to keep my cancer levels low by reducing stress in my life and prolonging and future chemo to a distance future. I’ve also been thinking about friendship when living with Multiple Myeloma and when best to tell strangers or acquaintances you’d like to become friends about your current chemo treatment. I’m wrestling with these decisions now and will expand my thoughts in a future blogpost.

This morning I woke up and took my dexamethasone (10 at 4mg each) and cyclophosphamide (575 mg, 12 total) pills. I also took my Valtrex and daily baby aspirin. This is my 38th week of chemo treatment, so my pills are shaped into a 38. My Rebel XSi is failing alot so I’m happy the focus worked today. I then napped a bit before heading to the Cancer Clinic to get my Velcade chemo treatment.

Valaciclovir (Valtrex)Valtrex

While waiting for the nurse I checked my blood pressure, pulse, and temperature. I watched some Seinfeld on the TV, which gave me some laughs and helped me relax for when the nurse arrived to give me my chemo injections.

Blood Pressure 136/65
Pulse 83
Temperature 36.7
Oxygen Saturation 97

Velcade Chemo injectionsVelcade chemo injections

I had no idea what my chemo treatment would be like with Velcade when I started. I assumed I would be getting an IV. I’m happy that I have one week yet. This hasn’t been the greatest experience at all, I can’t wait until I’m done, so my life can get better.

Just to give a recap, I am living with Multiple Myeloma (blood cancer). Since February 2013, I have been on my 4th chemo treatment called Velcade, which are weekly in-hospital injections, in addition to a variety of other pills I take to supplement my chemo treatment. You can read the background on my diagnosis and previous treatments on my blog.

You can view photos from my most recent self-portrait project on flickr.

Between here and thereAt the Buchanan sculpture

You can also view photos related to my ongoing treatment here.

Checking off my chemo medicationChecking off chemo meds each day

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