User-agent: * Allow: / Lymphoma, Family, Food, and Diabetes: A New Beginning

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A New Beginning

Two of the most common side effects of chemotherapy are fatigue and insomnia. Doesn't seem fair but that's the way it is. I've been sleeping well but do have more time on my hands. I thought I'd start a blog as a journal to look back on. You are welcome to join me.

Over 11 years ago I was diagnosed with cancer; a mixed-cell follicular lymphoma - a slow growing lymphoma. I went through a CHOPS chemotherapy routine and later Rituxan. Things went well until last month when a CT Scan showed growth and a biopsy revealed an additional, more aggressive, Large B-cell Lymphoma. That's the lymphoma part.

As I told my family about my cancer and prepared for chemotherapy I did some good and not so good things. My wife, Eunice, was fully involved but my daughter, Ann, pointed out that we don't communicate well as a family out loud in conversation especially about my cancer. Frankly there hasn't been a lot to talk about for a while but there is now. And she and my son were 10 and 8 when I was first diagnosed so I was remiss in not saying more over the years. So this blog is for them too and maybe it will start many a conversation. Welcome to my family.

As far as my treatment, think of it in Days with Day 1 (D1) being the start of treatment. The link for Chemocare in the sidebar is a good source of information about the drugs, side effects, precautions, etc.

D1: Rituxan, Cytoxan, and Etoposide (VP-16), (7 hour day). Start taking Prednisone (two 50mg tabs per day) and Procarbazine, or Mutulane (three 50mg tabs per day). Put them all together and you get R-CEPP which is the name of my treatment. It's fairly aggessive. More later on the Procarbazine and its food implications.

D2: Etoposide (2 hour day)

D3: Etoposide (2 hour day)

D8: Cytoxan (2 hour day)

D9: Neulasta (booster shot for white blood cells in and out)

Day 28: Start the cycle again for six times or Q4W x 6.

I started my first cycle April 21.

Prednisone is a tough drug for diabetics. It increases your blood sugar dramatically and 100mgs/day is a massive dose. I normally take Lantus insulin for a baseline 24 hour coverage and use a sliding scale of novolog for meals and corrections. My endocronologist suggested taking 25 units of NPH with each dose or half the #mgs of Prednisone for each dose. This is working well. My thanks to her. That's the biggest part for diabetes.

Now for food. Procarbazine has many dietary or food restrictions. Alcohol and cheese are the key ones but the list goes on and on. Without going into a lot of detail Procarbazine interferes with the inactivation of Tyramine in various foods so that "serious events" can happen. They put cardiac failure at the end of the list which I suppose is appropriate. So we are focusing on fresh, natural, and packaged foods with less than 5 ingredients.

I should mention that I am also lactose intolerant but almost all the drugs I am taking cause constipation. I am reintroducing dairy products, including eggs, into my diet and so far so good. There's always a silver lining.

So what am I eating? Good stuff actually. I was worried at first but we've (my wife and I) have gotten into the search for food that will avoid a "serious event."

Egg burritos made with onions, other fresh vegetables, scrambled eggs, a little salsa (less than 5 ingredients), no cheese, rolled in a tortilla.

We found uncured hot dogs with 3 ingredients. I had one on a bun with a little mustard and it was great. I'm not a big lunch eater but enjoyed it.

Rice with chopped panned fried skinless chicken breasts, a little salsa, baby peas, with a fried egg (over easy) on top. The leftovers shouldn't be kept more than 2 days so it makes a great breakfast too. I "harvested" this idea from my brother-in-law. But if you are having guests and want to prepare something for all sorts of different tastes and/or preferences you can place all the ingredients (meat, salsa, vegetables, seafood, eggs, etc.) in separate bowls and people can use what they prefer. Use rice, tortilla chips or something else for a base. He calls it "Pile On" and it is good - be creative.

I have an 8oz cup of coffee in the morning and drink a lot of water everyday (2 qts)

Eat Good Food, Be Kind, Tell the Truth!
I'm just getting started, I like to cook, and the food will get more interesting!


Anonymous said...

This is a great idea. Hope all goes well.

Tom McQueen said...

Thanks for the link...I learned a lot and am praying for you daily!

tenley said...

Thanks David - this is a nice way to keep up ...and I appreciate the recipes! Take care!

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