Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Want a New Drug

I was going to title this one "Go Ask Alice," But I just know that two of you (you know who you are) will fixate on the lyric "One pill makes you larger." So I chose the Huey Lewis reference instead.

For those who are interested the details of my therapy, there are three phases to it.
  1. Neoadjuvant therapy (chemotherapy plus radiation therapy) for 6 weeks.
  2. Surgery to remove what's left of the tumor.
  3. More chemotherapy for 6 months to kill any residual cancer cells.
This is what I'll be on in phase 1:
  • Chemotherapy: 5-FU for five days per week given as a continuous infusion. No, this is not the same "F.U." that you yelled at Beckham and Donovan on Saturday, it stands for 5-fluorouracil, which inhibits RNA and DNA synthesis in all cells. Tumor cells divide faster than most other cells and need to make DNA and RNA in copious amounts. The 5-FU will be preferentially taken up by the bad guys and slow their growth. Some of the good guys will die, but they will be replaced. The pump I'm wearing delivers the 5-FU at 1 ml/hour. If you were to drink beer at this rate, you'd finish a 12 oz. bottle in 14 days and 19 hours.
  • Radiation therapy consists of X-rays beamed directly at my backside. This is also given five days per week. Radiation induces DNA damage. The tumor cells try to repair the damage, but aren't very efficient at doing that (especially poorly differentiated tumor cells like my adenocarcinoma). The goal is to use enough radiation to induce irreparable damage. Cells in the surrounding area suffer collateral damage. However, they say that normal cells recover faster from the radiation damage. Nevertheless, it's the collateral damage that leads to many side effects.
I referred to side effects in an earlier post. Those haven't started yet and may not begin until I'm on therapy for about 2 weeks, but why let the facts get in the way of a good joke (or even a bad one).


  1. BaRRD is certainly one of them. And the other?

    Oh well, no big deal. (he he he, I just wrote "big". he he he)

    Thanks for the update. Although I didn't yell at Beckham and Donovan, as you said. The kids were watching the game on TV with me.

    Live Strong.

  2. Wow that sounds like a real pain in the @$$.

    Er, wait a minute, guess that was the start of all this, eh?


  3. Did you get the "body artist" to inscribe a miniature version of Blanco's face on your backside as the target?

  4. She inked Quasimodo on me. Same difference.