Saturday, June 04, 2005

High-Dose Interferon 101 - More to the story

So on Friday I went into treatment with LOW EXPECTATIONS. I was feeling pretty funky in general and Tess, my oncology nurse, had prepped me for the possibility that I might not get treatment at all that day.

Jim, concerned with my well being and the amount of time it seem to be taking me to simply get to the "1/2 way point" in treatments, surprised me by taking the afternoon off and coming with me for treatment. He wanted to be with me when I saw Dr. Butler, to hold my hand, be my muscle and make sure we got some answers.

Dr. Butler came to see me as soon as I sat into my "recliner de jour", shook both our hands and asked me if I had "had enough yet?" I told him I was doing the best I could but I needed to know "How far away from being done am I, REALLY?"

You could have knocked Jim and I over with a feather when we got Dr. Butler's reply:


You see, it seems that both Jim and I misunderstood the way this whole "high-dose treatment" part works. Well actually, I don't think Dr. Butler explained it as well as he could have and Jim and I were stuck on the number 20. So here is how it works, in a nutshell:

For a 4 weeks period, Dr. Butler planned to "treat" me with as much Interferon as my body is able to handle per treatment based on my blood work and metabolic functions. The MAX dose on any day being 40 MIU (million units). When my liver reacted, he backed off (as he should) and then hit me with two days of low dose to make sure that my liver counts would come back to normal. Then he hit me hard again this week with 40 MIU for 3 days until my white blood cells dropped indicating that my body was at max capacity again. So he ordered 20 MIU for Friday.

Now on Monday, as long as my white blood cells are back to normal ranges, I will go back to 40 MIU for as long as my body can hang but NO MATTER WHAT, I will be DONE with High-Dose treatment on FRIDAY, JUNE 10th !!!!

You couldn't peel the smile off my face or Jim's for that matter. I told Dr. Butler that he should go for the big guns this week and I'll try to hang in there for the full 5 days at 40 MIU. KILL THAT MELANOMA!!!

I can do anything for 5 more days.

Then I get to go to Mississippi for a week with my hot cyclist boyfriend (Jim, of course) for some R&R before I start the next 48 weeks of low-dose treatment.

I can do ANYTHING for 5 more days .... especially if it means that I get a break!!

Oh and my liver, she is doing very well thank you! This week in spite of 3 days of high-dose, I dropped another 20 points back into the "normal" range. It seems that it was a case of temporary distress and now that the Interferon levels are not going away, my liver has adjusted to the extra work load. That's a good liver!!!

:) I'm going outside for a walk .... Got to work off some of this weeks Interferon and get ready for the final week!!!

I'm living STRONG and looking forward to a recovery break in ONE WEEK!


nancytoby said...

WOOO HOOO! That's like thinking you're at mile 13 in the marathon and suddenly looking up and finding that you're really at mile 23!!! YAY YAY YAY! I'm so glad to hear it!

surferchickHG said...


love you sister, five more days!!

TriFeist said...

YIPPEEEE! This is fantastic news! Go Holly!