My Treatment

As I've stated, I'm being treated at one of the best cancer institutes in the world. As of this post, I have received 16 infusions.   I receive  the standard treatment for stomach cancer which is called mFOLFOX6 (actually three drugs: Fluorouracil, Leucovorin, and Oxaliplatin).  Although two cycles ago the Oxaliplatin was reduced due to neuropathy. I am also part of a Phase II study of the drug Ziv-aflibercept (this one makes me laugh when the doctors say it because it sounds like something from Dr. Seuss, but I am assured it is the real deal).  Ziv-aflibercept has been approved by the FDA to treat colorectal cancer and now they want to see if it is effective in gastric cancers.  1/3 of the participants in the study receive a placebo and since it is a double-blind study, neither my doctor nor I know for sure if I am getting the placebo or the real drug. However, since starting this drug, my normally low blood pressure has spiked and my first port got infected, presumably because of the side effects of this drug (high blood pressure and causing wounds to heal slower), so most likely the real deal and not a placebo.. This treatment also involves a portable pump that I wear connected to my port for 46 hours after the infusion to deliver more medicine and then disconnect it at home. Every two months I get another type of infusion to strengthen my bones and prevent mets. I can't remember the name, but I think of it as skele-gro, from Harry Potter.

Every other week, we drive two hours from home. My port is accessed and I have blood drawn. We hang out in the cafeteria until it's time to meet with the doctors (my primary oncologist and an oncology fellow). Usually a family member or friend joins us. The doctors seem to enjoy my sense of humor. They told me I have a lot of friends in the back room, whatever that means. Then I have 3 or so hours of infusion, almost always with the same nurse, who takes excellent care of me. I am often visited by my social worker, nutritionist, or psychiatrist during this time, which goes faster than you'd think.

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