Monday, June 17, 2013

Mission: Cytoxan; Misson Completed!

Disclaimer: This is Ann writing this tonight, so it probably won't be as entertaining as usual! :)  I guess we will all have to allow Bryan a night off every once and awhile.

Today, Bryan was admitted to the Prentice "Women's" Hospital on the 16th floor.  Although the hospital is called the Prentice Women's Hospital, the floor that he is on is actually for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.   The admission process was seamless and the gentleman that took us to Bryan's room was very thoughtful and explained the hospital to us.  Once he arrived in his room, Room 1661, we quickly realized how beautiful the view of the lake is.  That view would be healing and comforting to anyone, I bet.
The nurse taking care of him today, Kathy, was very thorough in her explanations to both Bryan and myself.  She even took the girls and I on a tour of the unit.  There were several family style lounges.  One of the family lounges had computers with internet access, a tv as well as a recumbent bike.  In Bryan's room was plenty of seating.  We had a regular chair, a couch that folded out into a twin sized bed and a recliner.  As far as germ precautions we did not have to gown, glove or mask.  Staff had to be fully covered, however as guests each time  we entered the unit, we had to wash our hands or we wouldn't be permitted to enter.  Then, when we went into his room and exited we had to use hand sanitizer.  I don't think that I have had such clean hands in years!

Bryan wanted to make sure that we took a picture of his infusion pump.  Weird, maybe, but I guess it was something that he felt was important.  He said that this was our new addition to the family and who we would be vacationing with this year.   I guess that is his sense of humor shining through despite the obstacles he is facing :)  

On a more serious note, I took notes today as he received each medication because there were so many different IV meds being given.  Most of them I had never heard of.  Prior to the start of his Cytoxan, he was given a bag of IV fluids to hydrate.  Then, he was given Mesna, which is a drug that coats his bladder to protect it from the chemo.  He was given a one time dose of Dexamethasone (which was the horror drug he took last summer), which was supposed to help with the nausea.  In addition, he was given pre-meds for nausea through his IV which included Zofran and Emend.  Once he had all of these, he finally started the Cytoxan.  He was warned that he may experience "wasabi nose", runny nose, back pain, or upset stomach.  If any of these symptoms occurred he was supposed to call the nurse right away.  About an hour into the Cytoxan he was given Lasix which was used to flush his bladder of the chemo.  Fluids were encouraged in order to do the same.  With about 30 minutes left in the two hour Cytoxan dosage, Bryan started to have a weird feeling in his head.  He explained it as somewhat "numb" and it bothered him to move his head too fast.  About an hour later he developed a headache.  Not sure if this was a side-effect of the chemotherapy or if it was from being tired or even from the pre-meds.  Nonetheless he was given tylenol to help with the headache. 

When Amy Morgan, Dr. Burt's nurse, made rounds earlier today she told Bryan that everyone reacts differently to this first dose of chemo.  She said that some people don't even know that they have received any chemo.  Others do experience nausea.  Tomorrow (Tuesday) morning will be the true test of nausea control she indicated.  According to her, Bryan wouldn't have any restrictions once he was discharged Tuesday, 6/18/13, with the exceptions of avoiding undercooked meats, deli meats, raw foods, etc.  Most of this was common sense, but it is still good to know.  She also indicated that although he shouldn't be around large crowds, that he can resume regular activity as tolerated.  To Taylor's delight that even included the Science and Industry Museum.  I was surprised by this because I would consider the science and industry museum to be a "crowd".  Ms. Morgan indicated that because it was a big place and that we would be going through the week it should be just fine as long as Bryan felt up to it.  I guess we'll take her word on that one.

Overall, I would say that Bryan's first experience in the hospital at Northwestern and  receiving chemotherapy was as good as can be expected considering the circumstances.  The girls were real troopers throughout the day today.  Of course they had their "I'm bored" moments, but overall they were exceptionally tolerant of the hospital setting today. 
My prayer is that we all will be a stronger and closer family after this summer.  Of course, I am praying that we are a healthier family as well.  To all of you reading this blog tonight:  If you are going through health struggles of your own, I pray that you find that hope that only God and his blessings can bring.  If you are healthy, take time to pray and thank God for this blessing because every good and perfect gift is from above.  Good night to all and God Bless you no matter your journey. 


  1. Ann you did a very good job explaining all the medicine and the start of the mobilization process. I am sure Bryan will be proud of you. Love you guys so much. Keeping Bryan and everyone in our prayers. <3 <3

  2. Thinking of you guys and saying extra prayers for you all.