History #17 – treatment – induction – mid 2002 – second hospitalization – getting better with pineapple-sized legs

February 19, 2007 at 6:20 am | Posted in APML, chemo side effects, Diagnosis and treatment history, My initial treatment -- induction, Stanford Hospital | Leave a comment

After that first treatment with amphoterrible, I remember waking up the following Monday, and being told I had been out that whole weekend.  It’s a strange feeling to know you had been so sick that days were gone, out of it for several days.  Sounds like something out of a movie. 

And thus began a whole new set of medication regimens – along with the retinoic acid, the chemotherapy, the mouth cleaning, and any number other things, there was the amphoterrible regimen.

It turned into about a five-hour process.  To avoid all of the side effects, a protocol of medications and IV fluids were given ahead of time, and fluids were given after to flush the system.  Steroids, pain meds, and others I can’t recall, all had to be taken before the amphotericin could be taken.  And it was given every 8 hours, so I only had a couple of hours before it started again.

But it did the trick.  Slowly all the infections subsided, including the pustules/skin lesions.  I still had the effects of the chemo – the mouth and other parts were still affected – but the infections were gone. 

But there was one more side effect that occurred, which became more of a problem for the next few weeks.  To handle what amphoterrible does, a large amount of steroids are required.  One of the effects of high doses of steroids was water retention.  And with all the IV fluids needed as part of the regimen, my body had a lot of water to retain. 

So my legs, for whatever reason, were the location the water retention occurred.  Within a few days, as my health improved, so did the size of my lower legs.  They would continue to expand over the next few days.

But also in that time, with the improved health, the doctors decided that it was time to be discharged.  (Safer at home, remember?)  I was discharged to home, with the ever-expanding legs.  By this time they were the size of pineapples.

But if I had to choose between death or pineapple-sized legs, I say aloha.

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