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Re-Puberty, Chest Scans & Pregnant Men: Day 9 3rd December, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Cancer.

I can live with this!?  I had braced myself yesterday and today to feel awful side-effects after the Bleomysin injection but overall it wasn’t too bad.  They said 4-6hrs afterwards it can feel like coming down with the flu and it can last for 48hrs.  About 4hrs after the injection I started to have a sore head and shortly after that random–but thankfully mild–aches and pains around my back and sides.  I did what the doctor said and took our most basic over-the-counter painkiller and things weren’t too bad.

I went to bed early and woke up several times in the night sweating (they told me I’d probably experience fever).  And when I woke up today, the worst of it was over.  I am SOOOO relieved.  After how my body responded to the intravenous drugs, I was not looking forward to a repeat performance with this drug.  My bloods yesterday showed that my white blood cells (immune system) were at a good level and so I’m not sure if my body will react worse to the drug in the future when my immune system is lower as a result of the chemo.

Now to the blog title…

My least favourite thing about today though… I feel like I’m a 15 year old boy looking in the mirror.  The steroids have run their course and part of the fun they have is they mess with your hormones.  As a result… I am experiencing a common side-effect… ACNE!?  It’s on my forehead, and all over my back and sides.  When I was a hormonal teen I never really had to deal with acne.  I got a big spot (translation: zit) or two each week but I never had it as bad as most.  Now I get to feel the pain of most adolescents.  I should take a ZIT-PIC for you all to see…

Chest Scans
When I went in for day 1 of chemo they did a chest CT scan to check for the staging of the cancer (how far it had spread).  We know from the pelvic CT scan that the cancer had spread to my abdominal lymph nodes.  (The lymph nodes are a part of your immune system that are like little peas all through your body.  They are little filters which trap impurities in order to contain them.  The testicles drain into the abdominal lymph nodes, and so those lymph nodes were “collecting” the cancer cells.  Collecting enough of the particles means that some of the lymph nodes themselves become cancerous.)  My pelvic CT scan showed one swollen lymph node (10mm instead of the usual 5mm) which is the first place it would spread to.  There are a couple of options from there.  (a) those lymph nodes did their job and contained all the cancer particles or (b) some bypassed those lymph nodes in which case they would collect in the lymph nodes around my lungs.  FORTUNATELY, (although I forgot to mention it yesterday), the chest CT results came back clear.  The cancer was caught early and is localised.  Praising God for that good news. (Interestingly, had the results come back differently, it wouldn’t have changed the prognosis nor necessarily the treatment.  The same chemo would kill the cancer wherever it had gone.)

Pregnant Men
Now this one is rather amusing in a slightly disturbing way.  If I wanted to waste £8 in the name of fun (to know for sure and to have an interesting blog picture)… I would go and by a home pregnancy test and take it… since right now, it would test POSITIVE?!?!?!

Let me explain…

I have mentioned “tumour markers” a couple of times.  These are chemicals released into the blood stream by the cancer.  Different types of cancers release different markers into the blood.  And some cancers release them while others don’t.  It turns out that these tumour markers are a very good thing as they make it much simpler to monitor the cancer and to know how effective treatment is being.

Anywayz… the type of cancer I have releases the hormone  hCG which is the pregnancy hormone produced by the embryo in a pregnant woman.  A man’s hCG level is normal <4.  My pre-chemo bloods showed a level of 37, and though I don’t have my results from yesterday they told me that usually it “spikes” after the first run of chemo so should be much higher.

So right now, if I took a home pregnancy test, chances are it would test positive.

It’s a tempting waste of £8!  LoL.

For the next 4 days my immune system should be at it’s lowest.  The middle of each three week cycle is a dangerous time as my immune system may not be able to fight any bug that it comes in contact with.  So for the next few days I’m keeping my head low and away from anyone that might be sick.  If you don’t feel 100% and you were thinking about visiting… please don’t!  Haha.  Save it for next week.



1. Allan Mounce - 3rd December, 2011

Glad to hear you’re still keeping a positive spin on things, doctors say that even if it’s not “scientifically” a factor it doesn’t exactly do any harm to face it with a healthy slice of good humor! After my first dose of chemo my liver was affected so to check how “damaged” it was i had to be sent next door to Gartnavel for an ultrasound – much to the hillarity of those closest to me! I dunno, it could probably spark an appearance on some of the finer daytime chat shows, but i think you’d be better spending the £8 on a good book 😀

I was pretty lucky to be honest, when it came to steroids i managed to avoid the 13 year old boy look – they did what they were intended to do and nothing else thankfully. I also didn’t have any “major” problems sleeping, infact due to the low energy levels caused by being unable to eat properly i slept a lot. Although when you’re hooked up to a chemo machine or worse a self-administering pump it’s never easy to find a comfortable spot! (even less so during pre-hydration checks – half hourly visits to the facilities do nothing for beauty sleep!!)

Just be safe & well over the next couple of weeks, the thought of getting something scared me a lot – winter isn’t exactly kind to people getting chemo with all it’s bugs. But there are silver linings possibly, during the third week of my cycles i generally tended to feel slightly better – how much of that was “in the head” is debatable, but it was a relief from the run down feel & popping anti-sickness tablets every 4 hours!

2. Hadassah - 3rd December, 2011

Hey they sell pregnancy tests at the hardware store for only 3 pounds! I say you do it because that’s quite hilarious 😀

3. Kari Patterson - 5th December, 2011

Scotty, you are awesome!! Praying; we love you guys!

Scotty - 5th December, 2011

Thanks Kari. We love you guys too!

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