Fortunately, I was able to receive a liver pump treatment on Wednesday May 9th, so my next systemic chemo treatment is this Wednesday May 23rd. Even though Dr. Kemeny reduced my Oxaliplatin by 25% last time, the neuropathy in my hands and feet has continued, so the Oxaliplatin has been completely removed from my systemic treatments. I will now only receive 5-FU. When I asked how much nausea I should expect to experience, I was told there would likely be none. It ain't a walk in the park, but without it, the sickness is a hell of a lot easier to tolerate.
Following my meeting with Dr. Kemeny on the 9th, the nurse practitioner came in and explained how I will have a scan in June following my final treatment. At that point I told her that when the scan comes back negative, I would like the liver pump removed. She kind of smirked and then told me the reason they recommend keeping it in is because they have to clip the line to remove it. And once the line has been clipped, a clot forms and the pump can never be inserted into the artery again. "Okayyyyy," I said. "There goes that idea.."
Once my treatment was complete, my friend and I walked back to the car. As we walked, I looked at him and said, "Man, if I knew I could never have the liver pump again once it's removed, maybe I would have waited for if things got really bad." He gave me a look as if I had just spoken to him in a language he was completely unfamiliar with, combined with utter amazement that I was able to speak it. I half returned the look to him then realized what I had just said. "...maybe I should have waited until things got real bad." I immediately started laughing and said, "Keep it for two years? Perhaps not. Maybe I'll keep it for five. Or ten. Or maybe just leave it in for good!"
The minor downside to leaving it in is the saline refill required every six to eight weeks, possible adjustments to that schedule should I travel to a higher or lower elevation (because elevation changes effect the rate at which it pumps), and the possibility of infection since the pump is a foreign object. The rate at which it pumps is also effected by body temperature, so I am expected to avoid long hot baths. Come winter time, a hot soak in the tub is a must. I missed out this year, but this coming year I expect to take hot baths and have the saline refills scheduled accordingly. Perhaps if I agree to one 45 minute bath a week, they can adjust the solution accordingly. The longer they want it to last, the thicker the solution they prescribe.
So, I have two more systemic treatments and then I start treating myself for the treatment. Or to put it another way, it will be time to begin the process of detoxifying the chemotherapy from my body.