Well, most of round one is under the proverbial belt. For those of you playing along at home, for the starter course that means: 12.5 milligrams of Diphenhydramine HCl (basically Benadryl, an antihistamine), 40 mg of Famotidine (basically Pepcid, an antacid), 12 mg of Dexamethasone (steroid known more casually as Decadron), and 250 micrograms of Palonosetron (known to medical types as Aloxi - an anti-nausea med). Some combination of those four drugs also controls my desire to barf this poison out of my stomach (even though we know its in my bloodstream, my evolutionary response thinks I must have eaten something rotten and wants to get rid of it before it poisons me... we are SO evolved). Those drugs were infused over the first hour or so.
For the main course, we have: 800 mg of cetuximab (aka Erbitux, a biological agent designed to interfere with cancer cells' ability to grow), 360 mg of Irinotecan coupled with 360mg of Leucovorin (Irinotecan inhibits all cells' ability to divide, and Leucovorin is a D-vitamin that helps the Irinotecan bind to the cells), and then 800 mg of Fluorouracil (5FU, similar to Irinotecan in its pharmacokinetics, and the real workhorse of this chemical soup). This part took an additional 2 hours of intravenous connectivity. I am also attached to a small chemical pump that will deliver an additional 4800 mg of 5FU into my bloodstream over the next 48 hours.
Whew. That was a mouthful. I am now sitting on a leather mission chair with a fleece blanket and a kitten asleep in my lap, trying to warm a cold pair of feet and a nose, with a mug of lukewarm Good Earth tea, and this laptop. The 5FU pump is whirring its little mechanical tune every 75 seconds, my heart is racing from the steroids (dexamethasone), and I am fatigued from the 5FU/irinotecan/cetuximab cocktail. Weary, but not sleepy. Jittery like too much caffeine. Trying to remember the details of a nightmare that I had worked so hard to forget...