Tomorrow Mathew starts chemo cycle #4. He melted down and had a fit when he heard that this afternoon; his game is coming out to buy tomorrow and there is the matter of Halloween. He went for his blood work at 1 pm today and John got the call around 4 pm to bring Mathew in tomorrow morning. This means his counts are up… *sigh*… that is a good thing but still ~ DRAT!

The oncology doctor’s secretary called me this morning to let me know that Mathew’s “poop” tested positive for the C~Difficile bug. Lovely. John stopped by the pharmacy to pick up the prescription for that this afternoon. This evening, after Mathew calmed down and we watched a movie he loves, John and I got to packing. The suitcase is much smaller this time as we have a better idea of what to bring.

I wanted to show you a few images from our day yesterday. Mathew and I hung out and carved pumpkins while John drove up to Fredericton to visit Kristen and also his brother Alistair and his family.

The first is this: Emla cream. We got the low down on this beauty from John’s sister, Wendy.

Emla Cream

Emla Cream

This stuff numbs the skin so you don’t feel the needle piercing the skin. The tube you see here costs $50 so it is a pretty penny. Mathew gets this at his two injection sites every day to numb the spot the needle goes in to. It also is applied over his port area for when he has the blood work. It makes the procedure much more pleasant. So all you needle chickens out there remember this stuff! You can also get it in patches (6 or 12 patches in a box).

Next up is the very, very expensive drug that promotes the growth of neutrophils in the bone marrow. These are infection fighters and Mathew’s levels dropped below 1.0 last week hence the delay in starting chemo.

Neupogen

Neupogen

This tiny vial of neupogen is given daily for days 2-12 after treatment. In a month that works out to 10 days after one cycle and 7 days or so in the next cycle…so about 18 shots in total, on average, per month. This little drug runs $4,400/month. Yes you read that right. Fortunately Mathew’s social welfare covers 100% of this in his case. I wonder why this costs so damn much! I don’t see any gold or platinum floating in there.

Here is the neupogen beside the needle plus the other injection (blood thinner).

Daily Injections

Daily Injections

The neupogen is drawn into the syringe carefully or else you stab yourself in the knuckle which I’ve managed to do twice so far. This is a subcutaneous shot so you grab a small fold of skin and inject the needle at a 45 degree angle into the skin. You want it to go into the fatty area of the arm and not the muscle. The other needle, the Fragmin, goes into Mathew’s belly. His belly is covered in little bruises but the huge ones are slowly fading. Maybe we are getting better at it? I can only hope. I hate doing things that cause him pain!

Next I took a photo of Bosco guarding his loot. After dinner both dogs get “chewies” which is some kind of disgusting Chinese-made thing they love to chew on. Even though I give them equal sized chewies they spend the rest of their “dessert” eyeing each other’s prize and stealing it when possible. Bosco managed to get a hold of three and made sure to keep them safe.

Bosco and spoils of war

Bosco and spoils of war

Here is Spook in his window seat. During the day you can catch him passed out in here catching some sun on a sunny day. Other times he crouches like he is here and peers out into the world.

Spook in his window seat

Spook in his window seat


Or Spook will hog Bosco’s sleeping blanket. The cat can get up on all the furniture, the computer chair, his window seat or our bed. But noooooo, he gleefully settles into Bosco’s spot thereby bumping him onto a much smaller resting pillow. Some days I am not sure which animal is the head honcho.
Spook hogging Bosco's bed

Spook hogging Bosco’s bed

Here is the before photo of the pumpkins I carved yesterday. The dogs are chilling in the livingroom with Mathew and I. I found it much easier to clean and cut the pumpkin with surgical gloves on. If they got messy they still weren’t as slippery as my hands and it was an easy matter to throw dirty ones in the garbage and slip on a clean pair. The messy work went fast this way.

Pre pumpkin carving mess!

Pre pumpkin carving mess!


Mathew and Spook take a second out from the intense proceedings to relax and smile for the picture. Mathew anyway, who knows what the cat is thinking with those slinky eyes (probably waiting to see if the pumpkins remotely resemble food he can eat or steal)
Mathew and Spook oversee the pumpkin carving

Mathew and Spook oversee the pumpkin carving


Here is the final result of one of the pumpkins. Kind of a half-ass steampunk basic pumpkin.
Pumpkin 1 lit up

Pumpkin 1 lit up


Here’s the creepier pumpkin… look out little pumpkins, the pumpkin-eater is out looking for you!!
Pumpkin 2 lit up

Pumpkin 2 lit up


Here is a daylight look at the pumpkin. I pulled the idea off the internet (Mathew loved this one) and carved away.
Scary pumpkin!

Scary pumpkin!

It was easy. A couple of sawed-off gourds for horns and the nose and it is good to go.

We hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween!

I will try to post if I can. It’s going to be crazy until he comes home from the hospital so I might just ask Kristen to post little updates.

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