3rd BCG Maintenance Series #3 of 3 - September 25, 2009

I was a little surprised when the doc's office called Wednesday to confirm my BCG appointment at 9AM instead of 9:15, but a quick check of the notes proved that they were correct. I had high hopes that this one would be both easy and over quickly. I was processed in with urine tested by 9:05 and the BCG dose was diluted and ready by 9:10. The doc had not arrived in the office yet, but we were assured that I would be his first stop. And so it was a few minutes later. The doc was surprised that my symptoms last week were slightly milder than the week before, as most people have progressively more intense side effects. I suggested my immune system was in top form, and Dr. Hopkins suggested that I was just weird. We discussed the schedule upcoming. Next will be an 18 month cystoscopy in 3 months, which is now scheduled for December 3 at 11AM. If all goes well, no BCG until after the next cystoscopy in March. I was delighted to hear it. He did not permit me to schedule March yet, preferring to see the cysto results in December first.

The trip home was uneventful except for a major construction traffic jam, so my wife used back streets to get around it, saving maybe half an hour.
Hydration plans executed, the symptoms started just before 3 hours post instillation and escalated rapidly. Much worse than the week before - about 4.5/10 on my subjective misery index. After all the urinary symptoms were concluded (around 7PM), I was beset by the expected flu-like symptoms of exhaustion, stiffness, minor body aches and cramping, and a pretty good headache. Plus, as usual, a total loss of appetite. By 8PM or so I decided to discard my macho-male persona and took 1000mg of acetaminophen. It took the edge off the pain, but perhaps an NSAID like ibuprofen would have been better. Unusually, I slept for the most part from 5PM until 7:20PM, and was back asleep again by 11PM. This morning I am still quite tired, and there is a lot of stiffness. Appetite has returned with a vengeance, though! In a day or two I expect that urination will again be a happy time, and in a couple of weeks I hope to be back to 100%.

I have received some communications from new readers of this blog. One from Mike via Wellsphere, who had his very first BCG this week. He instinctively clenched up on the tube during instillation, and had to force himself to relax to allow the process to continue. This is why I use the stress balls, breathing techniques and other distractions. Generally if I instinctively clench, I squeeze the stress balls and focus on pointing my toes, which seems to do the trick. Another more disturbing note came from Robert. I sent a reply, but his email bounced (twice). So try again if you are still reading. His feedback is reprinted below:

"I start my 3rd round of 3 bcg treatments in 12/2009. No Superficicial Cancer at present. My sexual activity is diminishing from all these treatments. I don't like these instillations."

I think it would be difficult to find anyone who would disagree with Robert's comments...

As for me, I was skipping breakfast and all fluids before each morning BCG, and then having a normal lunch.
Yesterday I had a big lunch of spicy food that was high in protein. Big mistake if the BCG is a difficult one. Would have been much better off with something smaller and easier to digest. Felt like I had a softball in my gut all day, which contributed to a strong feeling of nausea in the evening. I think any time I smell bleach or disinfectant wipes, I will feel nauseous for a while. Perhaps I need a better facility, like the one indicated in the second picture!

You can see the updated misery chart below, and a link to the details at the bottom of this posting.

(click to enlarge)

I made the final update (for this series) to the "pee by pee" details on the Series 3 Backup Page. (4/10 on the grossout scale).


Mike said...

Steve, I will try a stress ball the next treatment on Tuesday.The doctor always acts like he gets very irratiated when he runs into a road block.

Steve Kelley said...

Mike, I had to laugh out loud at your comment. We have to realize that it's all about these doctors and their egos! Never mind what is happening to us.

Key is to concentrate on some part, ANY part, of the body except the "target area." So don't just squeeze the stress balls, focus all your feelings and attention on squeezing them!

Mike said...

Steve,Yesterday went much better. I told the doctor I was trying my best to relax so it would go in easy and he helped me by saying, Take a deep breath and it went some and after 3 deep breaths it entered with not to much pain.
Thanks Steve