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Today is Ralph’s first chemotherapy appointment. He gets Vidaza administered via his port (which was placed last Thursday).

For 22 years he has been going to the Hematology/Oncology Clinic to treat for his blood disorder, thrombocystosis. For 22 years, his bone marrow has over produced platelets, and the treatment has been Hydroxurea – an old cancer drug.  His diagnosis is now listed as thrombocytosis – primary; myelodysplastic syndrome – secondary.

I have sat in the waiting room with Ralph a few times in the last year, due to his illness caused by a benign tumor on his small intestine. When other people would come into the waiting room, I would think – that person has cancer. This person has cancer. Such a morbid thought process. Now when medical people and others see Ralph, they are not surprised that he has cancer. He is waif thin.

Last night I was reading through the side effects of Vidaza. Likely near term side effects: nausea, vomiting, fatigue, etc. Longer term side effects due to low platelets, low red blood cells, and lowered white blood cells – fatigue, danger of bleeding, and severely lowered immunity. So I need to take his temp if he gets any fever 100.5 and above, and call the doctor day or night. Watch for any kind of infection. Because of the risk of bleeding, he won’t be able to use a regular razor…I need to buy an electric razor.

It’s a steep learning curve.