Tag: Chemo

Chemo Souvenirs

On this chemotherapy journey I have picked up some souvenirs along the way. My first came on round one. I was staying inpatient at MD Anderson and they had a reward program for folks who walked. Kendra and I walked a lot so I got lots of colorful dots on my door. At the end I traded in dots for bandanas. Today in my home office I have a red and green bandana hanging from the wall. I’m guessing you could use these to cover your hairless head. Mine were autographed by my amazing nursing staff so they hang on the wall for now.

The next souvenir that has been accumulating in safety pins. I know, not as exciting as nurse autographed red and green bandanas, but trophies none the less. The process of wearing a backpack full of chemotherapy is unique. You have a backpack with IV bags inside and two bungee type umbilical cords that stretch out to my pic line.Without tethering the bungee to your clothing you setup a tug-a-thon with your chemo bag and your skin that the pic line is sutured to.  wpid-2015-01-09-13.07.44.jpg.jpegSo we introduce the safety pin. It attaches to your shirt and prevents arm failure.wpid-wp-1412106258114.jpeg

The safety pins get collected and we start up the next round with a new pin. I believe two pins have done double duty since we only have 3 right now.

Derrick Perrin's safety pin colleciton

My collection of chemo safety pins

Should I keep them or try out what Kyle did? Check out what one man can do with a red paper clip:


There is always the option to eBay them. I’m just happy to have received my last chemo safety pin and be looking at the end of my treatments. If you have ideas on what can be done with used safety pins please comment below. I’m up for suggestions.
Thanks for the love along the way,

Research in numbers – Lymphoma

Tuesday November 25th, 2014. This starts the 6th day of my 5 day Chemotherapy run. Read more on the delay of game in yesterdays fun filled post “The Big Spill
It is cold this morning and I’m finding it very easy to find negativity in this huge revolving cancer door. Each time I hear a cough or see someone wipe their nose I cringe on the inside. I try to pour myself a fresh cup of water and I get this:Dirty water from the tap
After staring at my Styrofoam cup of mineral water I was jolted into happiness by the bald lady wishing everyone a good-morning and calling everyone beautiful. I’m not sure if they hand out camper of the day here at MD Anderson, but if they do this lady has it in the bad and its not even 8a.m. So shifting gears and trying to be positive I pour out the mineral water and continue my quest for numbers when it comes to the drugs I’m taking. I have completed all but my last drug for this weeks run of chemotherapy. Today all I get is Cyclophosphamide. One hour of Cyclophosphamide is what is between me and being done with round 4 of chemotherapy. The quest for numbers is what determines if I’m back for rounds 5 and 6.

So here are some of the things I’m collecting. No pen and paper today so the rest of this blog post will be my note pad:
Chemotherapy is not just a single drug. For most cancer treatments there is only one type of chemotherapy given. My doctor chose a chemotherapy cocktail to given to a small population of cancer people.

This year I’m one in 70,800 people diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

We take this and then knock it down to 1 out of every 3 have Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma. That puts me into one out of 23,600 this year.
Depending on how test results come back doctors prescribe 3 main protocols:

CHOP is the old school protocol. R-Chop has been used for 20 years. EPOCH+R is the new kid on the block.  The EPOCH+R is an aggressive protocol that I had to test into. My age, heath status, & electrocardiogram were all factors on what cocktail was hoked up to my IV. So I’m looking and looking for numbers of patients who fit my demographic and my drug class. I really don’t know how many of the 23,600 folks are fit enough to take the high dose super regiment of chemotherapy. I found out my dosage is 2x the normal dosing from what they ran in drug trials. This makes it hard to make a judgement on long term side effects. There are not enough years and enough data at my toxic concentrations to make a great decision now.

I challenge anyone reading this to help in finding any information in the positive or negative on long term effects of EPOCH+R.

Comment below or send email directly to derrick@bigboxpro.com. I have 15 days to make a decision on what to do about chemotherapy.

My Chemo

Today is my month anniversary of finding out I had some sort of cancer. Things are a bit slower now that we have been poked prodded and tested. My knowledge about cancer has grown larger than I could have ever imagined. Before I started my research I thought there was one type of chemotherapy. I quickly found out that is like saying there is one type of soda drink or on type of car. I also found out that if you mix them you can get a better result. My doctors have chosen a protocol or cocktail called R-EPOCH.


  • Rituximab 375 mg/m2 IV on day 1 plus
  • Doxorubicin 15 mg/m2plus Etoposide 65 mg/m2plus Vincristine 0.5 mg/day by continuous IV infusion on days 2-4
  • Cyclophosphamide 750 mg/m2 on day 5
  • Prednisone 60 mg/m2 on days 1-14; every 21d[29]

So within the protocol there are a few drugs that have a spot in the sequence and a duration before the next one runs. While at the hospital you are connected for 5 days and your nurses are changing bags to keep it running non stop for 5 day. They hang a new bag and switch over right as soon as the old back completes.
So it all feeds into your PIC line shown here. I tried to get another color but purple is all they had. If I trace the line in my body up to my armpit I can roll it and make the tail outside of my skin move. I know sort of gross, but I had to share.
This line will be with me until the end of my chemotherapy run in January. On my days off from MD Anderson we have to flush the line and keep the insertion point clean. Kendra is doing a great job taking care of me and flushing me each night. I’m still getting use to sleeping with a tube coming out of my arm. It also have to wrap it up while strumming the guitar. If I don’t restrain it it thumps the guitar and I have an accompanist drummer.

There are a few other meds that I take to help with the chemotherapy. One shot to help with white blood cell count, another pill to help with nausea created by the chemo and there is a antibiotic to help with staying infection free.

Well thanks for reading and staying positive. I’m off to find a place that can do my blood-work locally. Fun times in Perrin Land.