Another Chemo Week

21 Nov

This morning we set off for yet another week of chemo treatment. Another in my ongoing series of bi-weekly chemotherapy. Another “day at the office”.  Only this time I brought Pam’s laptop to write today’s blog.

Can there be any comparisons between a day at the office and an oncology day clinic? You certainly start out the same way. Leaving early to fight the traffic, finding a parking place, and getting the administrative necessities out the way. Retrieving your file, ensuring your day is computer registered. Except you queue for a blood test instead of the coffee machine. At 8:20, stuck in traffic, I get a phone call from the oncology head nurse. She wants to confirm the right quantity of Irinotecan. Where do you get such dedicated staff? Well it’s true that Margalit just happens to be married to a tennis partner of my brother-in-law, Philip. This only shows what a small world it is and how luck plays its part.

We’ve come a long way in a year. What I did I know about chemotherapy when I started a year ago, what drugs were being administered? I had no idea what goes on in hospital. I certainly didn’t know what drugs were about to be administered nor for how long.  Today I start with my secret pill, Lorivan, 1mg of Lorazepam, used for treating conditions of tension and anxiety. It gives me the great advantage of sleeping through most of my treatment. This is also weird for me – prior to my illness I had never taken a tranquillizer in my life.

Last year we had no idea what chemotherapy treatment meant. So we decided to make it a family occasion. My wife and three daughters came for support. Two of them gave up their university studies for the day, while our youngest daughter got compassionate leave from the Army.  We arrived at the Tel Hashomer Oncology Day Clinic not knowing what to expect. There was something extremely comforting in the shared experience. The benefits remain till today.

I woke up in the clinic today not realising that the biochemistry results were waiting.  I didn’t enquire. Pam gets them each time, and then tells me. While I’ve been sleeping, she’s been running around the hospital trying to establish whether I’m eligible for a new trial being conducted world-wide by AstraZeneca. Keith has always told us to keep ahead of the game: “Keep cancer guessing”. You can always return to a protocol that was still working when you left it. The decision is not ours. Firstly, we need other medical input – scans and the like. No one in the world could be more efficient in managing my case than Pam. She’s on to making the appointments and getting the right insurance forms immediately. And we can still squeeze in two meetings; one with our oncologist – who just happens to be head of department, and the other with the doctor responsible for the new trial.

My infusion in hospital is over for the day. I’m still amazed how technology has moved on. They attach me to a bottle of “5FU” (Fluorouracil) and I’m able to continue my chemo at home for the next 44 hours.

Hardly your average day at the office!                                             


12 Responses to “Another Chemo Week”

  1. Sidelle November 21, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    My darling hero of a dad-

    If this was a day in the office, you’d definitely be the “employe of the year”!

    Love you and proud of you!!!

  2. Agi Hirshberg November 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    Dear Martin, I am a business friend of Clement Erbmann and I have known about your diagnosis fro a while. It is only today that your blog was forwarded to me. Your facts, data, description are all real and the fact that you can share these emotions and facts, only tells me you will loive to be 100. On the diet part, UCLA’s fructose study confirms what sugar can do, but not all sugars! corn sugar is the one the stay aways from and fruit and veg. are very necessary. Best of course is your spirit, which is fighting spirit. Your protocol also is what we know is top treatment. In my work with the foundation, lately i am meeting 12, 15, 17 year survivors…not published but a fact all over the country. Safe is 5 years, but if you know the gene, and can direct treatment towards known genes, you are no longer in the dark for

  3. Agi Hirshberg November 22, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    in the dark about what works for you! i have taken up too much space, i am avail. to talk live, Skype, email as below, with any questions. My best to you and the family, Agi Hirshberg, founder of

  4. Lauren November 22, 2011 at 5:35 am #

    Hi Martin:
    This made it’s way from Israel to Australia … and now to the U.S.
    It’s wonderful that you’re responding well to this diet and are sharing your thoughts here. With hopes for your continued strength and well being… and that this will help many others. I look forward to reading more of your blogs…
    Lots of love always,

  5. Jonathan Saacks November 22, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    All our love! Your attitude and positiveness is amazing and an inspiration to us all.
    Jonny and Anat

  6. Angie & Albert November 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Hi Martin,

    So good to read your words and we’re hoping and praying that you’ll be eligible for this new trial. Cannot wait to see you in a couple of weeks and sending you all our love. xxx

  7. angiemaus November 22, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    Wonderful Blog Martin, this diet seems incredible but challenging so ‘chapeau’ for sticking to it so rigidly. So looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks and if my visit falls in between chemo sessions maybe we could fit in a spot of Reflexology? xxxxx

    • fightingpancreaticcancer November 22, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

      Hi Angie,
      Thanks so much for your input. The reflexolgy is a wonderful way to see each other feet to feet. Do you know how to treat neuropathy – that’s my latest challenge.

      • angiemaus November 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

        Alas I know no solution to neuropathy – my brother has the same problem – it’s a side effect of chemo – it really bothered Mike at the beginning but he’s now got used to it – either that or the ugly lambswool slippers I bought him in Sweden helped!! But he too loves Reflexology and at least I get his feet warm for a couple of hours!

  8. Karen Abel November 22, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    To our dear friend Martin,
    You write so beautifully and from the heart. And also with a touch of British humor.
    You gave us a “window into your world” of treatment today so that finally I was able to understand a little about your bi-weekly Mondays at Tel Ha’shomer.
    It is clear that besides your positive and strongly optimistic attitude, you have the most incredible family supporting you every step of the way.I was able to imagine your wonderful wife and beautiful daughters being there for you, each in her own special way.
    You are blessed and you know it!
    Love Karen and Russell

  9. melsamson November 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm #


    Fantastic idea to write a blog. It gives us the opportunity to understand your experiences and express our love and support. We wish that the future anniversaries will celebrate decades of good health and spirits.
    Happy Birthday, and many hugs and kisses from us all.
    Will find the opportunity in the near future to celebrate with a good play.
    Mel and Yuval.

  10. Sydney Joffe November 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Dear Martin,
    You are such an extraordinary person, so very special.You deserve to win this battle, absolutely! This is an amazing project you have started. You must know how many people will be touched , inspired and pray for your wellbeing . G-d bless you . We love you ..
    Sydney and Myra

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