Thursday, October 22, 2009

Finishing Up

My last chemo treatment is tomorow (Friday). Saw the doctor today and spoke a bit about follow up. Given the encouraging PET results so far the presumtion is that the post treatment PET in two weeks will be negative and that will be it for treatment. No radiation follow up. My hematologist prefers to avoid radiation exposure unless there is a clear clinical indication, and given my interrim PET results so far she doesn't see that. I received similar advice from the researchers at the NIH before I started treatment so I'm with her on this decision, given what I've heard about short and long term side effects from radiation.

So, I've got the scan in two weeks, then monthly folow ups with the doctor for blood work and symptom checks. Limited scans durring follow up (3 month, 6 month?). Again, looking to avoid unnecessary radiation. If there is a relapse she said it's not critical to catch it early.

I asked about recovery of Red Blood counts and they thought around a month, but that doesn't necessarilly translate into "back to normal" performance. We'll just have to see about that.

Bottom line - the end is in sight and I can look at checking back in to a normal routine.

Thanks to all family and friends who offered any support durring this time. It's all appreciated more than you know (certainly more than I've expressed).

Let's see if I can keep the 10 lbs. off. I know I should climb much better at 160 than 170.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Second Wind

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Second to last treatment tomorrow. Lately I've been sort of dreading them. Been feeling the cumulative effects, even durring treatment. Been needing extra meds while there.

Well now the end is really in sight. Thought back to my consults before treatment. Especially the part where the docs said to be most effective these treatments need to be on schedule all the time. Back then I thought "Hell yeah, well sign me up!" Easily said then, but when I was in the middle it felt like a L O N G road.

Now I feel like I've really got it behind me. If you want a cycling analogy I'm on top of the gear. I've done my treatments, infection control, and forgone vacations. I became my own advocate and, along with my medical team, managed this ... thing and all that goes with it.

People tell me I've handled it well, even the one's who got to see me as a mean, grumpy SOB with no patience for even polite conversation. I handled it the only way I could . It's a back to the wall situation.

Now it's just tomorow, and then the last one in two more weeks.

Time to finish.

Friday, October 2, 2009


October 2nd today.

It's a confluence of important 10/2 dates for me.

1969 - My SIL Judith was born. (I THINK she's 40. I have enough trouble with my own age so I'll just have to hope I'm right)

1971 - My brother Adam was born. I'm sure about this year.

1996 - Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

The last event MUST hold the most significance for me, based on my behavior today. I went in to Radio Shack (heretofore known as The SHACK ) to pick up yet another item for less than $10. Wouldn't you know it they (of course) had LIVESTRONG bracelets. I haven't had one since I lost the one I was given by my brother in law years ago. BTW, it's not HIS birthday. Spent the extra dollar to support the cause. I'd been meaning to get another one ever since I spent the gift card the folks from work got me on some Livestrong gear several weeks ago, but DIDN'T pony up the extra dollar for the bracelet at that time. Here's how cheap I can be: I had a hard time even buying the gear (did I mention I had a gift card?) given you pay a bit of a premium for the foundation.

Funny story on livstrong gear. A couple years ago I got my brother a 10/2 t-shirt for his birthday.

Also went on a bike ride today. First time in weeks. Didn't ride after my last treatment due to some complications. Glad I went. I always like to get out on the bike on holidays/birthdays/etc. This is another important date to add to the calendar, now.

So happy birthday to Judith and Adam. Happy bike ride day to me.