I apologize for the lack of communication over the last week. I was able to cram three more chemo sessions in between Monday and Friday. On Monday I received one of the drugs that I had only received once, peg-asparinagase, when I was an impatient. I guess it is a pretty serious drug that can have some pancreatic side effects. But they were pleased with the results from the last treatment and pleased with my labs from that day so I told them to bring it on and they gave it to me on Monday. It seems like my body responded pretty well to it. Then I had Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off. On Wednesday, Hanna and I went down to Alexandria because she had orientation for her new job with Fairfax County Schools (Congrats to her!!) I was also able to help her do a little apartment hunting, which I was excited to do. And, of course, we got to see the trifecta of Blayneys which is always a treat. Then on Friday it was back to the hospital for the last chemo treatment of this "extended first round" It was a chemo called vinchristine, which i have had several times. The worst side effect of this treatment is a loss of sensation in the fingertips. It is almost like a constant prickling or numbness that has been with me pretty much from the beginning. It is one of the more constant side effects are pretty annoying, but there could be many worse things. They said that the feeling should eventually return it just may take a while, even after treatment is over...ugh. I guess I should take up a career in putting out torches with my fingers or something in the meantime...haha
One more highlight from the weekend, Mr. Gabler, Evan, Logan, Hanna, and I went down to the Phillies rout of the Cardinals yesterday and sat in one of the skyboxes. It was a very memorable experience of cheesesteaks, peanuts, and Jimmy Rollins go-ahead grandslams. Thanks again Mr. Gabler for that opportunity.
Now this week is more of a waiting game to see how the chemo affects the residual leukemia left in the marrow. I went to the hospital yesterday and again tomorrow to check 7,456 different kinds of blood markers to see how I am doing. For the most part, they have been very pleased with how my blood has maintained.
Then, Friday is the big day. I go back in for a 4th bone marrow biopsy (no worries, the morphine has already been requested). They will find some corner of my bone to draw into and take out the piece of bone that will analyze where we are at. Then it is a bit more waiting over the weekend and a meeting with Dr. Claxton on Monday to analyze the results.
So, this week is full of a lot of hope, a good bit of tears, a ton of fear, and some anxiety, oh, and, lets not forget, tons and tons of prayers. If the leukemia decreased to 5%, i believe we will move on to the next course. If there are some more setbacks or complications, they we have to put it into the hands of the doctors and see where they wanna take it from there. Either way, I am ready....scared, but ready.
As this time goes on, it is becoming more and more the routine, which I guess is good in a way and scary in a way.....though some days it still feels like this all began yesterday and I have yet to catch my breath. One thing I have never felt is alone and for that there are not nearly enough words of gratitude.
Im not gonna lie and say I was not crushed by last weeks news, but I did pick myself back up and I am ready to fight for whatever it is they tell me I need to do....more chemo, transplant. I will get through this stronger.
One other thing I want to mention just because it has been on my mind lately is the bone marrow transplant registry. I will write more later because I do not have tons of details but I think there are popular misconceptions about this procedure. It is almost always non-evasive and not too different than donating blood. A donor goes to an inpatient center and they draw his/her blood for about 4 hours, filter out some stem cells, and filter back in the rest of his/her blood. The stem cells are then used to infuse the cancer patient and those cells hopefully take over the marrow and create a whole new immune and blood system. It is not painful and relatively easy and saves tons of lives. This is something I never knew but hope to become more involved with. You can learn more at www.marrow.org
Well.....this is long enough for now. Keep praying for this big week, but know that, no matter what...
ALL will be well
Here is one for the ages: "If you wanna view paradise, simply look around and view it" - The Great Willy Wonka