Yesterday was a six-vial day. Meaning, one of my now-favorite phlebotomists who wears a “Fight On” button painlessly got six vials of blood out of me faster than you can sing the USC alma mater. She’s a favorite because of the painless and fast part, not because of the button part, but I actually do think “Fight On” is an appropriate theme for a hospital.
(Six vials were noteworthy, but the record still stands at 14 vials. Believe me, that felt more like Pagliacci’s “tears of the clown vesti la giubba” aria).
All that special attention and work for the lab was for the end-of-week 3-assessment. My hematologist oncologist, Dr. Weitz, will consider this treatment successful if: (1) my platelet level rises to the normal range and stays there; and (2) my IgM blood protein level falls to the normal range and stays there.
So, drum roll, please: Platelets have doubled (doubled!) to a squarely normal count and higher than my 2006 baseline level. Analysis: lymphoma has cleared out of my bone marrow. (Cue: APPLAUSE, HEARTY CHEERS, CONFETTI FROM CEILING). So the eye will be on what the platelet count does from here.
But (Cue: HUSH IN AUDIENCE): the IgM blood protein remains high, although it will take a few months, if not several months, to evaluate that. If it doesn't start to budge soon, I “get” to do another chemo round soon. (Cue: CONCERNED MURMURING).
So based upon the Weitz success criteria, like the Obama economic plan, we have indications of the right trend, but it’s still too early to tell, and we must keep our expectations measured. (Credit for line concept: my brother John.)
Everything else has tanked – the things that are supposed to be high, are low; the things that are supposed to be low, are high. My kidney and liver are very unhappy, overworked, and have put in for a workman’s compensation. My body is paying the price of all the bad cell destruction, but bad cell destruction is what we want. (Cue: SCATTERED BOOING, MOSTLY HEAVY SIGHING FROM THE CANCER VETERANS).
Otherwise, I’m gearing back up with work and eager to resume what I thought life was going to be like back at the beginning of August.
Concluding announcement: I will have “maintenance” chemo, one dose like I have been having on Mondays, once every other month, for the next year.
Fight On through week 4.