Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

If you’ve been a faithful reader from this blog’s inception, you know that it was born out of expediency, a way to keep you updated as my WM experience unfolded from my diagnosis almost two years ago.  As I got into it, I grew even more self-conscious just talking about how my health (and figured you’d tire of a one-note samba, as well), so these posts roamed into new territories.  Because many of you have told me you enjoy reading all of this and encourage me to keep writing, I do.

Today I return to terra firma to give you good news from yesterday’s check-up and treatment.  The lymphoma marker continues to drop, my “good” immunoglobulins which were being eroded by all the chemo held steady and did not drop further, and my platelets increased to hit Dana-Farber’s minimum of the normal range.  

Although the rate of the IgM drop seems to be slowing down, probably a consequence of the less-frequent treatment schedule, Dr. Treon’s strategy appears to be working and Dr. Weiss said overall she was happy with these numbers.  Perhaps the three-month instead of the two-month cycle gives me more time to recover between treatments.  I certainly have more energy than I have had in, well, years.  This particular protocol which I started over a year ago has reduced my IgM level by 75%, so in the big picture, I am very, very grateful.

And I can’t say enough nice things about the USC Norris day hospital nurses.  If I had a dime for every time I’ve been told I have small veins, I could afford medical school.  I can just tell when a blood draw or IV start is going to be a miserable and bruising experience by the level of anxiety the phlebotomist or nurse exhibits when sizing up my arms.  More than a few times, the truly intimidated has called over a supervisor after a couple of failed attempts, which then is much to my relief.  

But the Norris (and Dana-Farber) folks take their time and then act sure-handedly.  My nurse yesterday went to some length to coax my veins into cooperation, and she didn’t pull out a needle until she was good and sure it’d strike gold (or red, I guess, as the case may be).  I tell you, this is very much something to appreciate. 

Even though I’ve gone through the infusion drill many times now, I am always startled at how quickly the funny taste comes into my mouth after the line is opened.  Last night and today, I am back in the familiar routine of drinking a lot of fluids and am sticking with smoothies until I feel like eating again.   I thought I was doing pretty well with the chemo brain until I tried to return a call to an office colleague from my home number and dialed only the on-campus extension.  At that point, I figured I needed to go back to bed for awhile.  

So, faithful readers, there you have another progress report.  Everyone involved is doing their best to keep the reports favorable.  

P.S. I enjoyed seeing these ever-present offerings with incense in Bali.  Wayan makes this one each morning to set by the pool. 

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