Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Early Week 13 Update.

I told the Dr. at last infusion Tuesday that instead of getting used to treatments I found that I was dreading each one more than the last. I had this mental image of a revolver with a bullet in it and that each treatment I was spinning the cylinder and was afraid that one day there would be a bullet in the cylinder. Not the most pleasant image to share , but it was what I was thinking.

So it was big relief that I got good news from recent PET SCAN. Tumors have shrunk in size and their is no longer any evidence of hyper metabolic activity, I.E. no evidence of active cancer growth. Caveats are that this is a snapshot in time ONLY , no guarantee that cancer will stay at bay, or if it does, how long it will do so. Have a CAT scan scheduled for next week to see if it confirms positive PET SCAN results. Dr. tells me I will be "peeing out" the dead cancer cells over time. Die you dirty bastards!

Scans with results of this kind after 4 cycles are best one could hope for and generally do indicate better outcomes, with longer remission times than scans that show continued cancer activity at this stage.

As with all cancer stats however, positive PET SCAN results at end of 4th cycle (IE no cancer) are not predictive of individual outcomes, just probabilities. If i get an additional five years, I will count myself very, very lucky, but honestly if it turns out to be less than that I will still feel very fortunate for every additional day I have had, especially once I am off these meds.

My 5th cycle started this past Tuesday. Am now scheduled to start my 6th and final cycle on Feb 19th, with medications completed 4 days after that and complete end of this last cycle 16 days later, on March 11th (far better symbolically than the Ides of March a few days later, although I do have a friend whose Birthday is on the Ides. Thought I forgot didn't you T.K?).

Dr. tells me it takes most people anywhere from 3 -12 months to regain most of their prior energy, so hopefully I can use the summer months to do the work necessary to get that energy back. Have lost a lot of muscle tone in my legs so its going to be slow process to avoid injury while building my base fitness back up. Given alternatives, nice problem to have to deal with.

One unexpected result of treatment is that I have lost about 15 pounds (contrary to what I previously believed most people gain weight), and I will be trying to build on that to lose another 30 after my chemo is over. Gluten free diet cuts out a lot of breads, and anything with flour in it, and that probably is one of reasons I have lost weight. That and the nasty medicine.

Walking the Portland Marathon this year is likely too much to expect, but hopefully I can work up to at least a 10k walk sometime this year.Who knows, maybe i can still be "An [aging] Contenda!"

Thanks again to Barry Wilson for getting me home from last infusion, was happy to share the good news with him first.

PS -Root for the Patriots this Sunday, got a Michigan boy, Tom Brady as quarterback.

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