Five doses of chemo down and one mega-dose to go. Thankfully the side effects have been minimal. I should get discharged tomorrow morning.
So What’s Next (Short Term)
At 2am they will start my last dose of Cytoxan. That will run over approximately 3 hours. After it completes, I get 2 more doses of chemo right on top of it. I get Doxorubicin for 15 minutes, which is the ice chips chemo (and also causes CHF if you ever get more than 8 doses in your lifetime) and then I’ll also get Vincristine, which is the constipation chemo. Three different chemos, all right on top of each other. Good times.
So What’s Next (Longer Term)
Really, it’s more of the same. The plan that was laid out at the beginning hasn’t changed, and that’s a good thing because it means I’m on the typical path to recovery. I’ll continue to get monthly chemo for a total of 8 months (this is round 3 right now). After that I’ll get monthly lab draws to ensure there are no signs of relapse and I’ll also take oral chemo through December 2014. And some really good news is that I don’t have to have another bone marrow aspiration unless I show signs of relapse. Two was enough. I don’t plan on having anymore.
After living 34 years without cancer, it was quite a surprise to be diagnosed. I only had cancer for 3 months (that I know of), and now it’s quite odd to say I’m cancer free. There is no sign of Leukemia in my body which is obviously a big answer to prayer.
With All That Said
Remission was a very big step on this journey (similar to being Philadelphia Chromosome negative) however it isn’t the end of the journey. I was told that based on previous studies I had a 90% chance of achieving remission. Those are pretty good odds. I was also told that given my individual characteristics (age, labs at time of diagnosis, type of leukemia, etc) that I have a 60%-70% chance of being cured (defined as being cancer free for 5 years). So now that I’ve joined the 90% who achieve remission, there’s still that pesky 20%-30% chance that I won’t be here for quite as many years as I’d like to be. Relapse is something that I’ll be thinking about for the next 5 years. It definitely puts Luke 12:13-21 into better perspective.
This is Better Than Other Scenarios
While no one wants cancer, overall I think this is the easier path. It would be much harder if Lindsey or one of the kids was diagnosed. I never thought I would have cancer, and my biggest cancer fear was that Lindsey would develop breast cancer. Since I know leukemia is more prevalent in children than adults, it’s also scary to think about the kids. I’d much rather be a cancer stricken parent with healthy kids than a healthy parent with a child who has cancer. While I realize me having cancer doesn’t prevent it impacting anyone else in my immediate family, if someone has to take one for the team I’d rather it be me. I can’t imagine making daily trips to the Riley Hem/Onc unit. God bless those families that are there right now.
And the Powerball is…
Not much change overall. The jump in my WBC is due to the steroids I’m on. My attending promised he’ll knock it out with the chemo 😉
Hemoglobin – 11.8
Platelet – 148
WBC – 9.9
ANC – 9.4
A Duck Dynasty Prayer
Father God, thank you for remission. It is but on step in this journey, but a step I am very thankful for. Remission is many more days with my family. Many more days seeing my kids grow up. Many more days of hugging my wife. While tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, I’m thankful just for the chance to live it. Let me not waste the chance of tomorrow. Let me not waste the gift of tomorrow. Thank you for another day. Amen.