Great News Followed by Worst Evening

I could quit with the headline because that’s pretty accurate. After my fifth (and second treatment on two-week rotation), I had big up and then down.

The “official” CAT scan report, comparing to the one I had prior to first treatment, showed “substantial reduction” in cancer cells. So immediately I asked Dr. Butler the probing question, “what does that mean?”

Somehow this blog seemed incomplete without showing some dude's lymph node areas.

Somehow this blog seemed incomplete without showing some dude’s lymph node areas. Graphic: antrinik.org

He read report a little more and said, “It means only one lymph node lit up during the scan” – then explained it’s in chest cavity just millimeters above the normal 2 centimeter size of the node. I had cancer nodes throughout my body (neck, armpit, chest, with a substantial concentration in the groin area – typical of lymphoma.) So not quite cancer free at this point, but darn close.

I suggested that sounded like a pretty good report considering the nurse and others had suggested 50 percent reduction or more would be the expectation. His response was, “about as good as anyone would hope for or expect.”

So that’s the really good news. It also means he will wait for the next scan for like two months since this one was so good with two treatments to take effect. My next and final treatment is scheduled for two weeks – July 20 – if I tolerate this one,. Frankly, No. 4 really wasn’t any worse than  previous with exception of fatigue.

But damn, No. 5 started off pretty awful from treatment until I went to bed. I’m not going to whine here – too much – but it was the most debilitating, awful feeling of the entire process last evening. I stayed up sort of late – then went to bed and slept decent. Usually Wed/Thurs are the worst days. I continue to battle side effect issues and Doc is trying to address some of that with some help from my regular physician with another.

Well, some of you will get it.

Well, some of you will get it.

My blood counts have been better than average each step of the way – except my hemoglobin – should be 15 and mine is 12. Again, asked Doc what that means. Love this guy, his response: “Pretty damn wimpy.” He’s accurate.

The fatigue that really clobbered me started a week before treatment No. 4 and has only progressed – it remains every day’s biggest challenge. He’s putting me back on a pretty aggressive dose of steroids this week to try to give me a little more energy.

Based on last night I’m a little uncertain about doing the last treatment on two weeks rotation but have to see how next 8-9 days go before making a call. I want it over with. Even on two-week rotation, it means I’d be fighting same side effects and fatigue until early-mid August. Chemo takes 45-60 days to clear … but I should be on upswing a bit just past three weeks after last chemo. Confusing – and I wrote it. :/

Oh, I also asked to see the IU Health Nutritionist to get myself on a good recovery path and changes I may want to make as a 62-year-old cancer survivor. He thought that was a great idea. 🙂

My most sincere thanks for everyone’s concern and support. It’s the best side effect of all!

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About Howard

After most of my career in the newspaper business I joined higher education, working in Public Affairs. I write mostly about value wine.
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