Treatment 4 of 4 follows similar pattern


Good intentions of updating between treatments haven’t worked as well as I’d planned. Still, I get Facebook messages, text messages, and inquiries how I’m doing. And, I appreciate every time someone asks.

Treatment number three a month ago was significantly tougher than the first two. It certainly reminded me of 2015 and the promised cumulative effect of chemo. I was pretty sick the Friday after the Tuesday-Wednesday treatment. I had energy issues the first and last week between three and four. I do believe the testosterone shots I have been getting once a month are starting to help. Doc and I agree we’re going to up the testosterone to once every three weeks.

I had a strange incident this past Sunday. I had a ‘shutdown’ Sunday afternoon evening that felt very much like the chemo shutdowns of 2015. It’s hard to describe. I spent most of the day in a chair and when I got up it was like I had no core strength at all. It’s different than just feeling tired. It also is a great illustration, unfortunately, of what chemo does – you never know when or how long after treatment – it’s going to do something to you.

I had, what is scheduled to be, my final chemo this week. Jan.24 and 25. On Tuesday I just get Bendeka, my chemo drug. It made me sick Tuesday night. I woke up with nausea but fortunately took one of my anti-nausea drugs and was able to go back to sleep.

Wednesday I had Bendeka and Rituxan and saw my doctor. Wednesday went okay and Thursday was pretty good. Of course, just like the previous three treatments, I felt toxic and slept most of Friday morning. (It’s Friday afternoon as I write this post.) It’s hard to describe the feeling – but calling it poisoned fits as well as any other word choice.

Now it’s all about going forward. I will have a PET scan the last week of February that hopefully shows this low-grade lymphoma diagnosed last fall is gone. But then we have to come up with a maintenance plan so that I hopefully don’t have to do chemo again. Lymphoma is treatable but it tends to come back.

The two most likely choices are a self bone marrow transplant or a Rituxan maintenance plan. The bone marrow transplant is not as disruptive as a donor transplant. The Rituxan – which is an immunotherapy drug would be every other month for two years. That would require taking one day off because the treatment takes close to 3-4 hours but that’s still better than other options.

I’ll confer with my oncologist and visit the same blood cancer specialist in Indy before we make a decision how we go forward.

I’m hoping to get clear of the chemo in my body by April or May. The chemo has caused blurred vision just like it did in 2015. I want to deal with that and start to work on the weight I’ve gained from two rounds of chemo over a year and a half period


. I want my energy back – maybe even find some more.

That would be an awesome contrast from a pretty bad 2016 to a pretty darn good 2017.


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. I have now taken early retirement and work part-time in a small boutique, retail wine shop in Indianapolis
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