Cancer’s barbaric burden to bear



photo taken Wednesday

Trust me, posting this picture isn’t easy. I passed the vanity stage points of life several years back. I’m not fond of selfies. But the whole point is honestly. In the last three weeks I had white cells boosted and then harvested. Next was six straight days of chemotherapy, including three days with two treatments each. It’s some of the most powerful chemo used in treatment, though there are some stronger, and it packs a slow-return  wallop.


April 17 I got my cells back in my body and the time of risk of infection really started. I lasted four days as an outpatient before developing a temp above 101 gaining me inpatient status April 20. I’m in the midst of an autologous stem cell transplant hoping to find a long-term remission from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

The photo represents just today. Frankly, I don’t feel all that bad. The pic represents my hair finally starting to go. My giggly and wonderful nurse Amber helped me shave it off this morning. Something new to me is my face and neck are covered with a flacky Psoriasis  (my words, not docs) sort of problem  – bright red and scaly blotches and looks like disease. In reality it’s a reaction to one of the antibiotics I’m taking and also will fade.

So I keep writing about being honest and figured it was time to be honest. I look at that pic and see what I’ll probably look like at 84 – like some of those Facebook filters.

With that mess out of the  way we’re actually in pretty exciting point in the transplant. tomorrow is Day 10 part cell replant and that is when the count usually takes off. My cells – from a low of less than  20 – were up to over 600 today. Keep in mind normal is 4000-10000. We’re on the way,

A couple of good days and I could be released from the hospital to return to out outpatient status. That would be a very good thing  – hopefully, this weekend.

If I have to feel so awful, look awful, to get many more years of healthy life – it wasn’t much of a choice.

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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3 Responses to Cancer’s barbaric burden to bear

  1. Frank Phillips says:

    Thinking good things for you, Howard.


  2. Elijah Sanders says:

    Love you Howard! Stay strong and positive, you’re in my thoughts and prayers.


    • Howard says:

      Thanks much Elijah, means a lot. Fortunately I’m now in fight back. That makes for simple good floats work of sorts. Great hearing from you!


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