Just wow…

I had a regular doctor’s appointment with my oncologist/hematologist today. First I went to the lab to have my blood drawn for cell counts. then to the nurse’s desk for vitals to be checked. Then to the examination room to wait for the doctor.

When she came in she announced, “You’re blood counts are better than mine!” Wow. Just wow… All of my cell counts were normal for a male of my size. I have been off of all cancer treatment related medication now for over 48 hours. No blood transfusions since the second half of April. Last chemotherapy infusion was May 12th. And here I am 56 days after diagnosis, walking around like a normal guy. Amazing.

In a couple of weeks I start my third round of chemotherapy. It will be five days in a row. This time it is not Idarubicin. It is Mitoxantrone. Same family as Idarubicin. Idarubicin is orange and when you take it your pee looks something like Tang. Apparently Mitoxantrone is blue and I will be peeing pea-green pee.

Surprise!!!

Today I had an appointment with my Oncologist/Hematologist. I knew she was going to be putting me back on ATRA. But I did not know we would be starting the continuation round of the chemotherapy (my chemotherapy drug is Idarubicin). Well I checked out healthy (well enough for chemo) so we started it today. The next three days will be the rest of the continuation round.

I have been talking to my body and this time we are only going to kill off the leukemic cells. I am going to remain an outpatient. Meaning, no infections, no fever and no need for blood transfusions. Needless to say, I need all the help I can get. So I ask again. If you are the praying kind or the karma good thought kind, I will take your support. Why? Because I am selfish. I am young, I have a life to live, I have a young daughter to raise. I want 100% remission. I thank you for any prayers or kind thoughts.

A couple of weeks ago, my mother-in-law said “leukemia or any cancer for that matter is not for sissies”. I would extend that to any major disease (cancer, MS, lupus, heart disease, etc.) In all my hospital stays and doctors visits I have seen other patients fighting. In my book, anyone at any age, actively fighting a major disease is strong. Whether or not they survive is immaterial, they are still strong. You have to be strong mentally, physically and spiritually to fight a major disease. The day I went through my last bone marrow aspirate without morphine or sedation and then went and did physical therapy 15 minutes later, I gave myself the title “Bad MF” for the day (if you do not know what MF stands for, don?t worry about it.) I figure anyone that can do that, is strong, very strong. I am not boasting, on days like that, I surprise myself. I credit my God and my faith in God. I credit your prayers and kind words and thoughts. Again thank you.

Today I was introduced to a new site, Planet Cancer. It was started by a cancer patient that felt most cancer information is directed at pediatric and geriatric patients. This site is for the rest of us. It?s honest, dark and humorous, sometimes all at the same time. Seriously, in fighting cancer, there are so many battles, the treatment is a long journey (heck I am only in day 39, two years lie ahead of me), you have got to have some levity about the situation to get through it all.

Chemotherapy

So, until I got cancer I never really thought much about chemotherapy or radiation. I actually thought chemotherapy was medical radiation. Which it is, sort of. Still I thought either way, the patient went and got radiated periodically by a big machine. I certainly did not think chemotherapy was an administered drug!

Well over the last few days I have learned this: the drug I am using for chemotherapy is “idarubicin”. It was given to me today in my new Power PICC Line (which is way better than an IV). It was a slow injection into the PICC line rather a drip. It was done by the nurse. In preparation for handling and administering the drug she had to wear a full plastic coverall and special gloves. Wow. Strong stuff.

Well three more session. One every other day, so that will take me to April 11th. I guess that will be followed with those pesky bone marrow biopsies. Dang!

So, first session and I am still doing well here, just doing my part, staying positive and following instructions.