The last time I wrote I dropped a big ol’ bomb – hey, my cancer’s back! – and then left it alone for a few weeks. Now that I’ve had time to process (and deal with all the crazy new meds), I’m ready to fill you all in on the game plan. Which, of course, has already changed. Because that’s what plans do.
I started out a few weeks ago with another PET scan and bone marrow biopsy. For those of you who’ve heard the story of the first bone marrow biopsy (last November), I’m happy to report that I behaved much better this time around. Unfortunately, that means I got fewer drugs, so I remember the entire procedure. Not. Fun. The biopsy came back clean (no involvement in my marrow) but the PET showed significant disease on both sides of the diaphragm. So in a way we’re back to square one.
Two weeks ago I started a new chemo, called ICE. It’s three days in a row every other week. It’s a “salvage chemo,” which basically means damage control while preparing me for a stem cell transplant. All involved parties have decided that the stem cell transplant is the way to go because it is the best chance to eradicate this disease once and for all. It is obviously aggressive based on how quickly and how extensively it came back. So we are going to be aggressive with it.
Today I was supposed to start my second round of salvage chemo, but my platelet counts are too low. My white counts have already bottomed out, but that won’t stop treatment. However, if my platelets bottom out, I’ll need a blood transfusion, and that will prolong the transplant process. So we’re going to wait a week and hope that my counts come back up. Then I can do chemo next Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and another PET scan on Friday.
Tomorrow I will meet with the transplant people and find out more information about that whole process. Hopefully my body will start cooperating and we can get this show on the road.
I’ll fill you all in once I know more about the transplant. Right now it all sounds very science-y and magical to me. I’m sure my adjectives will change significantly once I’m going through the process, but for now…how cool is it that they can do that?? Take out my stem cells, freeze them, kill all my marrow, thaw the stem cells, reinject them, and grow new clean marrow! That’s right, people, I’m so cool I’m going to be the donor for my own transplant. Actually, I’m very thankful for that because it means I won’t have to deal with graft vs. host disease.
So that’s where we are. I’m at home right now, on isolation. I’m officially done working and going to school because my immune system is nonexistent and I have to be healthy for the transplant. I can’t go to see A Christmas Carol or take the kids to see Santa or have visitors. But I can still drive them to school and wave to my mommy friends from the car. I can still feed them dinner and yell at them to quit wasting water and get out the shower. So even though a lot of things suck right now, a lot more things are still good. I am here. I will continue to be here. And I am blessed.