relapse

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Well, I have an update.  This may sound bad to many of you, but it is actually better than I expected.  I have had another relapse.  Just before I started my high-dose chemo, I felt a few lumps in my left breast, in the same area as the last time I relapsed.  So we biopsied them (seriously fun times…or not…remind me to tell you all about it later) and they came back positive for Hodgkin’s.  Then we did the high-dose chemo and hoped for the best.  The spots went down, but they have come back with a vengeance.  I call them my “stubborn spots,” among other things.  I also call them my “not-a-tumors,” because they are actually enlarged lymph nodes, but they feel like tumors.  We couldn’t do anything about the stubborn spots for a while because I was still recovering from the high-dose chemo and the transplant and any further treatment…well, let’s just say it would have had the opposite of the intended effect if we had done any treatment while my counts were so low.  So now I have passed day 30, my counts are up, and on Monday I did a PET scan.

Today I got the results of the scan.  There are 6 nodes in my left breast (several under the muscle – no wonder that junk hurts!) and 1 on the right side of my neck that are showing cancerous activity.  Basically that means those are the areas where the Hodgkin’s cells are right now.  So in a way, it’s a good thing that it hasn’t spread to the rest of my body like it did last time.  That means we did have some results with the stem cell transplant.  We just didn’t have a “complete response.”  Fan-tastic.  What do we do now?

Well, now we start treatment again.  I am going to try a relatively new chemo drug called Brentuximab.  It was approved by the FDA for use with Hodgkin’s in 2012 and the big study that was done showed pretty positive results.  This is a smarter chemo drug.  It targets the cancer cells specifically.  This means it won’t try to kill me as much as the other chemo drugs did, because it can tell the difference between good cells and bad cells.  Most of the front-line chemo drugs just kill all the cells, which is why there are such horrible side effects from them.

Now this doesn’t mean it’s going to be a walk in the park.  There will still be side effects.  But seeing as how I’m still dealing with stuff (like my skin turning gray and then peeling off) from the chemo that was over a month ago, I’ll be happy if it’s not much more than the usual (hair loss, fatigue, tummy issues).  I’ve also decided that it’s a good thing my head is not all crazy-shaped, because I will still be bald for a while.  Honestly, I don’t really remember that well what it’s like to have hair.  Or take a shower, for that matter.  I still have my central line, so I have to saran wrap it and take a bath still.  Not terribly relaxing.  Well, this post has turned into venting, so I think I’ll wrap it up.

No worries, friends.  I am still confident that I will beat this.  There are more back-up plans, like radiation and other drugs.  We will fight on together.  It’s just going to take some more time.

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11 responses »

  1. Kristi, I’m so sorry you’re going thru all this, but glad these drugs are available to help you ” kick cancer’s butt”! I pray that God will completely heal any & all cancerous activity in your body! You’ve shown a lot of heart & courage. I will continue to pray. Lovingly, Wendy B.

  2. You & your wonderful family are super strong & are loved very much! No matter the obstacle, you are the the person to beat & that cancer ought to get the memo! You all are always in your Park and Rec Dance family prayer’s.

  3. Fight on, Kristie! Kick some ass! What an awesome example you are for your kids, and all who read or know about your journey.

  4. You have got to be one of the strongest and bravest people on this earth. What a great outlook you have. Keep it up, your positive energy is infectious. You are such a great role model for all. Thank you for being the great woman that you are.

  5. Kristi, you don’t know me. Your husband was a student at FSU and I got the pleasure of knowing him while he danced with us. About thirty years ago I started donating blood regularly. Then about 5 years ago I started platelet donations and it turned out my counts were high and desirable and I’ve been donating them ever since. You are the reason. Cancer patients need platelets. My father donated his for decades. I’m so glad someone donated and you received the benefit in this tremendous battle you are in. Rock on!

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