The Oncologist Visit

So, post blood work, it’s on to the oncologist. We’re greeted by friendly but saddened nurses we’ve worked with before. First Kelly for the initial vital stats and general status questions, then Margret who takes us through the treatment plan and answers a lot of our questions and then Dr. Moltzen who further explains the treatment plan and why it is what it is and clarifies and responds to some additional questions.

So, here is the diagnosis and plan:

  • The growth is a reoccurrence of the 2018 lymphoma
  • It is highly treatable and they are planning for a cure
  • There will be chemotherapy, a different regime than 2018
    • The drugs are not supposed to cause heart damage like in 2018. See MUGA scan on Six Month Followup
    • Hair loss is “sometimes”, last time it was “for sure” 🙂
  • Autologous (I’m the donor) bone marrow transplant
Continue reading “The Oncologist Visit”

Deja vu, almost

Here I am, back at St. B. getting blood work, 3 pages on the requisition which will mean quite a few tubes. After that it’s on to see the oncologist.

Déjà vu almost because it’s a little too familiar and this time I’ve got a few clues about what lies ahead and I know the nurse and doctor I’ll be working with. But, I’m sure there will be some differences and perhaps a surprise or two ahead. It seems that very little is totally the same the second time around.

Next stop, the oncologist.

Apparently, the journey in not over just yet.

So, yesterday I spent the afternoon and evening in the ER. I had been feeling a bit of chest pain and after booking an appointment with my doctor he called back and requested that I go to the hospital. Things happen quickly in the ER when you say “chest pain”. In short order I was triaged, had a EKG, blood work, followed shortly by an chest x-ray, which lead to a CT of my chest.

I had really thought and/or hoped that this chest pain, which feels like an exercise induced muscle strain, would turn out to be nothing. Such was not the case.

Continue reading “Apparently, the journey in not over just yet.”

One Year

Here I am, one year since I got the confirmation that I was cancer free. In remission as the medical folks say or healed as I like to say.

I can still remember the first visit with the oncologist where, amongst other things, she said ” this will be a life altering event”. And of course it was, more that I was expecting and of course I didn’t even know what to expect!

Beyond the physical aspects which thankfully came and went the longer lasting impact has been the mental aspects. Very few, if any days pass where I don’t think about the Cancer experience.

As we’re back at the hospital for a follow-up visit and going up one flight of stairs I remember the first time up these stairs where I was out of breath from the exertion due to the tumor press on my lung. After only 2 chemo treatments I noticed a significant improvement on the stairs and today I can climb them with ease. Thank you Jesus!

These days the on and off battle is in the mind. A few days ago I watched a TV show where a guy about my age who had cancer and was in remission found out it had reoccurred and was dealing with telling his family that he wasn’t going to do chemo again. I was in a funk for about a day as a result even as I tried not to let myself think “what if…”.

Working on staying focused on my Healer and living large. So thankful.

Six Month follow-up

I’m at St Boniface hospital for the standard blood work and a visit with the oncologist. I’m feeling good and the visit should be uneventful.

I have a few questions, most I suspect will not have a clear answer. Things like “Are you sure the Cancer is still gone?”. It seems that the blood work tells them next to nothing about the presence or absence of cancer in my body. I’ll ask again about scans or x-rays but so far it’s been a “no go”.

After meeting with the doctor she confirms that there will be no scans due to the radiation exposure unless there are symptoms warranting a scan. So, no scan just for a casual look see.

One thing I’d totally forgotten about was the follow-up MUGA scan post-chemo that took place back in March 4, 2019. It seems that I didn’t get off total free from some negative effects of one of the chemo drugs. My left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) decreased from 67% to 50% which was described as “significant” but “at the lower end of the normal range”. A caveat was noted that “the patient” positioning was different between the two scans. I didn’t notice this until later so I didn’t get to discuss this with the doctor. Now believing Ps 103:1-5 more that ever, especially v4 where is says “Who redeems my life from destruction” – the “destruction” to my heart that the cancer/chemo caused will be redeemed and restored to it’s proper function, capability & capacity.

The Hair

They said after chemo that when your hair grows back that it frequently is curly.

Of course I didn’t believe that. My hair was fairly straight and it will come back just the same as when it left, straight.

We’ll…..

…. what do I know?

I’m now being referred to as “Lambkins”

Port Care

I’m back at St Boniface Hospital today to get some “port care”. Basically a flush of the port with saline and heperin to make sure it’s not getting clogged.

The place brings back all the memories of chemo therapy and I’m surrounded by three other chairs with patients getting treated. I’m so thankful my treatments are in the past.

On December 19th there will be one more procedure to remove the port completely and when that heals, hopefully chemotherapy will fade away in the rear view mirror.

Day 179

Well, it’s been 179 days since that first phone call from my doctor with the news about the cancer diagnosis. A lot has happened in those 179 days, but today was the best day!

I’m
cancer
free!

Today, Shirley and I met with the oncologists to review the results of last Thursday’s PET scan and the results could not have been better. The Dr. said that there are “no signs of any active disease in you body.”. From the PET scan report…”There has been a complete metabolic resolution of the patients lymphoma.”, translation –  no cancer!

So, what’s next? Well, there are a few follow-up activities. On December 19th I’ll have the port removed from my chest. It was great to have, but I won’t be sorry to see it go. There will be two years of follow-up appointments with the oncologist, every 3 months for a year and then every 6 months.

To all our family, friends and church, thank you all for your love, prayers, support, concern, encouragement, food, and help that you’ve given Shirley and I on our journey through this process. It has all been very much appreciated!

Today and every day we’re celebrating God’s goodness and faithfulness to us. So thankful for all He has seen us through past, present & future. God is good.

PET Scan

This is the second PET scan to see what’s happening to the cancer in.my body. Of course the preferred and expected result is that nothing is found.

The test itself is quite uneventful which is ways good. After the screening and getting set up with the radioactive sugar injection (sounds harmless right?) I’m in the recliner resting under a warm blanket for one hour.

Into the tube is next with arms over my head and wrapped up in warm blankets again because the scanner is in a seriously cool room. Three passes in and out of the tube and I’m done, none to soon as one of my arms is beginning to cramp. All in all its a 2 hour process.

Next stop is on Monday with the oncologist to get the report.