Finishing Plan “A”

The New Year started with unfinished business. I had two more treatments to finish before I would find out if they had worked.

List of events

  1. January 03, 2007 — Rituxan Treatment Three
  2. January 10, 2007 — Rituxan Treatment Four
  3. January 17, 2007 — Results of four Rituxan Treatments

  1. January 03, 2007 — Rituxan Treatment Three
    I just got home from my third treatment of Rituxan. The day went really well and I was in and out lickety-split. That’s the way I like to do things and I am so blessed that it worked out that way again. I still think the high-light of my day, when sitting there getting ready for my treatments, is to watch my doctor come into the office and mix my medication. For some reason watching Doc do that little chore just seems to impress me. Then he checks me over and talks to me about how things are going and he’s off to see the other patients.

    Last week I reported that I had dropped a few pounds on my bathroom scale the first week or so. I am glad to report they leaped off the scale and back onto me like I figured they would. We all know that weight loss can be associated with our cancer, and that when we lose it without any reason it is a bit nerve-racking. And I have to be honest and tell you that when my body takes on Mr. “C” and the battle is on, with the medications on board, I seem to be able to tell that war has started. The first couple of weeks seemed a bit strenuous this time and I am glad that I am feeling better now. In the back of my mind, I am convinced that all my battle stations are reporting success with the Rituxan at work again.

    One of the lessons I learned the hard way was about living a healthy lifestyle. When I was originally diagnosed with NHL I was about 100 pounds overweight. People always said they couldn’t believe that because I didn’t look real big and I supposedly carried my extra weight very well. But I was a pretty big guy. In order to manage fatigue I had to get off those extra pounds. Since that time I have been able to maintain my ideal body weight pretty well by just living a well-balanced lifestyle. I eat the same foods, with the same portions, and I exercise regularly. I don’t get on the scale and weigh myself on a regular basis. (After all I have to see my doctor every 90 days when things are going good and more frequently when they’re not… So there isn’t really a reason for me to drag out the scale.) But in all seriousness, I have learned not to watch and worry when I bounce up and down a few pounds. I have learned what to eat, how much of it I can eat, and that exercise is a key to success. In fact, I finished swimming laps tonight after finishing my treatments again, and it felt so good. It really does work and I just do the same things while I am on my treatment regimens to keep everything working. Yes, the Decadron deals me a bit of a fit in the hunger management area while I am actively being treated for this monster.

    Along the lines of our wonderful Decadron, last week I set a record for me. I only got about an hour and half of sleep after my treatments. The sleeping pill just didn’t work so I improvised. I got out of bed and went into my office and did some work on a writing project I am in the middle of. Then I snuck back into bed just before it was time for my wife to get up so I could cuddle to her for a while before leaping out into the cold world. Thursday proved to be a real long day for me, but I got to sleep a little more normal after that. So we’ll just have to see how things go tonight. I plan to go back to work tomorrow after being on vacation for a couple of weeks, but we’ll see how that turns out.

    I cannot believe the effects from Decadron. I asked my nurse how to explain it and she said, “Do you mean the buzz it gives you?” I said I don’t really know for sure because I don’t drink and I typically hear people use the word buzz in relationship to getting drunk. Then she suggested maybe it’s just the anxious feelings I have all the time. Just being on edge and feeling like I am ready to leap out at any little thing. That’s been the most difficult thing for me to cope with. And I can’t wait to get it done with. Just one more treatment this time round and I am getting excited!

    Before I close I want to say thank you to the people that dropped me a note off list. I really enjoyed all of your encouraging words! I hope everyone has a wonderful new year and that the scientists finally get that cure for NHL hammered out for us this year. But in the meantime, like one of you reminded me when I got thrown back into treatments again, this disease seems to be a treatable illness now. I for one, feel very blessed to have had the extra time with my family and friends, and to have the quality of life I get to live because of the successes in finding new treatment options for this disease in recent years.

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  3. January 10, 2007 — Rituxan Treatment Four
    I am very glad to report that I have finished treatment number four of this Rituxan regimen. We woke up to clear skies this morning here in Shawnee, Kansas and the temperature climbed into the lower 50’s with very strong southerly winds. My wife drove me to my oncologist’s office and dropped me off for the day around 10:30 a.m. Central Time and I immediately got into the routine of getting my weight and vital signs taken. And of course I took the dreaded Benadryl, Tylenol, and Decadron doses to get the ball rolling again. Then Doc came in and checked me over thoroughly and mixed my dose of Rituxan. My nurse hooked me up to feed the little mouse antibody buddies into my system. The infusion took just at four hours and I was off to our local YMCA where I swam laps and relaxed in the water. After having a wonderful meal together at our favorite Greek restaurant, my wife drove us home where we will spend the evening together. It may sound very routine, but I have to tell you that I am very thankful for that. I also feel very blessed!

    The past week went pretty well except for being extremely tired. I headed back to work last Thursday after being off work the week between Christmas and New Years day and a few extra days last week. I wanted to get back into the office to check on things and make sure there weren’t any problems that needed my attention. Everything was in good shape there as well so I was able to leave a little early the first few days as I got back into the routine in my office, which helped me manage the stress from being so tired. I also had a something going on with my stomach and that lasted through the weekend, but Sunday afternoon I got to feeling pretty good. Perhaps it was the bowl of chicken noodle soup that took care of that problem. They tell me there is some kind of bug going around so I may have had that – who knows. Then Monday finally came and I did a full day in the office. It seemed like the clock has stopped (all day long). It was grueling to say the least and it took a lot of determination to stick it out. I hadn’t caught up on my rest since the short night of sleep because of our buddy Decadron. And sitting at a desk is really hard when I need to rest. But I made it Monday and Tuesday. Now, after the treatments today, I will have to see how I feel tomorrow morning, which of course depends on how well I rest tonight. Since this is my last treatment I plan to take it easy. So if I am tired, I’ll either stay home, or go in for a few hours to see what’s going on. I know – all of that sounds pretty uneventful as well. It’s hard to believe I am fighting cancer here isn’t it!

    When I left the doctor’s office this afternoon I had orders for a blood test in a few weeks and an appointment for about one month out to check on things again. I know I’ll have an additional CT scan in the near future, but I don’t have a schedule yet. I have been told the Rituxan goes to work immediately after it is introduced into my body, and I understand it stays active for several months. But I have no idea at all how long it takes for the tumors to shrink, and for the lymph glands to finally return to normal size. I just know I am anxious to hear this treatment regimen has worked again, and to get on with my life. It is neat being able to say I am in complete remission.

    Finally, the gals at the doctor’s office really liked the cookies my wife sent with me for them this morning. I was a real popular guy for a while after they all got their treat for the morning. I didn’t tell any mouse jokes, or show them any new mouse movies. But I did have my Cheetos for lunch and they were good! All in all, it was a pretty low-key day and I was very glad it turned out that way.

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  5. January 17, 2007 — Results of four Rituxan Treatments
    It’s hard to believe another week has gone by. I haven’t experienced any problems since my last Rituxan treatment last week. Actually, outside of being tired from the lost nights sleep, I am feeling pretty good. So there isn’t really anything else to report.I spent some time this past weekend outside cleaning off sleet and snow. We were lucky here in our area. Just a few miles south the bad storms did a lot of damage, but we were spared any severe problems like loosing power. I have a small driveway, and relatively short sidewalks to clean off, so I really enjoyed getting out and doing that little chore a couple of times. It was nice to have the physical strength to do that kind of work. OK, not moaning and groaning on that I really do enjoy working like that.

    It’s been a little slow on our support group. I hope that means everyone is doing well and getting into the swing of the New Year.

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