50% solution

Visiting the oncologist today was unlike any other visit: it was actually not just busy, but crowded! And it seemed like quite a social gathering. After a couple of false starts to get my bloods drawn and get in to the the doctor (with my chart missing, nonetheless), we finally heard that the bone marrow biopsy done last Friday looked like it hadn’t been analyzed yet. < shock! > < horror! > We were going to have to wait for an analysis to come back this afternoon from pathology.

The wait was almost agonizing had it not been for a great visit with my cousin, James.

Finally around 7:30pm tonight, we heard that the bone marrow biopsy was showing 50% blasts in the marrow. On the one hand this was an improvement over the 70% we thought we saw after the last round of chemo, but it still was not near the 30% threshold that we set that would keep me out of the hospital for another round of chemo. So, I am going back for another round of chemo before the transplant.

We need to reduce the amount of chemo in my bones – this will help the transplant process.
This round of chemo will be unlike the previous two induction rounds: this will be a double dose of Ara-C, for one hour, every twelve hours, over the course of 6 days. I hear this is a significantly strongly dosage of chemtherapy and it will hopefully work more effectively. The side effects can be severe: everything from fine motor coordination to short-term memory loss is expected and I will be tested every 4 hours for side-effects and administered appropriate treatment or we will cease chemotherapy treatments until some capabilities are restored. This may prolong the actual treatment cycle, but I’m hoping that my body will be strong enough to weather the storm. I did hear that I will most likely receive steroids for my eyes during this round of treatment as a preventative measure.

Funny part is to this whole scenario that last Friday we planned my return to hospital and the doctor even made a reservation for me to return this coming Thursday. Admissions called today and asked me to be at the hospital by 9am and they will give me a temporary bed and then later move me to my permanent room. I am not about that at all: when I go back to the hospital, I want to be put into my room, change my clothes, don the gown, put on my iPod and let them start the chemo right away – no waiting around bullshit for hospital administrators to get their collective acts together.

Then this evening, after I spoke with my oncologist, admissions called back to say they won’t have a bed for me at 9am and I should be in standby mode: they will call me when they’re ready for me. I can already tell this is going to be a horror to go through.

In the mean time, I have my iPod synching, my clothes a-packing, my pictures, computer, etc., ready to go so I could just leave when I’m told to come to hospital, but I am dead-set (uh … bad use of words) on getting right to treatment and I will be noticeably and vocally annoyed if that doesn’t happen.

Also, I’m trying to get back onto the same floor that I was on the last time. I already know and love the nurses there and really want to be under their care and treatment again. (Uh, hello, Kathy … where you been?)

So aside from some anxiety-driven sleeplessness (even with some serious sleeping drugs), I do feel a bit more leukemia fatigued than usual and the lack of sleep is starting to catch up to me. (Be forewarned, HUP, interruptions every 18 minutes will not be tolerated as nicely this time around.) Hence, I am eager to start treatment and get back to “normal” as soon as I can.

It was a bit of tear-jerker to leave the office on Tuesday. There were some people who didn’t know I was fighting Leukemia who were visibly shaken and concerned – and I very much appreciate their concern, and as this is probably the first posting they’re reading since they found out, I want to say thank you and don’t worry about not knowing what to say — there’s very little you can say that’s wrong, and a whole lot that’s right.

So, once again, strength and love, and be talking to you soon from the hospital!



3 Responses

  1. Seth–Thinking of you with this news. Of course, we were all hoping you would not need this round.

    But, trying to focus on the positive, we are glad you are down from 70% to only 50% (what’s that old Jewish saying, “it could always be worse?”)

    Please keep us posted–good and bad news–we are all with you as you face this next step toward recovery.

    Would you like lots of gifts and DVDs and books and magazines and cards from everyone again? (talk about a loaded question)

    Love and Healing Thoughts,

  2. Thanks, Amy! I am still (over)loaded with pressies (media and stuff) from the last time. You’d think I’m packing to move house, even though I’m just going to hospital for a month. But if there’s something new, I’ll let it be known. But thank you! Love …

  3. Hi Seth,
    Though I haven’t written, I have kept up with you writings every few days and the progress you have made. A temporary setback for now, but as your friend Amy said “it could always be worse”. Just be calm about all the screw ups that you will encounter in the hospital. Take it in your stride and things will move along to a successful conclusion in a few weeks when your on your way home.
    I would love to call you, but I don’t know how you feel about calls at this particular time. If it is okay with you, let me know. If not, don’t worry about it, I will continue to send you short missives every once in a while.
    Everything is okay here. The weather is beginning to get very warm, humid and miserable, but after all, we did have a great spring season till about two weeks ago. Now the humid, wet, rainy season of the tropics has arrived.
    My best regards and love to you my dear friend.

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