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Chemo Round 54 and CT Scan Results

Well, the chemo rounds keep rollin’ in, don’t they? When you live in this body of mine, that comes with the territory. This cancer-killing adventure of mine has gone on and on, but there are many others who have been in the fight far longer than me and have struggled more. I remind myself of that when people remark on the number of rounds I’ve endured and the just how long I’ve been in treatment (we’re closing in on the 3 year mark). More than anything, I remind myself that hanging in there is half of the battle. The other half is being at peace with hanging in there. And I think I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on both.

Chemo Round 54 has been the easiest that I’ve had with my new combo of Zaltrap + FOLFIRI. As usual, my time at USC on the day of chemo went well. Infusion at Norris was made even more fun when one of my Duke buddies, who also happens to be a professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Sparks AND the best women’s basketball player to ever play at Duke – Alana Beard – came to hang out for a bit. A.B. is an awesome athlete and an even better person. We spent a couple of hours together catching up, talking hoops and cancer, and reminiscing about our time at our alma mater. That Duke bond is a strong one, people!

For the rest of my chemo week, I took it easy, napped solidly, and ate a lot more than usual (my appetite has been very shaky during the last several chemo weeks and I’ve lost some weight as a result – but I look pretty sleek so I’m not complaining). I kicked that gross headache earlier than usual and rested peacefully until I was back up and running by the end of the week. I really had the Avastin + FOLFIRI regimen down to a science in terms of dealing with side effects and bouncing back, and I’m slowly getting there with the new tweak in treatment. I have found that Zaltrap fatigues me more than usual, so Thursdays are a bit slower than they were before. But, still, I can’t complain. This body of mine is tough as hell and I’m grateful that it’s carried me this far…and I have no doubt that it will carry me across every finish line in the future.

So, my CT scan results. I know you saw it in the title of the blog post and were waiting for it, so here it is! The disease is stable, which is good news. I’ve got a few small sick lymph nodes in the belly and the radiologist likes to speculate about tiny things in my lungs (that I know is a bunch of crap and NOT cancer), but everything is holding tight. Cancer is like a sitting duck at this point. Considering where I was at the time I was diagnosed almost three years ago, this is pretty damn miraculous. I’m a happy camper and I know it’s just a matter of time before I blast the hell out of this disease.

One thing that was not so great about the scan: I’ve got some blood clots in my lungs. Now, before you freak out, let it be known that this is not my first blood clot issue and not even the first time I’ve had a clot in my lungs (which is also known as a pulmonary embolism). My dear readers, I’ve been having blood clot issues since October of 2010 and not one of them has licked me yet – quite the opposite! And if you think this just came up out of nowhere, that’s not true either. My hematologist tried switching up my blood thinner medication from shots (Lovenox) to pills, thinking the pills could be even more effective. Well, I’m pretty sure he was wrong on that one. So I’m back on Lovenox – two shots a day – and I know that my ‘nox will shrink these bad boys and resolve them. In the meantime, I have to take it easy and not exert myself too much since I get winded easier than usual. I’m doing that, although I will be making a return to the gym this week for some weight lifting.

As I’ve learned with this post-diagnosis life of mine, weathering every storm, keeping calm during ebbs and flows, and not getting too high or too low is essential to surviving this bastard of a disease. And, because of time and effort and my gut instincts, I know exactly how to do those things. And I’m quite grateful for that.

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