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Saturday
Sep142013

Chemo Round 57, PET/CT Scan Results, and The Blood Clot

Round 57 came sooner than I would have liked, given my slow recovery from this gigantic clot in my lung (should we name it? Yes, we should. It’ll come to me during this post), but it was all good. Infusion went well – I got a cozy bed with some warm blankets and was totally comfortable and relaxed for the several hours of chemo guzzling. My normal side effects of a headache and general grossness lifted by Thursday morning, but I still had that Zaltrap-induced fatigue. Basically, once the normal chemo side effects lift, I feel completely lethargic and lazy. Maybe a little achy, too. So I took full advantage of that and worked in bed for a couple of days. Then, I huffed and puffed and made my way back to the world.

So, the clot. Let’s call it Pierre since it’s a pulmonary embolism (generally called a “PE”). Pierre is not the Frenchman that you’re imagining in your mind – the one with a little chapeau, a nice warm baguette, maybe some poetry, and a romantic side that takes your breath away. Pierre just takes your breath away. It’s been an interesting ride with ol’ Pierre. It sucks to not be as active as I want to be. I haven’t seen the gym, despite my desire to go, in weeks and weeks. I’ve lost weight because the minute I start eating, all the blood drains to my belly and Pierre makes sure my brain doesn’t get enough blood, so I get sleepy. Because I’m not nearly as active as I used to be, I’m losing my muscles which contributes to the weight loss. I think, since the onset of this bad boy, I’ve lost at least 15 pounds. So when you see pictures of me looking sleek and skinnier than I’ve ever been, please don’t think this is something that cancer is doing to me. This weight loss is NOT because of cancer. As you’re about to find out, there is plenty of good news about “the cancer” that so enjoys chilling out in my body. This weight loss is about the clot. This weight loss is squarely due to Pierre and his devilish ways. But I’m improving…slowly. I’m eating more. I actually gained a pound or two in the last couple of days. So Pierre is not going to be the king of the hill for long. I’m making my comeback and I will come back to the ridiculously active, ridiculously healthy WunderGlo you’ve come to know. This is just one of many challenges that, like all of those other challenges, I will conquer.

Enough about Pierre. It’s time to talk about “the cancer.”

So I had a PET/CT scan a couple of weeks ago and got my results right before Round 57. There is plenty of good news. The disease in my belly, as it’s been for about a year and a half, is minimal and stable. The scan detected a couple of jackass lymph nodes and that’s it. Good times. Also, my last several CT scan reports have noted some “suspicious” stuff in my lungs. I knew it was the radiologist getting his kicks with predicting new cancer and being wrong, as the radiologists always love to do, but now I got confirmation that I was right. The PET/CT scan said definitively that there was no evidence of disease in my lungs. So, besides Pierre hanging out in my right lung, my pipes are solid. The only bummer was that the scan did not detect Pierre getting any smaller, but the good news is that he’s stable. This clot will not grow and it’s not going to kill me. So, basically, I need to chill out, breathe, keep taking my blood thinner, and wait as the clot resolves.

In the week following chemo, I could feel a change in my lung. I think things are absolutely getting better. I find that the long walks I take when going to Sparks games and Dodger games (yes, even with Pierre, I support my teams) are getting easier. The stairs I take in my house are getting easier to climb. I’m eating more without feeling nearly as tired. And I’m breathing deeper and easier. For the first time in several rounds of chemo, I actually feel stronger than the round before and ready for the next round.

There are many things I’ve learned during this fistfight with cancer. Patience, constant gratitude, how to ride the waves of physical challenges and triumphs, et cetera. But with Pierre and this new chapter, I’ve learned that tough times may come, that things may not always be as easy as they’ve been in the past. But I’ve also learned not to count myself out. Ever. Because I don’t give up, I don’t put my head down, and I don’t despair. I endure. And that fact has been the most self-affirming one of them all. I will endure. So bring it on, Round 58.

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