Monday, June 7, 2010

And the score is . . .

Once again I would say that "no news is good news."

I completed my final round of FCR chemotherapy (fludarabine, cytoxin, and rituxan) on February 25th.

On March 22nd I had a CT scan that showed my lymph nodes had shrunk nearly back to a normal size.

Since then?

Intermittent bouts of sweats, itching, fatigue, a numb toe now and again, but---over time---less and less of it, I think. And an itchy spot on my back that makes me wonder about (and sometimes worry about) a recurrence of shingles.

On May 25th I had a CT/PET scan that showed all my lymph nodes had shrunk even more, which tells me that the "chemo chemicals" must still be having a lingering, on-going effect inside me (my interpretation, anyway). A blood test at the same time showed that my white blood cell count and red blood cell count have never been lower, which is a good-news / bad-news story. It means---I assume---that the blood test confirms that the chemo-chemicals are still at work inside me (good news, I guess), but it also means that my immune system is quite vulnerable right now and the low score on the red blood test means it's no wonder I feel tired sometimes, although I still get out for a heavy-duty bike ride when gardening chores let me get away.

Odd, but the weight reduction I worked hard at, from the low 190s down to the mid-170s has crept back the other way. The fatigue sometimes overcomes the discipline of getting back on the bike as often---maybe. Or maybe it's just an excuse. I am hungry all the time.

There are days when all this just simply makes me feel old, but I try to sleep it off and get going again as best and as vigorously as I can. Just a three-hour drive to visit relatives can leave me feeling pretty wiped-out. Sometimes I feel like it affects my mental vitality. I just feel sort of dull, withdrawn, and anti-social... not very conversational. But then, I never was exactly a social butterfly. But I try to stay conscious of that and act to counter-act it. And then again, I wonder if I am pushing too hard, too fast, trying to resume normalcy. Maybe my expectations are not realistic.

Work? I have been back in the office full time---again, "normalcy"---since March.

All things considered, it's all been rather miraculous. And I am grateful for medical science.

Lots of innings left to go in this ball game