Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Update February 2014

The latest news from the world of oncologists is that I went to see the cancer doc on Tuesday to discuss results of blood sample drawn on Friday, 2/21. The M-spike (measure of cancer) actually appears to have decreased a little bit over the past two months, from 1.2 down to 1.1. This is likely just due to variations of it being difficult to read the test, but it also means that it is increasing at a very slow rate. Although the numbers differ, the rate of increase between tests taken at Mayo is exactly the same as the rate of increase for tests taken here in Texas.
At this rate of increase, my personal calculation is that it would likely be 3 to 5 years before I resume chemotherapy According to esteemed medical minds, my course of action for now is to go off and live my life as though I don't have cancer, come in and get it checked on every couple of months, and they will let me know when to be sick again.
I'm feeling good most of the time, just a little fatigue and a little pain (from past treatments, not the cancer) to deal with from time to time. Thanks to all for the love, prayers, and support.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Back to Mayo

On January 25, Carol and I made our way back to the frozen north for my one year check up at the World Famous Mayo Brothers Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  It was on January 25, 2013, that I received my autologous transplant of stem cells. The good folks at Mayo had intentionally killed my bone marrow in an attempt to kill the cancer, then replenished it with my own stem cells on 1/25/13 to grow the marrow back before it finished dying. So many of you have come up to ask me how the trip went that I am humbled, and apologize for not posting sooner.

Medically: There were no surprises, good or bad. The cancer is right where we thought it was from tests done here in Texas, and increasing at about the same rate as we measured here, and there still remains no damage to the skeleton. I will remain off of chemotherapy for now, and continue checking it every couple of months here in Texas, and go back to Mayo for a check up in early 2015. Unless there is a drastic turn of events, I should remain off of chemo for 2014. We have today, and will not borrow any possible troubles from tomorrow.

Climatologically: It was COLD. Monday morning, Carol and I walked the 4 blocks to the clinic just for old times' sake. It was 18 degrees BELOW zero on the Farenhieght scale. Monday afternoon, we decided to take the shuttle back. When we tried to come home on Tuesday morning, we sat on the runway at Minneapolis-St. Paul for 3 hours while they got the plane thawed out enough to fly.

Socially: On Saturday afternoon/evening, we went to see the live broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion" at the historic Fitzgerald Theater in beautiful downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. Here is a picture of me and my "good buddy" Garrison Kielor on the sidewalk outside the Fitzgerald after the show.

Perspective:  We once again stayed at the Gift of Life Transplant House, near the clinic. Since our stay there last year, we know of four patients who were residents alongside of us, who have died, including one in our closest circle of friends. This year, we encountered many in very dire circumstances. It is good for one's perspective on things.

Once again, I thank everyone for their love, prayers, encouragement, and support. I am blessed far more than I deserve.