Wednesday, October 19, 2005

 

Treatment update - 10/19/05

Yesterday and Monday marked my second trip to Duke for my photopheresis treatments. Already, the trip routine is becoming familiar and making my medical condition more of a reality: I'm really going to a national cancer center for treatment. Sheez.

Last time, I listened to sports radio / music on the drive up and back. This time, I sought to redeem my 2 hours each way, so I purchased the Bible on CD. I had the salesman open and play a few minutes of several packs so as to be sure I wouldn't be annoyed by the narrator's voice. The dude was helpful and I finally settled on a NIV, non-dramatized version. On the way up, I listened to Hebrews thru Jude; On the way back, Joshua. Listening did make the trip go by faster, and I often found myself wanting to pause and hear parts again...It's difficult to meditate while driving, by the way. If nothing else, I'll be able to say with more confidence, "Hey, I think it says this somewhere in the New/Old Testament."

On Monday, my good friend Tim Conder (and here)came by for a visit. Tim is a long-time friend of Rachelle's from her Chapel Hill days and I was fortunate to "marry-into" that relationship and develop my own friendship with him. His hour with me was great, but surreal. Here I am hooked up to this machine, with an IV coming out my arm, (Warning - graphic imagery) and the clear tubes colored with my blood and white blood cells zipping around the various bags and "stages" of treatment; and we're having a conversation about our lives and shared cancer stories (Tim's mother-in-law is a Cancer Survivor).

Many people have asked me how my employer has been during this process. I've "told" my manager and the regional exec, but haven't yet shared my condition with my larger team. In any case, these managers have both been extremely supportive, telling me to do whatever I need to do to take care of myself. My workload comes in spurts, so it's hard to off-load tasks at the last minute (too much "tribal knowledge" to impart as I'm walking out the door), plus everyone is as busy as I am. So, I got a wireless card for my laptop and was able to work (one-handed) during treatment. The downside is that I had to work during treatment.

I did feel more tired after this treatment and felt a little achey, like you do at the onset of a cold. I took some iron supplements to help with the hemoglobin restoration (yes, I increased my fiber intake too. Thank you.), some Excedrin for my headache and took a hour nap. Today (Wednesday), I feel fine.

Am I seeing improvement yet? No, not yet. I'm still doing the Targretin ointment daily and have now had 4 photopheresis treatments (2 treatments per trip to Duke). Dr. Foss (Yale specialist) did opine that she was not surprised at the negative results from the most recent biopsy (see post below), that is difficult to diagnose my condition this early. So we're sticking with the treatment plan to see what happens.

What to pray for:
1) Effectiveness of the treatments.
2) Safety in travel to/fro Duke.
3) Rachelle, as she's only getting more pregnant while I'm being treated.
4) Absence of illnesses for all of us (flu, cold, etc) this season.

Thanks for your prayers and support.


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