August Status Update

With my amazing group of high school girlfriends at Lisa's wedding in late July, now nearly all of us 30 and growing even closer together with each passing year. Mergets married this weekend and Thea in one month!
Peripheral neuropathy has started to set in. This is an expected side effect of the SGN-35. The hope is that it doesn’t progress, as I know patients who have been on it that had to come off due to debilitating neuropathy pain. For me currently, I don’t have any pain, only numbness. I’ve had no feeling in the pads of all 10 fingertips for the past week. So far it hasn’t affected any of my abilities; it is just a strange sensation like when your fingers get cold in the winter and you can’t warm them up only it’s just a small section on each finger pad that has completely lost feeling no matter how much I rub them.
I also occasionally lose feeling or get painful tingling in my feet, especially after walking for some distance. The pressure on the pavement seems to get it going. The numbness will creep up my legs some, but so far it always resolves itself after a short period of time.
I do not want this to be the reason that I have to come off this drug, which so far has been successful for me. Tomorrow I am seeing an acupuncturist to start treatments to combat this and my doctor also recommended starting up on Vitiman B-Complex. I’ll do anything to keep the feeling in my limbs.
The Prednisone steroid taper continues. On each dose reduction day I most certainly feel the lurch even though I’m only dropping by 5mg every 5 days. I am now at 20mg (down from my original 60mg started on July 12 to treat my lung inflammation). Once I hit 10mg I have to drop even slower – by 2.5mg at a time – as there is a big risk of dependency and withdrawal symptoms if the body comes off the meds too quickly.
So, that means the bloated feelings, insatiable appetite and the ridiculously swollen moon face continue. Others “say” they don’t notice, but I don’t recognize my own face in the mirror as it’s completely changed shape with the steroid swelling. I want to eat all the time. Period. I’m doing my best to make big healthy meals so there is always something good to snack on. I’ve eaten orchards worth of fruit. I could eat anyone under the table in a contest, I promise. This pit is bot.tom.less.
As I come off the steroid I’ve been feeling some achiness in my hips and joints, but it is tough to know what is causing that. My pulmonologist tells me patients tapering off of Prednisone very commonly experience that achiness. However, it’s very hard not to get paranoid that the lymphoma is again flaring in my hips. I’m also more fatigued, but overall I really can’t complain at all.
I’ve been busy with lots of non-cancer related things like freelance writing and e-communications work, gearing up to be in one of my best friend’s weddings this weekend, spending time with Craig before he’s back full-time in the classroom tomorrow (or rather nursing him after he had an epic Superman over-the-handlebars mountain biking accident last weekend), enjoying this late summer weather celebrating, relaxing and adventuring with great friends, reading, walking, yogaing and playing with Sammy.
I will get my sixth infusion of SGN-35 on Sept. 10, just less than two weeks from now, so will be enjoying what is hopefully continued recovery from my most recent infusion until then. The good part is that Hartford Hospital is now administering the drug as it has been FDA approved, so I’ll be able to receive the infusion just 30 minutes away, rather than 3 hours away. Wonderful!
Then, I have a PET Scan scheduled for Oct. 1, marking seven months on SGN-35. Pending what the results show that day at Sloan-Kettering, I’ll either receive my seventh infusion right afterward or look at a new plan. If things are looking real good and the environment seems right, we may take the steps to move toward a DLI with some more of my sister’s natural killer cells. But let’s not get ahead of things … .
Right now I’m content, nurtured and happy and looking forward to what will surely be a beautiful weekend watching one of my favorite couples start their married life together beside the beauty of the Long Island Sound. Just hope that bridesmaid dress zips up for me.

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