Only 2 more treatments.

Yesterday was spent getting another chemotherapy treatment at Duke. It has been 2 weeks since I had my regular 3 consecutive days of chemo, which will definitely take some of the wind out of your sails. But I have had enough time to recover, and the last part of the cycle only involves one treatment each week, so I don't expect too much difficulty lies ahead. I only have 2 more treatments to complete Cycle 4, which is hopefully the end of my chemo treatments. As I write those words, I almost can't believe it. Two more treatments and my Clinical Trial chemotherapy routine is finished, done, complete, history.

Looking back at the calendar, my treatments started on June 20th, and since then I have received 22 chemotherapy infusions, with 2 more waiting in the wings. In many ways it has been a very long and arduous 5 months, not something I would wish on anyone. But by the grace of God, and a decent amount of intestinal fortitude on my part, I have come through the whole ordeal with amazing ease. I have lost most of my hair, and have had a running battle with fatigue, but otherwise I have escaped virtually all of the other symptoms commonly associated with chemotherapy treatments. Nausea and vomiting are the most common and widely feared side effects, and I can safely say I have not had one moment of either. I am well aware that my experience with these toxic drugs is not typical, and I actually feel somewhat guilty when I complain about a minor ache or pain. I could be so much worse. I see many fellow cancer patients in the treatment center that, on their best days, are probably not as good as I am on my worst.

Assuming that my reassessment testing, in late December or early January, indicates that the cancer is gone, I will begin my bone marrow transplant sometime early next year. But we will cross that bridge sometime early next year. In the meantime, I rejoice in how well I am doing. Back in June, there was much that was unknown. How would I react to the drugs? How effective would they be at killing my aggressive cancer? So many questions and so few answers. But here we are, approaching the end of that long dark tunnel, and we are doing just fine. I read something recently, written by another cancer patient, that rang so very true. "We have no idea what we can overcome until we have no choice but to do so." It is my hope, that by relating the details of my journey, I may be of some encouragement to others, who may be standing at the entrance to that same long dark tunnel. Yes, dark tunnels are scary. But it is possible to travel through them and come out the other end, without having to endure pain and sorrow along the way.

I cannot begin to express how important the prayers of so many people have been in helping me on my journey. Without question, the power of prayer has played a key role in the progress I have made, and the many victorious moments I have experienced along the way. As the song says "Our God is an awesome God. He reigns over heaven and earth..."

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