Only one more.

One more treatment remains.  Next Tuesday will be my last regularly scheduled chemo treatment and I can't even begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to having that behind me.  Back when I completed Cycle 2, I went through reassessment testing and found out that most of the cancer had disappeared, except for one persistent lymph node in my abdomen.  I have now completed 2 additional cycles, and will return to Duke on December 27 for another round of reassessment testing.  We will then meet with Dr. Beaven on January 2, to review the test results and determine what the next phase of treatment will be.  I am believing that the remaining persistent node will be completely gone, or at least reduced far enough to be considered almost gone.  Either of those findings will most likely permit me to proceed with the bone marrow transplant process, probably sometime in January.  However, should that one persistent node appear to not be responding, I will probably have to start some additional chemotherapy treatments, until it gets taken care of.

Having the doctor tell us that I am finished with the chemotherapy phase of my treatment will be the best Christmas present I could possibly receive.  It has been 6 months since we started taking our 25 day trips to the Duke Cancer Center, where I have been stuck, poked, tested and poisoned by some of the best in the business.  And while the result of all that abuse, upon my already aging body, has been quite positive, I am ready for it to be over.  Enough is enough already!  Last week Dr. Beaven said l was the most upbeat and positive patient that she has.  But I am tired of being tired.

I have been amazingly fortunate to have been able to avoid most of the side effects of my chemotherapy.  The two main areas where I have been impacted are hair loss (not a real issue to me) and fatigue.  For the last 6 months I have just felt worn out, all the time.  I have read and heard about how chemo can have a cumulative effect, and I believe that I am finally experiencing some evidence of that reality.  In the last 3 or 4 weeks my energy and stamina levels have fallen even further.  Hauling 4 trash bins of yard debris to the curb for pickup leaves me drained.  I am still upbeat and positive, but I am tired of being tired.  My hope is that after next week, I can begin to start recovering and my body can actually have a chance to start the rebuilding process.  Yes, the bone marrow transplant will undoubtedly knock me back down to some degree, but having 6 or 8 weeks to recuperate will be a welcome respite.

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