Monday, January 21, 2013

Fortunately, Unfortunately

At one point in elementary school I recall doing a picture story with subtitles. We were supposed to tell the story of a person who was going through a series of fortunate and unfortunate events seemingly out of that person's control. The only part I remember is at one point my fellow landed on the Siris(sic) (what I called the Sears, at the time) Tower...  I don't remember why or how. My guess is it looked something like:

Unfortunately, he fell out of his airplane. Fortunately, he landed on the Siris Tower.

Well, I'm going to take you through a series of fortunate and unfortunate things I've learned this week.

Fortunately, Im out of the hospital for an extra week... unless I get a fever.

Unfortunately, the leukemia is still there.

Fortunately, it's not growing as quickly as expected.

Unfortunately, I could need more chemotherapy.

Neutrally? I definitely will get another bone marrow biopsy.

This isn't working out like I had planned. Well, fuck it.

Here's the thing. The leukemia is still there. It's still growing, because that's what cancer does. The question is whether or not my new cells are killing the leukemia faster than it can grow. I relapsed in November, so we know they weren't doing a very good job back then. We also know that I was on a lot of immunosuppressive drugs in November, while I'm on barely any now. We also know that my new cells have a history of attacking non-leukemia cells, which is what required so much immunosuppression last year. We also know that suppressing my immune system protects my liver, but also protects the leukemia. We also know that Saving Private Ryan should have won Best Picture, and the fact that it lost to... another movie... like, any other movie... in the entire world (in 1999)... is a travesty.

So until we have my blood work (which shows blood cell counts, liver enzymes, electrolytes [kidney function]), and another bone marrow biopsy (which, combined with last week's biopsy, can tell us if I'm winning or losing), there isn't much we can predict for the future.

So, this week I will write some music and watch some movies. On Friday I'll see my blood tests and get a needle jammed into my hip. Next week... well, next week I'll get some news.

But, the takeaway from all of this is that I have this whole week off from chemotherapy. And that's a Martha Stewart level Good Thing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The good news is that MEC took a sizable chunk out of the returning leukemia. I started chemo when I had about 80% blasts (bad dudes) in my peripheral blood (veins and such). After the chemo, there are no blasts in my periphery and we're still waiting on how many are in my bone marrow.

The bad news is that there are still some blasts in my marrow. I got a stake driven into my hip last week and the prelim results show leukemia, so we have to delay transplant and do another round of chemo. Last year, it took 2 different rounds of chemo to get me into remission, so let us hope this time will be the same. We also have reason to hope my donor cells are still fighting the good fight and at least keeping the numbers in check while we decide what to do next.

The ugly part is that this is still a shit sandwich any way you spin it. I understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if you think a shit sandwich is beautiful, well, you know, that's... just like, your opinion, man.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"The Future is Unwritten"

-Doc Emmet Brown

6 weeks after entering the hospital for a nice round of MEC chemotherapy, my body chugged along to create enough white cells for me to go home. So for now I am back at the house. I have a bone marrow biopsy on Friday, and that will tell us quite a bit. I hope to have the results by Wednesday of next week, but regardless of which day I get the results, I'll be sure to update you here.

On a side note. I've been getting back into writing music, which is a great mental distraction, but can also be very mentally exhausting. Overall though, I am happy for it.