I debated waiting a bit until posting this because a more certain result can be had in about a month….however, I can’t wait that long! On Monday I had my CT scan and my hematologist said that there wasn’t anything on the scan to indicate anything other than the fact that I am in remission! In fact he wasn’t going to order a PET scan for me at first, but after some discussion he decided to, and that scan will be on November 26th. The PET will be more definitive than the CT; however, he once again doesn’t feel that there is anything to be concerned about. The other encouraging thing was that my LD (Lactate Dehydrogenase) blood marker was within normal range for the first time since we started to track it. I was very worried during my treatments (which I did not share publicly) because my LD rose every single time it was measured. LD can be an indicator of disease progression, but can also be influenced by other things which can make it unreliable. A normal LD range is 90-245. During my treatments it rose from an initial reading of 193 at the start of my treatment to 312, 480, 417, 473, 530, and finishing at 240 which is back within normal limits.
My side effects for the most part are residual at this point. I still have the numbness, tingling, and burning in my fingers and toes. Other than that (and a shiny smooth head) I am only battling fatigue and water retention. The doctor said that the fatigue is primarily caused by the chemotherapy and not my lowered hemoglobin. He described the fatigue as one that cannot be powered through. When you hit the wall, you hit the wall. I would have to agree with him on that one. At the end of the day I am pretty well all in right now, though I can feel myself getting stronger every day. I had my weight change about twenty pounds in the course of 4 days recently which was definitely water weight. I have a lot of edema in my legs and arms especially. I will be on a diuretic until my PET scan or until I feel like I am where I need to be from a standpoint of my baseline. I do like that the doctor gives me the leeway to help make those judgments.
My hemoglobin on Monday was at 10.6 which is still low, but getting better. My white blood cell count was at 4.0 which is within a normal limit. My percentage of neutrophils was good, but my lymphocyte percentage was still a little low. It was encouraging to see that the lymphocyte percentage is recovering though since that is where my cancer was located. My kidney and liver function looked good, my electrolytes were normal, and everything else looked very good. My last echocardiogram showed good heart function with no chamber enlargement or valve damage. So overall I can’t complain at all about where I sit today.
I have been back to work for the past 3 weeks and am trying to play catch up. Being gone so much, especially over the 6 week period at the end of treatments where I really couldn’t work much really put me in a hole. Thank God I have a wonderful administrative assistant who knows my job as well as I do. Having a group of colleagues that covered for me, assisted me with a couple of major projects, and provided much needed encouragement along the way made being away a lot easier than it could have been. So now I will continue to work, strive to get stronger, and hopefully get back to working out soon. The doctor said that when I go back for my 3 month CT I should feel like 75% of my old self, and close to 100% at my 6 month CT. Anyone who knows me already knows that I want those numbers to be proven bogus! We shall see what happens.
Once again I want to thank everyone for their love and support over this forgettable stretch of months in my life. Without your constant presence in my life it would have been much more difficult to power through and remain positive. You learn a lot about yourself during a time like this…but you also learn a lot about your family and friends. I learned that I am one blessed person! Until my PET scan results are in…take care!