As my chemo intermission draws to a close, it is time to update everyone on what is to come. As you know, I spent the first two weeks of December going through the prepping for and then harvesting of my stem cells. This was not a particularly pleasant procedure. The daily high dose neupogen shots left my bones aching and me sweating so badly at night that I needed to change my clothes at least two or three times per night and put a towel down on the bed after each sweat. The harvesting required me to be hooked up to a machine (via a temporary catheter in my neck) that circulated my blood and filtered out my stem cells over a three hour period. This process, which was repeated over four days, left me tired to the core for over a week.
For now and hopefully forever, thankfully and most likely, I will not be needing those stem cells. They have been preserved in liquid nitrogen where they shall remain should I ever need them. But because my doctor is so pleased at my progress, I will NOT be undergoing an autologous stem cell transplant. The doctor says that for now there is no need for it. That the risks from the transplants and the fact that patients like me seem do equally well following both transplant and continued chemo made it a no brainer. Transplant risks include permanent damage to my heart, thyroid, testicles (both in terms of reproduction and in terms of production of testosterone), and an increased risk of secondary malignancies in the future (the testicles piece sold me on the chemo regimen). Had the disease not been totally gone, we would have gone ahead with the transplant. But because I am lymphoma free, it’s time for four more chemo influsions which begin next Tuesday. I am not looking forward to this, but we are now halfway through this, and there is an end in sight.
So after this incredible intermission which brought us Sophia and the return of my hair in places that I didn’t even know were supposed to have hair, it’s time for a little more chemo. So here goes nothing. Come mid-March this will be behind us…
In more exciting news, Sophia had her first bath on Sunday. She is so cute.