Cycle 5A

It has been 3 weeks since my last chemo admission, and today I am scheduled to start cycle 5A. I am waiting for the call from the hospital to see if they have a bed for me, and it will be another weekend getting pumped full of toxic chemicals.

NOT!!!

Ding, dong the witch is dead…

My recovery from almost 8 months of chemo is progressing, albeit slowly. My marrow is so devastated from 8 rounds of HYPER-CVAD that I feel hollow, and as a result my hemoglobin and platelets are low and will remain so for another few weeks. Because my hemoglobin is low, and because I’ve been through hell, I tire pretty easily and require at least a nap a day.

I have gotten back to work, but my time in the office usually lasts for just a few hours. On Monday I spent half a day at work and then in the evening sat on a panel about science and ethics at the Wilma theater downtown. It was the first time I really had to use my brain in a very long time (other than to decide whether I’d have vegetable or tomato soup for lunch), and with my hemoglobin low I was nervous that I’d just stare blankly into the theater lights in response to a question, or else embarrass myself by uttering something completely stupid or nonsensical. My response to the first question was a bit rambling, but I managed to summon some extra hemoglobin for the evening, and things didn’t go so badly after all.

So no more chemo folks and that, I have to admit, feels a bit strange. I’ve been actively fighting lymphoma for all this time, and now, even though I am lymphoma free, and even though the future is bright and filled with hope, there is something unsettling about the transition to normalcy. Normalcy is not what it once was for us. I am a cancer survivor, and with that comes so much. So much, in fact, that I am going to save those thoughts for tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Cycle 5A”

  1. Michael – I nap everyday, too. Enjoy the ride! You will look back & say “Boy do I wish I had time for a nap!” Sheila

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  2. Michael – I was just catching up on your blog and wanted to share my experiences on the “post lymphoma treatment transition”. It is weird and it is difficult (at first). After spending six months battling my Lymphoma by making routine trips to PENN Tower & HUP, it was definitely strange to all of a sudden, go back to a 9-5, Monday-Friday job and not have a reason to drive over to 34th & Spruce anymore. As deranged as it may sound, I almost missed the lifestyle that I had grown accustomed to over those six months. Definitely NOT the drugs/needles, but perhaps the challenge of the battle or something? It’s tough to explain. Regardless of what that was, I certainly grew out of it. I found myself missing that lifestyle less and less. Today, over three years later, I couldn’t imagine going back to that lifestyle. When I was going through treatment and shortly after, I recall having interactions with so many people at PENN. Seemed like everywhere we turned in PENN Tower (hallways, garage, deli, waiting rooms, etc) we knew someone, whether it be a staff nurse, receptionist, social worker, chemo nurse, doctor or whoever, we always bumped into someone that we knew. A way that I have measured my progress is by noticing that the interactions with people seems to minimize every time I go back for check-ups, and I have to admit, it is nice to not know every face as I felt I had before. As time goes on, that part of my life becomes smaller and smaller. The periodic scans become easier & easier. You will find that over time, your world will slowly transition out of “lymphoma world” back to “normalcy”. Hollie & I have been LOVING “normalcy”. I feel physically & mentally stronger than ever before. I’m really glad that you are finished with your treatment and I hope things finally settle down for you and Jacqui. What you two have experienced has been amazing, and the way you and Jacqui have handled everything has been inspirational. Congrats again on your completion of treatment! Look forward to hanging out soon,Chris

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