4th of July

I have been off all medications for three weeks. I feel good. My energy level has risen. I no longer need frequent naps. I walk everywhere and feel strong climbing hills. The numbers representing those changes are clear in my blood labs. My hematocrit, which measures the percentage of red blood cells, is normal.

I mentioned previously that my drug regimen prior to coming to Seattle was succeeding. But, after 14 days of evaluation, the answer is actually both yes and no.

I pointed out in my update of 6-18 that my treatment could take one of two directions. The numbers representing the cancer’s presence fell but not far enough. So, to prepare me for the transplant and the high dose chemotherapy, I must first go through a standard dose treatment.

Monday through Thursday this week I will receive a conditioning regimen of Cytoxan, Etoposide, and Dexamethasone. Accompanying these drugs will be others to combat the chemo’s side effects of nausea, infection, and bladder damage.

I am not disappointed the transplant cannot occur immediately. Though this direction requires we extend our stay in Seattle, there are positives. The goal is to get well, not to return home. Cancer demands patience. This direction is the best choice.

 The Numbers————————-12-27 07———7-1-08———-Norm

% Plasma Cells/Marrow—————26—————-20————–<5———-Still High

Hematocrit——————————-34—————-40————–38-50——% of RBCs

IgG—————————————-6416 mg/dL—-1620———–620-1350–Climbing

Total Protein—————————–10.1 g/dL——-7.0————-6.0-8.2——Better

M-Protein———————————4.5 g/dL——–1.1—————N/A——–Abnormal


Safeco Field from the luxury seats
Safeco Field from the luxury seats

On the 4th of July, Mare and I went to a Mariner’s game at Safeco Field. The tickets, for a Private Suite, were donated to the PGH. The Suite was posh with reclining swivel chairs, free popcorn, peanuts, and ice water. We saw a good game and the home team won! I had a foot-long hotdog with cranberry mustard.

Later that evening, we climbed to the rooftop garden to watch fireworks on Lake Union. Upon opening the door, I was startled to see dozens of other residents of the Pete Gross House awaiting the entertainment. It was SRO. We threaded through the crowd to an empty spot. Of course, there were many baldheads, scarves, and wigs. We are strangers with a common bond. We are all far from home. But there we were, together, enjoying the universal allure of fireworks.


The view to the southeast from the rooftop garden of the Pete Gross House
The view to the southeast from the rooftop garden of the Pete Gross House

Saturday, Mare and I went hiking at Discovery Park with friends who live in Seattle. The trail makes a long loop through forest, across meadows, and along the beach. Still, we managed to become disoriented and retraced a few steps here and there. Afterwards, we ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

This afternoon we have a class at the clinic: Chemotherapy 101. Other than that, we plan to lay low and rest for the week ahead.  

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