I feel terrific. My energy level climbed steadily each day I was home. I put in lots of miles walking and puttered in the garden. I spent time with both of my sons. I visited with friends. I ate well. I read and rested. I slept soundly.
Monday, we left Hood River in a storm. Last week’s heat wave broke with a fury. A cobalt sky unleashed arrows of rain the wind scattered in all directions. Thunder boomed as we hustled out of town.
After an hour of driving we turned north and crossed the Columbia River. As we began the long straightaway to Seattle, I noted that Monday marked nine weeks of our drama at the SCCA. We both laughed with the realization that all we have to show for this is a bag of frozen stem cells.
Well, that’s not exactly true. I also have a new haircut. I am more comfortable being bald. I even managed to get enough sun to soften the glare. Thanks to the treatment in July, there is much to be upbeat about. Being away from the clinic for ten days also gave me a new perspective. Treating cancer takes time. Waiting for the most opportune time to execute the transplant is best left to the experts. They know what they are doing at the SCCA. I know how good the future can be. No one will write me a guarantee but I feel up to the physical challenge of the next go round with the chemotherapy.
Today, I gave more blood. Everything looks good, the counts, the chemistry, my kidney function, etc. Furthermore, the bad stuff, the monoclonal protein level, shrunk over the last month. I received an EKG and a chest X-Ray. The PA and nurse checked out a wound on my foot. I lost my balance when walking at home and tore off a good chunk of skin in front of the nail on my big toe. They prescribed an antibiotic. Chances are it will not delay the transplant. Then, we talked about a possible schedule. Thursday the doctor and team RN will meet with us and discuss the particulars. It could begin as early as this Saturday.
Evidently, I have a choice in protocols. The first option uses the standard high dose chemo (Melphalan) supported by my stem cells, just as I’ve reported in previous updates. The second option allows me to participate in a clinical trial. It’s basically the same treatment. However, the dosage of the cancer-killing drug is increased by 40% to a mega-mega dose. Included in this study is another drug (Amifostine) to mitigate the side effects of the stronger medicine. Again, my stem cells come to the rescue. Wednesday, I will clarify my insurance company’s position on the options. The understanding is that they will pay for either choice. Nonetheless, I want to talk to our case manager. Sigh. What to do?
Perhaps we’ve passed the midpoint of time here in Seattle. I am ready for the unfinished business of the transplant. The recuperation in Oregon rejuvenated both my body and spirit. I’ll come to a decision and trust it.