T+10 month checkup: AOK!

Long time no post here, but partly because I’m happy with my results, and partly to test my newly migrated blog (yes, I’m serving from an NL based multisite setup now, and using Letsencrypt)… so I had a checkup today. I have one every 4 months now, and while I didn’t post about the previous one (in April), here I go with the current one, and a little status update for all those interested.

So, the figures:

  • Hb (red blood count): 9.1 (was 8.8 in Apr)
  • Tr (platelet): 160 (was 152 in Apr)
  • Lk (white blood count): 7.4 (was 4.9 in Apr)

So that’s pretty good, right? I mean, 4.9 –> 7.4, baby!

In other, more generic news: I’m OK. I’m better that OK, in fact. Quoting my doctor: I’m in better shape than before the cancer. My running pattern for the past couple of weeks has been 3-4-5 km usually twice a week, and 8-11 km once over the weekend. Plus cycling at least twice, to work (which, if we are into numbers anyways, is a ~22 km round trip, usually with a 20-22 km/h average, including city traffic. I’ll stop now.)

Also, this guy:

Met him in the hospital. He started his first chemo cycle I started my last. He’s also a member of the Amstel Quartet:

And he’ll do a benefit concert for hemathology research. Go and listen.

Okay, let’s see if this can get posted!

Nov 30 blood check: my red is back in the black!

…And by black I mean back in the normal range (Hb: 8.8, and normal territory starts at 8), probably for the first time in about a year — I’m out of the land of anaemia!

In other news, platelet count and white blood count are still a bit low, at 135 and 3.9, respectively (150 and 4 being bottom of the OK range, again, respectively), so there’s a bit of work to do still, but that’s considered the normal path – after all, I’m oly T+77, less than 3 months after the end of my BEACOPP Escalated.

So I still have to take my Cotrimoxazol (antibiotics) and Esomeprazol (anti-antibiotics), which means my irritated bowels will remain as such.

I’m also doing fysio these days to couter the constant pain in my muscles (prednisolon withdrawal effect, I’m told), and to get back in my feet — literally and figuratively. And we are trying to sort out the things in our life that we neglected in the past half year — car, taxes, car taxes, and the like. (Don’t like, to be frank.)

TL;DR: all things are on the up!

Complete Remission.

It’s September 28, 2015, and I will remember this date. Got the results of the PET scan I had last Thursday, and the result is


So there is no cancer activity in my body, it’s gone from my lymphatic system, from the thorax, from the neck, it’s gone from my liver and my spine. Chemo worked it’s charm, and I don’t need radiation therapy.

Yes, we are happy! (Although I’ll admit we haven’t fully embraced it.)

My blood results are also good: Hb at 6.9 (meaning it’s gone up 1.3 units in a week, from 5.8, which is better than anticipated), Tr is 145 (up from 100), Lk is 3.5 (down from 4.1; but 4.1 was brought to us by GCSF). So while not up to normal levels just yet, it shows my body is generating stuff on its own, or to phrase it differently: my body is standing on its own legs again. (OK, to phrase it wrongly.) And, while we are at it (statistics, that is), my weight is around 88 kg by now, pretty much the target I’d say.

So what’s next?

Date of next checkup is end of November. And next steps are to deal with the remaining side effects. Apparently I have a bit of withdrawal from steroids (who doesn’t!), so my face is swollen, red and full of little pimples, oh and it itches like there’s no tomorrow (so does my back and my arms); my joints hurt (hips, legs, elbows, shoulder, lower back), and some veins are acting up because of the chemo I took in.

On the bright side: my neuropathy is almost gone, in fact, if it happens to stay like this (but it won’t), I wouldn’t even be very upset. I can feel it’s still there, but I have sensation in my fingertips and all.

So after all the fear and pain and everything, I now know it was worth it and I’m on the right path.

Oh, and I can finally delete the movies from my computer… the ones I kept in case I have to spend a long time at the hospital — the superstitious fucker that I am…

today was a good day

PET CT, the results scare, and how to handle it.

Tomorrow is PET CT day, and we were scared shitless on what the results would be… as you would possibly be too, in similar situations. (Of course my PET appointment conflicts with my Simonton appointment… but that’s nothing unmanageable.)

As usual with a scary situation (especially one with waiting involved) your brain has the time to entertain you with all kinds of… Continue reading PET CT, the results scare, and how to handle it.

Blood results, stats geekery, aftermath.

Monday’s blood results weren’t as bright as I’d hoped: wbc at 1.7, rbc at 6.0, meaning office visit for this week is definetely out of the picture, and so is most of anything. I’m not saying I’m not disappointed, but then, this is the learning bit for me: I’ve never been good at patience games. Discpline games (like a treatment), yes. Patience, no.

Anyway, I did a bit of a calculation, this is why it’s good to have all blood results at file, so you can do calculations. Left alone (so not bombed by chemo), my body seems to generate about 0.3 units of rbc per week. Considering a conservative growth pattern (so not assuming that rbc generation speeds up as time goes on), this means it’ll take around 8-9 weeks until my red blood count gets back to normal territory (8.5 is the bottom of the normal range). I can’t do the same calculation for wbc as my wbc has always been assisted by G-CSF, but safe to assume it’ll take a similar amount of time for it to go back to normal, too.

With that, I spent most of my yesterday sleeping, and generally feeling like shit. (Like shit that’s also sleepy.) That seems to be gone now (walking a short 3.6 km helped big time), but I’m still anaemic. Also, this is still a 3rd week, so what do I expect other than regular 3rd week stuff, right?

Last but not least, an inventory of residual side effects:

  • Anaemia: as above, this will probably take 2-3 months to go away.
  • Neuropathy (reduced sensation in my fingers): I still have it, healing time in the range of “weeks, months”, according to the doc.
  • Arms and veins: they hurt a bit, time to time, I guess the IV doesn’t just go away that quickly. Not a major annoyance though.Hair: stil doesn’t grow, not that I’m bothered… Will start growing in “weeks, months”, I guess.
  • Eyebrows, eyelashes: they need to grow back. I have 1 (ONE) eyelash that is still around. Hang in there, little hero hair!
  • My face (through which I am detoxing at the moment and it looks like Mickey Rourke’s): this is an interesting one, so far Prednisolon was the answer — I wonder how long it’ll take without my ‘roids.

This is more or less it. I was thinking about drawing a diagram and a Plan-on-a-Page (I’m a PM or what), but… meh, instead let’s go to the playground with the kids!