October 31, 2010
The Results are in
Good Morning Everyone,
I apologize in the delay in this post. This post was supposed to go out yesterday but this week turned into a bit of a crazy week. I thought I would update everyone on what is happening and share a reflection I learnt along the way.
Wednesday as most know I was up early and took my first cancer society ride into PMH for my follow-up appointment. My bloodwork came back very good and I had no blast cells at all (these are the young underdeveloped white cells that are common in leukemia patients not in remission). I had a bone marrow aspiration done to check up on the specifics of the stem cells but we are not expecting any surprises based on my bloodwork (the results aren't back for a week or so). My lower back has been a little tender for the past two days as a result of the aspiration but it is much better than the first time. I guess you can consider my leukemia in remission as of now, although we still have a long journey of chemotherapy cycles to completely achieve remission. I also got some great news about my Hickman cathetor. I am not getting one for a couple of months. The doctor gave me the option that I can do my chemo through peripheral lines (an IV is inserted into my forearms) as long as I don't mind all the needles. If there is one thing you get used to in the ALL protocol it is needles :) I think I have had a needle inserted into every part of my body :) It is crazy to think before this all happened I was the guy who was deathly afraid of needles and now I am the guy asking for multiple needles every week. Funny how life works isn't it :)
Yesterday I was back downtown Toronto for some testing and the start of my next chemotherapy cycle. First thing I had to go to Mount Sinai to the Nuclear medicine department to get shot up with some radioactive isotopes and have my heart tested. This is a nice test because it allows you have a nap for about 40 minutes. These are the types of tests I like first thing in the morning when I am not allowed to have a coffee :) I am happy to report back that my ticker passed with flying colours :) After my heart was given a passing grade, I was allowed to begin my chemo treatments for this phase (one of the chemo drugs is tough on the heart so before each phase you have to pass a heart test). I spent the bulk of my day on the 14th floor just down the hall from where I spent the first phase of treatment. I went back and visited my old nurses and my old roomate Tony (he is starting to look really good and his counts are starting to come back!). Everyone seemed very happy to see me. The nurses in the outpatient clinic are just as nice and amazing as the nurses during my inpatient phase. It makes this so easy when you have amazing nurses. For my first day of treatment I received two types of chemotherapy via IV and I started two types of oral chemotherapy. Yesterday was the only day during this phase I received the IV chemo as this phase is dedicated to treating my Central Nervous System. The one crazy thing you realize very quickly being out of hospital is they aren't lying when they say cancer is an unaffordable disease. I never thought I would say this but, Thank god for the Ontario government! :) In the two weeks I have been out of hospital I have already burned through half of my work's drug coverage. Thankfully the government's Trillium Drug plan is in place to help cancer patients.
The one reflection I wanted to share was something that came about on Wednesday. Tuesday afternoon my toes and fingers started to have a slight tingle. I didn't think too much of it but thought I would tell the doctor just in case on Wednesday. Having cancer has changed me quite a bit and one of the things it has done is I now tell my doctors everything. Before this whole ordeal I was one of those people who would not go to the doctor unless it was serious or I was forced by Amy. Wednesday I told the doctor about the tingling fingers and toes and instantly one of my chemo drugs was changed. It turns out one of the chemo drugs can attack the nerves and kill them and this is one of the first signs. Nothing for anyone to be worried about but it really made me think. We live in a society where myattitude before I had cancer is prevalent in almost every home. I bet almost every person reading this blog shares my old attitude of staying away from the doctor. The scary thing is we have no idea what symptoms we should be worried about. Going through this whole ordeal has made me realize that by the time we have symptoms that are "worthy" of going to the doctor it is usually to late or very serious. Our bodies don't tell us something is wrong when something is just starting out, they wait until they can't handle whatever it is to give off major symptoms. So I ask each and every one of you reading this, next time you are deciding whether or not something is worth going to see the doctor about remember the story of my "miracle" wart and how I could have died had I not gone to the doctor or the story of my tingling fingers and get yourself to the doctor. Don't wait for your body to give you reason to get there, if you don't feel right go get checked out, it could save your life too!
Hope you all have a great day today and a wonderful weekend!