Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The Long Illness - Part 4

We have come to the fourth and final phase of my chemotherapy treatment for my brain tumor. I am currently in a two-day inpatient IV situation where I am taking the last of my chemotherapy drugs (Cytarabine) before being released.  This has been a long and interesting journey. Mind you, it's not over, because I have to come back for stem cell replacement therapy in another month or so. Thankfully I get a 30-day break from my ongoing in-patient IV treatment before the stem cell replacement therapy starts. Once the stem cells therapy starts it will be another 30 days of lock-down and no context with anybody since I really won't have an immune system.

I'm happy to report that I'm doing well. My brain tumor is pretty much gone and my brain stem is slowly repairing itself and I'm getting back most of the use of the right side of my body. That said here are a few pointers with regard to the treatment that I have been undergoing here at the Mayo Clinic.

As a refresher, my tumor was not operable and therefore was treated with chemotherapy drugs. I managed to avoid having any radiation therapy. However, the chemotherapy drugs that I have been taking have to be filtered through your body, primarily through your kidneys and your liver. These organs only work so fast and slow down the more that you run through them. Therefore the major headache with regard to this form of chemotherapy that I have been undergoing is time. It has been approximately 5 months of in and out patient therapy to get all of the blood pumped up to do its best of drugs and to be filtered out through my organs. Being stuck in a hospital room attached to an IV pole for over 8 days at stretch is not fun at all.

I am currently at approximately 2/3 of the way through my treatment for this illness. The simple truth is that you never really recover from this kind of cancer. I will be returning to the clinic or various hospitals for the next two or three years to monitor that nothing has recurred and everything is still working and progressing properly. Gone are my younger days when you would go to the hospital get a pill or a treatment and be right as rain within one month.

The other awful truth of going through this kind of therapy is that time stands still outside the hospital window. So when you are released, you have to catch up on a lot of things or let a lot of things go because you don't have time or energy to catch up on them. The project list grows very short and the bucket list grows a quite longer. Time management for the rest of my days is going to be the key. 

I'll let everybody know how it goes after the stem replacement therapy is completed which will probably be sometime near the end of July. Then it will be a lot of maintenance work and blood draws to monitor my body functions for the next year or so to make sure that everything remains OK.

Once again, thanks for all the support and the visits in the hospital from various people. It's certainly has made me aware of how much support I have and how much people are willing to take a chunk of time out of their day to come and make sure I am doing all right.

See you all again in about 3 months. (at least I hope so)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update, Boo-Boo. Enjoy your month of relative freedom. Hoping the prognosis and recovery go as planned. Love you❤️