Friday, July 22, 2022

The Big Hammer


My journey through Chemotherapy is over.  There were two phases to my treatment, the first of which is documented here.  The second phase is what my doctor termed "The Big Hammer".  It is basically a new immune system.  So that ANY trace of the lymphoma is gone from my system.  I basically have the immune system of a 6 month old, which means I can catch anything. 

How do you get a brand new immune system?  The answer is stem cells.  They are harvested from your body before they can transform into all the good stuff like platelets, white blood cells, red blood cells, etc.  Then they are frozen while my old immune system is killed off with chemicals for three days.  Then comes "infusion" day, when I get my stem cells back.  Then you sit for three weeks in the same sterile room while the stem cell turn into the better cells which provide immunity.

There is a major feeling of tiredness and lethargy that will last for at least a month.  Your body only works and regenerates so fast,  Which means a lot of naps and a lot of binge watching television.  Needless to say that my bucket list has gotten a lot shorter and any plans for 2022 have been put on hold till 2023.  Is 10 months of treatment worth another 10 productive years?  Time will tell, it all depends on your overall health and attitude.  This treatment is not for everyone.  There has not been a lot of pain and discomfort for me, but the loss of time has been difficult.  The world moves on and does not wait for you.  

So the doctor states that I now have only a 10% chance of recurrence of the cancer.  I also have no hair, but it will grow back (having shaved my head before, this is no big deal).  What is more of a big deal is having to get ALL my immunity shots, from polio, to flu, to measles, to Covid, etc. all over again, since I have immunity to none of these illnesses. That will start next year.  Hopefully by then the 10% loss of control on my right side will return as well my hair.  

I took this journey to see if it was as bad as I had heard and because I have a few more things I still want to accomplish.  Would I do it all over again?  Hard to say, quality of life comes into play.  Suffice to say 2023 looks rather busy.  The end catches up with us all eventually and I just got an extension.


  1. 2023 is going to be known as the year of Bruce Johnson. ❤️

  2. You were/are very brave to have entered into this mystery of healing. So many of us have cheered you on because we want you to stick around happy, healthy and healed. Hair or no hair!!!! Kudos to your equally brave, beautiful and strong wife.