A while back, I thought I had three chemo treatments to go until I would thankfully be on my way to the final PET scan and No Evidence of Disease. The encouraging-but-inconclusive results of my halfway PET scan meant that I was actually still penciled in for 3 more months of chemo. At the time, that was quite a blow. I felt like Mr. Bean taking the stairs.
But now I am ecstatic to report that I am even further along than I thought I was back then: I’ve only got two more chemo treatments to go! I have completed 10 of 12! When I look at those numbers, it’s hard to believe that I’ve gone through the chemo motions 10 times already. I mean, it’s always a pretty terrible experience, but reaching double digits is still somehow incomprehensible.
I’m feeling my usual brand of Chemo Chrappy™ today, but if this round is anything like the last few, I’ll be over it by Thursday at the latest. I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but chemo is no longer my master. Once it’s administered and I’ve survived a couple lackluster days, I’m able to live more like the pre-Lumpy days…even if I need to take more frequent breaks and be ever vigilant about staying away from sick people.
In the past couple weeks I’ve been able to do a lot: we attended a friend’s wedding complete with some vigorous swing dancing, we hosted Theresa’s parents for the weekend who helped us lay a concrete foundation and build a shed, we took advantage of free tickets to Ravinia to see the Gipsy Kings , we shot and edited a Muppet video, we had my brothers over and got them hooked on Sherlock, we biked into town for lunch at Jason’s Deli (I’m so glad chemo hasn’t killed my tastebuds), celebrated Father’s Day at the Chicago Botanic Gardens and more.
Through all of this, I continue to feel very healthy and incredibly blessed. I have no plans to see the inside of a hospital for the duration of this treatment. That’s so 7 rounds ago. In other news, I’ve regained 5 of the 10 pounds I lost and some of my hair is starting to grow back. At first I was a little concerned that this meant the chemo was somehow not being as effective as it was supposed to be, but my oncologist assured me, “As a bald man myself, trust me when I tell you that any hair growth is good news.” Whatever you say, doc!
I’m looking forward to Relay For Life this weekend, and I’m overwhelmed by all of the donations I have received! Everyone has been so generous, and it makes me happy to know that my battle is helping to raise money to help eradicate this disease. Thank you so much!
I’m humbled to report that my personal cancer story is getting out there in other ways, too. My friend and former colleague Belinda interviewed me about how I’ve been using social media (and the #DownWithLumpy phenomenon) to cope with my cancer fight and included me in her article for Make It Better magazine.
I also got the good news today that my guest blog post went up on Patheos, a popular faith blog network. It’s the same post that I wrote for the Society of Helpers newsletter and reprinted here a few weeks ago, but it’s sure to get a lot more exposure on this site, so I’m really excited! It’s such a blessing to be able to share my story with others. Writing these posts and getting supportive feedback has been one of the most awesome and rewarding parts of this entire journey.
One of the many reasons that I wanted to be so public about my experience was in the hopes that others with cases similar to mine might find my blog and read an honest account of what they could expect. Obviously no two people are exactly alike–and I have broken the Hodgkin’s mold in several ways myself through various side effects and complications that I have or have not endured–but I have tried to at least provide an authoritative report of what I’ve gone through.
At the end of May, I received an e-mail from someone who singlehandedly made me glad I’ve been blogging so thoroughly. L is around my age, lives in the same city and was just diagnosed with the same stage of Hodgkin’s after finding a strange lump in her neck that wouldn’t go away. Sound familiar?! It was so gratifying to hear that she randomly happened upon my blog and found it informative, comforting and funny at a time when she was feeling anxious and didn’t know what was on the horizon. I feel blessed to have provided some of the peace of mind for her that I remember seeking so desperately at that time. She recently had her port installed and is doing pretty well after her first chemo treatment, but please keep L in your prayers as she continues her treatment.
Thank you as always for your continued prayers and support. It means so much to me when I talk to people and they say things like, “You’ve got #10 this week, right?” without my even telling them. Your level of personal investment in my situation continues to astound and inspire me. Two to go!