Sunday, January 29, 2006


Surviving cancer is a long, at times arduous, thing. It starts with diagnosis and continues long after the treatment is complete. I realized today that as of next month, I will have been fighting the good fight for four years now. I think even others who are considered cured, can't ever forget the things they've felt, the horrors they've seen, and the fortunes they feared. We are always a veteran of a war on personal domestic territory.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Here We Go!

This football season, Ralph's gotten me into the sport. Interesting, huh? The German explaining how to play American football. ;-) In any case, like many who have succumbed to the truth of becoming a Pittsburgher, I support the Steelers (well...when they aren't against the Patriots at least--need to support my roots).

Pittsburgh's gawin' to SuperBowl!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

An awkward whistle.

Most days, I find that I fluctuate between believing that I'm going to kick this thing and planning my funeral. Sounds morbid, I know, but I have thought about it. Even the song that would play in the background. This is probably the hardest part of any cancer treatment: the waiting. The waiting to hear test results, the waiting to see if a treatment took, and after remission, the waiting to see if it returns. My current wait...see if the removal of one of my meds will cause just the *right* amount of GvH.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Yes, she has entered, but she has yet to clean house.

Today I got the results from the first PET scan since the transplant. It seems that Lady X's cells have not begun to attack tumor activity, as there are two new places of activity. The previous location, however, is not active at this time. So, in an attempt to give Lady X's cells the boost to kick cancer's butt, Lister has initiated a strong cut-back of my immuno-suppressant drugs. Today I stop taking my daily 1,000 mg of one, and if there are no extreme changes in my situation, they will also cut back on the other sometime next week. In addition, there is talk of using radiation to one of the newer areas to help out. So, the transplant hasn't worked yet, but we still seem to be within the normal range of treatment scenarios.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Lady X has moved in.

I just had a appointment with Lister yesterday where they shared the results of my first test for percentage of Lady X vs. me. It turns out, that as of December 26th (when they took the blood for the results--Day +26 post transplant) I was already 100% Lady X cells in my body. Woah!

Next steps? Tomorrow I go in for another test to determine if there is any activity in my tumor area. I will find out the results of the test on Thursday afternoon.

Fingers crossed, prayers spoken, and positive energy flowing my way, please!!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Painting again!

Yesterday I painted for the first time since treatment. It felt so good to get in front of the easel again. I wasn't sure if I would have the energy for it, because lately when I stand up, my heart rate soars through the roof, leaving me out of breathe and needing to sit down. So, I brought in a tall stool with me and leaned back onto it when I felt like I needed another breather. I was surprised that I didn't need the stool as much as I thought I would. Painting and drawing have always been like a drug to me, making me completely forget about anything that is bothering me or difficult, and yesterday was another example of it. In the end, I painted for about two and a half hours until my arms (not my heart) got tired and I had to lie down. I left my studio space satisfied with the additions that I put into the painting, and went to bed last night happy knowing that day, I was a painter.

Monday, January 02, 2006


Happy New Year everyone! (and for those who don't already know, I am now a year older as well.) I've gotten a few days off again. They are back to trying to let me come in every other day again, which is very nice. I feel so much better on those days. It's like not having to see the hospital and getting that extra couple hours of sleep really DOES make a difference.

Upon the suggestion of a couple of friends--pressure from one particularly--I have started doing positive imagery again. I started it about 5 days ago. At the time I couldn't get my white counts to stay above 3 for more than a day.

It was beginning to get frustrating and depressing.

So, that night--Thursday night, last week, I started. The next day that I went to the hospital was Saturday...SCHAZAAM, 3.8! I haven't had a count that high since I was on Nupogen (injections that boost your whites). I couldn't believe it. Today I went in again for my counts (and, of course, more magnesium) and they were at 4.3 !! Normal range is 4.4-10.5, so I'm almost there. My reds and my platelets have also come up quite a bit. It's really quite amazing. Once they get back in the normal range, I can eat fresh vegetables again. Ah...a salad would be nice.