Thursday, July 24, 2014

Here we go.... again

Remission - the word you really want to hear.   But there always seems to be the elephant in the room during remission - constantly on the look out for any signs or symptoms that it could be coming back.  Which is what happened.  After 2 years of remission - Tommy started showing some symptoms.   Night sweats, bleeding easily, and getting fatigued really easily.  That was the trifecta - time to get checked out. 

After endless appointments and tests, CT Scans, Pet Scans, blown out veins from blood draws,  hospital stay, a lymph node removal for biopsy --  we finally got the verdict.    Stage 4, grade 3 lymphoma... it was back.. and at the same point it was last time around.  After 2 years in remission, it was back full force.  I had thought we had caught it early -- I had thought we were being so vigilant...  Then there came all the words... chemo, hair loss, transplant doctors....  that's the point I got stuck.. more on that in a minute.

So we start another round of chemotherapy. That's not being said flippantly.   This is a more aggressive treatment this time around.  Thankfully, one of the chemo drugs used last time as part of a trial, is now FDA approved, and that is one of 4 that is in this go around. Plus the god-forsaken Nuelasta shot. 

More aggressive is going to mean more side effects. Having already been surprised by one -- would be nice if the doctors or nurses tell you things like "Your pee is going to be blood red for a day... don't panic."    He's already completed the first round of chemo, and it was broken into 2 visits -- this is done to reduce the possible reactions.  From here on out it will be one visit every 3 weeks, plus a return trip the next day for the Nuelasta shot.   For at least the next 6 months.

After that we need to discuss the options for the stem cell transplant.  On one hand, amazing what they can do for treatment now a days.  He will effectively take on the immune system of the donor.  We're hoping his brother is a match, but there is a 1 in 4 chance he will be.  If he doesn't match, then we go to the donor bank.   This is, the doctor said, the best shot at a cure.  We can get him back into remission without this, but this is a CURE.  However, it doesn't come with out some pretty serious risks.    There's many prayers to be made between now and then, and please, send prayers to us for guidance on the right path!

There was some good news!   He had to have a heart scan done to make sure his heart could handle one of the drugs.  There was a nearly 50% improvement in his heart function from the last time!  Guess there might be something to that eating healthy and being active stuff the doctors preach after all!  Hoping him starting from a healthier place this time around will help in the long run. 

More to come.  Next appointments are in the beginning of August.   We should start seeing hair loss sometime next week.  (I'm vainly hoping it will spare the legendary mustache!)  Don't matter in the long run... as long as I get to give him kisses, mustache or not, it'll be OK.

~~  FF'sGirl ~~

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