While I can’t see what each person reads on my blog space, I can see how many read each post. When I do a “health update” it always warms my heart to see the sudden uptick in readership, sometimes tenfold. It tells me that most people care about me as a human, not necessarily about what I’m rambling about on any particular day, and I take that as a good thing. It was time to check up on my cancer and I got the results a couple of hours ago.
I, like a typical cancer patient, have had over a hundred blood tests in the past few years, each one carrying a huge consequence. While the test will tell me if I’m going to live for a while, or suffer and die within months, you get used to the suspense. You have to or go nuts. However, this time I was a little more nervous than usual.
I think the reason for the added anxiety was after starting four chemos in June, and getting great results, it became unsustainable due to side effects and the dose was reduced. I was reduce to little more than a potted plant for three months, a miserable potted plant. In response, my doctors were hesitant, but agreed to dial back my chemo. The catcher being of course, would I still get the same results?
We dropped to three chemo drugs and reduced the drug lenalidomide, the one that had made me a zombie, down from 20 MGs to 10 MGs and then to 5 MGs (renal impaired patients like me require a lower dose). This was my first month at 5 MGs.
Yes, dialing back has helped me come out of my dark hole (a physical and emotional black hole) and get off the couch. I have about 60% of the energy I had in May, which is much better than I had all summer, a lot of that contributed by a rather severe anemia, which lenalidomide causes. I have one more dose reduction scheduled for one of the other drugs, daratumumab, in November, which may give further benefit.
Drum roll, so the results are in. The key markers of my cancer, the light chain proteins, were absolutely normal. The same as yours, if you are a healthy person. My one light chain (lambia) which my cancer makes, was one hundred and fifty times normal when I was diagnosed, almost four years ago.
So, the chemo, even with the lower dose, is working excellently. Of course I am grateful for that. I may give an update in a month. But if the excellent control continues, and if that becomes routine, I may only update if something changes. Thanks for your support and prayers for me and my family. I still hope to regain some of my lost stamina. I also still dream of climbing our mountain again, which I was climbing weekly before all of this.