Monday, November 26, 2007

day +97

First, I'd like to thank everyone again for their heartfelt, compassionate kindness in the wake of my grandmother's death. All of your thoughtful comments have meant a great deal. The viewing is planned for Thursday followed by the funeral service and burial on Friday. I plan to attend only the private family viewing of the body, so that I won't be exposed to so many people at the both the public viewing and funeral. In light of the occasion, I still must be careful.

This morning Clare accompanied me to my scheduled appointment with Dr. Castro-Malaspina. My blood counts were just fine and there's still no evidence of either EBV or the Adenovirus. Everything continues to look very good as I approach day +100. With regards to the abdominal pressure, both Drs. Castro-Malaspina and Mayer don't believe it's anything that warrants concern. They said that my recent scans were clean and that it's very unlikely that the cancer returned in such a short period, but they acknowledged that my concern is both natural and understood. I know what they said and I understood them, but still I remained concerned. It wasn't that I didn't believe or trust them or even that I doubted their expertise, which is of course far from the truth but rather that I myself need that self-assurance that despite what I may be feeling in my abdomen, the cancer isn't back. (It's important to note that I had a similar sensation in the same area before it was discovered that my spleen had lymphatic involvement. But I no longer have a spleen, so I know it at least can't be that.) It was obvious to both Clare and me that Dr. Castro-Malaspina was reluctant that I get tested, but it was clear to him that I was worried and so, he placed the order for what he called a "therapeutic PET scan" in the hope that its result will allay my fears. The PET scan is scheduled for December 12th at 7:30 am.

Dr. Castro-Malaspina reduced my dosage of Sirolimus from .5mL to .45mL. The dosage of Tacrolimus remains the same at 2.5mL.

I don't have to return for a medical checkup until December 17th and this will be the first time that I will have had a three week break between appointments since the allo transplant. On the 17th, I'll also receive my monthly treatment of Aerosolized Pentamidine but it looks like the IVIG has been discontinued which is a clear sign of progress.

Lastly, because the sky was clear and sunny (though it was cold) I did a fair amount of photography this weekend. On Friday, I photographed the 145th Street Bridge from the Manhattan side of the Harlem River between the morning twilight and sunrise.

Yesterday morning, I took a cab to Dyckman Street and 10th Avenue from where I entered the northernmost entrance to the Harlem River Speedway, the pedestrian-bicycle pathway that runs parallel to the Harlem River Drive and the Harlem River itself for about 2.2 miles to W.155th Street and Edgecombe Avenue. From the Speedway, I photographed the University Heights Bridge, Washington Bridge, Alexander Hamilton Bridge, and the High Bridge before continuing home across the 155th Street Viaduct and the Macombs Dam Bridge.

Entrance to the Harlem River Speedway

View of the University Heights Bridge

Looking south along the Harlem River Raceway

Panoramic View of the Washington Bridge.
At first glance, this photo looks great but after careful examination once notices that all of the frames of this panoramic view which was taken using my camera's "Switch Assist," don't fit smoothly. I really like this view but I need to work on it. If done perfectly with the Switch Assist option, this could be a superb shot.

Washington Bridge

Alexander Hamilton Bridge (foreground) and the Washington Bridge (background)

High Bridge (foreground)

After eating a quick lunch, I went back out and hailed a cab to the High Bridge Water Tower, which was open to the public. Escorted by a very friendly and knowledgeable park ranger, I and four other people climbed the old iron cast spiral staircase to the top where we were able to view and photograph the scenery around us.

High Bridge Water Tower

Looking up the staircase

Looking down the staircase

View of the Harlem River and the Alexander Hamilton, Washington,
and University Heights Bridges

View of Washington Heights and the George Washington Bridge


Comment Blogger Kelly Kane said...

Okay first, I love the pictures, as always! I finally subscribed to your blog, so that I get updates more often :)

Secondly, don't you think it's strange that your grandmother's viewing is on Thursday, which will be you +100! It's like she wanted to see you when you hit that milestone.

Hang in there, I'm sure it's been a hard week for you!

9:19 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Hey there Kelly,

Yeah, you're right about day +100 and my grandma's viewing. Weird combo, isn't? I was thinking the same thing.

Thanks for subscribing! I'm always trying to get more subscribers. :) *wink, wink*

10:02 PM  
Comment Blogger Tom (dB) said...

Sorry to hear about your Grandmother Duane.

On a lighter note, I went to an Adobe conference at the beginning of the week and they demoed a feature in Photoshop CS3 that stitches together images perfectly. It was quite amazing actually. Also a feature to feed in a series of images and it will take out all the pedestrians. It would be perfect for stitching together your bridge pics.

3:47 AM  
Comment Blogger Michelle J said...

Hi Duane,
Love, love the pics!! So, great to look at and imagine i am there. I am glad your doc doesn't feel concerned but i am also glad you will be able to put your worries to rest after your PET scan! You ROCK!

8:33 AM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Thanks so much, Tom, for the heads-up about Photoshop CS3. I checked out the website and it looks really sweet, but it's a whopping $700.00. I don't have the dough for Photoshop CS3 at the moment, but Photoshop Elements 6, which is only $100.00, may be a start. Thanks again for the info!!

4:54 PM  
Comment Blogger One Mother with Cancer said...

I can't wait to see your pictures this winter. I love snow, for about a minute.

10:10 AM  

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