Monday, December 17, 2007

can you dig it?

This morning I had my appointment with Dr. Barker followed by my monthly round of Aerosolized Pentamidine and then, an unexpected appointment with Dr. Allan Halpern, Sloan-Kettering's Chief of the Dermatology Service.

The PET scan is clean! N.E.D. Can you dig it?

Yes, I'm greatly relieved by the news. Tears flowed when I first heard it. The PET scan report states "no definite evidence of hypermetabolic malignancy." Though the groundglass in my lungs remains unchanged from the previous CT scan, there's no cancer and that's the most important thing. Drs. Castro-Malaspina and Mayer were right all along. I was the one who doubted and was wrong, but I don't think I've ever been more happy about being wrong than right now.

Dr. Barker and Ally, however, weren't able to pinpoint why my abdomen feels the way it does. Anxiety, the medication, and/or post-allo SCT messiness were proposed as possible causes or perhaps as Su said, they're sea horses. Well, whatever it is it's not cancer and that's the comforting thing.

My next scan won't be for three months at which time hopefully, I'll be more relaxed and hopeful.

My counts were fine too: WBC - 3.9; HGB - 14.3; platelets - 223. Dr. Barker reduced my Sirolimus dosage to .40mL from .45mL.

At the appointment, I showed both Dr. Barker and Ally the roughly month-old rashes and bumps on my shoulders, upper arms, chest and back. It's possible, she said, that the rashes are due to GVHD but if so they're atypical. Seeking a clearer understanding, she referred me to Dr. Halpern at the 53rd Street satellite location. He wasn't sure what it was but said it's possible that it could be GVHD, a rash called pityriasis rosea, or that it could be caused by syphilis. I really doubt it's syphilis since I was screened for this and other diseases, such as HIV and Hepatitis, prior to transplantation. Moreover, I haven't experienced any discharge or pain in my penis, which would be a classic symptom of syphilis. Nevertheless, blood was taken for a syphilis test.

Dr. Halpern took a biopsy of one of the rash spots located on the right side of my trunk and told me that although sometimes the biopsy analysis isn't 100% definitive, the hope is that some answers about the cause of the rashes may be ascertained. I was told that I should expect the results in one week. In the meantime, I was prescribed a steroid cream to apply on the rashes as needed.

So, as of now I don't need to return to Sloan until my next follow-up with Dr. Castro-Malaspina and the monthly IVIG treatment on December 31st.

Thanks for all your heartfelt, encouraging comments as I feared the worst today. Your kindness meant a lot to me. You helped to bolster me when my courage and hope wavered.

With my worries about cancer out of my head right now, I'm going to go ahead enjoying the season finale of I Love New York 2 tonight!


Comment Anonymous HEidi said...

Woohoo! So glad to see your great news! What a relief.

8:58 PM  
Comment Blogger Michelle J said...

DUDE!!! I am so so very happy for you and your good news!! I was waiting anxiously all day long for a post telling the world NED!!! So awesome!!! It was cold today wasn't it? :O)
Love ya

9:09 PM  
Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

What wonderful news! Yeah, I can dig it. Can you relax & enjoy the holidays.

9:11 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Can I relax and enjoy the holidays? Now I can. :) Thanks for all your love and support, everyone.

9:18 PM  
Comment Blogger Stratman said...

Yeah man, do the dance!

9:52 PM  
Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhhh I knew it would be fine!

I just did a happy dance in your name. is probably better that you couldn't see it. :P :D

~Sarah formerly up the street

10:15 PM  
Comment Blogger Kevin said...


1:45 AM  
Comment Blogger Wullie Currie said...

I'm not embarrassed to say a few tears here as well.

I can dig it!!

7:49 AM  
Comment Blogger Tom (dB) said...

i'm so relieved! have a great stress free christmas!

9:39 AM  
Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woot!!! So happy to hear that you are NED, that's awesome!

Em and Tim

9:56 AM  
Comment Anonymous Erin and Zach said...

That is wonderful you can enjoy the holidays even more! Can you have a drink to celebrate??? =)

10:16 AM  
Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is looking out for you. Helen

12:29 PM  
Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is truly looking out for you! Helen

12:29 PM  
Comment Blogger Veronica said...

Ah, Duane - you've made my day - congratulations and go enjoy Christmas..........take care..........xx

2:10 PM  
Comment Blogger Christine said...

Hearing the good news about the scan and your health is the best holiday gift you could give to your family and loved ones ...not to mention to yourself!! THIS is great news.. much reason for celebration...and mindless, indulgent t.v.!! What is it about that "New York" show??

3:25 PM  
Comment Blogger Kelly Kane said...


8:41 PM  
Comment Anonymous EFG said...


10:39 AM  
Comment Blogger Jim Anderson said...

Yay! Good news!
As for the glass lung issue, like I implied before, you may have developed a bit of sarcoidosis before your transplant by living in NYC. The condition is associated with air pollution. Seems like the your pre-transplant tests would confirm or discount that the ground glass was there prior. See this news article.
Keep up the good results!

7:54 PM  
Comment Blogger Mary said...

WOO-HOO! That's great news! Enjoy the holidays.

9:58 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Wow, everyone! So many fantastic comments. Thank you!

10:11 AM  
Comment Blogger S said...

That's amazing news, Duane! As ever, you're in our thoughts. Enjoy the holiday - you deserve some nice peace and quiet to celebrate!

Sarah and Scott

3:30 PM  

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