Tuesday, June 17, 2008

day +303

Yesterday was my monthly checkup with Dr. C-M. He said that my recovery has gone amazingly well especially since my unrelated donor was not a perfect match. The risk of GVHD remains, however. He cautioned me to be on the lookout for any changes in my skin, such as darkening or toughening of its texture. But so far there has been no hint of either. In fact, the itching and rashes that I had been dealing with for months following transplantation have almost gone away.

My WBC was 4.9. HGB was 13.4 and the platelets were 262. The revaccination process continued as well. I received the second of three scheduled vaccinations in the Hib (Haemophilius B), Diptheria/Tetanus, and Prevnar (Pneumococcal conjugate) series.

Right now, I'm taking 8 medications (all related to my allo transplant) daily. Wondering if any of these might be discontinued once the Tacrolimus is scheduled to stop in early August, I asked him. He told me that the Magnesium supplements and the Voriconazole (anti-fungal) could stop then. Because I have no spleen, I'll continue to take the Penicillin VK for the rest of my life. I'm not sure for how much longer after the termination of the Tacrolimus will I need to take Acyclovir, Prevacid, Folic Acid, and the Multivitamin supplements.

I was almost certain that I was due for a PET scan this month, because June makes three months since my last scan. However, Dr. C-M told me that it's not necessary. According to Alli, I'm off protocol so I won't receive the three-month scans that I've become so used to during these many years. My next scan will wait until my one year follow-up, which because of my departure on August 10th, will need to take place just a few weeks before my anniversary.

Finally, with regards to the appointment yesterday I was given the OK to use mass transit once again. After being barred from the bus or subway for close to ten months out of concern for an infection, I'm a bit timid naturally but this is indeed a very positive sign.

There's one last thing that I need to mention and that is Su, my girlfriend for two years, and I decided to break up a little over a week ago. As many of you know, she has been an integral part of my journey with lymphoma. From home to Chicago to the transplant ward and back, she has been an amazing gift to me and my family. She enriched my life in so many ways. It is difficult to imagine how life would have been without her during these past two years in which so many challenges arose. Our relationship had been tested and molded by cancer in many ways, but we persevered and grew in light of that. But ever since the immediate days following my discharge after the transplant, things had become increasingly difficult and complex. Though we both never thought it would come to this, about two weeks ago we realized that for us both it was best that we separate. So, we did.

In the story that is my life, Su occupies an amazing and voluminous part. She was my first serious girlfriend and so much more and as a result, I am so much better for it. That love and appreciation will never go away.

Thanks, Su, for everything.


Comment Blogger Michelle J said...

Sorry dude? You OK?

4:51 PM  
Comment Blogger One Mother with Cancer said...

you are so sweet, what a great outlook.

7:00 PM  
Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm sorry to hear that you and Su broke up, but I can understand the reasons why and I'm sure you both know the right thing for you. Chris and I are still together...one day at a time seems to be the way of it these days. :P

Let me know if you need to talk or want a girl perspective or want to talk about religion or...anything, really.

Keep in touch, and take care of yourself. One of these days maybe I'll take the bus up to NY to see you. I'm not that far away, after all.

~Sarah formerly up the street

9:44 PM  
Comment Blogger Sarah said...


Big hugs. I'm glad to hear your health continues to improve but so sorry to hear about you and Su. Send me an email sometime, or call if you want to talk.

-The other Sarah

10:20 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Thanks everyone for your kindness. I'm humbled and appreciative.

Of course, it continues to be a challenging transition, but I'm doing OK. I appreciate your concern.

One door closes, another opens....

7:31 AM  
Comment Blogger Jim Anderson said...

Duane, So now you can 'hop on the bus Gus'? The irony of your post to Paul Simon's "50 ways to leave your lover" is plain. Now that you can take the bus, you will take it as a metaphorical exit from your relationship. Well, I was 32 before I got married and have been married now for 21 years. You gotta be sure. You know! At 21, my marriage is now old enough to get drunk! But I'll settle for the sweet potion I've grown accustomed to.
Very good news about the GV itches disappearing. I'm starting to get itchy skin, but no accompanying rashes except a little on my face.
Well, it's all great news then cuz, as you've put it, you did not get dumped. It was a mutual decision. You will prolly, if havent already, meet up with a nice gal who shares your photography hobby! Yeah! Freeze frame!
Jim Anderson

5:53 PM  
Comment Blogger jen said...

I'd like to talk to you a little bit about your process of treatment. I am going through hellish chemo right now and don't know what might happen next. I have two sisters who match for bone marrow. I don't know. I am so scared. They will not consider bone marrow unless it's absolutely possible. I was seven years out; so it is all complicated about them considering it a new cancer. I am scared shitless. I speak up for myself but doctors in a smalltown don't like so many questions. Can you give me some information on clinical trials or what your course was. I am so nervous because I don't feel well informed. I have Hodgkin's. Thank you so much and good luck to you. You have a really good attitude.

7:44 PM  
Comment Blogger Kelly Kane said...

Sorry to hear things ended with the two of you - but if it's meant to be, don't give up hope :) I hope you're doing well and I'll see you in 1 week!!!!


8:52 PM  
Comment Blogger Bekah said...

Dearest Duane,

You transplant studs, always seem to have the right choice of words and appreciation for everyone in your life.

Just as you are humbled by our thoughts of you, we are humbled by your presence in our life -- and your way of thinking.

But you are absolutely right. As one door closes, another opens.

As I'm sure Su was lucky to have you, you were.. to have her, and her friendship.

Hope you are well, dear, very very well.

Tons of Love,

7:54 PM  

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