The Next Phase

So I had routine follow up blood work scheduled towards the end of the month. However, Cyndy had an uneasy feeling about waiting so long before the next test, and she insisted I schedule over a week earlier than I was supposed to.

Woman’s intuition maybe, but sure enough the AFP marker slowed it’s decent and over the next couple weeks started to make a climb. Ultimate sadness. In hind-sight, I probably would have realized a longer term result if I had properly supported my body for the 4 months since the chemo ended. My AFP marker made it all the way down to 20, and over the last month has risen to 50, better than the monolithic number it started at, but not a good trend.

So now we have more decisions to make, and they only get harder from here. The oncologist is officially recommending High-Dose Chemo. Not really a good success rate and plenty of challenges, including but not limited to potential of: permanent hearing loss, permanent neuropathy in the hands and feets, permanent organ and bone damage, plus elevated risk of a host of other cancers. I’ve heard enough stories and testimonials, this next phase isn’t pleasant in the slightest. It’s so brutal that each round requires a 3 week hospital stay where they transfuse your own bone marrow stem cells back into you after they permanently destroy your immune system to hopefully reseed your immune cell production.

I’ve just completed the minor surgery to get a central line port installed in my chest. Evidently, the chemo will collapse all but the biggest veins. At any rate, I’m not scheduled for my first infusion yet, but sometime in the next week or month I’ll be undertaking the next phase of treatment. The journey is taking another turn, I plan to be race car ready, I need to take a much bigger role in this treatment plan.

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