Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Settling in for the Long Haul

Today, day minus 5 (until transplant) was a relatively busy one, with chemo infusions; regular rounds by the doctors, nurses and aids, who closely monitor the side effects of the drugs; and a visit by a PT person who set me up with a stationary bike in the room to use. She seemed to be delighted to work with someone in relatively good condition. The "bike" doesn't have studded tires, lights, or fenders, but it will get me through the rest of the winter!

Because renal cell cancer is resistant to most forms of chemotherapy, the chemo and other suppressant drugs I am receiving this week are intended to greatly weaken my immune system before the donor transplant. A full-body shot of radiation on Sunday will complete the one-two punch that will lower my blood cell counts and confine me to this room for the next month.

The side effects of all these procedures will manifest themselves within the next two weeks, including probable hair loss. The various targeted drugs I have taken for the RCC in the last three years have some similar side effects, so I am mentally prepared for the fatigue, possible nausea, loss of appetite, and mouth sores. And with months of recovery, and about a 30% chance of success, I have concluded that this still remains my best option.

On the bright side, I have a room with a view to the south- can't quite see the Mississippi due to an intervening roof, but there is sunshine coming in on the clear days. I can watch for signs of spring on the hills of the Riverside neighborhood across the river. And I now have more time for reading, writing, and other sedentary pursuits.

In the meantime, I have learned to take each day as it comes, and not get overburdened with the enormity of the journey ahead, much like starting out on a long trip by bike, boat, or backpack.


mk said...

Thinking of you and sending you lots of well wishes from the north. Send the spring our way when you see it, would you?

Anonymous said...

Give them hell Andy! Easy on the hospital apple sauce...rumor has it it is a laxative.
your friend

Joe Pulliam said...

Hey Andy,

You know you've got friends everywhere! Wishing you total success with this latest trek.

Joe Pulliam