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4th Post-Chemo Dr. Visit

5/26/2005

You will notice that I finally caught my blog journal up with the present day. In other words, all previous entries have been from my notes and my memory, covering the fourteen (14) weeks since my diagnosis. I would have preferred to have been "live" from the beginning of my journey, but as you know, the blogs just began recently.

I have been able to keep friends and family informed of my progress through telephone calls and global e-mails that are shared with many. It is very helpful when friends pass the info on to others because keeping everyone up to date is more work than most folks realize.

Hair is still hanging in there, just "barely." Facial hair including mustache, beard, eyebrows, etc. is thinning out quite a bit.

My regular post-chemo visit with the doctor can be summarized as follows:

*Swollen gland in the neck is normal and very common with everyone.

*The last CT Scan showed that there are no other cancer locations from head to thighs. The two spots in the abdomen are still gone. The cancer in the lymph node of the neck is stable and becoming difficult to see!!!! Because my lymph node is at normal size (1 cm) the CT Scan is now having trouble locating cancer there because the scan is really accurate only to about 0.5 cm. In other words, the CT Scan can not definitely say that my cancer is gone, but it is so small now that the scan is having trouble finding it. HALLELUJAH!!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!!
Since it is impossible to detect the smallest traces of cancer, we will stick with the plan of six (6) treatment cycles and hope and pray that the last two are just for insurance purposes.

*Surgery on the lymph node in question is still not considered a viable means of treatment. Lymphomas, in particular Diffused Large "B" Cell Lymphoma, do not lend themselves to this "cherry picking" type approach to removing the cancer within the lymph node. The most effective treatment for the long term is still the CHOP + Rituxin. Of course, the Rituxin is doing most of the work in destroying the cancer cells. I am so fortunate that Rituxin is available for lymphoma, especially since it has only been approved since 1997.

*My oncologist recommends that I go see my Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist at the end of treatment to get a look at the original surgery site and an evaluation from him.

*I can plan on having CT Scans every three months for at least the first year after treatment. Probably every four months in the second year. I know that I will be committed to whatever follow-up scans are scheduled. It doesn't make sense to go through all this work and chemo treatments to then get lazy with the follow-up. Early detection was one of my biggest assets in fighting this battle. Timely follow-ups will be a priority for me on the back side of chemotherapy.

I am so excited about only two more chemo cycles and having six more weeks to go. I can almost see the end of June already and we are starting to plan the victory party already!!!

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