All wrapped up … for now

We met with Dr Carrie Thompson this morning to wrap up treatment. From yesterday’s blood tests, markers for kidneys, liver, heart, etc. are all fine. These key organs have gotten through cancer & chemo without any noticeable damage. That’s one big positive, though there is some small risk of cardiac problems down the line (thanks to chemo).

Blood counts are below “normal,” but pretty much what is expected after six rounds of intensive chemo (Hyper-CVAD). Still anemic, which accounts for the moderate fatigue. Total white blood cells and neutrophils could be better, but are OK for now. Platelets, however, are pretty good, so I can start riding the bike. Dr Carrie expects these counts to be pretty good by the end of the month. That should enable more energy. I need to patient, as it will take at least the rest of the year to recover. There are lots of things I’d like to be doing; however, khanti (patient endurance) is the supreme incinerator of defilements.

The PET scan images were clear, which was beautiful to see. Lots of cool blues & greens; no hot yellows & reds in any of the lymph nodes. Official report: “nothing for recurrent or residual disease.” There was so little of note the radiologist observed “degenerative changes in spine and hips,” which means aging, since there was nothing more exciting going on. At fifty-four, I can live with that. No choice, really.

We spent most of the meeting in relief and joy. We discussed the strange emotional territory of this transition and the anti-cancer lifestyle. Though not a radical vegan or the like, Dr Carrie has participated in research concerning green veggies, green tea, and positive mood in lymphomas. She is supportive of ideas & intentions I’ve picked up from recent reading.

Once again, many thanks to Dr Carrie for excellent doctoring throughout this process. Not only is she highly qualified on the technical side, she is always open for questions (standard at Mayo), easy to reach, explains things clearly, treats both of us as human beings (rather than a case), and shared important things from her life. She is warm, personable, emotionally in tune, and caring. We are most grateful to have gotten her, more or less by luck of the draw.

The months ahead are not about getting my old life back, though I’ll try to keep the healthy bits. It’s more about applying important lessons and cultivating the middle way. Cancer teaches one about balance, healthy lifestyle, taking it easy, good diet, etc. This requires dropping some bad habits that can be supportive of cancer like comforting with junk-carbs, over doing coffee, and workaholism; and recommitting to moderation, simplicity, veggies, and daily practice of anapanasati and qigong. (I will try to blog about the details of these transitions.)

We parted with Dr Carrie, for now, with big hugs and headed home.

wonderful staff of Station 74 (pardon the glare) who I miss already

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12 Responses to All wrapped up … for now

  1. Rodney says:

    this is great news! thanks for the update. a bit of spine and hip degeneration? I’m on that team too.

    let’s hear it for leafy green vegetables, supported by daily meditation and consistent not-so-load bearing exercise. that’s a program we all can benefit from.

    many wishes of continuing recovery over the next days, weeks and months.

    much love to you and Jo


  2. Bil says:

    Congratulations, that was quite a journey and thanks for keeping us up to date.

    I need to see this new Santikaro without coffee sometime soon. Some of the smokier gunpowder green teas are pretty good.

    Be well. Bil & Jan

  3. charlie knower says:

    Good to hear this update and comforting to know that this phase is “over” – whatever that entails. Are you up for a short visit sometime soon? I could bring my bike and we could pedal out to LP. Let me know what works for you.
    With care,

  4. Ruth Larson says:

    What great news – I couldn’t ask for a better birthday gift!!!
    Love you both and hope to see you soon!

  5. santi says:

    Charlie … energy is a bit low but I have permission to ride bike. Need to tune it up a bit, and have other stuff going on the next few days. After that, I should be in shape for a visit.

  6. Aew says:

    Happy belated birthday Mom! I always teased patients whose birthday were in july or whose due dates were in july that ” Don’t you think all the wonderful people seem to be born in July? ” and they all got my “hint”
    I am trying to count all my days and nights to see when I can come to visit SK and JO ! after 3 weeks off in August. I will have to wait a little while since my boss has already called me someone who has already “vacationed ” all the time.
    May be next August you can visit Music Festival here in Bethlehem. I am so happy that you are out of the wood and things should look better and brighter now, base on your positive outlook of life that is.

  7. sue says:

    Such great news!!!! But then again, I never had any doubts that you would conquer this set back. Love and peace to you and your extended family.

  8. charlie knower says:

    Next week is a little busy for me but I’ll check in with you after that. It’s nice to even have this conversation. Welcome back.

  9. bobwoodbury says:

    Wonderful to hear, Santi! Mary and I are looking forward to more inspiring life lessons from you guys.

    love to you and Jo

  10. Rosana says:

    Dear Santikaro,

    enjoy the middle way! Today, in Nalandarama, Ricardo was teaching us about being sensitive and absorbing the most out of life’s experiences so that we feel greatly satisfied with much less than usual. And that includes work as well…

    Thanks for the wonderful news! I am truly happy for you and Jo Marie.
    With Metta.

  11. santi says:

    Thanks for all the happy greetings. Doing OK here, tho still anemic & thus sluggish. Getting some help from homeopathy & having fun exploring “foods that fight cancer.” I’m savoring the space of not needing to be very active for a bit longer and restraining tendency to get busy. The learning continues.

  12. Aew says:

    I think it’s harder for you not to be active than to be active. at lease you can be mentally active for now. Did you ever miss those tubes? Just kidding 🙂 .

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