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.