To quote the prophet Jerry Garcia, “what a long, strange trip it’s been.” I visited the oncologist on Thursday to get the results of the tests done as follow-up to the autologous stem cell transplant. The level of the immunoglobulins in my blood and urine, the protein markers that indicate the presence of the cancer, were all either normal or low. There was also no indication of the cancer in my bone marrow. So all that has transpired over the past year, all of the tests, the chemotherapy, the transplant itself, have done what they were intended to do. As my doctor said, this cancer, in the technical term used, is in complete remission. I can’t describe how I felt when I heard those words. Though I was always confident this would happen, the fear that things would go wrong was always there. I felt a combination of joy and relief, and gratitude to God. The new goal is to avoid remission within the first six months. The oncologist said this would be, I couldn’t keep up with how many times he said bad. Obviously relapse this soon would lead to a poor prognosis. The longer I go without relapsing, the better the chances of fighting off the cancer are. So now I will see the oncologist every three months for tests, blood and urine, to check for those protein markers, to make sure they remain low or normal. The journey is not over, but so far the journey has been successful. The only other problem I face now is the loss of the antibodies that had been in my immune system. The oncologist said that I am like a baby, and I will catch everything going around until I develop new antibodies. I also must be immunized again. Starting next Feb. I must get all of the vaccinations we received as children, polio, measles, etc. That’s ok, like the loss of my hair it’s a small price to pay for remission. Thanks be to God for this outcome.
Oct. 25, 2008
St. Peregrine, Pray for Us