So…I’ve been a little busy. To anyone who thought I bit off WAY more than I would be able to chew when I picked up an eight week old puppy the week before Steven started Chemo…You were right. It was a little crazy the first week back to work. But now that Lucy has settled in, is housebroken and has bonded with Maritza and Zoey, I’m laughing right back atcha because she is an awesome addition to our family! It’s like having mood lifter, side show and cuddle bug all in one! If you gotta have cancer, this little furry ball of doggie kisses has made it suck just a little less for Steven!
Steven has been handling this all like a real trouper. He impresses me every day with his resolve. It astounds me that a cold turns him into the biggest, whiny, pain-in-the-ass baby on the planet. But chemo he handles like a champ.
I have to admit that we both went into this with real Pollyanna attitudes towards the new chemo drug combo. We try to keep up on new treatments, so the Bendamustine / Rituxan treatment was not news to us. And everything says the side effects of this compared with CHOP+R would be minimal. But…and there is always a “but”…the studies are talking about the long term side effects AFTER completion of treatment. Even though we are smart people with realistic expectations, we were hanging on to the dream that we’d tip-toe though the tulips of treatment with ease. A The only tip-toeing for Steven for the first 10 days was the short hop from bed to the designated barfing zone.
To recap the progression of after effects of the chemo would be nausea, massive headache, nausea, body aches, nausea, constipation and nausea. Needless to say, our bubble burst pretty quickly once we realized how miserable he was going to be. And now for the good news…there are some not so bad days. After the first week, there were short periods of times when he felt just “OK”. He has been able to drive himself to a couple of doctor’s appointments and even though the short trip wears him out, he’s not totally incapacitated. He’s had days where he can eat regular food, and I’ve stocked the fridge with all the new things that seem appealing to him. They are not at all what he would normally ask for, but as long as it’s healthy, I don’t care if he eats tapioca pudding 12 times a day! It’s made with milk and sugar. The milk is a protein and the sugar will hopefully keep him from losing more weight. He’s down 34 lbs. so far.
And the best news is that his appointment with Dr. Sprawls yesterday was uplifting. This chemo regimen only requires 4 rounds (we were expecting 6), and there are 4 weeks between treatments (rather than 3) so he has more time to recover. And, his lymph nodes aren’t swollen anymore, he’s breathing like a normal person and we are feeling VERY excited about the possible results. According to the doctor and the studies, this particular protocol has had amazing results in keeping the cancer at bay for around 10 years post completion. So maybe we were dreaming going into this thinking this Chemo would be easy. But this chemo has given us good reason to dream that we’ll get to the other side and have a Lymphoma-free home for the next ten years. Because that’s a dream that could be a reality!