Passing The Test at 60/100


For a few hours we call night it seems to be gone, but it is still shiningly there and will reappear on the morrow. Storms may darken the sky at noonday, but the sun is still there and will soon break through. — Neal A. Maxwell

LINK: PQ - The People Quotient


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Did you ever believe you would be "making the grade" at 60/100? This is really not the results of a test, but a way of reckoning time. And for me, it's the point arriving Sunday, Oct. 21: day 60 of the first 100 post-transplant. Again, all of my tests remain normal or close enough to normal so that I am not requiring any blood transfusions and special interventions to manage the recovery.

The sole exception to this is the infusion of Rituxan, of which I have had four 3-hour sessions the past four Fridays, but even that phase ended yesterday. Rituxan is the first of monoclonal antibodies to become commercially available for treatment of Lymphomas. This is a rather well tolerated drug that has shown reasonable efficacy against certain lymphomas. Rituxan is an antibody that selectively binds to CD-20 antigen on the surface of lymphoma cells. CD-20 is present in over 90% of low grade lymphomas. This drug also depletes normal CD-20 lymphocytes as well. Clinical trials with this drug have shown almost 50% response in patients who had have failed a prior chemotherapy and had progressive and refractory lymphoma. This drug is given intravenously, on a weekly basis for four weeks.

While I now have no evidence of any lymphoma in my system since the transplant, the Rituxan therapy is seen as a prophylactic. It is also helpful in clearing up symptoms of GVHD (graft versus host disease), which, in my case, has occurred with mild to moderate skin rash, and that is gradually improving, too.

So, all things considered, our progress in recovery is ahead of schedule and beyond the original expectations of my physicians. Dr. Nakamura even hinted that I may be released to return to work part-time by the end of January or the first of February. He will be able to better evaluate that possibility when the new year arrives.

Meanwhile, Dee Dee and I are really looking forward to Nov. 30 and the "freedom" that comes on that date to allow me to get out of the house for most anything other than visits to the doctor. In my lifetime (and I am sure yours) I have known loved ones and others who were confined to home for long periods of time due to health or handicaps. This six-month experience in that realm has given me a keen appreciation for that situation and the caregivers who provide for the needs of others.

That's the reason why I am working on a new BLOG topic intended for CAREGIVERS as a resource to information about tips and aids to help them with daily life. Every day, as I see the extra responsibilities that Dee Dee has taken on, I come to the realization that half of the recovery from cancer or any serious disease and injury is due to the care and love that our family members provide. Indeed, they are the unsung heroes of the healing process.

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