Monday, September 1, 2008

4 months have flown by

It has been about 4 months since I finished all my treatments (chemo & radiation) for Lymphoma. I had a great check-up in June with no cancer recurrence. I have my 2nd check-up in Sept which I hope will go well. I returned to work in May full-time and have jumped back into the activities of life with both my feet. I have gradually regained more strength and endurance with each passing week and am now exercising regularly and feeling stronger. It is amazing how your body is broken down as a result of the treatments, but how within a few short weeks you can start to feel good again. I mention often to my family and friends how it just feels good to "feel good" again! It is a pretty simple statement, but really sums up what it is like. I am excited to just be able to not feel tired all the time....which when I was going through chemo, it was a constant effort to do the smallest things.

I praise God that I have come through this. I know the first year is critical in my recovery in that if it comes back it is more likely within the first year after treatment. I am trying not to think about that possibility, but instead live without fear of that and trying to trust in God's plan for my life regardless of the bumps in the road.

I will post more news of my next check-up in Sept.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

It is over!

I am FINALLY done with my radiation! I am still in a bit of a shock that all my treatments are over. I have been taking a treatment of some sort now since November 14th, 2007. 4 months of chemo and 41/2 weeks of radiation. I am still pretty sore around my neck and chest, but that should start to get better in a week or so. I will go back to the Dr. for a check-up in June.

I know that this chapter in my life is over and am looking forward to the next. I have so many people to thank for supporting me the last many months that it will be impossible to say thanks to everyone individually here. I have so many family, friends and co-workers that have supported, encouraged and prayed for me during this time. I know that I am a different person as a result and will hope to see life through the lens of this experience and be better for is. I also hope that my experience has also helped others who have had to deal with cancer. I have learned much about cancer and how people deal with it.

I am not sure how to end this blog..... It has helped me in the healing process and want to see how I can continue to use it in someway maybe to help others. ...I'll think about it. Let me know if you have any other ideas.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

One more week to go.

This is the radiation room at MD Anderson. I lie on a table with my shirt off and my face in a stabilization mask while the radiation machine zaps my chest and neck. This only takes about 20 minutes total. Most of that time is getting my body in the exact position so the radiation beams can zap the right tissue.
I have most of my treatments in the mornings Tuesday through Fridays. On Mondays, I have the treatment in the afternoon, as I drive from Fort Worth on Monday mornings. The radiation areas on my body are getting very red and itchy at this point. During the second week my throat became sore which made it difficult to swallow. I have been given some medication to relieve some of the pain and swollen areas of my throat. I had a doctor's appt on Thursday where she said after the radiation, I will need to have check-ups every 3 months. They watch for recurrence in the first two years. If I get beyond 3 years with no recurrence, then there is a very high chance of it never returning.
The weeks have gone by pretty fast. I have had a great opportunity to connect with some of my long-time friends in Houston. I am also able to work some at the SAP Houston offices.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

First 7 radiation treatments

My radiation treatments are now in full-swing here in Houston. I drive down to Houston on Mondays and return on Fridays. Each treatment involves my lying down on a table and positioning me in a very precise way to make the radiation beams target exactly the same place everytime. They have made a mold of my face which is strapped to my head each time to keep me from moving....which really works! When this is done, it leaves a mesh pattern on my face which looks like I have been hit with a tennis racket! These treatments will last several more weeks and are a piece of cake compared with chemo. The only side effects are some fatigue, sore throat, and red chest and neck.

During the time I wait for my turn in the waiting room, I see patients who are going through this at the same time as chemo. They remind me so much of how I use to feel and I try and tell them it will get better, but from their standpoint, it does not help much. All they want is to feel better...now. I can't imaging doing radiation and chemo at the same time as they are doing. Also, I am only doing 22 treatments, and many of them are doing 35. I am thankful that I only have 22 total treatments and that I am done with chemo already.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Radiation treatments begin this week...

I will start taking my radiation treatments on Thursday this week in Houston. My oncologist strongly suggested I take my radiation at MD Anderson due to the location of my Lymphoma. It is very close to my heart and lungs and they need to make sure to avoid those vital organs and they feel better about doing this treatment at MD Anderson. Also, the radiation will enhance my remission rate.

So...I will have a total of 22 treatments starting on Thursday, March 27th and ending on Friday, April 25th. I will be staying in Houston during the week and traveling home to Fort Worth on the weekends. I know Houston very well, so I am not stressing over it. I will however, miss 2 of Daniel's golf tournaments, but he tells me he will not make any hole-in-ones without me there to witness!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter celebrates new life...

Today I recognize and celebrate how Christ was raised from death. It is an appropriate time to look to the future and hope for new life which God can give.

This reminds me of how all cancer patients feel when they are finished with chemo. They feel they have been raised from the dead! They have new energy. They have new purpose. They have that look in their eyes which says, "I'm back".

I pray that everyone has a sense of that feeling this Easter day. Even if you have not gone through chemo, we all have issues and can experience hope for the future. I have hope for the future that I did not once have. I pray for healing in everyone this Easter.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.—Saved by his life.

“For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

Now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.—But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me.

Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

1 Pet. 1:3; Gen. 41:52; 2 Cor. 1:3-5; 1 Pet. 1:6, 7; 2 Tim. 4:17; 1 Pet. 4:19

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Study on NHL...

This is a picture of a Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma cell (pink) being attacked by the chemo drug "Rituxan". I took this chemo drug 6 times over 4 months and was a big reason for my remission. The picture was taken from a recent article in Scientific American which discusses the recent study confirming the increase in patients living longer using these drugs. This drug is made by Genentech and has been used since 1997. I am hopeful that I will be one of the "long lifers". It also mentions that 20 in 100,000 will get NHL. That is incredible odds against most people getting NHL. I think it is 1 in 5,000 or 2 in 10,000 or 8 in 40, 000. How many of you have been to a Ranger's baseball game? That means that 8 people in the entirely full stadium would get NHL. That seems like pretty good odds for most people. So, the next time you are at the Ballpark...look around and see if you can find the 8 people. And, for people under age 45 who are using Rituxan, 56% of the 8 will live 10 years or longer.