One issue I’ve been meaning to address has to do with my unique recovery. As you know, once I was diagnosed I spent a month at UCLA for my first chemotherapy treatment, known as induction chemotherapy.
In essence, that fairly aggressive first round did the job…so far.
That put me into remission. However, now that I’m in remission I still have several rounds of continued treatment, to keep me in remission. That’s called consolidation chemotherapy. The consolidation is 3 rounds of chemo. Each round consists of me being admitted back to UCLA to get the chemo. Then I’m home for about a week’s rest, then back to UCLA. I go back because the chemotherapy beats down my immune system, found in my bone marrow, and I’m at risk for getting any sort of sickness or infection. They call this neutropenia. They track my neutropenia by drawing blood each day. The highlights of the results are my white blood cell count and my neutrophil count. Neutrophils are part of the white blood cells.
So, when I’m post-chemo, it’s all about the neutrophils. While they’re dropping, I’m home for rest. When they pass a certain threshold, I’m neutropenic, and back at UCLA to be carefully observed. The neutrophil count bottoms out, then starts to recover. Once the count passes that same threshold, I’m no longer neutropenic.
Since I get to do this 3 times, and I just finished my first round of consolidation, I’m far from done.
My point in describing this whole process is to help those of you who care have a better understanding of how all this effects me. You may know others who have had cancer, but their experience was quite different. You may have even known someone with leukemia, whose experience was different. Each cancer is different. It’s different in how it’s treated and it’s different in how it’s recovered from. And this doesn’t take into account those who do not recover.
As you observe (lurk) my experience, it’s important that you take into account that I am very up and down. I may have a week, or less, where I’m at home and doing great. You may even see that I’m riding my road bike, out for exercise. Or maybe you see me living life to its fullest, 4x4ing with my kids or maybe even off for a hike.
Know this, I not only have permission from my doctors, but I’m choosing to be the dad and husband I believe I’m called to be. Then, the following week you may see me back at UCLA, hooked up to an IV, and just chillin. Each up and down is written in the logbook of my leukemia. My leukemia is different than the next, and I choose to weather it my own way.