December 22, 2002
I'm just back from the doctors and here's the scoop.
First, the bad news is just what we thought--my counts are back up and that means the cancer is active (not in remission anymore) and they want to do something to address that right away.
The good news, however, is that there is nothing about my current condition that demands they act invasively or drastically. In fact, even more than 21 months ago when I was diagnosed, there's a sense that they can treat Multiple Myeloma almost like a chronic disease.
What this means is two-fold.
First, I'll be booking an MRI for immediately after our trip to Maine. This will, along with making me panicky and claustrophobic (ever been in one of those tubes?), determine how extensive any bone dammage is in my hip and/or elsewhere. If the dammage is advanced, they'll want to do radiation (which will suck) to kill the cancer there. If the dammage is not advanced, then we'll manage it with pain killers. (I took my first percoset in 9 months on Wednesday night and it sent me for a loop and kept me groggy well into Thursday, so I'll be sticking with Advil and 222s for a while).
Second, they want me to start a regimine of Thalidomide, the former morning sickness drug from the 50s/60s (and yes, oh source of guilt that it is for her, my mother did take it during her first trimester with me--fortunately, i was born flipper-free but they still love to tell the "doctor cried when he saw you were healthy" story). Thalidomide has become the maintenance treatment of choice for MM patients--especially those of us on the second go-round--seems to be quite effective (Geraldine Farraro is on it, for example), and has few side effects (unless i was to get pregnant or get someone pregnant--neither of which are at all likely since, well, i don't have a uterus for the baby to gestate in and the fact of the side effects from the chemotherapy of last fall and the direct effects of the vasectomy of this fall....) In fact, I'll be able to continue on with my consulting work/writing with very little interruption.
So, there you go. Not quite an "all's well" but neither is it the ominous cloud.
Thanks for praying.
We'll be back in Pennsylvania a week from today, after Christmas in Maine with the Blicks.
"I love bitter people. They make television fun."
Dalton Ross, Entertainment Weekly Online
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