October 3, 2000

October 3, 2000|

Itís been about a month since I last sent an email update out to my list-serve.† I was hoping to send one out this week, detailing my doctorís appointment in Philadelphia where I would be declared in remission.† It would have been a nice, short email.† Things donít always go like we plan them though and instead I am not remission and I am not going to write a short email, but rather the exact opposite- create a large and information filled website.†

So first things first.† Dr. Alavi, my chemotherapy doctor and I met last Friday.† Before the check up I received my first CT scan since May.† After viewing the CT scan, it was discovered that the lymph nodes in my chest and shoulder were smaller than in May, which translates into our favorite word- remission. Those areas were where I did the radiation- so the radiation did itís job. (Thankfully too, cause I never want to have to go through that again.)

But not all was rosy.† One lymph node in my right lung had doubled in size since May, and the lymph nodes in my abdomen area had also doubled in size (one has grown to 2 by 4 centimeters!).† That translates to some of our not so favorite words:† the cancer has returned and spread.† To further explain what happened, basically the first round of chemo didnít kill every cancer cell. And if you donít kill every cancer cell, it reproduces and makes more and more in a very short period of time.

What does this mean?† Well we canít do any more radiation (woohhooo!) because radiation can not reach or be effective in these areas.† So that means more chemotherapyÖand more chemotherapy.† This time though it will be a lot more intense and will require some hospital stays.

Hereís the tentative schedule of treatment:

1.Friday: Bone scan to determine if the cancer has spread to my bone marrow. I will be taking a day off work and traveling down to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to get the all day test.

2.ESCHAP: This chemotherapy treatment requires a port to be put into my chest (like having a reverse udder) and a five day hospital stay for the chemo to fully drip in.† After that I can go home for two to three weeks.† This will then be repeated 3 or 4 times.

3.Stem Cell Transplant: This next treatment is the funnest of all.† First the doctors will take stem cells out of my bone marrow in a surgical procedure.† They will then scan them and kill any cancer cells that have been taken out of my body. Next they will freeze the stem cells (kinda like in Austin Powers). Then I will receive massively high doses of chemotherapy which will effectively kill just about every cell in my body.† After they have killed everything, they will reinsert my stem cells and in turn the stem cells will reproduce the white blood cells, red blood cells and placelets that my body needs.† We should have by then killed every cancer cell, and I will be given a clean bill of health.

Next week I will decide which hospital I will be doing the treatments at. Most likely it will be Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center here in New York City, and 20 blocks from my apartment.† Memorial is the best cancer center in the country according to US News and World Report.† Check out www.mskcc.com for more info.

As for work, I asked my chemo nurse, ìdo most people work during this?î She replied, ìMost people- no. You- youíll be fine.î† My co-workers here at Goldman Sachs have just been incredibly supportive.† The main concern for them is that I get better and they will pick up any slack.† I intend to stay active and do work from home and from the hospital.† There is totally no pressure from them to work, I want to though, for my psyche and to keep me out of trouble.† I enjoy my job tremendously and I look forward to helping out any which way I can.†

So thatís the latest update.† If I might I will borrow I quote from an old pastor of mine, Dr. James Boice, who recently passed away after a battle with cancer in June.† In his call to worship on May 7, he told the congregation of his condition and remarked,

ìIf God does something in your life, would you change it?† If you’d change it, you’d make it worse.† It wouldn’t be as good.† So that’s the way we want to accept it and move forward, and who knows what God will do?î† (for more of his inspiring announcement go to www.tenth.org.)

I firmly believe that, down to the core of my soul.† God doesnít make mistakes.† I look forward to seeing the great things that will come out of this next chapter of my life.

So keep checking in on this site. I hopefully will have links to informational site, pictures, and much much more. I owe a giant thanks to my dear friend Patrick Altman, who is helping me in the development of this page.

Thank you all for your support, care and prayers.† It means the world to me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *