Many Steps Forward, Then One Back

Over the days since my last update, I have continued to feel better and better as I get more arsenic-free time under my belt. About March 9 or 10 I think my energy and focus levels crossed some magic threshold. Fairly suddenly, I was able to really begin to get some little things done around the house every day, as well as to begin organizing plans for some of the bigger things. I have now fully populated OmniFocus with a TON of tasks, most of which I’ve been putting off or forgetting about for a long while now. It feels good to get some things done each day.

My fitness has been improving, too. I can now do two push-ups in a row (up from zero a few weeks ago). Also I can run and jump a little bit, albeit not very fast and not very high, respectively. I bought an exercise bike/desk for my home office, which has provided huge benefits immediately. On cold and/or rainy days when a walk outside doesn’t look very appealing, I can still get in some good movement in on the bike. Because it has a desk where the handlebars would normally go, I can pedal at a 10mph rate or slower while reading, writing, typing, or doing other useful things. I am loving that.

Sadly, we did run into a medical setback at my oncologist appointment on Friday (3/17). That blood test that we were eagerly awaiting, with the expectation that it would find me in full remission…didn’t. It still found a very, very small about of cancer in my bloodstream. Immediate consequences of that: first, I’m going back to daily (seven days a week) chemo again, beginning Monday (3/20). Big bummer. Goodbye mornings at home; hello unhappy side-effects. Second, this does push back the timeline for my full recovery, and also pushes back the start of my two-weeks-on, two-weeks-off “consolidation/maintenance” phase. That means it pushes back the point where I can confidently commit to travel dates for things such as conferences and camping trips, because I don’t know yet what the treatment cadence will be. Also a pretty big bummer. I expect it’s delayed by at least three weeks, and possibly a couple more.

For now, I am choosing not to think about what happens if these extra couple weeks of full-time treatment don’t yield complete remission. I suspect (but don’t know) that at that point I would be put onto one of the more traditional chemotherapy drugs—which would make for way more toxic side-effects.

On the bright side, this time around I am going into the chemo regimen with a relatively healthy body and with an idea of how to keep myself active throughout. Hopefully that will alleviate some of the negative effects. I also get to live at home through the whole course, which I expect will help a lot with both keeping active and with feeling good about things. And which has a way better internet connection than the hospital. 🙂

Lastly, I do also look forward to some kibitzing with some of the nurses in the Abbott Northwestern infusion center and oncology station. I haven’t seen any of them in several weeks now. There are always silver linings on every ill turn.

Onward and forward. This too shall pass.

-Markus

Cross-posted to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markus.silpala/posts/10212526424782339

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