Consolidation: Inching My Way Towards Normalcy

My two weeks off of all therapies ended today, with the beginning of my consolidation phase. Now I sit in the oncology clinic’s infusion center, again receiving arsenic trioxide through an IV tube. When people have asked me recently how I felt, I have responded that yesterday was likely the pinnacle of my physical state for a while: my body had two weeks to flush out all the toxins, and most side effects has subsided. Today the toxins flow again, so I expect to feel a bit less well over the following weeks.

My exact regimen is a little different than I had thought before. Here’s the sequence. All of it is weekdays only.

  • Two weeks of arsenic trioxide and all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA)
  • Two weeks of just arsenic trioxide
  • Two weeks of just ATRA
  • Two weeks of no treatment

That whole cycle happens three times, ending in September.

How have I felt in recent days? Not too bad. My physical strength continues to build, gradually. I can run and jump now—although still not very fast or high. I am still prone to running out of energy fairly quickly and needing a nap. My vision is still quite blurred. At night I have trouble falling asleep before midnight, and still seem to need 10-11 hours per night (even after napping). So mornings have basically been shot every day. The numbness in my feet has abated just a little bit, but is unfortunately still quite present and noticeable.

I have been logging into the systems at work every weekday, getting caught up on mail, calendars, and other things. This week I plan to increase that to a couple hours a day, hopefully getting back in sync with what the team is doing. I know a lot has changed and progressed dramatically since I went ill; at my limited rate it will take a while to really feel like I’m contributing. Unless I join up with a sub-team that does a lot of mob programming, of course. 🙂

This weekend I will be in New York City for Agile Coach Camp, and next week in Ypsilanti, MI to speak at Agile & Beyond. I really did expect to be fully back at work and living a mostly-normal life by the time those events came along. As I always say with software teams: When reality doesn’t match your plan, go with reality! During those conferences I may need to take some rest breaks, but I will be sure to be at my most alert when I give my own talk(s).

Also in the near future, I look forward to this blog having more entries in the Software category and fewer in Cancer.

Cheers and happy spring to all (or happy autumn for any southern-hemisphere peeps)!

-Markus

Cross-posted to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markus.silpala/posts/10212942343020035

 

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