Knockout Round

My 10th round of chemo starts tomorrow and goes for six days. This regime is called “high dose” and is really the cure part of the whole rigmarole. Since the cancer didn’t respond to earlier chemo, the dosages of Etoposide and ARA-C are raised to the lethal level.

The stem cells are the “rescue” part of the operation. The 4.7 million cells collected a few weeks ago will be put back on Monday the 15th. This is called infusion, which, anticlimactically, only takes about 15 minutes. The cells will migrate to the bone marrow and in about 10-14 days start making new blood cells. This is called engraftment.

I will be monitored daily for the following 4-6 weeks while my blood, bone marrow and immune system grow back. I hope to be healthy enough to return home the second or third week in July.

After all this medically-inflicted suffering, is there a chance the cancer will return? Yes, but there are two characteristics of Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that are in my favor:

  • NHL is a cancer of the white blood cells circulating in the lymphatic system. Very few cancerous cells are actually in the blood, which is where the stem cells are harvested.
  • Aphaeresis (cell collection) harvests only stem cells, not white blood cells.

However, the process isn’t perfect and some blood products are inadvertently collected along with the stem cells. This means there’s a risk of getting the cancer back. But the odds are much better than if I do nothing at all.

3 thoughts on “Knockout Round

  1. Open invitation to you and your readers to participate in the Being Cancer Book Club. This month we are discussing “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. “…the lecture he gave … was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.”
    Monday is Book Club day; Tuesday Guest Blog and Friday Cancer News Roundup.
    Also check out Cancer Blog Links containing almost 200 blog links and Cancer Resources with 230 referenced sites, both divided into disease categories.
    Please accept this invitation to join our growing cancer blogging community at
    Take care, Dennis

  2. You are in our thoughts as you deal with the next month. SCT, while a pain in the %@$, is pretty successful. Keep smiling – you’re over the hump now.

  3. May God be with the doctors, nurses, you and all your family and thank You, Jesus for Your healing touch – By His stripes we are healed!

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