Sunday, February 7, 2016

Ten months and counting

I'm going to make a new year's resolution to try and update my blog a little more frequently, at least once monthly just so you don't all have to wait to see what is going on.

There is some good news to report.  I am now 9 days past my 10th month anniversary since I was discharged from LDS Hospital. That's 10 months off of chemo, 10 months of trying to get back into the swing of things, 10 months more with family and friends. I am grateful for each day of it.

My "anniversary" of my discharge is March 29th, the day before the conference I am organizing at UVU!  That will be an interesting week.  My "birthday", a year old for my new immune system is March 12, so maybe I need to have a party or something?  :)

The only drawback to these festivities is that I will have to start my vaccinations all over again -- that is a major milestone, so I'll accept it, but secretly I'll whisper that I'm not really looking forward to it!

So, overall things have been going fairly well.  I've been working. My department has been fantastic as always -- I'm teaching online and doing some administrative work. I have discovered that while I enjoy teaching online, it is not as vibrant or exciting as teaching with the students right there.  However, it also protects from infection and having done one substitute class late last semester, it takes much less energy, which I'm grateful for.

I am also finishing up my book. Yes, I'm writing my second book (first one was on depression) -- it is about understanding and working with student resistance to active learning. We are in the last stages!  I'm excited to get this done. We had originally agreed to have this done by December 2014 but cancer made a hash of that. But I've been able to work on it, especially in the past 4 months. So, this has been a useful and productive 10 months, overall.

Now to the update -- my last blood tests were a little worrisome -- uptick in my M-spike to 0.7.  It has been hovering around 0.5 - 0.6; however, it has been that high once before since I came out. The doctor said it was not enough data to make a change in our current strategy.  So whew!  My blood counts are also still low.  Arrrrgh.  My white counts has sometimes gone up into the bottom of the normal range, but this time they are down again. My red counts are also still low, below normal, but not too far. It's those silly platelets, too!  They have hardly moved since I left the hospital. At least I have enough of them that the doctor said Patricia could stab me, and I would not bleed out right away, but I wish they were higher.

So my existential angst is a bit calmer right now, although that M-spike made me just a bit anxious. I finally started on Zometa after months of debating and trying to decide. It was NOT fun. I had flu-like symptoms and pain for 4-5 days including fevers of up to 102. The doctor wasn't certain if the fevers were due to the drug or to a viral infection that then affected me for the following 2-3 weeks in January.  That was a drag.  I've looked at the online message forums for Multiple Myeloma, and the suggestions included extending the time of the infusion and staying hydrated; the doctor had no problem with this, and so we are going to try it later this week. I also have read that at least for many  people, the first time is the worst.  I hope all of these things are true.  We delayed my treatment until the end of this week so that I can get the book done and can lose the weekend if I need to.

So, hanging in there. Not recovering as well as I had hoped. Dr. W talked about it as a "slow recovery", but I'm working, enjoying each day as much as I can, and my book will soon be done! We were also able to do a bit of traveling in November and go see our son in San Francisco. I'm grateful for all of this time I've had, and I hope for even more. Thanks for reading!