Ever since I learned I had mantle cell, I’ve feared becoming just such a person, narrowing my world down to every ache and pain, up and down, of my disease.
To avoid unleashing the self-obsessed whiner I know lingers inside the worst me, I chose from the beginning not to set up a Caring Bridge site. The downside of not doing so, however, is that 3,000 word theological reflections on cancer aren’t a very helpful means to provide you with what many of you routinely request: updates.
So here goes:
Chemo: 3 Days to Go
As I write this from my chair in the stem cell center, I’ve got 3 days left of my R-HyperCVAD treatment. I finish Sunday with a final injection!
I can’t exaggerate how I couldn’t have made it this far without the tangible help and spiritual support of so many of you from here in my community to blog readers literally around the world.
For our boys, Ali and I have tried hard to keep living our lives as normal as possible these long months. To the extent that’s been possible it’s been possible, in large extent, because of you.
Now that chemo is nearing my rearview, I will enter a ‘recovery phase’ of about 6-8 weeks. Once my bone marrow, blood counts and immune system have healed from the months of chemo-poison, I will have scans done on me to assess the success and extent of the treatment.
Based on the scans’ results, I have 3 possible next steps.
If the mantle cell is still active in my marrow, I may require a stem cell transplant, harvested from my own marrow. This would be a more intense version of the treatment I’ve already undergone, put me out of commission for another couple of months but may extend the length of my remission.
If the mantle cell is still active in my marrow but the doctor judges my system too weak presently to move ahead with a transplant, then I could wait for a period of 3-6 months to rebound and then undergo the stem cell transplant.
If the scans do not detect any mantle cell active in my marrow, then (because I will always small levels of undetectable mantle cell in my blood) I will begin ‘maintenance chemo,’ meaning I will receive a 1 day infusion of Rituximab every 3 months for as long as my doctor deems it necessary or until the MCL rears its head again.
Obviously mine and me are praying for #3 as it will deliver us back to our normal lives quicker than the alternatives. The big prayer picture is that Mantle Cell isn’t something of which I’ll be cured. The hope is for a long remission and if/when a relapse occurs that there will be more treatment options available to us.
Join Me in Light the Night: October 17
Some friends, more thoughtful than I and led by Jennifer Price, have organized to participate in the Light the Night Walk in DC on October 17.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk exists to find cures and ensure access to the best available treatments for all blood cancer patients. Your participation makes a difference.
I will be joining them and I’d love to connect with you there.
You can sign up to participate or support the effort here:
Book Deal with Fortress Press
I’ve agreed to write a book for Fortress Press’ Theology for the People series. Their request: ‘a funny, theological memoir of living with cancer.’ In other words, the kind of book you’re not embarrassed to give a friend or loved one.
I’ll be working on the book while I recuperate this fall and winter, trying to make the kind of lemonade from lemons that makes you wish there were no lemons.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback about what you think the book should include, what notes I’ve gotten right here on the blog and what you think I could flesh out in greater clarity.
You can check out Fortress Press here.