Friday, February 20, 2009

Being Bald Brings Big Bucks!

Hi everyone: Here I was feeling sick and tired of the baldness in this cold weather and then I pulled up today's New York Times on the computer and found out that I can make some lemonade out of these lemons. You can read the whole article here.

So now for the rest of the news. As I have noted on the Twitter feed, I'm back to feeling almost normal, just in time for Round 5 of chemo on Monday-Tuesday. This round is the R-CHOP, which isn't so great on the tummy but is much less depleting than the ARA-C that I did for the last round. My white blood cell count, which was down at 0.5 last Thursday (prompting my doctor to say that it was like going out without skin on) has rebounded to a whopping 28.2 today, meaning that I can hug strangers and lick flagpoles if I want. Don't worry, I have no plans to do either, although I'd like to give Kathleen a long-overdue and much-deserved Valentine's kiss.

My platelets are also back up. They dropped to 17 last week, prompting a transfusion, and are now at 321. So no more nosebleeds, which is bloody good news. Sorry, I couldn't resist that one.

Speaking of blood, my red cell counts are still low, which appears to be chronic during chemo. The main effect of that is that I'm winded climbing three flights of stairs at the parking garage and I have only been able to bike 5 or 6 times this month. In the scheme of things, that shouldn't matter, but I really do miss my fitness and can't wait to be able to do stuff that I worked hard to be able to do. With any luck, I will get a shot of EPO, the stuff that got Tyler Hamilton banned from cycling after the Olympics for artificially boosting his RBC so that he could win the gold medal in the Time Trial event. Ironically, EPO is made by Amgen, the title sponsor of this year's Tour of California bike race. I wonder if they're giving out free samples. Anyway, with or without performance enhancing drugs, I am still planning to ride the Pan Mass Challenge in 2010 and will have to get back in training shape this fall once I'm on the other side of the stem cell transplant...

Kathleen and I are hoping to meet with Dr. Don't-call-me-Elliot Spitzer the week after next and get a better sense of what to expect with the transplant. I know that it will be in April and that I'll be out of action at least until the end of June but how out of action and what the limitations are, I can't say yet. The last time we met with him, we were both still in shock over the whole thing. As you can imagine, I've got lots of specific questions now that I'm close to this phase. Stay tuned for the answers.

Thanks to everyone for your lovely emails and postings. While it's hard to respond to every single one, please know that they mean the world to me. Keep 'em coming!


Mary said...

Glad to know the counts are up. Maybe the whole red cell thing is what encouraged the old belief in vampires? Love and virtual hugs to both of you.


Blaze said...

Stevarino, I plan to sponsor you in the Pan Mass Challenge next year, so you'd better get in shape when you can! I'd do it with you, but my butt gets too sore, which in my particular case would not be a good thing. We have a good friend who does it every year, so if you need a riding buddy, let us know. Meanwhile, you're doing great, we're very proud of you, keep on keepin' on, this too shall pass!

Blaze said...

So, Stevarino, I assume you are going to get the My Turn website tattooed on your head? In these economically challenged times, every type of fundraising effort is worth exploring!