Dan will go in this Thursday for treatment 3b of his chemo. That means he will officially be halfway...well, maybe.
I hope that is the case.
I went with Dan to the hospital for his last chemo treatment 2 weeks ago and it was a bit of a reality check for me...not fun, but something I needed to do.
Things have been going so well for Dan, coping with chemo without major side effects, (there are plenty of irritating things like muscular aches and cramps, slight nausea, all his hair is gone, plenty of lethargy etc.) and he continues to work most days apart from the day of treatment and the Monday afterwards when he just can't do much at all.
I guess since I've been working too and we've been trying to carry on as a regular family and our regular routines I just kind of 'forgot' what he's been dealing with. I know that sounds a bit weird but I just became a little complacent. I needed to be with him in hospital to remind myself of what he's facing on a daily basis. The doctors also wanted to catch me up with scan results and the 'plan'.
So, everything went like clockwork, 12pm blood taken, to check cell counts, then lunch, then wait to see doc at Lymphoma clinic, (lymphoma clinic day is massively busy at the PA), so we see the doc and he goes through the last PET scan results with me. We compare the original scan which of course showed Dan was 'chockers' with numerous large tumours in his abdomen, chest and neck, (for those following treatment and details, Dan was diagnosed with stage 3 aggressive Hodgkin's Lymphoma) Then the current results which had NO hot spots (tumours) at all!!!! YAY!
So doc explains that they are really happy with all this news and of course we are over the moon. I then expect he will say that Dan will definitely be completed his chemo at the end of the 6 month period. Well, maybe not.
It seems that they will scan again after cycle 4 and again after cycle 6...then if the actual lymph nodes themselves which are still slightly enlarged have stopped reducing in size they will complete treatment. However, if the nodes continue to show reduction they will take the extra 2 month option and chemo will continue which would take us right through to New Year. I asked why they would stop if the nodes do stop reducing and he explained that the treatment will not continue if the body ceases to show reduction in node or tumour size...not much point. The body has taken all it can at this point. If the nodes continue to respond then treatment continues...makes sense.
So, we wait to see what happens now.
It's a little strange as to how we feel about this. Of course we look forward to the end of the treatment but we know that if it needs to continue and Dan's body is responding then that's what he needs to do. If his lymph nodes return to 'normal' before the end of the treament at 6 months...I'm not exactly sure what happens...that's another question to ask.
At this point we are very happy with how things are going. I wish it was all over and sometimes you forget that we will be living with this for a long time yet...regular check ups, scans etc. for years to come. The doctor has told us that at this point they expect Dan will be cured. Cured can mean that he will be disease free for more than 5-7 years. Hmmm, interesting hey? We'd like 'life' of course!! Nothing's a given unfortunately in life is it?
They also told us that if he has a recurrence, then they would expect to treat him again to 'cure'.
I'd feel a whole lot better if they said that the cure would be life long...but then, I still believe in fairies, so, we just want Dan well and able to do all the things the Bozzoli's enjoy doing.
We consider ourselves very lucky that we have been able to do most of those things since treatment started.
Recently, we had my Dad and Mary staying with us for a week and we celebrated my Dad's 70th birthday with some of his family at Sirromet winery. The day was cold and dreary but the company was fantastic! I love the Green Family! Dan did really well considering it was one of his 'down' days just after treatment. I love him so much for being there for Dad and me. Isabella had a ball!!
So here are a few pics of the celebration.
Catch you all!
Dan enjoying scones and coffee