« Love, or whatever, is in the air! | Main | Ah, the good old days. »

February 15, 2005

Popping Cancer: Our Story So Far

I've gotten a few questions from recently-inducted readers of Popping Culture about my current health. Maybe it's time to recap:

-I'm 36 now. When I was 18, I was diagnosed with late-stage Hodgkin's Disease, which I beat over about 8 years on-and-off with chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant.

-Ten years after the bone marrow transplant, in fact the week before Thanksgiving last year, I noticed a big (maybe chalkboard-eraser sized, but not as long?) lump on my upper left shoulder. This turned out to be a sarcoma (a rare cancer) caused by the radiation treatments from my first cancer experience.

-Before you could say "innumerable trips to Cleveland Clinic Hospitals in the snow," the sarcoma had spread into my chest, near my lungs. There is a big lump near my aorta and about 5-10 smaller ones throughout my chest cavity, this as per my last scan.

-Radiation is not an option because the cancer is in my blood (metastisized). Surgery is not an option. So we're doing chemotherapy. The chemo is complicated by the fact that the lead drug, adriamicin, is the drug I used primarily back in the day to defeat Hodgkin's. It damaged the muscles near my heart pretty severely (I beat out about 30-35 percent of the blood in my heart with each beat - you normal folks get up near 55 or 60 percent). Using adriamicin could make my heart, you know, stop. So we're using alternate chemo drugs.

-I just finished the first couple treatments and I'm gaining strength for the next cycle. A normal chemotherapy cycle is three days of chemo (back-to-back-to-back) followed by three weeks off. I have a relatively minor surgery Monday, Feb. 21, then my next chemo cycle hits on the 22nd-24th. At the end of the next cycle, we will re-take the scans to see if the chemo has made a difference. If not, we juggle some drugs, I guess.

That's all I can really think of right now. Feel free to post any questions you might have in the comments box and I might actually answer them.

Posted by Dan at February 15, 2005 08:35 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


In your blood?

Posted by: Mom at February 19, 2005 09:56 PM

The cancer is in my blood. It is not a blood cancer. When cancer metastasizes, some cells from the original lump break off and ride around in the bloodstream, looking for a new place to take up residence. Sarcomas like to go near the lungs.

Posted by: Dan at February 19, 2005 10:09 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?