Monday, March 23, 2009

Modeh Ani

Tomorrow is my birthday...turning 45 and get to spend the day with my wife, an IV pole dripping with Rituxan and another opportunity to be glad to be here. Couldn't think of another way to spend my 45th and had hoped to finish up this round of Rituxan, but with the reaction I had on day one, we stopped the treatment and continued the following week. Now the last treatment will not be on my birthday as planned. Figure the best thing to give myself this year was the chance to feel better, be healthy and get ready for a great spring time and a big summer vacation.
My first words when I awaken will be...

Modeh ani lefaneicha melech chai v'kayam shehechezarta bi nishmati bechemlah - rabbah emunatecha
I gratefully thank you, O living and eternal King, for You have returned my soul within me with compassion - abundant is Your faithfulness!

Am I grateful? You bet ya!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Of Mice and Men

Sometimes during times of illness and facing a disease, there is emphasis on doing all the right things, avoiding over medication usage and even with some, try "natural" approaches. There should be room to be thankful for all the developments that science has offered to allow treatments to be developed that offer hope. Hope to reduce symptoms, improve life and in some cases cure the diseases. Thanks to the scientists who spend many long hours working on drugs and treatment regimens that have become available now and for the future releases of medications yet to be used. Thanks to the MD's and scientists who put these drugs into clinical trials and to those patients willing to participate in these trials.

Rituxan is a monoclonal antibody derived from the benefit of willing mice to give their help with science advancement. Never in my past would I even have thought of mice in such a way and be thankful, but if this drug is as helpful to me as I have read and heard from others...than I must give a hive five to the small 4 leg rodents.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This Too Shall Pass

Started a treatment yesterday with single agent Rituxan. Went into this with great anticipation, excitement to feel better and apprehension of the unknown and possible side effects. First treatment reactions have been reported but I felt strong and ready.

Well nothing feels strong when your heart rate drops, blood pressure falls, nausea sets in, chest tightens and breathing isn't so easy. After recovering from the acute symptoms, the feelings of sadness and letdown came over me that this treatment might not be tolerated and then what would be next. After the deep sleep following the treatment came I figured why not reach out to others who have gone through this.

I emailed a list server, that others with CLL follow, my concerns and waited for the replies to come in. After reading from many(more than I ever expected) speak of their similar situation and experiences along with the words to keep strong and fighting...the phone call came from my nurse to check on me. She had spoken with my doctor and we will try again next week.

After waking up and not wanting to get dressed for work, the day ended with hope and a resurgence to be strong and get ready for next week. Sometimes the board is ready, the cards dealt and things still have to be handed over to a source that one cannot control the outcome. But I can prepare myself mentally, physically and remember... this too shall pass.