Friday, August 19, 2005

Home, Hopeful and *hic*

Well, I started my day after a sleepless night with my third and last bag of chemotherapy. The drugs are starting to to have an effect on my stomach and appetite, nothing too severe; but I am having frequent bouts with the most minor and irritating of the lot - hiccoughs. It's foolish, but whenever I start to move briskly or speak a lot or even burp, the hiccoughs start, and I have to stand very still, hold my breath and swallow to get rid of them. My oncologist says that will go away soon.

Both Dr. A (the oncologist) and Dr. B (the radiologist) came to visit me this morning, each bearing good news. The last of my tests, the CAT scan of my organs, has come up clear. As Gail reported, the brain MRI and radiological bone scans were both clear as well. Dr. B claims that we can thus classify my cancer as "limited stage" lung cancer, and that my prognosis for remission is much better with this news. I will stay on my regimen of chemotherapy for the next eleven weeks, and Monday I will visit Dr. B's office for a scan of my left chest. This will be entered into a 3-D computer model which will allow him to design targeted radiation treatments. Under the combined forces of the chemo and the radiation, the tumor should be in for a rough time.

So it seems that I do have some good news today. Given that this is a serious illness, it's fortunate that I was diagnosed when I was - by chance, due to a cancelled office visit - and that I was able to be seen by a brilliant oncologist, who acted immediately to intercept this fast-growing threat. I have a tough road ahead yet, but this evening I am happy to be home and optimistic about my prospects.

I am most fortunate, as well, to have such a group of people in my life; my amazing fiancee, loving family, friends, internet pals, flying comrades and co-workers. Your notes and cards, calls and emails and support of every kind have touched me to the core - I can't thank you enough.