Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Wrestling With the Beast

I'm old enough to know, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true. I told Susan a few days ago that I was prepared to hear that the latest bone marrow where the myeloma cells dropped from 90% to 5% was an abnormality. The meeting with Dr. Barlogie today confirmed those suspicions. The "numbers" from the last bone marrow (last Friday) don't show any significant improvement from the bone marrow of mid January, ie. 90% myeloma cells. Although not that bad, the numbers are all over the map from the 3 bone marrows since then, leaving him to explain that we're not getting an accurate sampling from the aspirations probably due to the adherent quality of these myeloma cells. As he said, we haven't made much progress and this will call for more "drastic" measures. I think I've been riding this roller coaster so long I can see the ups and downs coming. But before we go to drastic measures, we start with a few days with an increase in the thalidomide, followed by a double bone marrow biopsy on Friday--one on the right and one on the left. (I'll no doubt be waddling like a duck after that procedure). I don't think any of us are expecting some great change in test results.

The more drastic measures probably involve that "Beam bomb", which he so readily dismissed at our last meeting. This is a one time transplant with 9 high dose chemo drugs administered over 5 days. Then I receive my stem cells back and recover from the ordeal. This would be done on an outpatient basis and as he said, "you can handle it." I'm not sure what other choice I have, but my response was simply, "I'll do what I have to do, you do your part." It's that ornerary trial lawyer in me that will carry me through--either that or those strong North Dakota roots. Always the optimist I told Susan on the way home, that at least its only one transplant. We see Barlogie in a week and he will have a plan for us then.

Yeh, this is tough stuff. More mentally than physically. We are forced to draw down into resources we never knew we had, but we continue to discover that our depths have not yet been reached. Susan and I looked at each other as we left the doctor's office and she said, "we'll get through this, we've done it before." Yes, I know that to be true. My stalwart supporter is always at my side.

Never underestimate what you do for us with your unwavering love and support. It's hard being away from home, dealing with this nastiness, and contact with all of you keeps us going. We'll let you know the plan in a week.
Love,
Dan

6 comments:

Brother Ted said...

Yes, you will make it through this cycle and those numbers will go down. I have always thought that this cancer doesn't know who it is ________ with. You are one tough hombre and you have the support of Susan. I had the pleasure of meeting Susan's mom, so I have some sense of the strength that flows through her. You are a dynamic duo! All of us, here in Denver, wish you were a little closer so we could just drop by for a quick hug and hello. We will be patient and wait until we can celebrate you homecoming. Peace and Grace Dan and Susan. Julia and Catherine please know you are in our thoughts.

Brett said...

I don't know what this cancer is thinking! One place I would not want to be is on the bad side of the Bad Dude, Dan Patterson. Ted's right. This cancer thinks it can get the upper hand, but it has no idea with whom it is messing.

As always, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

sigun said...

Dear Dan,

Thanks for the update. Yes, I can see the roller coaster coming, but after going down, you'll be going up again, and that is what counts. Courage, mon cher. Bises, Sigun.

Joni said...

Dan, you and Dr. B. will show that Myeloma who's boss. We are all thinking of you, and I had the pleasure of seeing your lovely face on screen at CaridianBCT twice this week! We all miss you!

Hugs,

Joni and the girls

Big Frank Dickinson said...

Dan the Man,
The numbers will follow you! You are the man!

Love ya!

Tom

Spike said...

You continue to stand strong Dan. Your stubbornness is legendary. This cancer is just no match for you and Susan. We send our thoughts of strength and healing.

Mike & Lynne