We knew this was coming, it was just a matter of time…
Things have been slow for the last couple of weeks, which is a good thing. But there are some developments worth sharing.
The genetic typing on the biopsy finally came in, and it was not the worst case scenario. For those of you interested in digging deeper than I care to know, I do not have a classic Ewing’s sarcoma. I do have what we’ve jokingly referred to as one of “Ewing’s inbred cousins.” It’s a tumor that presents similarly, and is treated similarly, but without the nasty perseverance. My prospects moving forward are far less hairy.
It also means that there is no hereditary genetic component. That’s good news for my son and for my brother. The vast majority of these Ewing’s-ish cancers happen to young men, in their teens and early 20s. Chalk one up to the dangers of my immaturity.
The treatment plan
The most relevant part of that biopsy is how it directs my treatment. The chemo won’t always be like the one I started with (which includes the Red Devil.) I will be alternating chemo protocols now, and the next round starts on Monday.
I say “starts” because it will be a week-long thing. Monday through Friday, eight hours a day. There is a different chemical involved, and it works by messing with the topology of the cancer cell’s DNA. For a cell to replicate, it needs to unzip the double helix — but before that, the double-helix needs to uncoil. And there are levels of uncoiling that’s needed.
Think about twisting some strands to make a simple coil. Now take that twisted strand, and start looping it to make a supercoil. Lots of twists, and lots of tension held in those shapes. So if you can keep that section of the DNA from uncoiling, you make it impossible for the thing to unzip. There is nowhere for the tension to go. (If you’ve ever tried coiling a garden hose, and realized that you need to spin the other end to make it easier as you go, then you’ve got the concept.)
The plan now is to do this round on the 4th through the 8th, then come back later in the month with the Red Devil concoction, then back to the Five Day Anticurl Therapy, then a little break before surgery. At that point, we will see how badly the tumor cells were killed off, and that will determine how many more rounds it will take to wipe out any homeless floaters I might have in my system.
Remember, I have already shown clear on the following:
- Chest CT
- Full-body MRI
- Spinal tap
- Bone marrow sample
- Bone chip sample
Far less hairy
As much as my body tried to hold on to those precious follicles, they are already well on their way to the great scalp in the sky.
A few days ago, it got to the point where running my hand through my hair would bring a couple of dozen strands along with it. Jacob went ahead and did the honors, shaving me down to a manageable length.
Alas, this only looked “this good” for a couple of days, as the little hairs started dropping. And some really long gray ones from my beard.
But that’s okay – I have an assortment of caps and hats now to keep me stylin’ and profilin’.
Odds and ends
Physically, I haven’t had the issues with the nausea, but I am still prone to fatigue. We’ve figured the blood pressure things out too – it was a separate medication and I now know when not to take it.
I am very appreciative for all of the cards and notes and texts and calls and packages and every one of you. I am blessed with an abundance of people in my support network. Many of you have offered meals, or rides to and from the infusion center. I am taking you up on those, as I can.
Next week will be long, but from what I am told it is not that taxing. I just have to bring some books and other things to make use of the time on the drip.
Much love —