As most of our family and friends know, I was forced to cut my trip short to Michigan in order to begin my new treatment plan with the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona.
My new oncologist has been through a battle with cancer herself and understands what I am going through very well. The Mayo Clinic is definitely living up to its world-renowned reputation, as today I left the hospital feeling happier than before I arrived. Thats rare.
The appointment went very well in terms of laying the groundwork for a stringent, detail oriented and thorough new treatment plan.
Next week I will begin a new type of chemo called “RICE”. This particular chemo is more aggressive and used specifically for refractory types of cancer. It can be done either inpatient or out, but regardless it is a three-day-straight infusion process.
The plan is for me to have the first round done inpatient to see how my body reacts and be closely monitored by my new medical team. I will be in the hospital for three days.
As of now, the plan is to do two rounds of this type of chemo and then perform a PET scan to see how it is working. Each round of chemo is done three weeks apart. More of the same rigmarole, but with a new set of expectations.
Once my body recovers from the chemo, my oncologist wants to discuss the process of me undergoing a stem cell transplant (sometimes still referred to as a bone marrow transplant.)
Essentially, this is a process that replaces the lost stem cells lost during the high dosage of chemo. They would be my own cells - no donor needed. Without stem cells, your body cannot make blood and the components that your immune system needs to function.
During stem cell transplant, your body is “rescued” with an infusion of healthy stem cells. The new stem cells grow and produce all of the different parts of your blood that both your body and your immune system need.
The unfortunate part of this entire process is that it takes roughly three weeks of inpatient care to complete. However, it increases the chances of being completely cured tremendously.
I feel a new sense of hope after my appointment today. Although I still have a long way to go, I feel that my transfer of care to the Mayo Clinic was necessary and has given me a fresh outlook. I needed that.
I am not looking forward to so much time in the hospital, but I am ready to get this cancer taken care of once and for all.
While in Michigan, I used some of my spare time to explore some of my favorite places and fly my drone. It is incredible how your perspective changes from flying and simply looking down. I hope you enjoy seeing the sights of Michigan from above.
In the meantime, stay in touch, visit again and witness cancer through my lens and keyboard.
Until next time…