Friday, May 20, 2011

Back to Big Texas

I fly back to Houston, Texas, on Sunday to fulfill a whirlwind day of tests required for the MD Anderson clinical trial that I am on. I'll undergo a long series of diagnostics tests on Monday: bloodwork, chest x-ray, CT Scan, PET Scan, EKG, etc. Then I'll meet with my doctor and his trial nurse to go over all the results. She and I have been in touch via e-mail nearly daily since I've been at home with the drugs. This will be the opportunity for them to examine me in person and hash out face to face how my body is handling this

Oh, did I mention I'm getting a PET Scan to reassess the lymphoma presence? Silly, I didn't even realize that, must have slipped my mind. Ha. Far from it. It's at the very forefront of my mind. The scanxiety has again set in. Monday will mark two cycles on the Panobinostat and Everolimus novel drug combo. Per clinical trial protocol it's now time to see if they are working and I should continue, if they are not and I need to seek different drug options, or, if it's all clear and it's time to move – very quickly – to allo transplant. Or, some different development that carries a new adventure altogether.

To avoid redundancy and the toll it can take on my body, my transplant doctor at Sloan has agreed to read the PET Scan from MD Anderson. He'll collaborate with my team there to make the call on my best next steps.

I had planned to go it alone this trip, but last night, after further talks with my husband, we realized that this is not the time for me to be cocky pants. He wants to be there for me and having him there will alleviate a big amount of the stress of travel, paperwork, appointments, airports and taxis.

I need another set of ears and eyes and the strong, comforting arms of my hubby. I hate to admit it, but my capabilities and endurance have taken quite a toll and I need to adjust to those new levels. I will be receiving hugely important information and quite honestly I don't trust myself to be able to take it all in on my own – good or not-so-good news. Craig has a great ability to take care of things when my body or mind or emotions zone out or pour out, whatever the case may be. This CEO needs her EVP for this trip. Notice, I'm not demoting myself, I'm still top dog, obviously. But it's okay for me to accept help. Okay, but not easy. I've always had trouble with delegating.

People ask me if I think the drugs are working. The answer is that I don't know. This time, I truly have no idea. I can no longer tell the lymphoma symptoms from the drug side effects as the drug side effects are so unpredictable and undocumented. I have a great amount of hope that this did the trick, but I'm also realistic. I have been feeling pretty awful, but then again, I've taken potent, powerful drugs just about every day since April 1. These novel drugs are not constructed to make me feel good. They are constructed to block and reprogram the protein cells that are telling this lymphoma to grow. I'm just caught in the middle and absorbing all the reverberations in whatever form they take.

Whatever happens, I cannot ever say that I did not try my absolute hardest. The worrying will get me nowhere, and I'm doing my best to keep it at bay. I couldn't think of a better way to do that than to spend tomorrow traveling to Rhode Island to see my little brother graduate from Roger Williams University. It'll be a beautiful celebration and such a welcome reminder of all the positivity, hope and new beginnings out there to be enjoyed.

Sunday, we jet set. I hope to come back with some answers and direction.


  1. Many thoughts, prayers and positive energy being sent your way!! Much love - Karen Jacobs

  2. i have been following your posts and am in awe of your spirit and your inner strength. You are a fighter and an inspiration. I am hoping you will next tremendous news next week. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend with your family.

  3. will continue to pray and hope for all positive results...

  4. Been keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Karin,

    I have been following your blog for a few months when it was introduced to me by my nursing school instructor. We were learning about lymphoma at the time and she shared your journey with us. Your writing is incredible and your strength and positivity is amazing. You are a true inspiration and I wish you only the best and will keep you in my prayers!! I have recently graduated nursing school and even during these last few crazy months of exams, papers to write and studying.......I always made a point to check your blog weekly!! I hope that all of your hopes and wishes come true during this visit to Texas!! Good luck!!