December 14, 2009


so here it is...the mid-treatment update!

as you all know, i had a scan after the second cycle, and there was a little gray area as to whether it was negative or not. my oncologist called the day after our appointment and said that he had it re-read by the head of nuclear medicine because he couldn't convince himself that there was any disease left, and that they agreed that it was a negative scan, but that we should send it to dana farber for the final call. so, i went to dana farber today, and we discussed the scan and what to do with the rest of treatment. they said that my scan definitely falls into the 'negative interim scan' group as far as prognosis. this means that my chance of staying in remission went from about 85% to 95%...which is just about as good as it gets. so, things look really good!

the recommendation for treatment was to go the full six cycles instead of just four, and then head to radiation. they said that four and radiation would probably be enough, but that going the full six cycles would really ensure that we've done everything that we can do now...and hodgkin's is much more treatable the first time around. you can't ever do the first line treatment again, and the second line treatment is high dose chemotherapy with a stem cell transplant. so, given the initial size of the mass, we'll go the full six with radiation to be sure we don't have any regrets. that said, they made it clear if there's any indication that i can't tolerate any more chemotherapy, we can stop anywhere after the fourth cycle. that was just added reassurance. i'm sure i'll make it, but it's nice to know that there's a safety net there. i'll consider the last two cycles my insurance policy.

and, as it relates to whether or not my body can tolerate chemotherapy.... one of the drugs i get is notorious for causing lung toxicity, so we're carefully montiored with pulmonary function tests. i had one at the start, and had another one last week. instead of having a decrease in pulmonary function, i've had a 10% increase! i'll hope it continues, and i'll enjoy the little victory - we all know how competitive i am!

tomorrow is treatment six...halfway! physically, it gets tougher from here...but mentally, i really think i've made it through the toughest part...and that feels good!


  1. I saw you post on the Hodgkin's board and started following your blog. What great news! I'm so happy for you. My son was diagnosed in October and I hope and pray he does as well as you. He just had his third chemo on Saturday.

  2. Hey Grace,

    I have also been keeping up with your progress and it sounds like things are going smoothly!
    That is a great sign that your pulmonary function tests have actually shown an improvement since you began treatment. Excellent news! Hang in there. Once this treatment is over, it really does seem like it was not THAT bad. At least, that it is how it seems to me now. Certainly not the most fun, exciting thing to do with eight months of your life, but it is what it is. And the end is in sight. By the way, I love your quote from the "Velveteen Rabbit." I had never read that before and it really is a great selection! Take care! Lots of <3

  3. Halfway done, WOW that sounds awesome! You are so right - the worst part is over. It's all downhill from here! Keep on truckin'... you're doing great and I'm so proud of you!

    Love and Hugs!