stressfulness to blessfulness
March 27, 2012
I thought about updating my blog many times in the past couple of weeks, but I’m glad I decided not to. I’ve had a different plan literally everyday– from this treatment in Texas to that treatment in Tennessee, from having to drop this semester of college to being able finish, and until yesterday I had an appointment scheduled to get treatment in California. Plans have been all over the place so I didn’t want share what was going on and confuse everyone until I knew for sure what exactly was going to happen with my treatment.
It has been a bumpy ride to get here but I think we ended up with the best option out there! It seems like its been months since I found out about the cancer coming back, although its only been a few weeks.
I know this sounds weird but from my experience both times, cancer hasn’t come without blessing. After denying coverage for the chemo once already, our insurance company still hasn’t given us an answer about covering the chemo for over a week now, so the Pharmacy Billing lady at Vanderbilt got the actual drug company to agree to provide the chemo for free regardless of what the insurance company says! Praise God! I don’t need an insurer, I have ‘the Ensurer’! So I get to finally start treatment tomorrow!
After a CT scan in the morning, I will start my first treatment of Brentuximab (chemo) at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. I will have very few side effects while taking this chemo (i.e. I get to keep my hair and immune system), and I think I will only have to miss a couple more classes, so I am going to try my hardest to finish out this semester of college! I will have 4 rounds of chemo every 3 weeks and after I finish the Brentuximab, I will start the stem cell transplant this summer. In case you haven’t guessed or assumed by now, there is no way the wedding is happening in May. I have way too much going on.
The stem cell transplant will take about two and half months including some testing that has to be done prior to it. The stem cell transplant will involve freezing my stem cells after collecting them from my blood through a process similar to giving blood, but it will “filter” out the stem cells and the blood will go back into my body without them. Then I will have to have 5 treatments of another type of chemo for 5 days in a row. This will be some seriously “hardcore” chemo that will wipe out my entire immune system and make me completely hairless in 5 days! After the 5th day of treatment, I will then get my thawed stem cells back and start growing a brand new immune system! During that time I will have to go to the hospital everyday for 20-30 days so that my blood counts can be monitored and to make sure I don’t need a blood transfusion. And after this whole process is complete, even though statically its a 50/50 chance, we expect that the cancer will NEVER come back.
It’s not that I’m excited about starting chemotherapy for the second time at 21-years-old, but I am excited to get the ball rolling so that I can put all this behind me and move forward. My hopes are to be done with everything in time to finish school next fall so that I can graduate from college in December 2012. But we shall see…
IN A NUTSHELL
- The milder chemo (Brentuximab) that I wanted is paid for and I get to start it tomorrow! (Wednesday, March 28)
- I will have 4 treatments of Brentuximab every 3 weeks and after that I will start the stem cell transplant (which will take around 2 and half months) during the summer
- If everything goes accordingly, I should be able to finish out this semester of college!
- Praise the Lord! He provides and rewards patience.