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Great Progress After Two Treatments

by Tom on September 3rd, 2009

Last Friday I had another CT scan. We wanted to see the effects of two rounds worth of chemotherapeutic bombardment, and we were not disappointed!

Lymph nodes all over my body that were enlarged and opaque had returned to normal-sized translucency. My spleen has shrunk from enlarged-size to much closer to normal. Observe!

Big SpleenSpleen as seen in mid-June

Small SpleenSpleen as seen at the end of August

From what Dr Norman sees in the CT scan, he thinks that there is “a lot, lot less cancer. Practically nothing, if not nothing left.” If there had never been any splenic involvement, he’d call this a “complete response” — we can see through the lymph nodes and there is no sign of cancer left.

But since the spleen is opaque (even when healthy), and since we don’t know the exact size of my particular spleen when it isn’t chock-full of cancer, we need more data before we can say that it’s cancer-free. If we do more scanning after further treatments and find that the spleen hasn’t shrunk any further, we may be able to retroactively call this a “complete response after two treatments.”

The speed of this response is very encouraging; both cancers have been swatted down to nearly-untraceable levels. Just as with antibiotic treatment, you don’t stop when the infection appears to be gone.

We want it to go away, and we want to break its ability to come back. From Dr Norman’s interpretation of my response to treatment, this is a real possibility.

There’s still plenty of work to go:

  • I may have developed some lactose-intolerance. Still investigating.
  • Extra hot/cold sensitivity has shown up around some teeth, and I’m going to get it checked out by my dentist.
  • One of the lymphomas may have spun off a diffuse large b-cell colony, which makes prophylactic intrathecal chemotherapy a (slightly frightening) consideration.

But even with all of that ahead, the (possibly) complete response after one-third of the treatment plan is a very encouraging sign. It’s good to get good news again!

From → Treatment Phase

  1. Erika permalink

    Hurray! That’s awesome news. Good luck with the rest of the treatment!

  2. Karen permalink


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