October 2014

Trev-MUNils_trevmun wrote
on March 26th, 2014 at 09:55 am
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The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I'm almost through with chemotherapy!

Monday was my second-to-last infusion. In two more weeks, I'll be done. The side effects will linger on for a little while, though I've not taken as sharp an inventory of my state as I had planned to at the beginning to monitor for chemo brain and the like.

I'm still really surprised that chemo hasn't been as harsh on me as I'd worried would happen. I never actually lost all my hair (some, but not all of it ... no bald spots at all), my immune system didn't completely vanish, I didn't become super-sensitive to sunlight or grow so weak that I couldn't get to class on my own (most of the time). The nurses had predicted that I would be reduced to taking a single class, if that, due to the chemotherapy; while that hasn't happened, I did wind up cutting my class load almost in half since 16 credit hours was just too much last semester.

I don't yet know if that light at the end of a tunnel is a genuine end to all of this or if it's actually the light of an oncoming train. Monday I discussed what's going to happen from here on out with my oncologist. For roughly five years, I will have to continue to go to the Cancer Center and CCMH for regular checkups to make sure that the cancer remains beaten, and also to monitor me for any belated "surprise" side effects from chemotherapy. Like heart and lung toxicity, and AML.

As I'd mentioned at the start of this, one of the drugs in ABVD has a chance of causing a secondary cancer: acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This sort of cancer is not as survivable as Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and if it's going to happen as a result of chemo, it could happen up to five years from now. So I'll have to go in for blood tests and the like to ensure they get the jump on it if it shows up. The somewhat good news is, medical research is looking into targeted therapies for AML ... but as far as I know there are no such therapies approved for use yet.

This also means that I will continue to have hospital bills pile up. I am continuing to deal with creditors threatening to turn me over to debt collection (or claiming to have already done so), and each time I've called to notify them about the Uncompensated Care Plan. So far, I've yet to have to pony up any more dough ... but another bill just came in as Spring Break ended, and Uncompensated Care will cover me for six months from the point of approval, so it won't last forever.

As much as I've been trying to look into further financial aid options, Cameron University hasn't provided me much of a breather to do so. I thought cutting my class load in half would give me enough room to focus on financials ... but it turns out that one of my classes is more physically demanding than I would have expected of a Multimedia Design class, and the instructor has been somewhat difficult to work with (there have been some problems concerning how my chemotherapy makes me miss a class every two weeks). My spring break wasn't much of one, as I had to put in entire days of work (like, early morning to late at night) at the CETES lab just to keep up with the demands of the class.

If I'd had a better idea of what this class was going to entail I would have waited a semester before taking it. But ... I'm hanging in there. I think. Not as well as I'd like, given my performance last semester, but I'm hanging in there.

So that's where things are for me right now. Stay safe, guys.

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