Health/Life update

I just realized it’s been a year since I’ve said anything about my health status.

I started chemo in January and had a bad reaction to it (interstitial pneumonia) in May, putting me in the ER on June 1 with my O2 level at 60%(!). Got tested for covid first, of course, and then a hefty dose of steroids and spent most of the day with a CPAP mask on. By evening I was off the machine and getting my supplemental O2 through one of those nasal rigs. They kept me there for 2 nights and sent me home with an O2 tank, using the lowest possible flow setting because the steroids really did the trick.

At home I used an O2 “concentrator” with a 50 foot hose for about 6 weeks but barely needed it after the first 2. I also had to do a long taper from the steroids (2 months), which made for some manic high-energy weeks. Most of that energy went into music-related projects, often at 5am (and mostly still unfinished).

The best part was that all this meant I was off chemo at least until I was fully recovered. Then my August CT scan showed that my nodules had actually shrunk a little bit so we decided to wait & see before ending the chemo vacation.

I got another 6 weeks to enjoy without chemo, but unfortunately that coincided with the heat & smoke waves of this California summer/fall. The Beamer has been slowly progressing in all that inside time (update coming soon).

But my latest CT shows the nodules growing again, so I’ll be going back on chemo right after Thanksgiving. This time I get to choose between 2 new chemo regimens and a clinical trial. I’m gonna stick with a chemo for now, but the number of options is encouraging. If the chemo I choose doesn’t work (i.e., continued growth) I can try something else.

I’m prepared to play Whack-a-mole (as a friend calls it) for as long as I still have options. That could be several years, yet…

The cancer situation

The Alaska & Paris-to-Poughkeepsie tours were scheduled partly on the assumption that I would be starting chemo in Nov., but my recent CT scan & oncologist visit have changed everything.

The CT showed no change in my cancer from 3 months ago (excellent!), but it also showed that I had walking pneumonia (less excellent). I’ve already taken the precautionary course of antibiotics, but my onc says the pneumonia could take 2 months to clear up.

So … since the lack of change in the cancer could mean that my body is more sucesssfully defending itself, and no one wants me to start chemo before the pneumonia is definitely gone, I get to put chemo off until at least next year, when I’ll get scanned again.

I just might have a few more lives left in me…