Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm a guinea pig

MD Anderson has different plans for me. I am to enter a clinical trial this weekend. Because my particular lymphoma has a tendency to come back and be nastier even after a stem cell transplant, the doc decided it might be more beneficial to enter me into a trial that included higher doses of a different chemo drug. It's still a stem cell transplant. The difference is in the drugs and the dosage amount. I'll be in the hospital for almost all of June. 

I got lucky. The other patients in the trial received higher doses and went through a lot more pain. They even stopped the trial to reevaluate things. I'm getting a lower dose, although still high enough to do some ugly.

This is, at first, quite alarming. It can remind anyone just how bad this cancer is and in some ways, how dire the situation is. After all, you gotta be pretty sick if the doc thinks you're better off in an experiment. But it also is reassuring that I'm at the right place. They're trying to give me better odds. It may be tougher, riskier and more painful, but I'll take it. This is assuming, however, that I pass all the tests. 

The first one was today.  The planned bone marrow aspiration turned into a double bone marrow aspiration and then a double biopsy. They stuck a needle into the bone in my hip, sucked out the marrow and then chipped off part of the bone for the biopsy part. Then they went to my other side and repeated the process.  I mixed in hairy butt jokes with a liberal use of naughty adjectives to get through it. Instead of getting a sticker or sucker afterwards, they showed me the bone chips and told me not to take a shower or bath for two days. 

Tomorrow I go for a bunch of other tests: PET scan, lung test, heart test. I'm in the middle of a protein-only diet tonight.  No carbs at all. No sugars. Just steak and fat free jello. 

My neck is worse. Now the nodes under my chin are enlarged. That may not be bad as it could just mean I have a cold. The PET scan will tell but I won't know for a couple of days, unless the tech says something like, "Holy crap. Look at those nodes!" Then I'll know. 

Enclosed is a picture of Alice from the Brady Bunch. The answer to Sara's question, "Which episode did Alice hurt her back?" is, quite simply, an easy one. Amateurish if I might say so. That would be the Hawaiian episode. She threw out her back because she was doing the hula. Sara, a better question would have been, "Vincent Price appeared on that episode. Name at least three other stars to make cameo appearances in Brady history." A hint for one is he got really drunk on national television last year. 


  1. Hairy butts and bone chips - sounds like a weekend at Glenn's house. That being said, I know you will do well in the trial. Keep your mojo up!

    As for the Brady trivia - are you including the additional shows (Brady Christmas, Brady Brides, Brady Variety show, etc.) or just guest stars from the original series?


  2. Joe Namath
    Don Drysdale
    Wes Parker
    Desi Arnez

    Man do I need a life.

    Sorry to hear about your plans for June, but as long as it knocks things out completely, it's well worth it. Besides, June is going to be hot and crappy in Houston anyway.

  3. You forgot Davie Jones (Marsha's paramour) & Mr. Howell oh, I mean Ted Backus (The ole prospecter in the Grand Canyon episode) Did I really go to the trouble to post I thought that it was just a dream and I wasn't such a 70's geek.

  4. Mike,
    When I dropped my daughter off at nursery school today there was a book on the floor called "Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type." I immediately thought of you and how you might laugh at that. Hang in there.
    And yeah, I guess I'm a bit rusty with my Brady Bunch trivia, but I thank those that jumped right in!