Updated: Mar 28
My doctor, Samir Srour, me and my PA, Melinda Vickers celebrating the fact that those little nodules have shrunk by half, disappeared or just remained stable and small. That's according to yesterday's PET scan.
That scan also measures the energy of the cells in those pesky nodules, an indicator of their ability to grow. Those energy levels have dropped substantially. Samir and Melinda would have been really happy if everything had remained stable. This is even better.
"Keep up that meditating!" Melinda said.
All else is great. My white blood cell numbers are normal but low but that's to be expected at this stage. Everything else is great.
I had another PET scan done today. It is the one that tracks my re-engineered cells. Samir and Melinda see what that says tomorrow but they were downright jubilant.
For the first time since I've met him, Samir did not say "God forbid" once. Good sign. Every time I see him, he uses the phrase less and less. Today, not at all. He just kept saying things like, "Extremely encouraging. Great news."
Another patient just got infused with his re-engineered cells the other day and is on the same floor I was on for 12 days.
"They're still talking about you, how you walked every morning and did yoga every afternoon," Samir said. "You're a superstar."
I just laughed, I was kind of embarrassed given the way I banged that IV pole into desks and walls when I took the corners.
I asked how the re-engineered blood cells go after the cancer cells.
"I've seen videos of T-cells enveloping cancer cells. Or is it more like Pac Man eating away?" I asked. I want to really visualize this in my meditations.
"They're more like spiders weaving a web, they circle the cell and destroy it," said Samir. "They recruit other cells to help, like troops."
All those cells have little brains, according to what I've read. And they work together! Our bodies are amazing!
I asked about sugar. I said I'd really over-indulged (that's the Catholic girl at confession in me).
Samir shrugged. "It's fine, just eat healthily most of the time. And maybe avoid sugar before PET scans because it could affect them."
"I found out yesterday I have to get a new water heater for my house," I said. "In between calling plumbers, I baked chocolate chip cookies and alternated between eating the cookies and eating the dough."
They just laughed.
Samir said that I am still extremely immuno compromised and will be until mid February or late February. Then I'll still be immuno compromised but not as severely. They're not just worried about Covid. They're worried about flu and RSV. One stem cell transplant patient just died of RSV. So I will continue to use extreme caution.
I left to go get my car and go back to Sarah's. I cried a little as I walked back to the garage. I texted Eliana and Gav and then texted Sarah.
It was really good to just be able to go back there and see Sarah and her kids.
Now, I'm at the airport. I can't wait to get home and go to bed. I am exhausted. But in a very, very good way.
Counting my many blessings and you are among them!