What did you do on Monday? Mine was wall to wall medical. At least the news was all GREAT!

It’s a good thing I feel well enough to drive. Monday started out with a visit to my local oncology clinic at 8:30 am, and ended with a visit to see my new primary care doc.

Great news? Let’s start with my blood work. My white counts are a normal 10.0—not normal for me, but in the normal range for any overwrought, self-absorbed person walking down the street without cancer.

An ANC count of 7.43 is as high as it’s been in five years. My red counts are still a bit low; my hemoglobin at an anemic 8.1. But my platelets are at 119, higher than they were before the transplant.

My infected neck has been pronounced all clear. That means no more daptomycin pit stops.

I hadn’t had a Zometa infusion since January, so both Dr. Tricot and Dr. Luke were anxious to get that done. Why wait? They somehow squeezed that in yesterday, too. At least I convinced Dr. Luke to delay getting the temporary twin catheter lines pulled until after the infusion, avoiding starting yet another IV.

Getting the lines pulled didn’t hurt a bit. It’s sort of nice losing the last tangible remnant of summer camp in Iowa.
I barely had time to catch my breath before driving a few blocks down the road to see my new primary care doctor, Dr. Diana Twiggs. Meeting her capped off a great news day. I found her to be caring and a quick study. I’m convinced that Dr. Twiggs is going to help me improve my quality of life by nibbling on the edges to help me balance my testosterone and thyroid numbers. We also share a mutual interest in using good nutrition—not just meds—to help keep my body strong and working as well as can be expected.

I saved the best for last. Dr. Luke is a good old guy. Six months ago he shared with me that he and his former partner used to administer stem cell transplants a decade or so ago. Dr. Luke was one of the few supporters of my pilgrimage to Iowa City for a modified, salvage auto SCT.

He reviewed Dr. Tricot’s plan and exclaimed, “It could work.”

Dr. Luke felt I needed to do more than fiddle around the edges if I were going to live more than another year or two. That put him on the same page as Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Roy, who also thought Dr. Tricot’s plan had a chance to work.

I’m sharing this info with you today to establish Dr. Luke’s experience with transplants. Here’s why:

Dr. Luke was practically ecstatic over how well I’ve recovered. He feels the fact I’m not in a lot of pain—that I can’t feel pain in any of the half dozen hot spots identified by June’s PET scan in Iowa—is a great sign. “You may be in remission!” He said.

I explained how Dr. Tricot would like me to follow the first transplant with a second in a few months; if reports from the next PET and brain MRI are good. Based on how quickly and well I’m recovering from the first, Dr. Luke agrees wholeheartedly with Dr. Tricot. Funny how they guys are so quick to make suggestions like these when they aren’t the ones stuck enduring it all!

I brushed that off and focused on Dr. Luke’s optimism. I’ll admit it was contagious. I felt great as I worked my way through the rest of the day. Chalk it up to the cherry on Monday’s good news cheesecake.

The rest of my day Monday was spent hanging with Pattie and our friend Lisa. It was the first chance I’d had to hear about the girl’s adventure from the night before: Pattie and Lisa had gone for an evening horseback riding safari on the beach near our home. It sounded amazing! Then they shared some pictures. I thought this panoramic shot was the best:

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A bit too much physical exertion and risk for me. I can imagine me tumbling off a horse and into the surf. A baseball cap and mask couldn’t do much to protect me then! It would have been fun. I haven’t ridden in decades.

Feel good and keep smiling! Pat