here’s the latest from john…
First I would like thank everyone for your overwhelming support and encouragement. It is truly appreciated and it does make a difference. I wanted to give you all the update on how things are going. I finished my first week of chemo on Friday. I was lucky enough to get selected for the experimental study drug that I referenced in my last update. I am one of two people at Northwestern that qualified and got randomized for the study and will be one of 420 people worldwide over the next two years. It is a very strong chemotherapy and I am fortunate to be receiving it. One of my best friends, Dr. William Truitt, is a cancer researcher at IUPUI in Indianapolis. While he is tirelessly trying to cure for AML for me in the next few months, he also did some research on the study drug which I am taking. He said that early results are indicating that the drug is twice as likely to result in remission compared to conventional treatment.
I take conventional chemotherapy for 24 hours a day for seven days and then they give me the study drug four hours a day for five of the seven days. All went smooth last week until the third day I had some complications. I came down with Rigors which is a violent attack of trembling with chills and fevers. My temperature shot over 103 for a couple of days and my blood pressure was extremely low. The doctors wanted to discontinue treatment and put me in ICU but I fought with them on this because I came here to beat cancer and not stop treatment so soon. After two days I turned things around and my vitals stabilized and have been good ever since.
At the same time, all of my blood counts had bottomed out and they have been giving me a lot of blood and platelet transfusions. My immune system is completely gone. This is a good thing. This actually means that the chemo is doing it’s job and killing all of the cancerous cells in my body along with the good ones. Chemo does not discriminate. If my counts were rising it would mean that the chemo was ineffective. As a result the doctors are keeping my visitors to a bare minimum due to the high risk of infection. I apologize to all of you who have wanted to stop by and have been turned away.
Now I have the rest of the week to heal before they will do another bone marrow biopsy on Thursday and start the next round of chemo. At that point, they will check to see how much cancer is left in my bone marrow and then decide whether to give me another round of chemo. They said that they expect I will receive at least two more rounds and then a stem cell transplant afterwards. Both of my sisters were tested last week to see if they are a match and my brother is flying in from New Jersey tomorrow to get tested. We will not have the results for a few weeks as to whether or not they are compatible.
So now my job for the rest of the week is to heal and repair myself in preparation for the next round. Any of you who have partied with me before know that I recover and heal quickly. I look forward to a great week and fully expect to beat this cancer down. I will never forget what my friend Dr. Truitt told me 10 years ago when I got diagnosed with Lymphoma. He said: ” John you just needed the Doctors to tell you where the cancer was hiding in your body so you can kick it’s ass!” I really believe that and I know where it is hiding again, so don’t worry about me and just expect me to win.
Thank You All,
“All things are ready if our minds be so.” – Henry V