March 8, 2011

spring break - day 4

The chapel room replete with wood and stain glass was quiet except for the soft cries of three people as tears streamed down their faces.  My brother, his tall frame now reduced to a fraction of its former self is hunched over in a wheelchair.  Bent over him in a tender embrace that only a mother could give is our mom.  Behind the wheelchair is me, head hung low.  What else is there to do at this point?  My brother's platelets are dangerously low.  They're about 3 times lower than they would need to be to initiate treatment under normal circumstances.  There are also two areas in the lungs that lit up on the PET scan that were not there before.  But still the oncologist offered two options.  Option A was to knowingly and willingly engage in potentially life threatening chemotherapy.  Option B was hospice care.  The doc pretty much summed up my brother's fortitude and attitude when he said, "so what I'm hearing you say is that you'd rather go down swinging and still try to fight it." 

So in less than 48 hours, my brother will undergo single agent chemotherapy which may potentially subject him to a life threatening bleed or infection with the hope that maybe, just maybe the chemo can hit the cancer cells in his bone marrow just hard enough to knock them back the slightest amount without wiping out the bone marrow cells in the process.  To get there, the doc is going to titer back the dose to 80% of the full dose.  There are three basic potential outcomes. 

  1. The chemo does nothing to the tumor cells. 
  2. The chemo subjects him to a catastrophic adverse event. 
  3. The chemo knocks back the tumor cells to give the bone marrow just enough breathing room to start their thing. 

It's walking a razor's edge.  He'll be given 6 days to recover.  He'll then be reassessed for his pain and his bloodwork.  If it turns out that Outcome #3 happens, then he'll be given another dose of the chemo.  If Outcome #1 or #2.......If ever you wanted to wish my brother encouragement, NOW is the time to do it.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

could you text me his room number and the building he is in I would like to come visit. 281-832-1174