For those that have been following my chemo treatment posts (1st, 2nd), I have an update and final post (hopefully) regarding it.
Original Plan: The doctor had originally planned 6 sets of 2 days each month for 6 months.
However, after the 5th set, I developed patches of a rash on my neck and chest and chronic body-wide itchiness.
Results of Original Plan: The white and red blood cells along with the platelets have all come within acceptable range. While the counts are good, the other effects of chemo had taken their toll on my stamina, strength, energy and memory. I already know it will take some time to recover from that.
Revised Plan: During today’s visit (8/1/2014) with the oncologist, he mentioned that the rash precludes my receiving the final treatment, which was scheduled for the 2nd week in August.. He informed me that to continue with the treatment could result in a more intense body-wide, head to toe, rash. Rather than do that, since my blood has reacted well to the chemo treatment, he will not perform the sixth set of chemo treatment.
More Good News: According to my oncologist, the FDA recently approved a new pill that tests have proven is very effective in treating CLL. The name of this drug is Ibrutinib. After a yet-to-be-determined period, my doctor will prescribe this for me.
Present Outlook: Even without implementing ibrutinib into my treatment regimen, my oncologist feels that I should be able to go for another 2, maybe even 3, years without treatment. I will be going in for regular blood tests to ensure my blood counts are holding steady. There will also be occasional CT scans to monitor the inflammation in my lymph nodes. Hopefully, I may never need another chemo treatment. The doctor and others having gone through chemo, told me that recovery from the effects of chemo will be slow. Even up to two years after the treatments, many have said they still haven't gained all their strength back. I can deal with it. I haven't been well for over 5 years, way before the start of chemo.