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3rd Post-Chemo Dr. Visit - (Journal Date: 5/4/05)

5/25/2005

Everything is looking good at the 50% complete stage. The frequent heartburn was becoming more severe, but now it is being controlled with a daily Nexium pill.

The lymph node in the neck with the cancer is at a normal size (1 cm) or about the side of a jelly bean. The doctor indicated that it will be difficult to see progress from the chemo treatments since the area is so small and the CT Scan is not that fine of a scan. Therefore, we will stick with the original plan of six (6) chemo cycles.

I asked if the side effects of the chemo are cummulative or additive since each one is more difficult to come back from. He used an analogy that I find quite helpful. He said to think of your treatments as a heavy-weight boxing match. When you take a punch (chemo) in the first round, it is much easier to get back up. In the middle rounds, it gets much tougher to get back up. In the final rounds, you need to keep your eyes on the prize of being cancer free because your stamina will be gone and your body will have a hard time recovering. Good stuff doc!!

We will continue with CT Scans to check progress, since the PET Scan can be affected by the chemo. CT Scans will continue even after treatment to monitor my situation.

Finally, he recommended that I continue with the positive attitude and dealing with the side effects. We discussed my concern about irritability with the family and lack of tolerance. He reassured me that it was common to have these reactions and that my family and support group must understand that I can't be myself right now because of all the medicine within me. I remember reading that a patient should not worry about how they're "suppose to feel" and not to judge their own feelings. Still, it isn't easy to be this way, but at least if I'm aware of it I might be able to improve on it.

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