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Oct 14

4 Month Checkup

10-14-2014 – Today I had my 4 month checkup.  Actually, it started almost 2 weeks ago, on October 2nd, when I got a CT scan.  Today, I got the results of that scan, and a general checkup, starting with the usual LABs blood draw, so that my oncologist could assess those aspects of my health.

The scan looked good, which was great news.  It showed that my spleen is still enlarged, but that’s nothing new.  It’s been enlarged for the past couple of years, since my cancer symptoms went crazy again in 2012.  All the rest of my organs looked pretty good though, and the main thing is that there were no giant glowing spots of cancer concentrations.

The rest of the check up went great.  No swollen lymph nodes, the blood work looked good, and nothing stood out as “bad”.  My oxygen and blood pressure readings were just dandy, and my weight is staying steady.

Overall, my oncologist pronounced me, “still in remission”.

So, it looks like the Ibrutinib is still working its magic, which is awesome.  It does come with some side effects though, all documented with the medicine.

The most pronounced and persistent is a rash that right now is mostly on my right arm, but has moved around and been on the other arm, my back, my chest, even my face once.  It’s not like a chicken pox rash, but more like a dozen or so pimples a few to several inches apart.  They don’t have any pus or anything like that, but they do bleed and scab and itch a bit sometimes.

Another side effect is upper respiratory problems.  A few months ago, I was coughing up big green goobers several times a day.  It started up out of the blue, and ended the same way.  It didn’t even slow me down though, except while I was coughing the junk up.  I had it even while I was going at it building the treehouse for the grandkids.  Now though, I’m just having a lot of shortness of breath.  So much so, that I can barely walk to the kitchen without running out of gas lately.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I have severe COPD, what they used to call Emphysema, from all those years of smoking all those cigarettes.   I quit cold turkey on February 17th, 2012, but that wasn’t nearly soon enough.  If you smoke I REALLY urge you to find a way to quit.  I keep a smoking log to remind me of my progress.  Here it is as I write this:
smokinglog20141014

Anyway, my oncologist suggested that my COPD is pretty severe, with or without the added Ibrutinib side effects, and that I should pursue the issue with my regular doctor, and probably get an inhaler to deal with the times when I’m suddenly really short of breath, so I’ll do that.

Things should get a little easier financially on the medical issues too, now that my MediCare has started as of this month.  Mom said I really need to get a supplemental prescription coverage plan, because the prescriptions are still going to be too much without it, and inhalers in particular are pretty expensive.  So I’ll work on that too.

Next checkup is in another 4 months, and it’ll include a PET scan.

Anyway, things are looking good here, and I’ll leave it at that for now.  I’ll update again when there’s something new to update about.  See ya then!