Spring Update

Jack Wagner

Double Trouble (circa 2000)

We’ve been holding on to the premise that no news is good news, so with that in mind, it’s a good thing that this is my first entry of 2013.

Right to it then:

  • Still Cancer Free: I had a Pet Scan last week, and it came back 100% clean and clear. My previous scan (from December) showed some activity at the periphery of the mediastinum (around the edge of my chest), which the radiologist had attributed to the residual effects of radiation.  This activity no longer shows up on the scan, which is Great news.
  • Dose Adjustments: Maintenance chemotherapy hasn’t been without its challenges.  We’ve had to make several adjustments to decrease the dosage of my oral medications (methotrexate and mercaptopurine), and have had to take a week off here and there to give my body a chance to recover.  By nature, chemotherapy is immunosupressive, but it’s a fine line between acceptably decreased cell counts and the dangers of neutropenia.  Thank God (and science) for neupogen, and for antibacterial hand sanitizer (I don’t leave home without it).
  • Lhermitte’s Sign: Just when you think you’ve experienced every strange side-effect under the sun, along comes Lhermitte’s Sign.  Back in/around December, I started noticing strange nerve pain and electrical sensations when I looked down (chin to chest). Initially I ignored it, hoping it would go away, but when it got worse I began doing some research and decided to mention it to my doctor.  He confirmed our suspicions, that this was likely a residual effect of high dose chemo/radiation therapy.  Fortunately, in my case the condition is “self-limited”, meaning that it should resolve itself over time and without treatment.  It’s painful and unpleasant, and exercise makes it worse, which has added some additional excitement to my cycling and running.  I have a new found empathy for people fighting multiple-sclerosis – what a terrible disease.
  • RIP Jack Wagner: When I was 17 years old, I made good on a threat to bring home a dog.  He was wild and energetic.  He was funny.  He was smart.  He was loyal.  He was a biter!  And, for 13 1/2 years, Jack was a member of the family.  A few months ago, he was diagnosed with (believe it or not) lymphoma, and last week we had to say goodbye.  Natasha believes that Jack was sent here to take away my lymphoma.  What a beautiful, romantic, bitter-sweet idea that is.  I hope it’s true.

Battling cancer has made me hyper-aware of just how many people in my life (friends and family) are touched by this disease.  Today my thoughts are with those people in my life (and there really are too many) who have been recently diagnosed; who are in the middle of the fight; who deal with constant tests, scans and fears of recurrence; and to those, like Jack who’s battle is over, and who are in a better place – chasing squirrels in heaven 🙂


15 thoughts on “Spring Update

  1. Such great news, Tyler! I’m sorry to hear about the new side effect and about Jack but happy to hear you are cancer free!

  2. So glad to hear you are doing well, and so sad to hear about Jack 😦 In my mind he will always be that feisty dog riding around in the back windshield of your honda, and I think Natasha’s theory is beautiful.

  3. Thank you for the update Tyler. We keep sending you our prayers for healing and we send our condolences for Jack’s passing. I love the picture, you are both young pups!

  4. Mallory said you look like you could have been in a boy band after seeing that picture of you and Jack. Baby faced, ear pierced, puppy dog, watch out ladies!!!! -Joe

  5. Hi Tyler, thanks again for Thursday. Brad and I truly enjoyed visiting and hearing the great news of your being “cancer free” and of course the good eats. It’s great to be able to sit across from you in a “restaurant” setting and hearing you and Tasha planning your future. How wonderful and how thankful we all are, yes indeed. I’m so sorry to hear about Jack but I know he had a good long life and I’m sure he’s hooked up with our Winston; may they enjoy doggie heaven together. We love you both — Monica & Brad

  6. Thank you for the update with good and bad news. Met Jack once, neat dog. May you continue to have improvement from the new problem cousin Alice in McCook

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