Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Last Month

Wow! I'm still blown away. We went in to talk to the doctor at Kaiser yesterday, mainly to discuss how best to handle the remaining six months of treatment. I was worried that I didn't have enough strength to get through the second half. Well, one minute into the conversation, he tells us there doesn't have to be any second half. "You can quit now," he said. "The research shows that for people with your genotype of this disease, doctors around the country are going with 24 week treatments, rather than the full 48 and having good results." Bev and I just stared at each other, not quite comprehending. "We don't have to do this anymore?" It felt surreal. I've had my brain wrapped so tightly around the idea of long term endurance that I still hadn't even allowed myself to imagine the end. And here it was - today if I wanted it. Dr. Willis went on to explain that he was in the minority that still believed that a 48 week treatment would provide some small degree of improvement in my chances to have a full recovery, but given the toll that these chemicals had already taken on my body and would continue to take on a now weakened specimen, that I should decide how much longer I was able and willing to continue. "What do you want to do?" he asked. "I'll go to 30 (weeks)," I blurted out, based on nothing more than the instinct of the moment. We were already into week 26 and I figured I could make four more - one more month. Amazing! The doctor agreed, said I had done a "really admirable job" and that was that. Bev and I walked out still feeling completely pole axed. How could it be over in one more month? We weren't prepared. As weird as it might seem, this past six months of misery had become our norm and in some twisted way, we wanted to hold on to our chemotherapy conventions. Of course, it didn't take too long to get over that aberration - and the new reality began to take hold. Or the coming reality. We could go back to having a life, going out to eat (and enjoying the food), planning a vacation, riding a bicycle, etc., etc. We've got a month to get used to it. And then, I'm told, that it will take another two months for the chemicals to be out of my body and to start feeling "normal" again. Then the big test is still seven months down the road, when I'm tested to see if the virus stays undetectable. If the dirty little bastard bug comes back, well, so be it. We (me and Bev) definitely, definitely, gave it our best shot and there won't be a moment's regret on my part for not going the full 48 weeks.


Blogger Sk00zin Zee said...

ROB!!!!! I don't believe it! I'm so excited for you! Wow! This is the best news ever!
You rock for sticking it out for another month- you're going to do great!

9:04 PM  

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