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20 July 2014 / erikduval

Good Week…

It’s been a good week.

At the start, it didn’t sound all that great: as I tweeted then, “four hospitals in four days”…

Monday was PET scan day. That went rather well. Is becoming a bit of a habit. Though I did had somewhat of an epiphany during the actual scan – from my Facebook:

Somehow, my catholic upbringing played tricks with my mind: lying down on the table for the PET scan, with my arms tied above my head, I had a vision of Saint Sebastian, the one tied to a tree, pierced by arrows. I’m glad to report that a PET scan is more comfortable and doesn’t involve arrows!

Tuesday and Wednesday were “let’s discuss your treatment” days, first in Antwerp (where I live, and have my main treatment) and then in Leuven (where I work, for a second opinion). Basically, the news is good: the tumors continue to respond to my CHOP chemo. The PET scan showed fewer and less intense tumors. So, we will continue with CHOP for a bit more.

In fact, Thursday was my sixth chemo session. It wasn’t all that great at the hospital itself – I’ll spare you the details, also because thinking about it makes me nauseous. But I drove home myself, slept through most of the day and night, and was able to enjoy breakfast on Friday morning. And lunch and dinner. Yes, meals become a bit of a yardstick…

The current plan is to do two more CHOP chemo sessions. In a bit more than a week, we will harvest (apparently, that’s the terminology) my own stem cells and store them. Because a month after my CHOP sessions end, I will get an extra strong dose of chemo (they call it “the bomb”) that will hopefully clean up the by then last remaining traces of cancer. That bomb will also destroy most of my resistance against infections, so I will spend a bit of time in hospital in a clean room. At that time, I will get my stem cells back in order to recover. That will be around end of September.

And that could be the end of it. Apparently, there’s a 75% chance that it will be the end of it indeed and I don’t relapse. (And there are plenty of options left if I end up in the other 25%.) 75% is a lot better than my prognosis 3 or 4 months ago. Actually, if my prognosis continues to go up this way, then it will be better than yours before Christmas!

So, all in all, a Good Week. Plenty of time with the family. Some Good Reading too: finished “TheVisit of the Royal Physician” (thx, Daan!) and started “Der Zauberberg“. Family breakfasts. Family lunches. Family dinners. Lunch outdoors at Charlie’s with Django Reinhard music. Walks with the dogs. Short trips on my Brand New Bicycle. Sunny weather.

A Good Week…


Leave a Comment
  1. dougclow / Jul 20 2014 5:54 pm

    Oh, that sounds like excellent news! Very nice to have the statistics start to swing in the right direction. I very much hope this trend continues.

    Best of luck for the rest of the treatment.

  2. Wayne Hodgins / Jul 20 2014 6:31 pm

    Wonderful news and progress all around my friend and ALL due to your incredible attitude, energy and persistence combined with all the love and support from the sea of love and support from your family and friends that you swim in. You have always been an over achiever, why would you change now??!!

  3. Piggy / Jul 20 2014 9:53 pm

    I wanna go beyond science and statistics here. But… may you get 110% chance, Erik

  4. chris Kockelkoren / Jul 20 2014 10:12 pm

    Good news. I’m glad that you see progress in the recovery. And in a few weeks you can say… I’m the bom…

    Pet scan with arrows would probably be called an acupuncture xray.;)

  5. JoB / Jul 21 2014 11:42 am

    Let’s suppose I only read the last para: way to go! The only unfortunate thing is that you can read Der Zauberberg only once for the first time. Also, and this is only my appreciation, sunny is good but there is such a thing as too hot.

    Taking the rest into account: only 25% that they are not dealing with it yet is indeed pretty fantastic.

    I hope between all of what you are going though you can make it to a sunny Jazz Middelheim 😉

  6. Robby Wauters / Jul 23 2014 11:01 am

    Although “The Bomb” sounds a bit frightening, I’m very glad to hear the good news!

    May the odds be with you! 😉

  7. r3becca / Jul 27 2014 8:22 pm

    This sounds positive, and it’s brilliant to know that the end of chemo is in sight, together with an end to the continual series of drugs that it’s necessary to take just to deal with the chemo.

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