As I sit and watch the Bristol night race, which has been one of the more entertaining Sprint Cup races this season, I realize its been nearly a month since I’ve made a blog entry. And I’ve received quite a few emails inquiring as to my condition.
After my fourth round of chemotherapy during the first week of the month, it took a lot longer for me to recover. This, of course, is no real surprise given the toxic chemicals that have been pumped into my veins since May. The chemicals are so toxic they also destroy healthy blood. I have had four episodes of something called being neutropenic. Google it. I’ve had more than 20 transfusions (more than that really, it’s just that I’ve lost track and after 15 or so, you start to lose track) just to replace blood in my body that had been destroyed.
I’ve just completed a very interesting week a the University of Pennsylvania Hospital (hereby referred to as HUP) where I had a rather large tube surgically inserted into my neck. That allowed me to be attached to a rather bizarre machine that withdrew my blood, spun it around, separating red blood from platelets while collecting stem cells that would be frozen for use later (more on that in just a bit).
Oh, did I mention that this was after three weeks of giving myself daily injections in my stomach (two different hypodermic needles) of a drug called Neupogen which is designed to increase production of those previously mentioned stem cells.
Unfortunately, the Neupogen didn’t quite do the job, so starting this past Monday, I had to receive daily injections at 5 PM (also in my stomach – and I also gave them to myself) of a drug called Mozobil. That stuff made me sick to my stomach every night, and kept me up with night sweats, gave me really ugly dreams and a severe stomach ache. Do a Google search for it and read the side effects.
Do you get the idea that having cancer and undergoing treatment for it isn’t fun?
Anyway, the Mozobil worked, my stem cells are in Nitrogen cold storage. I’ll be admitted to HUP this coming Wednesday for a month – in Philadelphia, 75 miles away from my family for at least a month. Once there, I’ll have another round of some even nastier chemotherapy that will clean my blood and body even more, wipe my bone narrow clean and kick the sh*t out of me for a couple of weeks. Then doctors will put the stem cells that were collected back into my body to produce good red and white blood cells. This process has shown great success for cancer patients like myself, especially when there’s been a recurrence of a blood disease like my non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
So that’s my story. And yes, I know I’ve written that I didn’t want this blog to turn into a cancer diary, but so many of you asked what happened to me.
To be honest, most days this month I’ve struggled just to make it through the day. So sitting down to write something entertaining to read has been very, very difficult.
I’m still loving racing and follow everything very closely and I will get back to my commentary very soon. And who knows, with all that time lying in bed I’m sure I’ll have something to say, especially since we’re nearing the start of The Chase, NHRA’s Countdown to One and other championships.
Tell people that you know of a guy who has beaten cancer THREE times. I know I am very blessed. I would have never made it this far without the grace of God, the great support I receive from my family, my doctors and nurses (can’t forget them!) and my other family – the NASCAR family, which has rallied around me with such incredible support I can’t wait to pay their love and affection back with my new project next season.
More about that, and many other things, are still yet to come…
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for all of your support, prayers and your comments.