Goodbye Dawn; or, Dr. Einhorn answers all of your unasked questions

So, clinically speaking, here’s the deal:

It’s Monday, my white blood cells are still hovering at 0.5 (if your curious about the number they consider the bottom of the barrel it’s 0.2 or less), my platelets (remember yesterday’s lesson), and hemo are still low, but okay.

My ass still hurts. Riley’s Butt Cream still applied regularly.

Dawn left early this morning, to make the six hour drive back to Madison in the best possible weather conditions — an attempt to avoid Indiana’s rain and sleet.

And Dr. Einhorn made his Monday morning visit. You may recall, Dr. Einhorn is really the reason that I am in Indianapolis. He and his team are the leading experts on testicular cancer and have forged treatments that have made testicular cancer the success story that is in the world of oncology. Oh, and he treated Lance Armstrong too.

This morning, Dr. Einhorn gave us two previously unknown bits of information — slices of possibility for the future to come, really. First, he reminded me that I will have a CT scan scheduled here later this week so that they can determine what effect the HDC/transplant treatment has actually had. Simple questions to be answered mostly: is the tumor gone? is the cancer anywhere else? are my lymph nodes gone? Wait. What was that last one?

When I first came to the IU Simon Cancer Center, Dr. Einhorn’s partner, Dr. Williams told me upon evaluating my case that he recommended I go through HDC/transplant and that in January I would have surgery — 100%, no doubt — a Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection (RPLND). Definitely.

This morning Dr. Einhorn was not so sure. He said there is  a chance that following the HDC/transplant there may be no need to remove  my abdominal lymph nodes because they may already be gone as a result of the treatment. Say what? I can only keep up with so much of the science of my disease, and am thankful that experts like Einhorn exist.

What can I say? New things come up all of the time, and I generally chalk it up to my lack of expertise, and my doctor’s sheer volume of it — filling him up, as it seems to, to the point that he must lack certain other basic knowledge. Is he a poor driver? A horrible cook? It doesn’t matter. Just check out some of the papers he has authored or co-authored on very specific matters that have everything to do with my life HERE. (Of special note: document nos. 15 [Is full bilateral retroperitoneal lymph node dissection always necessary for postchemotherapy residual tumor?], and 16 [High-dose chemotherapy and stem cell rescue for metastatic germ-cell tumors] )

Another bit of new information: they want me to continue oral chemotherapy for three cycles once I am back at home. The drug is a common one to me now: Etoposide, or VP-16. According to the studies they have conducted here, continuing this oral chemo improves my rate of survival by 5%. The side effects will be minimal, mostly consisting of prolonged baldness, and I can live with that. I just hope my hair comes back at least to the not-so-thick-but-enough-to-stay-warm stage it was in before all of this went down.


Bye Dawnie…I miss you already — but I’ll be home soon.


One Response to “Goodbye Dawn; or, Dr. Einhorn answers all of your unasked questions”

  1. Mike

    Thanks for the really informative update — great to know that you may not have to have surgery after all — that would be a gift of the first order. We head to CA for Christmas later this week, so keep us posted on the blog — praying for the best outcome. Hugs from us — Tom & Lorita

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