Thursday, September 15, 2011


First and foremost, my cancer test came back negative. Dr. Tan VisitSo, I’m still in remission; thank God!! I have to continue taking the oral chemotherapeutic, Gleevec, and Dr. Tan said there is a third new leukemia drug out for when my cancer goes active. He said that my prognosis continues to look very favorable. He’s a little concerned that my white blood cell count has dropped further below normal, although it’s still tolerable. It just means I have an even lowered immunity and increased susceptibility to pathogens. He asked me if I ever get the flu shot and I responded, “Never.” He laughed and said that is okay but I had to get the pneumonia shot because of my lowered resistance. I asked if it could be done without a needle. He replied, “Where would medicine be without needles,” and then he laughed. I made a few argumentative comments but he was insistent about the pneumonia shot; so I relented and consented.

I continue to be anemic which could explain some of my fatigue. The Lortab and other pharmaceutical concoction may have something to do with it too. Dr. Tan blames most of my fatigue on Gleevec but with my family history he wants to be sure there isn’t a cardiac component to it too. So, I have to get a stress EKG done on the 27th. A week after that I’m supposed to call my “Patient Navigator” to get the results. I never heard of a Patient Navigator before but it’s a person who “helps patients, families, and caregivers navigate the many systems needed during the cancer journey.” If the Patient Navigator helps the process, I’m all for it.

Dr. Tan asked if I’m still having eye issues, G.I. problems, and leg cramps. I told him I was but that it was manageable. He said these side effects of Gleevec are common but to let him know if they get worse. Besides being very personable, Dr. Tan always takes his time and answers all my questions; He seems to really care. I like that about him. Dr. Tan wants me to return for blood work in six months but not see him until next year. I’m supposed to call the Patient Navigator after my blood test in six months to get my results.

After getting all my appointments arranged. I was escorted to another part of the clinic to get the pneumonia shot. I asked if the reason I was being escorted was because they were afraid I’d walk out without it. The lady just laughed and said that it’s just a service they provide so patients don’t get lost. I sat in that waiting room for just a few minutes before I was called. I told the nurse that I didn’t like needles. She said that she is afraid of needles but that makes her very good and gentle at giving shots. What could I say? I hoped she was right. She was; she did a great job and it was finished in no time.

Well, I’m elated to still be in remission. In fact, I’m so elated that I didn’t mind the shot too much and I’m not as disjointed about the stress EKG on the 27th as I could be!! By the way, while the receptionist was on the phone scheduling my EKG, the person on the other end was asking her for my personal data. I told the receptionist to tell the other lady that I’m a very nice guy. She did!!

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