We're Doing It, We're Doing It...That's what the voice on the other end of the line was saying when I picked up the phone yesterday. It was Clyde and she had just returned from the clinic.
Over the weekend she had developed a rash on her rib cage and torso. It didn't hurt or itch so she didn't give it much thought until it started to get bigger. There was no fever with it but she gave her doctors a call anyway. They asked her to come in on Monday so they could see it and attempt to determine what the cause was. Our Mom, Kay, went with her to the clinic Monday around midday. She got in quickly and the medical team took a look at the rash. After a thorough examination, Dr. Longo, her transplant doctor explained that the condition was a symptom of Graft versus Host Disease.
More specifically, this type of rash and the location of it on Clyde's body indicated that it was a symptom of Graft versus Tumor activity. In his words it's a sign that my "good" cells were attacking her "bad" cells. Read the last two sentences again. The cells transplanted into Clyde from my blood are attacking her cancer! That's the point of the whole procedure. This was the first indication that the desired medical process had in fact begun.
The news took Clyde by surprise to say the least. This is the most positive development in the course of her illness in more than two years. By the time she called me, she was bouncing off the ceiling. After the ups and downs of the last several weeks, Clyde was due for some positive news. This development is as positive as it gets.
I am surprised at the affect the news had on me. When she told me I realized that it was unbelievably good news but it was so huge that it didn't sink in right away. I'm not sure now that it's hit me. It was easy for me to get excited last night when I got home and told Lindsay and the kids but I'm still plagued by my cautious nature on it. We are not in the end-zone yet. We are driving and have wonderful momentum but I want empirical proof that the cancer has been destroyed. We're just not there yet.
I know I'm being a wet blanket. We should celebrate the small successes and good news with wild abandon. I want to feel like something big has been accomplished but for some reason I'm holding out for the declaration of victory. The final gun sounding with "Team Clyde" ahead on the scoreboard.
Please don't let my tempered enthusiasm dampen yours. Our collective, positive energy on this has given Clyde much needed momentum on the road to recovery, remission and cure. Keep up the great thoughts. I truly believe we're winning but understand that the fight is not over. The rash Clyde has now is a warning sign at the same time it's a positive one. The doctors will get the GvHD under control and the recovery will continue but there will still be ups and downs. Keep up the good vibe. I will be patient and let the most recent good news sink in.
"We're doing it, we're doing it....!"