Rob Wallace Rob Wallace Cancer Update

First post: Jan 18, 2020 Latest post: Apr 20, 2020

I’ll be at Virginia Mason Hospital until Saturday  afternoon. I’ve consuming my Rutixan and chemo treatments the last 20 hours with the only side effect fatigue. I’m pretty fresh this morning with no nausea.  I will not return to the hospital until my next treatment on March 2nd for the same process of administrating chemo by IV 24/5 days. 

I’ll be researching Diffuse Large Level B Lymphoma Triple Hit, which is my dominant cancer and the reason I will be an in patient during weeks of treatment. The game has changed, the plan for complete remission by July is not realistic now the way Triple Hit fights back against chemo. The most likely solution will be a stem cell transplant following my present 6 month chemo plan.  It’s my understanding we’ll be admitted to the program sooner so we can begin looking for a donor match. Fortunately I have brother Jim, sister Sharon, son Mike and daughter Anna to start as highest probability for donor match.

New Diagnosis.
The 2nd biopsy revealed a more aggressive cancer in addition to the follicular lymphoma.  It’s called Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma and because its stronger and growing faster, the treatment has been changed to attack this cancer and the follicular type will be cured too.  The treatments focus on the most aggressive and the less aggressive will be cured in the process.

Treatment Cycle.
New combination of chemo and supporting drugs for a total of 5 drugs, administration via 6 hours IV on day 1 at the hospital followed by 4 days of complementary drugs taken orally from home.  The new drug combo is called Rituxan/CHOP.  This process will happen every 3 weeks for 6-8 cycles.  Unfortunately, the side effects will be more severe than the original follicular lymphoma.  PET scans will occur after cycle 4 to measure progress.

I was hospitalized on Monday, January 20 because two tumors on my spine constricted my bowels and unitary track.  My bladder probably would have burst by Tuesday.  I came to the ER due to intense pain and the team quickly  began working a solution to solve this immediate problem.  Without solving the matter, my chemo treatment could not begin.  The solution to the tumors on the spine was either emergency surgery or radiation  treatment over 10 days plus maximum doses of a steroid based drug.  We elected non surgical solution for a number of sound reasons.   After 4 days of radiation and steroids, the tumors are beginning to shrink and I'm gaining control of my pelvic area (I can pee and poop) and the pain is gone: no pain drugs are needed at this time.  On Saturday, January 25, I enter the out patient program for approximately 8 months: 1 week more of radiation followed by 6-8 months of chemo. 

Last week, we learned I have cancer.  It's Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and treatable through radiation, chemotherapy and other complimentary drugs.  My type of Non Hodgkin Lymphoma is Follicular Lymphoma (FL) which is cancer of the immune system.  It’s stage 4 and the tumors are slow growing. The cure period will be 6-8 months.  Each month, I will take the drugs by IV for two consecutive days.   

During the week of January 19th , I will have a PET scan, an EKG and more blood work before the treatments begin the week of January 27.  Dr. Joe Rosales (my Oncologist) will present my case on Wednesday the 21st to a peer group called the Cancer Conference.  I really like this business model of peer review to make sure something is not missed.  Curing cancer is definitely a team effort and I belief I’m getting excellent care by the Virginia Mason Hospital team.  While Follicular Lymphoma is curable, it’s more common to go into remission vs. complete cure.  Remission means any remaining cancer cells will be dormant.

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