My team at the City of Hope decided to bring out the big guns - six rounds of Hyper CVAD followed by an autologous stem cell transplant. I bounced back after each round of chemo, but my blood counts didn't.
After four rounds we called chemo quits and started collecting stem cells for the auto stem cell transplant. The harvesting took three tries, two drugs and eight weeks, but I finally eked out the minimum two million stem cells.
After megadoses of chemo, I received my stem cells on November 14 and 15, 2007. I bounced back almost immediately. Best of all, I achieved complete remission from the Mantle Cell Lymphoma.
In January 2008, I was hospitalized for 11 days for chemo-induced pneumonia. I bounced back.
In the summer of 2008, my eosinophils (a component of the white blood cells) rose to dangerous levels and infiltrated my lungs and GI tract. My weight dropped to 105 pounds, and I was incapacitated for nearly three months. Once again, I bounced back.
I continue to make monthly visits to the City of Hope for blood tests and check ups, quarterly visits for maintenance Rituxan and semi-annual visits for scans.
I'm still in remission and have more energy than ever. And about that perfect purse? I keep looking.