The Day of Five Needles

Today I visited my oncologist and, I’m pleased to report, that all is fine for now.  As I’ve told anyone who will listen: any appointment after which I’m allowed to go home is a resounding success in my book.

Of the three tumor markers we carefully watch, one went down (yay!), one stayed the same (yay!), and one went slightly up (pffft!) although it is still within an acceptable range.  So that means nothing changes for now.  Because I’m feeling fine and looking so good, the good doctor is turning a slightly blind eye to the increased tumor marker level for now.  She’s asked me to see her again in late February, after having another CT and more blood taken.  Additionally, I get to stay in the vaccine study in which I’m participating (more on that in a minute) as well as take part in another (more in a minute).  That’s right, it’s two, Two, TWO studies for the price of one!

Here’s the deal: cancer tumors apparently release free-floating DNA into the bloodstream and scientists are trying to figure out what it all means and how to leverage it.  My oncologist asked me if I’d be willing to offer up some blood to help them out.  Let’s see…a needle in my arm, one time only, help the cause?  Sure!

So immediately after my appointment, we zipped up to the oncology outpatient clinic for the fourth in the series of five vaccine injections I’m getting.  After those three quick but incredibly painful shots, in walks another nurse who says she’s there to collect my blood for the new study.  Wham, bam, there’s another needle in my arm and two small vials of blood are taken.

“What about a consent form?” I ask the second nurse.

“You’ll sign it after we’re done.”

“What if I don’t consent?” I ask with a smile.

“I”ll give you your blood back.”

It’s amazing the efficiency one can witness.

So, fine, sign here, here and here.  Initial here, here and here.  And it’s off to the back where I need to get my port flushed.  I have to tell you, I love going to see those nurses.  They treat me like a rock star.  Hugs, kisses, and so on and so forth.

“Sit here, take off your shirt,” and a needle right in the chest.

That’s right.  For those of you keeping score at home, that’s five needles in a span of no more than 15 minutes.

But that’s OK. I got to go home.


About Alan

F---ing Cancer since 2011.
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23 Responses to The Day of Five Needles

  1. Gloria Landau says:

    Keep up the good news!!!

  2. Susan Burstein says:

    Alan you never cease to amaze me. Wishing you continued good health for 2015 and on!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Helen Leff says:

    U R a Rockstar! And a bit of a pincushion!!
    Oh and of course a Braverman!!!
    Bh . Thanks for the update
    Happy Sylvester

  4. jay says:

    Home is good… Shana tova

  5. Ari says:

    Rock on. Keep up the good work, my friend. BTW, you looked great next to Carly holding that Talmud Bavli. Enjoy.

  6. Ilana & Avi Kohn says:

    love your closing line!

  7. Adam says:

    Excellent news! Keep it up rock star.

  8. Must remember to have you give me an autograph next time I see. you. You’re veritable Mick Jagger (who’d probably cry at 5 needles in a day…..well maybe not).

  9. Janine says:

    Great news and good work Mr. Rockstar Pincushion and Nurse Flirt!

  10. helen mayer says:

    Alan, glad to hear things are stable. When are you writing a book (compilation of emails)?

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