Saturday, September 15, 2007

Light the Night 2007

I wanted to update everyone about our team efforts for Light the Night which is quickly approaching. As of this morning, Team Gershon has raised $12,870. Since we have already raised over $10,000 we will again have our own tent at the event.

I wanted to provide everyone with the details of the event. It is scheduled for Saturday, September 29th at Lippitt Park at the end of Blackstone Boulevard in Providence. The walk will be 2.5 miles up and down the boulevard. Registration and check in starts at 5:00. The walk starts at 7. Last year there was a long line to pick up balloons so I would suggest doing this early.

There are activities and entertainment. You can also drop off any money, pick up shirts and eat snacks. We will provide refreshments for our team. I also need to order Team Gershon shirts. If you are planning to walk, please send me an email so I can order the appropriate number of shirts. Also please register online ahead of time if you are planning to walk since the lines can become very long. Last year there were several thousand walkers. You can go to my Light the Night site. Click on Register to Walk. On the search page, select Team Name and type Team Gershon.

I am very excited to see everyone and the generosity has been wonderful. If you have donations, you can bring them on the night of the walk, send them to me, or send them in to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society directly. I will see everyone on the 29th.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Numbers Game

I just returned from my checkup at Dana-Farber this morning. I was started on 800 mg of Gleevec 4 weeks ago because my PCR test had gone up instead of down over the summer. My doctor became a little concerned and decided he wanted to see me monthly instead of every three months. He also doubled the dose of my medication to see if this would change the direction of this reading.

I went in today, assuming that things would not have changed all that much. Prior to increasing the dosage a month ago, I had a blood draw to get a PCR level before the change. I received the results of that test today.

Here is a pattern for my tests so far, for those following at home, especially if you like statistics:

3/9/06 --34.5%
6/14/06 --10.9%
9/20/06 --1.15%
12/27/06 --0.5%
3/31/07 --0.3%
6/4/07 --0.6%
7/23/07 --0.6%
8/8/07 --0.2%

Clearly, the pattern was that things were all going well until this summer when the numbers started to go up. This might have been an anomaly, but two tests in a row were more concerning. The strangest part of this whole thing is that my numbers started going down again, even before I increased the medication. I will not know my newest reading for a couple of weeks, but it certainly puts a new perspective on these tests.

I wonder, as cancer patients, whether we overly focus on these statistics and numbers. I recognize that these numbers represent how the treatment is working or the disease progressing, but they may also increase the stress level as well.

Over the summer, my stress level was probably the highest it had ever been since my father and I were opening a new business. Is there any correlation between the change in the numbers and my level of stress? I asked this very question to my oncologist. He shrugged his shoulders. As someone who has examined the role of stress and anxiety on the body, my guess is that it can certainly have an impact. If we look at studies that examine the release of cortisol, (the stress hormone) and what it can do to the body, it would not surprise me to see the potential affect.

What does this suggest? Well, my new goal is to find as many ways as possible to de-stress. Not only is this good for my body, but probably my mental health as well.

After all that good news, I still had to have a bone marrow biopsy. Another two weeks until results are in so the waiting game starts now. For now, I am going to relax a little and enjoy this good news.