Posts tagged HDC
Jeremiah Ray - High Dose Chemotherapy Day -5

where and how do i begin explaining high dose chemotherapy with (tandem) stem cell transplants? i have been considering how i should go about describing the process, however i wasn’t even sure i understood it correctly. 
in my case, and this might be the same for other patients, i am not sure, but upon admittance the clock starts at “day -5” (day negative 5). so, “day 0” is when i get my stem cells back. days -5 — 0 are, as you might have guessed, chemo days.

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Jeremiah Ray - Harvesting II (cell counts)

not the best quality images, but this shows the rapid increase of white blood cells that occurs post nadir (lowest point that an individual’s blood cell count reaches after chemo) coupled with growth factor injections. it is also clear, looking at the counts, why i was suffering from a neutropenic fever and spent a few days in the hospital hooked up tp IV antibiotics and fluids. 

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Jeremiah Ray - Harvesting

After being in the hospital for 5 days, my oncologist was worried that if i didn’t make it Thursday to collect and thus left only Friday, we were taking a massive gamble as most people need at least two days to collect all the stem cells they will need for a transplant. if i were to wait until Friday and NOT gather all the cells, we’d have to finish up on Monday and just hope the injections were still assisting in generating the needed stem cells. it’s not only the shots that are assisting in this generation of cells! the whole reason for undergoing the monstrous round of chemo/etoposide was to send the body (after nadir) into white blood cell count overdrive! add daily shots to the mix to assist this and boom – massive (daily, maybe hourly?) jumps in cell counts. 

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Jeremiah Ray - Neutropenic Fever

after spending the better part of the day yesterday (saturday) confined to my bed and lacking all energy, i decided to take my temperature, again. i had taken it earlier in the day and it was slightly below normal (97.9F). however, in the later afternoon, when i could barely gather myself to make tea, i thought it best to take it again. it was 100.8F and rising. normally, i would pop some tylenol and call it a night. however, considering the monstrous round of chemo undergone barely a week ago, i thought it best to head over to the ER.

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Jeremiah Ray - pherisis line & etoposide

on 5/27/17 i went inpatient for my etoposide infusion. as mentioned this is done just prior to daily injections (which i start today) of stem cell growth factors. the idea in such an intense chemo dosage (explained below) is to really try to beat down the “bad” stem cells before forcing the generation of new, healthy ones. these newer stem cells are then collected and then the aforementioned process takes place again but with even more intense chemo over longer periods of time. so, rather than just “beating” them down, they’re being annihilated completely.

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Jeremiah Ray - The Only Constant In Life, Things Change

things change… it is hard to believe it was over a week ago today i was rushed to the ER (april 27, 2017). i understand clearly what was happening. at the time however, i  was in tears to the paramedics while en route trying to explain my health history in one long-winded sentence, as well as both describe to them (and explain to myself) that currently i couldn’t move my left arm. 

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Jeremiah Ray - Acceptance and The Plan

What follows was the agreed upon and, finally accepted, treatment plan following my one round of 2nd line/salvage chemo. After growth was detected in a nodule in my right lung, i was again in a place of facing cancer and, perhaps even more-so than when initially diagnosed, denial of this fact. A lot of questions arose; questions that gave way to fear, anger, despair… I would be stuck in these places of either serene acceptance and willingness to meet it (cancer) head-on, or I would find myself wrapped up in my bed, midday crying such great amounts of tears. It was between these great emotional outpourings that I would feel calm and (an) acceptance.

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Jeremiah Ray - Strength / Part I

For those who think that the various forms of strength go hand-in-hand, they don’t. Psychological strength, emotional strength, psychical strength, etc.etc. are all vastly different and how we perceive them, and ourselves within spectrum (of ”strong” and “weak”, whatever those mean) shifts from one form to another. Often, the mentality that one form of strength translates from one to another is dangerous and a detriment to our growth and development. 

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Jeremiah Ray - Embracing Uncertainty - Acceptance

Editor's Note: Jeremiah Ray was diagnosed with advanced stage testicular cancer in 2016, only to face a recurrence of his cancer six months later. Jeremiah is starting high dose chemotherapy, and is sharing his HDC journey with us.

To me, a stem cell transplant is still a mystery. I understand it on the theoretical level, but it still seems like some sort of sorcery. 

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Jeremiah Ray - Dr Einhorn, Salvage Chemo, & Future Steps

it seems that, regardless of where my searching lead, one name kept appearing: Dr. Lawrence Einhorn. Why? Because he changed the game – no, seriously! Before Dr. Einhorn, a testicular cancer diagnosis was, essentially, a death sentence. He revolutionized how it was treated and, today, oncologist jokingly reassure patients, “if you had to choose one type of cancer to get, testicular cancer is it!” Yes, it’s a strange thing to say. But testicular cancer boasts such amazingly high cure rates, in large part, to Dr. Einhorn. 

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Ambassador Bio: Jeremiah Ray

My name is Jeremiah Ray. I was diagnosed with stage IIIc testicular cancer on April 1, 2016. At the time I was pursuing my MFA, I was merely weeks away from graduation when diagnosed. My intention, in furthering my education, was to teach art at the college/university level. I was very keen on helping others explore their own, per-existing, visual vocabulary as well as helping them develop new means of communication and expression. However, all this changed one day when, walking to the CTA, I had a seizure, was hospitalized for a number of days, and was subsequently diagnosed with cancer.

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