Thursday, November 4, 2010


This was supposed to be an update pre-my last scheduled treatment, but work got in the way.  So instead, it has turned into a post-treatment update.  For those counting, I went in yesterday for treatment number six.  That is six of six, so until someone tells me otherwise, I'm done.  I've had a number of questions along the line of: "So, you're almost there.  Are you excited?"  The truthful answer is, "no, not exactly excited."  Grateful, that I won't be sitting in the leather chair three weeks from now.  Tired of chemo, for sure.  Anxious, perhaps, to see the results of the next schedule PET scan and get the picture proof of remission.  Cognizant that we are talking "remission" and not "cure."  But not really excited.  Not in the way you are excited about an upcoming trip or an upcoming loaf after smelling the bread baking.  Just relieved and ready to rebuild.

Part of the power of administering your own webpage is access to the statistics tools.  The tools largely reveal the expected.  Most of you are in the U.S., and most got here from various mail sites (i.e., someone probably e-mailed you a link to the page).  As of today, there have been 2,116 page views.  I suspect half of those are me, maybe a quarter of them my Mom (unless she got scarred away by the topless pictures some time ago), and the rest are spread amongst those of you who came here deliberately and those who stumbled here by accident.  And there are a few people who stumbled here on accident.  One person Googled "chemo shave" and took the time to read (or at least follow the link).  Whoever you are, I hope you learned something!  A couple (or one person multiple times) got here from a Google search of images on the .ru version of the search site, looking for images of "Alps fog."  I suspect they did not find exactly what they were looking for, but hope they were entertained nevertheless.  Other Google searches were all either looking for this blog specifically or looking for information about the northernmost cobras in the U.S.  The later is a possibility, I guess.  I used to think that there were no snakes in Alaska at all.  Recently, I've read a number of different places that Maine is the only U.S. state without any poisonous snakes.  That suggests that not only is there a snake somewhere in Alaska, but that it is poisonous.  I suspect it is somewhere in SE Alaska, but highly doubt it is a cobra.

So far, I've had visits from the following countries:  United States (2,038), Canada (36 - Hi A and fam!), France (22 - Hi T and A!), Netherlands (4), Belgium (3), China (3), Germany (3), Russia (3), Poland (2), and Switzerland (1).  Of course, this is all just a drawn out request to any of you traveling: Take a laptop or find an internet cafe and dramatically expand the international scope of this blog!  I want to see hits from Burma!  Colombia!  Zamiba!  A Pacific island of your choice (other than Hawaii, which won't register separate from the U.S.)!  We've made good in-roads in Europe, but surely can do better!  Consider it a call to arms!

Of course, statistics can be applied in fields far flung from merely recording website traffic.  Try getting cancer and attempting to learn something about your disease.  It is a little humbling to think you have something that compels people who write on it to develop five-year mortality rates.  Luckily: (1) those numbers are good for NHL patients; and (2) for a disease with an average age at diagnosis of 60, I think a lot of the folks on the bad side of the 5-year bell curve probably had other issues going on as well.  Statistics don't tell you but so much.  Nevertheless, they draw you in, and I've been poking around at average remission rates.  It just creates more questions than answers, though.  Primarily, were the statistics developed using patients undergoing the new post-chemo maintenance regimes?  I guess it doesn't really matter.  I'll just aim for outlier status in any case... on the right side of the curve.  Permanent remission, anyone?

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