A Devastating Blow and a Big High in Dan Duran’s 2nd Chemo Treatment Week

I started my second chemo treatment this week (my regimen is one week on (5 days in a row of 4-5 hours a day), two weeks off, repeat 4 times for a total of 12 weeks). The last couple weeks off were amazing. I felt relatively normal after a few days rest after round 1, and was able to do Thanksgiving with my family and drive to Pennsylvania to be in a close friend’s wedding as a Groomsman on Black Friday. What a blessing. I was feeling SO good! And overall, I’ve been great.

Round 2 started this Monday. The first two days were great, then Wednesday, a couple changes. I went to shave before going to chemo, hadn’t done so in several days. Wet my face, and a lot of the hair there just sort of….washed off. That was very real. That now my hair is falling out…I can also start plucking hair off my chest with relative ease. I’m not worried about losing my head of hair – because I don’t have any. I regularly shave it a couple times a week. But still. This was a moment.

Also, nausea suddenly crept up on Wednesday, as did peripheral neuropathy in my legs (they feel like they are half asleep). So, I didn’t go to work after treatment Wednesday, it was the best decision to take the day off and rest.

Glad I did, I felt better Thursday. Until I got some really upsetting news from my oncologist. 

This morning, Dr. Min told me in no uncertain terms, I can not fly to Mexico next weekend. I was set to stand along side one of my best friends/college roommates as he gets married on the beach in Cancun. I have been looking forward to this trip for so many months, to have that honor of standing next to my friend Rhett on the biggest day of his life. Then…..cancer. F’ing Cancer. I can’t go over fear of the altitude and time (4 hours) on the airplane, plus, what happens if I get sick in Mexico? White Blood Cells crash? Lack of good medical care close to were I’m staying in an unfamiliar country? Anything could happen, and probably nothing good. It is not worth the risk, and as upsetting as it is, it unfortunately makes sense. I have a lifetime ahead of me that I can hang out with my pal and congratulate him on his marriage….after I beat cancer. He and I had a good conversation and of course he understands. But I’m still devastated about it.

That said, Dr. Min followed that blow with a big high: In this morning’s blood test, they ran the three key tumor markers they are watching. The ones that were elevated even before my testicular removal surgery, saying I had cancer. All three key markers are ALREADY DOWN. ALREADY. GOING. DOWN. That means the chemo is actually doing it’s thing. Amazing. I cried, I smiled, I cried and smiled so many times today. I still have a long road ahead….the whole treatment process needs to be seen through, plus a CT scan when it’s all said and done. But I’m taking that as a win.

One other thing I need to highlight is my brother, Golo. He lives in Germany, we see each other once a year or so. Last was in August when he came stateside. He had a quick business trip to Chicago this weekend from Germany, and extended his trip to come see me and spend a day at chemo with me. It meant so much to have him there – complete with his “No Shave Movember Mustache” he’s been growing in my honor. My sister-in-law can’t wait til he shaves it off, haha.

That’s about it for now…..one more treatment Friday, then a couple weeks off again, minus a couple lab tests here and there, and monitoring of side effects. Knock on wood…I have not yet thrown up. I’ve had bad heartburn, ringing in my ears, and tingling in my legs, but nothing horrific. Onward we go. Thanks for following along, and for all your incredible support and love.

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