Dan Duran Finishes Chemo! And…Rings A Gong!

12 weeks ago when I started chemotherapy, I was so, so scared. Monday, November 5th, 7:30AM, in this big infusion room with 20-some chairs for patients all going through the same thing, and I really had no idea what to expect, besides what they showed me in the “here is what happens during chemotherapy” style brochure.

Did I have some rough days? Absolutely. Overall, lots of exhaustion. But outside of a bad 4-day stretch at the end of round 2 (six weeks in) with nausea and just extreme malaise, I think I handled chemo like a champ.

Today was really special. At the end of your chemo treatment at Maryland Oncology and Hematology, you read a poem, and ring a gong three times and can say a couple words. I’ve witnessed three of these ceremonies during my treatment time, and each one was really special and emotional. My dad was there to see mine today, along with three close firefighting buddies from the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department where I volunteer. (Mom was at a doc appointment of her own, she’s recovering from knee surgery! But, she got to see video.)

So, here it is – my end (I HOPE……….) of chemotherapy treatments to kill this testicular cancer I got. Now, it’s a 2-3 week waiting game before I can get a PET scan (like a CT scan but more involved) to look at my lymph nodes. My understanding is, if those are shrunk down back to size….the cancer is gone. So, the next few weeks will entail me going back in for lab draws to keep an eye on my blood counts which are very low right now. Need to be careful about not getting sick, washing hands, etc etc. Once the numbers come back up, I can start working out again, I can start volunteer firefighting again, I can get my life back! By the way, have you or the men in your life checked your boys in the shower? Do a self-testicular exam. It just may save your  life.

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