Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The chemotherapy gets more difficult to bear. Side effects continued even to the morning of my current and penultimate course which began yesterday. Last night, because of the dexamethasone pre-med, I got only 2 hours sleep. My birthday on Saturday was not very enjoyable because I felt so unwell and quite depressed. Still, thanks for all the e-cards and well wishes from such a large number of people. They, at least, were appreciated.

At last Spring has sprung which is a cue for a song:

Spring is sprung the grass is rizz
Oi wonder where them boidies is?
They say the boids is on the wing but that's absoid
From what I hoid, the wing is always on the boid.

We have the cherry blossom out at last and fat wood pigeons eating it. Forsythia is full out, bright yellow in the front of the house with several patches of daffodils echoing the color. At the back the first of the camellias shines bright scarlet in the sunshine; the others are in heavy bud as are the magnolias. I counted 30 hyacinths in bloom; these are pot plants that we have placed outside in the flower bed. Violets and periwinkle are also flowering and the first of the grape hyacinths. A laurel has been flowering with dark brown blooms for most of the winter and so has the viburnum, though white/pink, not brown. A few cyclamen remain but most have finished flowering. Quite a rarity is the Dorset snowflake which resembles a snowdrop but is much taller with stems about 14 inches high.

Nice to see Manchester United reaching the last eight of the Champions League, though two more players were lost to injury. At least they had Nani and Valencia back. Afer fielding a side against Arsenal with 5 full backs last week they are in danger of having to play with only three defenders next game. They join Spurs and possibly Chelsea who carry a two-goal lead into tonight's match against FC Copenhagen.

We watched East of Eden last night. Well acted by Raymond Massey, but the Oscar nominations went to Elia Kazan, James Dean, and the adaptor of John Steinbeck's novel, Paul Osborn. The Oscar for best supporting actress went to Jo Van Fleet playing the estranged wife and mother. She was better known as a stage actress but she did appear in The Rose Tattoo, I'll Cry Tomorrow (both 1955), The King and Four Queens (1956), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), and Cool Hand Luke (1967).

I have finished reading the last but one of the Robert Jordan series The Wheel of Time. The last volume will be published in November. That gives me something to aim for.

We have decided to defer selling our house. With summer coming we intend to take an extended holiday. The stress of moving is the last thing I want. We have had very few family holidays, my work has always been so all-consuming. This year will be different.


Anonymous said...

I admire you for blogging while on chemo - it made me feel so depressed i thought it better to say nothing! As you say, Spring will bring rebirth and renewal to us more ways than one. I continue to pray that you will enjoy your coming family holiday and many more

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing Spring alive!

Hang tough and think about the good days ahead!

Anonymous said...

My wife has been on dexamethasone for about one year. She has experienced the dex-high but has found that Lorazepam can counter that and allow much needed sleep.
A belated happy birthday, TomD

James said...

Dr. Hamblin,

I am so happy that you are able to enjoy this spring and all that it brings, but I am sad for what you are having to endure to enjoy it.

I hope that you have many, many more years to enjoy spring time, to watch your football team, to read more books, and yes to comfort others that need conforting as well :-)

If I may be so bold as to borrow the words of Dylan Thomas:

"Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Hang in there. You have given the world much and so now the world owes you more time and joy in return.

Deb Light said...

Dr. Terry,

Hi!I am sorry you have felt so bad and been kinda down during this round of chemo.It kinda takes a lot out of but it does do a number on the cancer also.
Things are starting to bloom here in East Tn. too,the daffies,pansies,my small peach trees and my tulips I planted late are coming up but may not bloom this year.
Hope you feel better and can celebrate your birthday late.Just keep celebrating it all month.
Enjoy some books,movies and relaxing music and try to get a little bit of natural Vitamin D from the sun!
God Bless,
Deb Light

Carter said...

You are an inspiration to me and many others. Belated Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

Thank You, Dr Hamblin for staying alive. Spring will help us all to appreciate life: blooming is so wonderful. The smell, the beauty of all flowers. Let's enjoy it together. Please, remember we are all so happy to have you alive. We need you!
Loraine Legacy, Montreal

Alan Knight / said...

I am not in the same league as you, but---like you and often inspired by you---I keep trying to contribute to the best of my ability and to the extent my sapped energies allow. Isn't that one of the things that gives life meaning?

Anonymous said...

Stumbled on your blog looking for info on IGHV mutations. I'm a scientist whose father has now progressed to Stage III Cll.

His physician states that FISH assays and other genetic tests have little value (been saying that for the last two years).

I've read some reviews which suggest otherwise and question his motives. He's put him on TREANDA which knocked him down physically. We won't let him administer it again.

What are your views on the doctor's position? He has a platinum insurance plan. Doctor seems allergic to tests.

p.s saw interesting paper put out by the Mayo Clinic on green tea extract EGCG. The purified EGCG is now available from the company source naturals.

Terry Hamblin said...

The prognostic markers are valuable for those who want to know a ball park figure for prognosis, but they relate to whole populations not ot individuals. You cannot tell where you are on the survival curve. It is a bit ingenuous for a physician to take no notice of prognostic factor survival curves and then choose treatment on teh basis of treatment survival curves which suffer from teh same limitations.

I am not a fan of bendamustine which is a lot more toxic than it is claimed to be and really is just a souped up chlorambucil given iv.

Green tea is mostly of value in controlling stage 0 CLL of the mutated kind, which probably does not need treating.