Treatment no. six update [+Video]

May 22, 2012 · 10 comments

The latest video update is below. If you’re unable to see the embedded video, click here to watch it on YouTube.

If you don’t mind, please be sure to “like” the video by clicking the thumbs-up while it’s paused. Thanks!

Additional, non-video updates

  • If you live in central Iowa, be sure to pick up a copy of The Des Moines Register this Sunday (May 27) and flip to the Iowa Life section. As I’ve hinted in some of the video blogs (and totally given away in the latest one), the Register is running a story about Libby and I, our journey, this blog, the Let’s Do This documentary, etc., complete with photos and even video (the video will only be available online, of course). In addition to the photographer and reporter being at treatment number six, I’ve done several interviews and they’ve taken both photos and video at my church — I’m excited to see how the whole thing comes together. I know Libby and I will be picking up a copy or five this Sunday!
  • You may recall that the issue of fertility after chemotherapy has been a significant one for Libby and I, and for many others undergoing chemo treatment as well. During our last oncologist appointment, I was asking our doctor how soon after treatment I can get tested for fertility and his response was something along the lines of “You won’t need to. You’ll be totally fertile.” Say what?! From many of the things Libby and I had been told and read, we assumed I would probably be sterile and so responded accordingly. Now, our oncologist reassured us that he would have recommended sperm banking anyway, but we were (and are) still pretty shocked and —obviously — very happy.

    Just to be sure, I did some digging and found this 2008 article published in the Annals of Oncology which says, among other things: “With ABVD [the chemotherapy regimen I am receiving], azoospermia1 was observed in fewer patients, ranging from 0% to 4%. In our cohort, all patients treated with ABVD have preserved spermatogenesis.2” Translation: There is a very good chance Libby and I will be able to conceive children naturally, despite being treated with ABVD chemotherapy. Praise the Lord!
  • In the video, I eloquently allude to the fact that “my butt hurts,” and then hop into an epsom salt bath. I should explain. (Warning: In the interest of full disclosure, this will be TMI for some people, but please recall that I’m trying to be transparent in order to help others who are going through the process.) As you’ve no doubt ascertained by now, one of the side effects of both the chemotherapy itself and the medications I’ve been taking is extreme constipation and other gastrointestinal issues. Well, a side-effect of those side-effects has been unpredictable and at times extreme duress on my lower rectum, which has produced anal fissures (read at your own risk). Essentially, every time I am actually able go to the bathroom is a very painful experience. Lately, the pain subsides rather quickly and returns later in the day to be almost unbearable — hence the epsom salt baths. Libby and I are trying to be proactive about it; we tried to get a referral to a colorectal specialist, but it turns out I’m not allowed to see anyone until after treatment has concluded due to my super-low white blood cell count. Until then, it looks like I’ll be taking a lot of baths.
  • I am scheduled for a second pulmonary function test today, which will give the doctors an indication of how much (if any) the chemotherapy is impacting my lungs. If nothing else, it will be fun to go inside this machine again. Keep praying that my lungs are holding up!

That’s all for now. Thank you for your continued prayers and support! (Oh, and if you haven’t purchased and/or listened to the new John Mayer album yet, what are you waiting for?!)

  1. Via Wikipedia: “Azoospermia is the medical condition of a male not having any measurable level of sperm in his semen.” []
  2. Via Wikipedia, again: “Spermatogenesis is the process by which male primary sperm cells undergo meiosis, and produce a number of cells termed spermatogonia, from which the primary spermatocytes are derived.” []
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  • Beenie Stein

    So that’s another thing cancer is stealing – Libby’s right to scream, “You have no idea how bad this hurts!!!” during and after childbirth.  Evil cancer.

    • http://www.jakebouma.com Jake Bouma

      Ha! The same probably holds true for nausea… :)

    • Libbybouma

      Yep… but I do get to milk the 9 months of not having to clean the cat litter and asking Jake for just about anything I want… like that grocery store run at midnight because I am craving something super crazy like cottage cheese and doritos. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/NathanMatta Nathan Matta

         Cottage cheese and doritos a crazy craving?  Or awesome craving?

  • Linda Bets

    Jake, I read the article this a.m. before church and watched the DMR video after. Both excellent. Both just like you–unabashed! Love the Lord’s Prayer segment, too. Linda B

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  • Lorraine

    Hi there:
    Nine years ago I finished the exact same treatment program that you have been on. I was diagnosed with stage 1b hodgkins lymphoma. Four months of ABVD
    and 5 weeks of radiation. No “day at the beach” to be sure but today I am a healthy, happy 54 year old woman who celebrates every day of life. Bravo to you. You will begin a new chapter soon of good health and prosperity and go on to live a full and happy life. All good things are coming your way. All the very best to you and your wife.
    Sincerely
    Lorraine from Canada

  • Cindy Wasson

    Cindywasson@LIVESTRONG.org
    CONGRAT’S! WHAT A GREAT STORY, JOURNEY AND BLOG FOR ALL TO READ AND FOLLOW. YOUR A SURVIVOR JAKE AND IN 6 MONTHS TIME. I’ve had people from Livestrong ask how so fast? My response was: You probably never asked yourself daily how to beat this, Because you have what alot of people don’t have or they wouldn’t ask how. YOU HAVE FAITH! AND YOU NEVER STOPPED BELIEVING EVEN FOR A MOMENT. THIS IS A JOURNEY EVERYONE SHOULD THUMBS UP. SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD. GOD BLESS