For the last several years (several being defined as a couple of months after finishing R-CHOP in summer of 2017) I ventured across the Bay Bridge to the SFVA for follow up every couple of months. That follow up consisted of a check-up with my wonderful oncologist, a boat load of lab tests, and maintenance infusion (with assorted medicines accompanied by pre&post chasers).
The study information (you have to love those involved in academic medicine) supported a regime of 12 doses (q2months) of maintenance meds which resulted in an average of 48 months of disease free existence. The jury is still out as to whether or not going beyond that made any difference. [side note – for anyone paying for medical care out of their pocket, this would be a considerable expense just to get the first 24 months of extended treatment. HMOs don’t normally offer the option of continuing after those 24 moths. The VA, stupid on somethings, doesn’t have those limits on its physicians. While not anywhere near as expensive as George’s stem cell transplant, the cost would be a consideration for many].
Anyway – I have made it to my 48 months without any sign of recurrence. I could continue on the therapy but SARS-COV2 is impacting my decisions. Nothing like an infusion to kill off all CD-20 related white cells every two months. CD-20 is on the B cell lymphocyte line. The line that, among other things leads to plasma cells (which produce antibodies). See where I am going? Nothing like wiping out my immune system every couple of months. With COVID-19 expressing new and more infectious variants.
I have done fine so far through the last year +, but I don’t have a problem wearing a mask and staying away from crowds. But with Delta, plus all those who don’t want to be immunized to protect themselves and everyone else much less wear masks – I don’t think the risk is going to be worth it.
The end result? Rather than get home at 1600 or later, I was home before 1100, complete with a stop at the bakery for fresh peach turnovers… yummm