Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hair today Goon Tomorrow

The title of this week's  blog is a reference to a very old children's joke about  a rabbit in the enchanted forest and also about my hair falling out. There are few things more depressing than having your hair come out in small clumps. I still have most of my hair but every day I lose a little more. My oldest daughter will come over next week and cut it short for me.

In spite of the side effects and general yuckiness of my treatment I feel lucky to have people to look after me when I need it. I have been blessed with family and friends that are there when you need them. 

I am continuing my homeopathic regimen as well and it seems to be helping, though the goal is to kill the cancer in my body. How well that is working will have to wait till my next scan. In the meantime I am hanging in as best as can be expected.

At this point I am more concerned for Vicki and her health than mine. I know the stress of going to work every day and then coming home to take care of me is wearing her out. She is a very strong willed woman, but she has been doing this now for 2 and 1/2 years. I'm sure it has long since gotten old.

Up next for me is  another Chemo this Friday and then the following Friday Vicki has surgery.

Wish us luck,

RT

 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Out on Short term disability

Vicki has a favorite quote "if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." It has worked out that way for me.

I had planned to keep working and wait on Vicki's next surgery before I went on leave. That didn't happen. I found myself too fatigued to make it to work on any kind of regular basis, so now I'm home for the duration. I don't picture my company hiring me back when I'm done with treatment and could work again. With just a few months to retirement I won't be much of a candidate for rehire.

I miss seeing some of the people I worked with, but not the work. I became the dinosaur in an operation that has 50/50 chance of making it. They tried to turn everyone in the office into data entry clerks and I was sure not that person.

The good news is that I started homeopathic treatment last Sunday as well and am continuing the regimen. It makes me tired and little loopy, but also has mitigated some of the more onerous side effects of the  chemo. I still have them but continue to do my best to manage them with all the resources available to me. Now I am fully focused on beating this cancer.

Vicki will get her hernia surgery on the 30th and we'll figure out with our kids on getting her there. So I may need a ride for my next treatment on October 7th. We'll have to wait and see.

That's the news from here. I remain optimistic that this two-pronged attack on my cancer will be successful.

RT 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The fight goes on

I had the first chemo of my 5th round yesterday. It is same cocktail of drugs I took a few months ago. The oncologist says its the chemo that actually worked. It takes about 4 hours and they fill me full of a variety of stuff during that time. I'm given anti-nausea solution first and then a half dozen other things that are supposed to kill my cancer. 

In addition to these things I have to take steroid pills for 3 days after treatment and wear an on-body injector that gives me a shot 27 hours later. I am being injected by this thing as I write. It' s giving me a shot of prevagen which is supposed to help keep your white blood count from being too low. 

 I am not surprised by the side effects, I know what to expect. It's not like they're old friends, but more like old enemies that I fought before. I manage them as best I can with pills and more pills, food when I can eat (which is almost always even if I am nauseous). I do not want to lose 40 pounds like I have in the past taking chemo.

Vicki went with me yesterday and will probably be there for most of my treatments. If not, one of my daughters will take me or if I'm able I might even go by myself. It's nice to have some one with you but some folks come by themselves every time.

As I looked around the  chemo room yesterday at my fellow chemo patients I thanked God I had Vicki with me and the opportunity to fight my cancer. The scan I had on Thursday showed 3 more nodules in my lungs, small but growing and new. The marker for cancer was up in my blood work as well. So....here I am back in Chemo.

This time I am going to add homeopathic treatment as well. I am waiting to start that treatment till Vicki has her hernia operation. I am organizing a war on multiple fronts against my cancer. I have a lot more fight left in me despite 28 months of treatment.

At this point I've had 2 rounds of radiation, two rounds of infusion chemo through my port and two rounds of oral chemo with pills. That makes this round number 5.

I am still working 4 days a week. I will likely go to fewer and fewer days. At some point I will need to go on short term disability again. At that point I will start the homeopathic treatment in conjunction with the chemo. I intend to kick this cancer's ass.

Well I better go. My on-body injector just signaled it's done and I need to take it off and throw it out. Then a shower and back to sitting in the easy chair watching movies with Vicki.

Life can be hard, but it's not always bad. 

Hang in there,

RT

Monday, July 18, 2016

To be Clear

We got Vicki to the eye surgeon on Friday and her first cataract surgery is done. As you might guess they only do one eye at at time. Her vision in the eye that was operated on is already clearer, ergo the title of this post. I took her back in for a post op exam on Saturday and all looks good. She will not be able to use her glasses now, her prescription will change with the new lens in her left eye. So she's not sure how work will go Monday.

In the meantime I've finished the first two weeks of Chemo and only threw up once. It was on Friday morning getting ready to take Vicki to her surgery. I have a problem with nausea in the mornings and this particular morning we were rushed as well. I was sick the day before but avoided upchucking on Thursday.

We have some other Doctor/Dentist stuff going on this week, but nothing big till I see my Oncologist on Friday. He will look at blood work and see how much the Chemo is weakening my ability to fight infection.

When we finally do get through July, Vicki will go back for second eye surgery in August.
She did really good this time. She was very anxious about having anyone cut on her eye. I totally get her fear, but it wasn't anywhere near as bad as she thought it would be. I have to put drops in her eyes four times a day for the next three weeks and there's one more follow up in a couple of weeks. 

I am still waiting on the homeopathic treatment to start. I am not sure when that will be, but I hope to begin that routine soon.

That's it from here.

RT

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Deja Vu all over again

I received my new chemo drugs today. I will start taking them on Monday. This will be my 4th round of chemo. I am not that thrilled with the prospect for the following reason. My Oncologist has told me that this drug is a maintenance drug. This means it's not made to kill my cancer just suppress it and give me some more time. The drug's stats do not fill me with a lot of optimism. The best results it got extended a portion of the test groups life by 7 and 1/2 months. At the end of the study 88% of the participants that received the drug still died. I do not like those odds.

So.... I have decided to augment my treatment with homeopathic treatment as well. This treatment is focused on killing the cancer. I like that.

I will go along with conventional methods, but at this point I am looking for better results. The research and reading I've done leads me to believe that I should be more proactive. I am going to do just that.

This fucking cancer is getting old. I have been in treatment for two years now and I would like to get back to good health. With that in mind I will do my best to reach that goal.

Wish me luck,

RT


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Past it

I don't know if my reader is  follower of Letterman or the "You might be a redneck if" guy Jeff Foxworthy. Letterman had his top 10 and Foxworthy his you might be a redneck if schtick. I have combined them here in this post for the "KINDA TOP TEN YOU MIGHT BE OLD IF" list.

In no particular order with the exception of # 10 which just happened to me this last week.


KINDA TOP TEN YOU MIGHT BE OLD IF
  1. You might be old if you find yourself in a room and have no idea why you are there.
  2. You might be old if you fix the coffee pot the night before but in the morning when your wife turns it on she discovers there's no water and no coffee in the machine.
  3. You might be old if you are taught a computer program on Thursday and when you come back to work on Monday you have no idea of what the hell you're doing.
  4. You might be old if a bowel movement is a major achievement and somewhat pleasurable.
  5. You might be old if every week you or your spouse have a different Doctor's appointment.
  6. You might be old if you are invisible to women under 50.
  7. You might be old if your coworkers ask you about rotary phones and typewriters.
  8. You might be old if some of your coworkers call you Sir.
  9. You might be old if your daughter tells you they wouldn't be able to put candles on your birthday cake at the restaurant due to fire regulations.
  10. And finally you might be old if you find yourself attending your Grandson's 21st birthday party.
OK, there it is.

RT

Monday, June 13, 2016

Long Time No Blog

I was reminded recently that I have failed to write anything for quite a while. The reason for that is that I have been waiting to have a scan (I had it last week) and to hear the results from my Oncologist (I heard the results on Friday).

The results were half way between good and bad. I still have cancer, the two nodules in my lungs are bigger and I will go back into treatment in two weeks. What makes it only half bad is that my treatment will be with pills and not infusion through my port. The coming treatment will be for 5 days a week for 2 weeks then 2 weeks off. After a couple of months I get another scan to see if it's working or not. 

My Oncologist told me to think of the cancer as chronic disease that would require treatment for some time. I was not thrilled to hear this, but don't have any other options at this point. Also, it should easier on me physically than infusion Chemo. Some of those drugs have really kicked my ass.

From what I understand the tumors cannot be radiated again and this new treatment is the next logical step.

Vicki is recovering nicely from her surgery and is back at work, though she is tired most of the time these days. We're not sure if it is the recovery or something else like her thyroid. She had an ultrasound on that this week as well as a test to check her kidney function after the surgery.

I am hopeful both of those tests will good.

SO...sometimes no news is good news and sometimes not.

We still look forward to retiring in April of next year. I remain hopeful that our health will allow it.

That's it from here.

Hope you are prospering and healthy.

RT