Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Eight Down and 1 to Go!

Today (Tuesday the 31st of March) I had my 8th chemo treatment and an office visit with the oncologist. The good doctor informed me that the next treatment will hopefully be the last. 

So... I take a long treatment on the 7th of April and then the next week a CT Scan to look for any signs of lingering cancer cells. If the scan is clean, I'm done. 

He gives me a 95% chance of being done and I am very,very happy to hear this.

I cannot express how I am looking forward to getting back to my old self. The doctor says I may need a couple of months of rehab to get back my strength and muscle tone, but that should do it.

Wish me luck,


Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Since my visit to the ER this Sunday before last my schedule and dosage for chemo has been changed to allow me to come back in to the chemo room at the cancer center during the week if I need help handling side effects. They can administer the fluids and anti-nausea drugs much easier than the ER folks.

So... I now go for labs on Monday and have chemo on Tuesdays. Yesterday was my 7th chemo of this second round. This was a long chemo with all the drugs that give me bad side effects. They lowered the dosage and gave me some extra pills to fight the nausea and so far it seems to be working.

The test will be in the next few days. If I can control the side effects and function somewhat normally then it will have been a success.

I am hopeful to get a chance for a Scan after treatment #9 to see if we need to go further with the treatments. Wish me luck.

Still hanging in,


Monday, March 16, 2015

Too Much Fun

Though I was feeling pretty good the Friday after my last treatment, by Sunday I was in trouble. Between Friday before last and yesterday I lost another 8 pounds. When they weighed me in the ER last night I weighed 149. I haven't been that skinny since high school. Which I can reliably tell you was a long, long time ago.

So... You might have determined from the above paragraph that I had a rough week. You would be correct. Still I managed to have a little fun with the ER nurses and PAs. What a great group of folks. I am amazed each time I end up in Chandler Regional how awesome their people and their work ethic is.

With that being said there are some caveats about the system. It took almost two hours before I had blood work done and saw a doctor. We learned today while looking at the discharge notes that they changed the reason for the visit as well. I believe I know why.

It seems that it is standard procedure to order a CAT scan for almost all who come to the ER. When they came to me and said they were there to take me to the CT scan I declined their generous offer. That's got to be a money maker or profit center (as the bean counters call it) for them. I went in due to nausea and severe diarrhea,  but their intake form says severe abdominal pain, which I did not have.

I don't blame the great people who worked on me, it is the way their system works. So..
when you go the ER make sure you get the tests you need.

Now, this Monday I feel well enough to write this blog and maybe even shower and brush my teeth. For the past week I did not have the energy to do both each day.

I am going to ask the Chemo Doctor this Friday if the next three treatments are really necessary or not. Because I don't think I could handle another bad week right now.

On a positive note we now know what's going on with Vicki. She has severe Bursitis that has caused muscle swelling throughout her body. We are hopeful they will start treating this soon and get her back to normal.

That's it for me,

I continue to barely hang in, 


Sunday, March 8, 2015

2/3 done I hope

This treatment last Friday was number 6. It was the long treatment with the crazy side effects. The good news here is that I should only have two more of this long treatment left. They always put a short one in middle and I get two weeks off between the long ones.

There's more good news as well. I told my chemo nurse I was considering going back to taking 500 mg of Naproxen due to the arthritis pain in my knee. She suggested I not do that since my platelet count was low on my last blood work. It seems any drug that thins the blood could be quite dangerous at this time. So.. something else was needed. It so happened that my wife had been prescribed a topical gel for arthritis in her hands, but it did not work for her. It did work great on my knee though. So I able to walk normally now without a limp and with very little pain.

The not so good news is something in either the chemo or the arthritis gel or the anti-nausea drugs has given me insomnia.  I've had no more than 8 hours of sleep in 2 days. It has made me quite fatigued. The weather is so nice I want to be outside doing something, but the energy is just not there today. Still I feel good otherwise. One of the weirdest side effects is the reaction to cold drinks. Even moderately cold beverages make my tongue swell just enough to make me talk funny. It doesn't last for more than 30 minutes most times, but it is a very strange feeling.

Now a plea to those few who read this blog. Not going in to work any more for a while has made me miss talking with you and getting your support. If you read this post, please take a minute and comment. It would help me to have even a small connection back to the regular non-cancer world.

OK, that's it from here. I continue to hang in. I hope you do the same.



Monday, March 2, 2015

The 5th

Friday was my 5th Chemo treatment. This one was a short one, only a couple of hours and change. It went OK but that night I just couldn't get my stomach settled.

Saturday was a different case altogether. I managed three good meals, including a pastrami sub for dinner. In addition, I found the energy to do a little trimming in the backyard. My backyard is semi-lush and suffers from extreme shagginess if I don't trim it regularly. I also had a nice cigar and a whiskey on the patio late in the afternoon. Vicki had lunch with friends from South Dakota at the local Native New Yorker earlier in the day and came home to tell me all about it.

Sunday was different as well. Vicki woke up feeling poor and I did laundry, dishes, changed the bedding and generally did everything I could to let her rest. I am hopeful she will get her issue worked on soon. Her health is not that good right now.

So... It would have been a great weekend if Vicki had been OK, but still, this was the best two days in a row I've had in quite a while. Let's hope it continues into the week. My next treatment this coming Friday will be a long one which includes a drug that gives me the intense sensitivity to cold and more nausea and fatigue. 

I am continuing to hang in. Best to you,