Friday, May 19, 2017

Second Opinions and RV shock

I reached out to the Mayo Clinic this week and have an appointment set for the 31st  to get a second opinion. I was originally going to have an appointment with a general oncologist, but after they looked at my info a nurse coordinator called me and suggested I see a Colorectal Cancer specialist. So that's what I am going to do. 

There may or may not be something they can do to help me. I am hopeful they will offer me an alternative to chemo. We'll see.

In the meantime our work on the RV continues. I took it to an alignment shop on Tuesday of this last week and the mechanic found issues with front end components to the tune of over $2000. It bummed me out and made me feel like the guy who sold us the RV took us.

Nothing to be done but eat the expense and move on. Which we will do. I worked on the dining table top and the cabinet  next to my side of the bed in the bedroom yesterday. I was able to change the fittings that hold the dining table to the wall so that it will be permanent and more stable. This required routing out the underside of the table top to accept the fittings in reverse. When I mount this to the fittings on the wall I will be able to screw them together on the underside of the table. 

In addition I fixed the drawer guides on my bedside cabinet and changed the top.(The old top had a couple of large holes drilled through the top) It turned out to be more of a job than I thought but still well within my abilities. So job well done for me.

Next I will modify another cabinet to be Vicki's bedside cabinet. This will take more work than mine since there are no drawer guides and the cabinet must me cut down in depth to match mine. We will also be removing the rest of the wallpaper in the bedroom once the RV tech has moved some plumbing and electrical from the now useless washer/dryer hookups. 

The coming weeks will be interesting if nothing else. I still am working on the RV every other day at most, though this last week I worked two days in a row.

Vicki is pulling staples as we remove carpet, so that project is going along as well. If this all seems like a lot of work, you're right. I don't believe it is beyond our abilities though. It will just take us longer than it would have a few years ago.

That's the latest from here.

Have a great summer,

RT

Friday, May 12, 2017

Another Great Week without Chemo

As the title states I did not have any Chemo this week. Vicki and I worked on the RV on two different days this past week. We were only able to work about 4 hours each day. After each day we took the next day off and slept in till almost noon. We were both really pooped. 

In spite of our inability to work for extended periods or work consecutive days, we did make significant progress. The carpet is ripped up all the way to the kitchen and all the staples have been pulled with the exception of the bathroom. It took quite a bit of effort on my part to get the carpet up in the john. This included removing the toilet which is always fun. So the staples need to pulled in there.

I also did some small repairs on the drawers in the kitchen and started removing the wallpaper from the walls of the bedroom. In addition, I have made a good start on countersinking the screws in the sub floor. This has to be done so that I can level the floor prior to installing vinyl plank flooring.

Vicki has been working very hard on the RV and I greatly appreciate her doing so. I cannot do this alone. 

I will probably go over to the storage yard tomorrow and do a little work by myself, but not too much. It will take some time to get my strength and stamina back. I like fixing things and working with my hands, but right now I just don't have the energy.

I received a letter from the VA today as well. They have denied my appeal. My benefit stays at the lowest amount. At least it's something. I will not waste any more time on the VA. I have never had much use for them and I certainly don't want to spend any more time thinking about Agent Orange or any of that crap.

The good news is that I feel a little better each day. I plan on calling the Mayo Clinic next week to see about getting a second opinion. It would be great if we could go after my tumors without chemo. There are intervention options, but they depend on the status of my cancer. I remain hopeful.

Wish me luck,

RT

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Chemo? No thanks!

As you may have guessed from the title, I did not have chemo this week, nor will I have it for the next 3 weeks. My Oncologist thinks it possible that the two small new tumors that showed up in my last CT scan could be inflammatory and not cancer. Either way they are very small, 4 to 5 mm. 

So he agreed with me to stop chemo for a while. I told him I am just too tired and sick to function and I need to function. 

At the end of the 3 weeks he wants me to start on a pill call Stivarga. The reviews I have read on it are not good. Many complain of heavy side effects with no progress on suppressing or killing the cancer. A couple however did report good results. I will continue research for the next 3 weeks and then make my decision.

I do not want any Chemo if I can help it, not infusion or pill. The poisons in the drugs are waring me out. At my age I need something that builds me up not tears me down. After a while I begin to feel like a guinea pig. At this point I believe I've been given about every drug recommended for colon cancer. 

In the meantime I will continue working on the RV. I have an RV tech coming to look at it on the 15th and I'm taking it to Spectrac for alignment on the 16th. We had to cancel our reservation at Buckskin Park for the 15th and 16th. I just couldn't get all the work I needed done in time.

I remain hopeful we will finish the renovations on our rolling home and hit the road sometime this summer.

Here's to you having a great summer.

RT

Monday, May 1, 2017

After Effects

Vicki and I are struggling today. We worked two days in the RV this weekend. Our son that helped last weekend had his 13th Wedding Anniversary this Saturday, so we did what we could on our own. 

Still, some progress was made and some questions answered (it's surprising all the things you have to know about your RV) and some new ones asked. I'm taking the unit to get it's two front tires changed and balanced tomorrow. Then later in the week or maybe next week to another place to get it aligned. 

In the meantime we are officially on medicare as of today. I learned that Cancer Centers of America doesn't take medicare patients when I called to check today. 
I am looking at what options are available to me if I decide to change providers, if indeed I can change.

There are other oncology and cancer providers in Phoenix. I will talk to as many as I can find. 

We will have a talk with my oncologist this Friday about treatment without Chemo. Maybe even a clinical trial. Who knows.

This will be another busy week I suppose.

I hope yours is more  calm.

RT