Friday, February 27, 2009

Thursday. An exciting timeline.

9 am: Gave blood.

9:30 am: Got ready for the PET exam. This Asian nurse had a hard time getting the needle into my right arm. She banged it up pretty good. I think she did it on purpose. Ya know, for losing World War II and all. They couldn't use either of the two tubes sticking out of my right arm for some reason. So the rest of the day I walked around with tubes sticking out of my left forearm and tubes sticking out of my right bicep. I felt like Jack Lambert with all the tape. Fellas you'll have to explain that reference to the lady folk. 

10 am Waited for the barium to go through my body. They put you in this little room and tell you not to move for a half hour. They turn off all the lights except for this lightbox in front of you. On the box is this bad photo of flowers and a path. I told the Asian nurse the photoshop work on the picture was horrendous. The Asian nurse didn't even look up.

10:30 am Went under that big nuculer reactor (that's right, "nucular reactor." I am in Texas.). Had to stay perfectly still for another half hour. 

11ish Done. Went to eat something. Had the chicken parm on an outdoor terrace that overlooked an electrical grid. As my USA Today blew in the wind, I wondered if it was wise for a cancer hospital to be located right next to an electrical grid. The chix parm was excellent, by the way.

1 pm Went to see a doctor about my blood work results taken from earlier in the morning. They weren't good. I got a lot of organs that are very, very upset with me. They are very confused and hurt and want to know why deadly toxins are passing through them. Surprisingly, one is my liver. I laughed since my liver has seen worse pass through it, believe me. The nurse didn't even look up when I joked about that. MD Anderson is a great place but they have no sense of humor. This blood work is unrelated to the other tests I was having. I get blood work every week to check my body. I guess I have to rest a lot this weekend.

3 pm Prep for the CT exam. I have to drink two bottles of this milky stuff at certain times and then wait for the milky stuff to go all over my body.

5 pm After playing quite a few rounds of iPhone cribbage in the lobby, I'm finally able to go under another nucular reactor thingy to take more pictures. They shoot warm barium through my veins and milky stuff up my butt. Sorry for the crudeness but it was even cruder if you were there. I made a joke to this nurse about not buying me dinner. No reaction but this time I deserved it since it was a bit of a tired joke. The nurse took the needle in my right forearm out and said, "Wow. That's one thick needle." I felt bad about being rude to my first nurse, the Asian nurse, especially for thinking that she was mad at me for Hiroshima. It didn't last long, though. 

6 pm Had some X-rays taken.

7 pm Went to my Rotarian home. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Must See PET

I once read an article that the Bay City Rollers were going to come out with a sequel to their hit song, "Saturday Night" and it was to be called "Thursday Night". No kidding. I wonder what made them decide not to. 

Thursday has always been a big night. Must see TV. The best beer specials. And now, Thursday holds the secret to how my cancer is doing. I have a PET and CT scan and an X-Ray scheduled tomorrow. Those are two tests that take pictures of my insides. Most places take only the PET. MD Anderson--once again, gotta do everything in triplicate. 

I'd like to offer up some managed expectations. There's a great scene in the HBO mini-series, "John Adams", with Abigale and her daughter Nabby. Nabby had already lost a breast due to cancer. They were in the garden and it was about a year later. With a lull in the conversation, Nabby just said, "It's back". Abigale said something about fighting it and calling the doctor and so forth. But Nabby said not this time. She knew. People with cancer know their own bodies better than the doctors. The suspicions only have to be turned into fact. 

My suspicion is this. The cancer is gone from my right side. But there are still a couple of pretty nice-sized lumps on my left side. Generally, that's pretty good news. However, before a person starts high dose chemo, the chances for a full recovery are highest when the cancer is completely gone. That won't be the case. I know that. This time I have the horse on the outside. Longer odds but we can still see how she does in the backstretch. 

Please think positively. I won't have the results any time soon. I might not even have them until Tuesday. That's a lot of positive thinking. I will be. Both times I've felt so much better after the chemo wears off. I can breath. 

Enclosed is a picture of what looks like me but is actually the weird dude from that Heaven's Gate cult. Eventually I'll figure out the video function on my iPhone (my daughter showed me once) and do something with that. My friend David Yang asked me about it. I guess he doesn't like all this reading and would rather watch something instead. He likes watching TV.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Why is there a picture of a pig? No reason.

It's almost 12:30 am and you may think that I should go to bed. But I can't. 

The drugs could be keeping me from this needed slumber. They do keep me jittery. But what really keeps me from sleeping is sleeping. Or really, the attempt at it. When you go to bed, you are, in essence, giving in to your body. That is counter-intuitive to anyone on chemo. 

I spent the last three days ignoring my body. If I listened to it, I would be in the toilet puking or taking a hammer to my head to get rid of the headaches. There is the battle with cancer that seems to be well-documented if not a little cheesy. One of my friends thinks it's a little gay and he may be right. 

There is also a battle with chemo. And that war is over your body. Your mind can control the nausea and whatever else comes along by ignoring these things and staying busy. I go online, watch TV, do a crossword, talk to people, write a haiku. Okay, I don't write haikus. That would indeed be cheesy. I don't even think I spelled it correctly. I stay away from letting my body tell me anything. It's like being at a party with your wife and she wants to leave and you don't want to so you just don't let her tell you. You avoid her and stuff.  Guys, you know.

This is what keeps you seeming normal and okay through the day. Of course, there are also the activities to avoid. After fourteen chemo treatments, I got that down. I don't read. Can't read books. I stay away from the really cool iPod my friend David and his sister got me until I can handle it. I don't look in the mirror too long, which is sort of a bummer because I enjoy admiring my pects and abs (comepletely hairless, once again, ladies...). I don't eat hamburgers. One of the first times I had chemo, I ate a hamburger. That's a big no-no. Never eat anything while you're getting chemo. It will make you sick with even the thought of it. I knew that but darn it all, I was hungry. And I thought, "What can I have that's really bad for me? That way I'll never want something that's really bad for me ever again." I chose hamburgers. Haven't eaten a hamburger in about two years. I cringe every time I go by a Wendy's or McDiddies and let me tell you, there are a lot of those down here in scenic Houston. 

Actually, I try to keep something in my belly at all times. Can't have an empty stomach. So that picture you saw of me yesterday wasn't of the midsection variety. If it was, it would have been ugly--although ladies, I am hairless. One again, control yourselves while you imagine me hairless.

Still, sleeping is something I haven't figured out. I only go when my body says, "Hey. Dufus. It's ah...three thrity? You gonna play online poker all night?" So I look at my bed with the same dread and forboding that many insomniacs do. It's just not the place to go. If only my body could understand this. But even though it has ears, a body doesn't listen. It's the drunk husband at the party who is ignoring his wife, who is holding the coats and waiting to leave. 

Enclosed is a picture of a pig. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Is this an alien?

Action intensified this weekend in the war with the evil forces of Cancer. Sources close to the situation say that this, the second of four offensives, will continue into the week. Causalities are mounting on both sides. Michael has no hair, a gaunt look, something called nueropathy and thrush again. That along with the usual headache, nausea, muscle cramps, etc. 

On the other hand, Cancer is retreating from Michael's neck and chest area, although the Cancer cells continue to resist. A report from the minister of Cancer says that Michael is an infidel and liar and takes baths like a girlie-girl. Michael has admitted to taking baths but says that he has to on account of his arm but isn't an infidel. He has lied in the past. 

As expected, Michael is very tired and sleeps most of the day. His dreams are still very graphic and strange. Today he dreamt of being stabbed by something that looked a little like Alf but not as tall as Sasquatch. This was not a nightmare since this Alf-like character was sort of lame and more for a five year old. Michael is relieved that no being in his dreams is telling him to kill anyone, especially not his good friend David Yang.

As mentioned before, this is the second of four chemo treatments with the last one being "high dose". That's gotta be sort of a joke because low dose almost kills you. It was learned today that Michael has to shave all the hairs from his body before entering that phase. Luckily, most of it is already gone (Did you hear that ladies? That's right, no nipple or lower back hair. Va-va-Voom.). Michael also will not be able to eat any fruits or vegetables for a long time. Michael is planning on renting the John Travolta classic, "Boy in the Plastic Bubble" for preparation.

Michael's wife Sherri is in Houston to make fun of the many bad commercials on TV and to aid Michael in his time of need. Sherri will be going home tomorrow to our two fighting kids and a dog that always wants to go outside and play. Sherri admitted the other day that she reads this blog "I'm looking to see where you make fun of me." 

Attached is a picture of Michael in his palatial apartment/hotel room at the Rotary House in Houston, Texas. His wife is in the other room sleeping and would have ruined the picture since she is way too pretty to be married to an alien.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

He's better off with Abe Lincoln

My eleven year old boy has to write an essay on who his hero is. I think all the boys picked their dads. Mine did. I find that really depressing. So what does he know of me? What does he remember of me in the last year? I lay in bed all day, watch TV and sleep. Sometimes I don't bother to come down for dinner. I never go out.. Sometimes I don't bother to change my clothes. I have no energy to play anything with anyone. No catch. No games. Sometimes I tried to take the dog for a walk.  I don't do anything for my boy or with him, at least anything for him to see, admire or emulate. I don't even look the part. My sixty-nine year old dad looks younger. So what does a son write? "I think I remember when he used to do this..?" And the worst part of it is, he wants me to look at the essay. I told him recently that I used to not be like this. He said he knows. But I wonder if he remembers. If he'll remember in ten or twenty years. I can't remember much about what I was doing at eleven. And when I look at that essay, I'll only be thinking about what he didn't write and could have written about. 

Chemotherapy is a terrible, terrible way to get well. It's a treatment that feels like it should be from the middle ages.  It sucks everything out of you, the biggest thing being your joy for life. And there's nowhere to go. You only feel okay when you sleep and that's not all that often. You know the times when you're in a hotel room and you have this dream that you're at home? Then you wake up and are a little disorientated because you thought you were home. That happens every morning to chemo-heads only the nausea is what reminds you that you're not home.

What's wrong with choosing Colin Powell or Abraham Lincoln for a hero? Lots more material there. 

New Fighting Along Same Front

Yesterday morning, the army of ICE began a second offensive against the evil Empire of Cancer. Sorties began softening both the right and left side of my chest, with immediate results expected to be seen on the softer right flank. 

Michael didn't take too well to the first wave of action. He puked all over a Korte Company t-shirt, going about six rounds until they found a cocktail that can hold everything in so far. Nobody laughed at the weird sounds. Michael's wife was back at the hotel room sleeping but would have laughed a little if she were here.

The troops are still amassing at the border. It takes about three days to get it all inside Michael's body and then, hoo-boy, watch out. That's when the fun begins. 

Still, cancer remains defiant. "We will fight the infidels with all our single-celled might. We like it here. It's warm. There's plenty to eat. And this man usually eats pretty good food. We feel confident we can hold off the chemo-bambies."

Spirits remain high on the other side as well. Michael has been bouyant ever since watching the Turkish version of Wheel of Fortune. Unlike American Wheel of Fortune where basically people from the middle of Missouri try to spell their way to success, the Turkish version features hot twenty-somethings dressed like they were going out for a night of their fortune with spelling and guessing seemingly a n annoying side show. It's a mix between Caliente, the Bachelor and Press Your Luck. This seen makes Michael want to experience more in life. 
A couple of setbacks have beset the army of the good, however. Michael has lost almost all his hair again. His wife is calling him Patchy. That usually causes Michael to respond that he wants more "care" out of his "Care-giver" and so far she's only getting a "C" grade.

Also, Michael misses his kids. He appreciates all the people who have offered to babysit during the expected rough and tumble days of late March and early April. 

Attached is a picture of what a loving Care-giver/Care-givee relationship should look like. I'm the old person. Actually, the old person looks a little younger than me right now. 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Filling time, waiting for platelets

Sherri didn't make it in. A neighbor who works for an airline gave us some passes. The only catch is you have to fly stand-by. There were no extra seats on any of her flights today. So while I had to deal with chest pains, lumps and the general angst of lost platelets, she had to for hours at O'Hare without a challenging Sudoku book in toe. I think I had a better day.

Many people have asked what we need. I finally have a good answer. Assuming the platelets get off their platelet asses, I will be going into a pretty intensive period during the month of March. They tell us that's when I'll need a "Care-person" with me at all times. Sherri and I will both be living in a germ-free hospital room fighting over the remote and laughing at the noises I make while I puke for almost a month. The kids have already helped me prepare for this as they've both designed puke buckets. I requested a target with numbers etc. I'm sure McKenna's has something with flowers. 

Unfortunately, our great stand-by babysitter, my sister, is traveling for most of the month. So we're going to need back-ups. Now, my wife has a list and probably doesn't need anybody new. But in this situation, you can't have too many back-ups. If anyone would like to spend a few nights in our double-wide in Bartlett and isn't on any list for molesting kids, please feel free to send a note to Sherri at For those of you like Pat who are Internet-challenged, please remember it's net and com. 

Some of you have asked how this relapse happened and with the help of the doctors at MD Anderson I now have a much better idea. The fault lies in me not coming to MD Anderson in the first place. Toward the end of my last treatment, I was having a bad reaction to one of my chemo drugs and then became very sick after treatment. The biggest problems were my lungs, which never became well enough to get radiation treatment. I wasn't looking forward to radiation any way. In fact, based on the information given to me (which I know now to be completely incorrect), I would've probably turned it down. Any way, with the specific type of cancer that I had, I absolutely needed that radiation treatment. The cancer was guaranteed to come back. The ironic part of it is that one of my last lung tests was responsible for spotting  my relapsed cancer. Three months too late.

The lesson here is when faced with such a serious and perilous situation, look for only the best help. Yes, it costs more and puts quite a strain on everything and everyone. But the big bills, the medical costs, are exactly the same as if I went to Central DuPage Hospital. The difference is absolutely huge. Like I mentioned, if I went here in the first place, my toxic reaction to the chemo medicine would have been dealt with. If I did get sick, I would have gotten attention faster and have gotten over it faster. And I wouldn't have gotten any bad advice. I tell you all this in case you run into a loved one (another loved one besides me, of course) who comes down with something like this.

Lastly, thanks to Reed. The answer to my humdrum existence here in Houston was staring me right in the face. Hulu. I can do Hulu for a little while. 

Sorry this wasn't more interesting and full of jokes about the Turkish channel. Even late night Turkish channel sucks. Some play is on right now. Must be the PBS channel in Turkey.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Law and Order, Greenheads and Lou Reed

The Little Woman comes in tomorrow. She'll be here for a long stay. I almost think she'll be in more pain than me during this round of treatment as she'll be without the kids for ten days. They're with a mishmash of neighbors, friends, family members. Doesn't sound too stable but that's the best we can do right now. The Skype will be working. 

Obviously this is a break in the action. You may be wondering what the hell I do all day and my answer is, not a lot. My body doesn't want to exercise. My mind is just getting back to normal. So that means a lot of time online and a dose of bad TV. Actually, I don't really end up watching too much TV because there simply isn't anything that interests me. I don't like Scrubs reruns. I don't like Law and Order, any Law and Orders. And as for the rest, well, the hotel offers a pretty pathetic line-up of channels. Two C-SPANs. Three CNNs. Two Arabic channels. One Turkish channel (No, really. I double checked. Turkey. You make sense of it. I can't.).  Four Spanish channels (Those I can handle. For those ladies out there who don't understand why, ask your man.). No HBO, Showtime, Cinemax. Not even Stars, the poorman's movie channel. There really isn't much to watch.

So I get up pretty late because I usually spent most of the night trying to sleep. I usually take a walk like old people take walks. I'll try to do the crossword and read the paper. Usually, MD Anderson has me doing something. So I'll hit that test after lunch. I might venture to Target in the afternoon or somewhere else that's easy to get to. And then it's dinner time. 

I know it's all boring. But doing anything major is still sort of difficult. Just not a ton of energy. I'm basically like an eighty year old only I don't have trouble chewing my meat. I wish I could do something more worthwhile. I tried to do some ads for Bob and David but they didn't seem to get back to me once I sent them a round of headlines for Bally's Health and Fitness. For example, for St. Patrick's Day I wrote, "Lift some weights, greenhead." And for Valentine's Day I wrote: "Girls, if you don't have a date for Valentine's Day, it's probably because you're fat and ugly. So you need to come here to get rid of the fat part." Like I mentioned, David and Bob didn't respond. Maybe because they're really busy.

No update on the cancer part. The troops didn't take news of this lull too well. They know I voted for Barak Obama so now they say I'm soft, don't like the military and don't really support our troops. I heard they think I pal around with terrorists, too. They really want to fight. So do I. It's better than watching reruns of Scrubs. 

Enclosed is a pict of the wife and kids at home about a half year ago. As Lou Reed would say, "Those were different times. "

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

At least I saw Elvis

I wasn't able to get treatment. Dr. Wendy, who still doesn't laugh, said my platelet count was too low. I was very, very disappointed and expressed this to Dr. Wendy. I told her, "I feel fine. I don't want to miss any dates. Platelet's are stupid." Dr. Wendy was stumped. There is no medical response to the comment that platelets are stupid.  

So I kept going. "The troops are ready to go. I already gave them the Eisenhower D-Day speech. They want to kill." 

Once again Dr. Wendy was stumped. She said, "Uh-huh." That's a medical term for "I understand. But you're still not getting jack."

So I have to wait for a week. Some lumps have gone down slightly. The big ones haven't. The doctor said that he saw a small response from an X-ray that I took. That's mostly good news. A good response to the chemo is the biggest predictor of success later on. The more cancer that's killed, the better my chances. 

So I went back to the hotel wondering what to do. I was pleasantly distracted. As I was waiting for the shuttle to go to Target, I saw Elvis pull up in a silver SUV. Now, don't go thinking Elvis has cancer. Elvis doesn't get cancer. He takes way too many prescription drugs to get cancer. 
Actually, it was an Elvis impersonator. Really. He was there to performing for the crowd at the Rotary House. Yes, us Rotarians know how to party. Enclosed is the best shot I could get. He was actually short, skinny and wore a jacket that had shoulder pads. I haven't seen  shoulder pads since 1983, although I heard David Yang could still have a few. 

Monday, February 9, 2009

We're not going to do this the easy way.

The itching and chest pains are back. After the first chemo treatment, while the rest of my body didn't feel too great, my tumor area actually did. For the first time since September, I was breathing without feeling like I was having a heart attack. The itching went away too. Even the night sweats were slightly less sweaty. Until today. I woke up and it's all back. 

I called my wife expecting to hear her reassure me. She's really good at that. I worry. She tells me that I'm taking this way out of proportion. Only today, she didn't. 

The truth is, I don't know what it is. My guess is the chemo ripped apart some areas successfully but it's bouncing back. I don't know if this is bad or normal. It's all made for a really bad day when I should have felt good getting ready for the second round of chemo on Wednesday. I'll see the doctor in the morning. I'll ask him but he's not exactly the talkative type. 

Sorry that I don't have picts. I need David to spice this place up.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Costanza Day

I woke up feeling okay. And after avoiding disaster twice in two days, I decided today was going to be George Costanza Day, meaning do as close to nothing as possible. So I haven't. And I hope I will be repaid with some healthy labs.

This is another big week. I am scheduled to get another treatment of ICE on Wednesday. The hell starts but it's a good hell. That would make two of three and then the real hell starts. Hopefully, eventually, my lumps will start to go down. But they haven't yet. Still got that Sealy posterpedic look to my midsection. It's very important that the cancer retreats with this portion of the treatment, if only because it is the greatest determiner of success. Basically, if the ICE works, chances get much better that everything else will work. If the cancer is still busy being cancer, well, you got problems.

There's two types of success here: partial remission (PR for us medical folk) and complete remission (CR). Obviously, you want CR. But my transplant doctor is confident he can do the job right with PR. We won't know if it's PR or CR until we get to my third ICE treatment. 

Many of you have wondered about the kids. Sherri and I decided to try to make the kids' lives as normal as possible. So she stays up in our double-wide in Bartlett as much as she can. Dad is just taking one long trip to get better. Mylie Cyrus and Sean White have never gone to rehab so they don't get it as well as they could. We thought about TiVo-ing celebrity rehab but then that Jeff Conway character would seem eerily like me, slumped over and such. 
So they take it fine when only Dad is gone. When both are gone, not always the best. Conner's been most effected, which is surprising because when we are home he isn't. He's off with his posse somewhere, usually beating up nerds and throwing rocks at police cars. My sister did a wonderful thing and uprooted herself to watch the kids for a whole week during my first treatment. That must have been rough for her. We knew it was tough because by the end of the week, the dog was the only one with new toys. 

If you're wondering how my dog is taking it, wonder no more. My dog is really stupid. No, really stupid. As in really touched in the head. She eats her own poo. 

If you're wondering how my wife is taking it, I do too. I hope she's doing well. She's from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. You know that movie, Fargo? Well, Sher's family didn't see what was so funny about the movie and neither did their friends, by golly. She's a lot like the Brainerd sheriff, Margie. Only much better looking. I'd like to say that the accent is gone too but it comes back whenever we reach Kenosha. She plugs along.

I don't take it too well. The best I do is avoid it if at all possible. We have Skype but it's hard to see your kids happy and at home while you have a tube stuck out of your arm wondering. But maybe I'll feel better later tonight when I hear someone else puke. No, really. Others got it real bad. 

Pretend this is Saturday's Blog

I woke up feeling much better. The temp was down. Life was good. I remembered that I was to move into another, more palatial room here at the Rotary House. I'm not sure if I covered that before but I moved out of the Holiday Inn. Or I should say that my wife did it while I was in the hospital getting chemo. 

You may think that a bunch of old guys with funny hats and secret handshakes hang out here. And you may get the impression that it's old and decrepit. I sure did. But actually, it's one of the nicer places to stay. It's run by the Marriott and they have what every cancer patient needs to stay healthy and happy, one swanky buffet. Just last week I was beside myself as I was forced to choose between a chicken pot pie dish and the meatloaf. Of course, the beauty of the buffet is you can do a little of both. 

Anywho, a one-bedroom suite wasn't going to be ready until the weekend. Until then I was in a king, with partial parking garage view. My wife was going to be back home with the kids during moving time and offered to stay, but I thought, we really don't have much to move. I can do it on my own. Now it's Saturday, I'm fighting a cold. Maybe that was a mistake. 

I moved. And then about five o'clock I started to get all these back spasms. Yes, that's right, now I jeapordized my life just because I wanted a couch. I laid in bed all night and the spasms kept on. 

The room is nicer and bigger. But the walls are thin. Now, there was a time in my life when I sort dug thin walls. You could hear all kinds of goings-on. But you don't want thin walls in a hotel that's connected to a cancer hospital. You hear a lot of puking. People are sick. It's very sad. 

Pretend this is Friday

I haven't blogged in a while. So this is intended to catch everyone up.

The last time I was in Vegas, one of my friends was over-served. We were all at the Pai Gow table at one of the casinos on the strip that has "character", it was very late and he was slumped over his drink and his cards. Every once in a while when he needed to, he would grunt and bob his head. That would mean bet, another drink, etc. Each grunt had a different length or pitch, sort of like whale sounds. Now, this guy is one of the smartest people you'll ever meet, so it was pretty funny to watch. And he usually doesn't get that drunk, so we didn't worry much. Until someone mentioned alcohol poisoning. 

That was me on Friday. Oh, I didn't drink any alcohol. In fact, a sip of the Good Stuff just gives me a really bad headache. No, I was over-served with some kind of virus. I was supposed to be getting better but wasn't. So there I was, at MD Anderson, slumped over and giving grunting noises as answers as they pricked and poked. I was given the option of going back into the hospital but opted for some drugs and the promise that if my fever gets worse, to head on in. I knew I had to get better by the weekend. I can't miss treatments for too long. 

So Friday, I drank a lot of fluids, took my new drugs, slept and did what I could to not do much. It was a lost Friday. 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fructis, Tom Brady, George Orwell, Others

Sorry I haven't written in the last couple of days. My energy level extended as far as getting a walk in here and there and going to appointments. I'm very tired and confused at times. It took about six tries to remember my password for this blog. But the good news is, the nausea is gone until Wednesday when I start a second dose of chemo treatment. 

Yesterday one of my doctor's asked, "So how are the demons?" Now, these aren't the warewolves. Those come a callin' at night when you can't sleep and mostly howl. The demons are around when you do sleep and they tell you terrible things all day long. They are very, very mean and evil. The doctor said it was a side effect of the anti-nausea medicine and should wear off. You wouldn't believe the shit they tell me. Bad. Very bad. They should be ashamed. My life is a little like that movie Jacob's Ladder where you can't tell what's real and not and all the while these demons are fucking with you. Plus, the guy barely gets out of bed which is pretty appropriate. But the demons are starting to wear off. 

I remember having a little dose of them the first time I had this cancer thing.  I realized I shouldn't listen to them when David and I were having a heated discussion about who was the better QB: Payton Manning or Tom Brady. I was on Brady's side. David doesn't like anything about Tom Brady ever since Brady was at Michigan annually spanking his beloved Fighting Irish. The demons were telling me weird shit then and I knew it was time to get off all nausea medicine. From that point forward, I took Tylenol and puked a lot. Better than to stab David with a salad fork.
This time it won't be so easy but they're giving me options. The doctor says when the demons get too loud, we can switch meds. Then she laughed.  She wouldn't have laughed if she knew what the demons were telling me to do to her at the time.

I'm almost through my first chemo treatment. Compared to ABVD (my first chemo treatment), ICE is more intense. I prefer it only because the nausea doesn't last as long. ICE sounds better too. Like ICE Man in Top Gun. Of course, it was pretty debilitating. With ABVD, I went to work. With ICE, I can barely get to the bathroom. 

I look back at my first week under chemo and wonder if I can get through it again. I got three more of these and then a third of "high dose" chemo. That's when they really fuck you up. Plus, the doctors keep saying I got an easy dose. An easy dose? Man, I couldn't get out of my bed for three days. What's a hard dose?

My hair is changing. I already shaved it off but my body hair is starting to get that gross chemo texture to it. It could use a good some Fructis, ya know, the total hair solution? Sort of brittle now. Only a matter of times before I am browless. 

Thanks once again for all the encouragement from everyone. It really helps. 

I'm enclosing a picture of the Ice Man because, well, Top Gun is such a classic. "Hard deck, my ass, we nailed that sucker." 

I don't know where the troops are and what they've destroyed in my body. But I have every confidence in the fighting men and women of ICE and trust their leadership. I once read a George Orwell book about the Spanish Civil War. In it he said that war is essentially a series of really boring events in between random horrible events. That's the only thing I learned from that book. So I figured the troops are taking their rest and will begin fighting anew next week.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Sundial Room Feels Like Bali

Today, I made it out of my room. My brain is still scrambled. My head still pounds. My body is aching. Everything inside feels dead. But I made it out of my room. I heard the cleaning lady say something in Spanish this morning. It sounded like, "I think-o he's dead-o." What is Spanish for pathetic vegetable? It was at that point when I figured I should get up and out. I needed to give the cleaning staff an hour to bring some order to a room that has housed me non-stop for two straight days. 

Also having problems with my skin. Now it's coming off. It burns then itches and then peels off. Like a really powerful athlete's foot. My throat feels like some of my homies took a knife to it and didn't put it back together. Sleeping is really intense and uncomfortable. I can't say I enjoy it. I never feel better after waking up. But I do it a lot. 

Can't tell where the troops are. One night I woke up and my right side was frying. I figured they torched a cancer shanty town or two. My boys are doing a Sherman's march or a Dresden fire bomb. Nice. Like the drama. Just wish it wasn't inside my body.

Wish I could have something more interesting, fun or more pleasant to say. I did make it through the Super Bowl without feeling nauseous. I thought the ads would do that to me. 
Tomorrow's a big day. Lots of people seeing me to make sure l qualify for a stem cell transplant.  The most important test is the pulminary function test, which is generally really easy. You just have to blow into these machines. I'm not just worried about passing it, I have no clue how I'm ever going to get it together enough to find the place. 

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Checking in

Very weak and sick today. The chemo medicine is settling in. Woke up at noon. Can't get out of bed. Wife left to watch the kids. Good thing. Don't want her to see me like this. Head is killing me. My brain is really scrambled. I have two tubes sticking out of my right arm. I get chemo through those tubes. Would love to take a bath but it would require a lot of work to saran wrap my arm. Need to keep it clean. May be hard. 

Meanwhile, the battle inside me last night was a real killer. Burning up the whole time. Muscles ache. 

Moved into the Rotary House, which is a hotel that is attached to the hospital. It's run by Marriott. Nicer than the Holiday Inn.