Saturday, January 23, 2010

The secret to a really good kick.

I have to admit and I think I've said it even on this blog before, but I have an awfully good kick. A "kick" is a cross country term. It describes the last half mile or so of a race, including the sprint to the finish. In fact, I never lost to a runner who was within ten yards of me when I started the kick. 

Now, I'd like to think it was because I was super fast but I really wasn't. I just knew a secret or two. One of the big ones is to never flinch. The first runner to flinch is the one that losses 100% of the time. They let up for even a split second. That's all it takes. The better runner focuses, keeps his head forward and down and believes he's getting there first. All those hollywood finishes in races where a guy dives over the finish line just ahead of the other person? You don't need the theatrics. Just keep your head down.

I am trying not to flinch now. We are setting upon the last part of my treatment schedule. I have four days left. The last two times I was at this point, my body started to break down. This time it's just as bad or worse. I've already puked from the treatment and had to take a break for one day. Another situation like that and I'm liable to get off the trial.

But man it's hard. Counting side effect pills, I think I down about twenty suckers a day. Most of them are horse pills. Not pony pills. Big, Man O War horses. The type my step father bets on. For part of the day I keep my mouth shut hard. If I open it, stuff will surely come out. 

I'm also breaking down the other, less pleasant way again. My butt feels like I spent a lost night at Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Rio. Blood is the liquid of choice here when stuff does come out. 

The good news is I'm not so tired any more. I can spend the day with the kids although I need breaks and am very, very little help with Mad Dog. I am hopeful that I can get these other issues under control somehow. 

Bekah is a brave soul and a fellow hodge dogder who was on the same medicine that I'm now taking and saw a whole 40% reduction of her tumors. She has had to stop the trial because the side effects were too much for her tiny frame and is having a hard time of it now. Please keep her in your thoughts if you can. I will. I believe it's still possible to keep my head down, focus, think of her and never, ever flinch.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bodily rejection

Things have taken a turn for the worse. Puked a lot tonight after trying to get through the pills. I just can't keep them in me. Either I puke them out or they go out of me pretty quickly the ah, more unpleasant and stinkier route. And I consider myself a pretty good pill taker. Will try again tomorrow. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cancer, You-Betcha!

Greetings from Rochester, Minnesota. In just a couple of days I went from New York, the city that never sleeps, to the city that goes to bed around 7:30. Ya-heya. It's cold up here but the folks are warm and the buffets are many. The lead story in tonight's news is about a guy who exposed himself at the Days Inn. Apparently he's done this type of thing before. This is obviously a very disturbed man. Not because he exposes himself. Hey if he's proud of his junk, why not show it off, right? No he's sick because it's cold as hell. Why would any sane person get nakie in this weather even if it is just for a second or two? 

I will be here for the next couple of days. It all depends on what tests I agree to. Tomorrow I meet with some hot-shot doctor. He'll tell me I'm sick, look at my scans and we'll go through the usual patient history. I got it all down pretty good now. 

As for my tests, thank you all for sending your best vibes and inquiries. The cancer is still there and growing at a slow pace. My doc said that is to be expected for some patients because this stuff works at a slower pace than typical chemo. We talked for about a half hour just on side effects because, well, if you can name a bodily function, I can tell you that my body has malfunctioned with it in the last couple of weeks. Things stablized after I got off the meds for a week, though. The big issues are my nausea, itching and high liver function. The doctor kept asking me if I was drinking, like he didn't believe me. I don't do drinking any more. I'm buzzed for half the day anyway. Why would I drink to get even more buzzed? I just want a dose of reality. But with my past, I wouldn't be surprised one bit if my liver is a little sensitive.

So the good and bad news is I have to stay on the meds for another couple of months. We're still trying to work out how I can avoid the inevitable headache and nausea. The doc suggested crushing the sixteen pills I have to take and mixing it into some kind of meal, like a stew. Unfortunately, the Mariott only has about five items on the room service menu. None are stew. I had the walleye. When in Rome. It was huge. I could only finish about half of it and felt really bad about it as I watched the news of starving people in Haiti. Ya know, I've been to Haiti. We took the kids to this private beach as a part of our cruise. The kids couldn't swim much because of the jellyfish. So that's what they think of Haiti--jellyfish.

I don't really know what to do with myself here in the Mariott. I would usually get the headache to go away at home by playing with the kids or picking up Mad Dog. She's does this cool thing where she grabs my finger. I pretend that she's squeezing the badness out for me. 

Enclosed are some visual aids. I know there are a lot of art directors who try to read this but never get through it because there are so many hard words. So I will try to include my picts. There is one of a ceramic bird type of thing at the Rochester airport. Small midwestern towns love ceramic animals. Another is the most famous landmark here, which is a corn water tower that you can see driving into the city. The other pick is of Mad Dog taking a bath. She's probably doing that right now. 

Oh one update. The second lead story in the news is some teenagers blew up a fish house out on one of the lakes here. Really. Blew up a fish house. I'm beginning to love it here. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Am I OK?

That's a good question. I don't really know. I had my tests today. Tomorrow I meet with Dr. O to discuss the results and the next steps. 

I always thought that the way most people die of cancer is from the cancer. But not with this. The way most people go is actually from the treatment. Eventually the body just says, "No mas" and people end up dying from pnuemonia or some other disease. That's when you hear that this person died of "cancer-related difficulties". 

It's very understandable. The rest of my life I will have poison in my body on almost a daily basis. That's putting any body through quite a work out. One look in the mirror and the miles are starting to show. I already look like Kris Kristoferson. When my wife and I go out to lunch on occasion, I tell the waitress that she's my daughter. The waitress doesn't laugh.

Tomorrow I will be facing a bit of a catch 22 situation. If the tests are good, I stay on the drug. That means I continue to fight through every day finding minutes that ignore the feelings of nausea, pain and fatigue. If the tests are bad, I go off the trial and begin three weeks where I have to stay off of any chemo drug, in which case I will feel the effects of the cancer in my body. This is called the "wash out" period where I need to fully wash all traces of the treatment out of my body before I can start a new trial. It's tricky because you hope the cancer doesn't grow too much and pray that your body doesn't one day say "no mas". 

One note. A while back someone who once had cancer warned me of not being too heavy on this blog because it's not really helping anyone and in fact, it can have the opposite effect of really bumming a lot of good-hearted people out. You folks out there want to help but there's nothing you can do. So instead of whining on this every day I decided not to write anything at all. But many of you didn't like that situation. So I'm back and yes I will whine on occasion. I do think it's helpful to you in one respect. The next time one of your loved ones comes down with this nasty disease, you'll have a good understanding of what they're going through. And if you're tired of the whining, then don't read. Do something else. Sarah Palin is now on Fox News. That'll get you laughing again.