Friday, March 19, 2010

Coming Up For Air

One of my favorite books from one of my favorite authors is, "Down and Out from Paris to London." It's by George Orwell. He literally gave all his money away to live as a bum in Paris and London to really see what it was like. He had to give his money away because he wanted the experience to be genuine. 

The title of this blog isn't from that book. It's from another book Orwell wrote that was really boring. It was so boring I can't even remember what it was about. Still, he was a terrific writer.

I spent the last two months trying to stay alive. I wasn't very well. I didn't know it then. When you're really sick, you don't know it. Only later can you look back and say, "Whew. That was close." The shingles really had me. Plus the treatment exhausted me.

Yesterday I saw my doc in New York to start another round of treatments. He was shocked when I told him what was going on with me. I said I'd wake up around noon and just tried to get one thing done in a day. He nodded and went on to tell me about men. Most men are babies. They can't take pain like women. But some men aren't. To their detriment. Some men will suffer through pain because they are ashamed and/or want to beat the pain. But they shouldn't do that. Doc told me that there are other treatments out there and if I am still having a hard time doing anything during the day then we can switch treatments. I told him that I was just happy to be alive even if I was running at about one third speed. He said that there is a quality of life issue and patients need to decide individually if living at one third speed is better than trying to live life better. He didn't think I should be like this at this point.

The thought was to give my current treatment three more weeks. If I'm still tired and nauseous then we would switch treatments. We might switch anyway. The lumps in my right collar bone have fused together forming one big mass. So the cancer is growing. However, the big issue is how fast it's growing. If it's a lot then I'm off to another drug.

I'm still in a lot of pain and am nauseous and tired but now I have a whole list of even more drugs to counter act these feelings. It's too early to tell if they're working. You'll know by my radio silence if they aren't. In one day I can very easily down close to thirty pills. Let's take an inventory, shall we:

Colace so I can poop
Valtrex so I can get rid of Shingles
Hydrocodone for pain (two times a day)
Aleve for sore nodes (two times a day)
Ritalin for energy (two times a day)
Kytril for nausea (two times a day)
Ativan for nausea
2 pills of Benedryl for the Hodge Itch
12 pills for treatment
4 pills to fight cancer
An anti-acid to help with digestion


  1. Glad to hear from you! Even at 1/3 speed your still faster than Todd.

    P.S. If UNI wins another game I have to buy and wear one of their nasty purple jerseys to work. Thanks Kansas.

  2. Dear Tom.....
    So glad to see a new post; I was almost dreading checking daily for any updates for fear that the cupboard would be bare. It's too bad that there isn't a team here locally that could help you...flying must really be stressful for you...just being away from home is difficult but you are stronger than we realize. Let that be a blessing for you instead of making you too macho to ask for help with the pain. Your NYCdoc is right: quality of life is may be stoned but at least you can dance....
    God bless you!

  3. Dear Mike,
    I'm happy to see this post, that you are writing again. Your NYC doctor sounds wise. Are you in New York now? Can I help you out somehow?