Thursday, August 19, 2010

Michael Jackson, chipmonks and cycles

Damn you oxycodone. Damn you to hell. Why do you have to wear off? I could swim in your warm pill-arms all day and night. But you wear off. How am I ever going to be a drug addict if you wear off?

I saw my doctor today and he literally compared me to Michael Jackson. Not the young, cute black boy. Not the older, nose-less white woman. But the dead drug addict Michael Jackson. He asked me how I was dealing with the itching since there is really no cure other than getting the Hodge to go away. I replied that I have a cocktail: take two oxycodone and three anti-itch medicine pills that don't really work. He started laughing. He said, "Well, of course that will keep you from itching. You're asleep. Ask Michael Jackson if his drugs worked for him and he'd say yes too." But funny thing is, he didn't tell me to go off my cocktail. He didn't say whether it was dangerous or not. You don't tell cancer patients they can't do something. It's not right. Heck, I might rob a bank. Who's going to convict me?

So yes, indeed, I saw my doctor. I decided to go deep. Well, my wife helped. My wife is a nurse so she has good medical sense about her. She's also a very, very sensible woman who is never afraid to tell it exactly like it is. She'd be the only American Idol judge who actually judged. She always tells me my breath stinks or I look like an idiot in that shirt. So I know I'd get straight-forward medical advice from her on this. 

All she said was, "Well, if this doesn't work, we can always try traditional chemo." And she was right. While other treatments had better success rates and this one had, um, none, I'm still willing to try something a little more experimental because I can right now. 

"Why can I?" you ask. "I mean, you were just about to die at Christmas time." Well, the truth is, I can die at any time. But during my month off without any medicine other than an occasional steroid and my trusty oxycodone cocktail, I noticed something strange. My nodes didn't feel like they were growing out of control. Oh, they were growing and I got a big one on my right side. But nothing like I had thought. And that makes senses since the previous treatment left others in a similar slow growth period.

Today the scan proved it (although I still don't believe it and won't until I see the report). But while a few are big, nothing grew more than 1 cm in one month. For those of you who aren't medical professionals, that's pretty good for someone who had no chemo during that time. Basically, they're growing but at the same pace as they were when I was on treatment. 

So I have a screw up due to me and I'm using it. Meaning, if this doesn't work and screws up, I think I still have enough body left in me that doesn't have a cancerous node attached to it that I can overcome it. 

I have to stay in New York for ten days. During which time I will get a transfusion of the medicine and then blood tests every day after that. 

It reminds me of when I worked on animation. I did it twice. One time I flew to LA and the next time I somehow managed to get a trip to Paris even though I had given the agency my two weeks notice. Animation takes a long time for the animators to render. So instead of sitting there looking at their drawings for eight hours, you'd come in in the morning (the animators would have a night shift) and then you'd say something like, "That's great but the black snake needs to form sort of a squiggly, wiggly shape." And the producer would write down, "Needs more squiggly wiggly" and then you'd leave. You'd have the whole day to yourself and then come back at the end of the day and say, "That's fine. But the squiggly wiggly is more like a swerve. and the snake looks more like a chipmonk. We need less chipmonk." And after the producer writes down, "Less chipmonk," and then underlines it, you'd leave to go to dinner and get really drunk and repeat everything in the morning. This would go on for a week or so until the client showed up. At that point, you'd talk about going back to the hotel to do work but would actually go site-seeing and the client would talk about going back to the hotel to do work but would actually go site-seeing.

Well, that's what I have ahead of me here in New York at first. But after the first ten days, it gets sort of complicated and frankly, I'm not even sure I can pull it off. 

After the ten days, I start "cycles". On days one and eight of each three week cycle, I will come back to New York in the morning, take a taxi to the transfusion center, get the medicine for an hour and then take a taxi back to the airport. Do it all in one day. It's just the opposite of squiggly wiggly. Basically once a week on two consecutive weeks, I gotta fly in and fly out. That's the only way I can do it and keep from spending a lot of money on hotel bills. 

If I look at it another way, it's easier to swallow. I already see the doc every three weeks. So this is just adding one trip. I hope it works. Heck, I hope a lot of this works. 


  1. Rough english translation: safe travels, Michael Jackson Herlehy ...good luck ... Yankees evil... RedSox good ... Donger need food.

  2. Well, she's right. Yankees ARE evil and the RedSox ARE good!

  3. And so it goes, the saga continues....may your journey enlighten your spirit and rid your body of the evil resident within.