Cut Short

Wrapped up Chemo Day #5. Went into it with a lot of the side effects from the last treatment still bothering me. The neuropathy in my right hand and arm were pretty prevalent. Not to mention starting to get some tingling in my feet. This stupid sore throat wasn’t any better walking into chemo either.

The Oncologist decided to cut back one of my chemo drugs, Oxaliplatin, as it is the primary culprit to the symptoms that I’ve been having. We’ll have to see if cutting this out lessens the effects this upcoming week or not. This is getting old.

On a lighter note, I got my old infusion station back. The one looking right down the hallway. Last time I did my best Jeff Goldberg. This time, I figured why bother just being eye candy. I was born to be a front man. Lucky for me they happened to have a house band, The Bad Decisions. Took me a bit, but we hooked up some smoke and laser lights and we were able to jam out a couple of songs.

I started with an old favorite. The optional third verse to the Air Force Hymn. It’s, of course, dedicated to all the missileers that I’ve known. Hey. If Garth can have an optional third verse, so can I.

Lord be with those under the ground;
Watching TV and sitting around.
Pushing buttons, turning keys, Lord help their hands move with ease.

Image result for welcome to missiles

Then I broke out something of a new classic. Simon. Garfunkle. Disturbed. We all have one thing in common. We just want Creamer for our coffee in the morning.

Hello creamer, my old friend
It’s time for coffee once again.
You make my coffee taste so good.
Call you nectar of the goods I would.

Your words of nutrition
Are written in a tiny font
On your back.

You give taste. To coffee.

White Ceramic Pitcher With White Cream Pouring on Black Coffee Mug

Unfortunately, I had to deprive the screaming masses an encore. Always leave them wanting more. Without having to wait for the Oxaliplatin, my treatment was over in just under an hour. The upside was that we were able to hit up Smash Burger for lunch. In other words. Lunch was fantastic… My chemo nap was just as good.

 

Sundae Funday

Not gonna lie, it’s been a bit of a tough week. The side effects from last weeks chemo stuck around longer than they have in the past. This whole cold sensitivity thing can stop now. It’s starting to tick me off that I have to wear gloves to grab ice for a drink. I almost dropped my Hungry Man meals taking them from the freezer the other morning. It’s getting old quick.

Top that off with a pair of canker sores that make it painful to eat or drink anything, mix in some shoulder pain, and you have a week that’s been the cheeks. Now that the week in-between is over, it’s time for round four to get started. I feel like I haven’t really had a chance to recover from Week Three and here I am again. The cherry on top of my sundae is that I’ll be dealing with chemo over my birthday. I’ve been pretty cranky this past week. My mood has been ruined by my miserableness.

Dentist appointment Wednesday night (no cavities, thank you very much). It wasn’t as bad as having a dentist appointment on my birthday. That was a way to celebrate my 30th birthday. First cavity, no Novocain. Yeah… that trip was one to remember. Chemo on Thursday. Saturday, a quick trip to have my chemo takhomasak removed. Due to my appointment, I missed out on the Family trip to AwesomeCon.

Look, I’m not one to get overly hyped up about my birthday as I’ve gotten older. It’s honestly OK. When I turned 40, my Doc gave me Type II Diabetes. I tried to take it back and exchange it for a gift card to Outback; turns out the return policy is bogus.

I’ll paraphrase what Jackie told me. “I’m excited that you’re alive”. I lost sight of the big picture this week. Thankfully, God put someone into my life at the right point in time to put it back in focus for me. When I think about the last few months, making it to my upcoming birthday wasn’t exactly a guarantee. I’m so over chemo and dealing with the nonsense that I have been, I took this last trip around the solar system for granted.

This week was the cheeks. I honestly thank God for Sunday. Sunday is Easter. Jesus is Risen. That is the hope and truth that I cling to.

Sunday also happens to be April Fool’s day. Due to my chemo schedule, I won’t be able to attend my office’s upcoming Off Site meeting. Now, who would leave me in the office. Little old me. Alone. For a Week. I’m sure that everything will be OK.

surely-you-must-be-kidding-i-never-kid-and-dont-call-me-shirley

Three Down

Yes this post is late, compared to the other ones that I’ve made. Chemo Day #3 is in the books. Only nine more to go and I can exit the chemo train. Man am I ever looking forward to that day.

This week was easier in some ways and much harder in others. I felt better on days 1, 2, and most of day 3. Worse on days 4 and 5 than the last time. We made some changes and learned some more lessons. I got my chemo on Thursday this time, and had my port removed on Saturday. This was great as I was able to miss less work. Yeah, I’m that guy; trying to be at work while this is going on. Even had a meeting Friday I was able to get to, Yay! Saturday and Sunday were nice to spend at the house and by Sunday night I almost felt human again. The corned beef I had for leftovers probably helped. No green beer or Jamesons Irish Whiskey was left over I noticed. The hand pain and cold sensitivity was worse this week. If this keeps up I’ll be dressed like Michael Jackson whenever I get something to eat.

Michael-Jackson-Glove

The big change that was made was that I got a second medicine for nausea. That really helped, and made a big difference Friday and Saturday. Stacking those meds like Lego kept me upright most of the day. Just got tired after a little while, but that’s to be expected. Not gonna lie, though. I kinda felt like trash on most of Monday. Just general trash; tired, sore, kinda tired, that kind of thing.

Now, for the harder part. This is going to sound bad, so please let me finish before throwing hate and stones my way. Due to some scheduling fun, my mom went with me to chemo this past week. Not something that I ever wanted to happen. That’s not because we don’t get along, we do. Not because I don’t like her, I love my mom very much. Pretty much the exact opposite. I know I make chemo sound fun and exciting; something that everyone wants to experience. Let’s be honest, just the two of us. The chemo is trying to kill me slower than it kills the cancer cells. That’s the point of it. Ok, that’s not entirely true. This chemo is preventative. Meaning, the Oncologist isn’t even sure that I have any cancer left. There’s a better than even chance it was all removed when Seamus was plucked from my colon. My doc is slowly trying to kill me in the off chance there are cancer cells floating around my body.

Now, I’ve had people try to kill me. There is an office that I work with, that I’ve joked about this very thing in the past. They would try to drop ladders on my head, starve me, drag me to Border Towns and gunfire, that kind of thing. It’s been a running joke for several years. Up until now, I kinda thought that they’d all given up on trying to off me. I’ll admit I was even hurt a little bit. Looking back, it seems they went with the long game. See, I’ve lost track of the number of hot dogs that I’ve had at Pink’s with those folks. I must say, Bravo. Well played. Before anyone gets horribly upset or thinks that anyone, or any hot dog is to blame, they/you are not.

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Based on the studies, preventative chemo for someone in my boat only takes me from a 20% to a 15% chance of re-occurance in 20 years. In a sense, I’m literally going through chemo for fun. It isn’t even a guarantee.

This is not something I ever wanted to put my mom through. I don’t want her sitting next to me for those three hours. She already has to put up with me at home; this was something I wanted to shield her from. Unfortunately, I  couldn’t any longer. For that I’m genuinely sorry. She’ll say, that she wanted to be there; that she was glad that she could be there for me. It’s just not a place I wanted her, or a situation that I wanted her put in.

I’m such riviting company besides. I end up dozing a good bit during the infusion, sleep most of the afternoon and evening after chemo, including the car ride home. Regardless, this marks three trips down with only nine to go. I’ll take some comfort in slicing that up various ways: 1/4 of the way done, single digit trips left, etc. Any way I look at it, I’m one step closer to done.

Round Two – FIGHT!

Mistakes were made. I underestimated my opponent; didn’t respect what he was capable of and got sucker punched. That’s on me. I didn’t take my last chemo appointment seriously.

Image result for mortal kombat subzero round 2

I felt pretty good when I left. Little tired, but not bad. I went into work the next day. Didn’t think anything of anything. Slept like a rock Tuesday night. Slept like a rock well into Wednesday. Most of Wednesday to be honest. Then the nausea hit.

Fortunately, I think we’ve learned some lessons. I need to keep up on the drugs that they give me. You know, for nausea. I’ve been eating ginger everything. So much so, I think my hair is turning red. At the very least I’m starting to develop a hankering for human souls.

This time, I got the chair in the infusion center that faces the door. I get to see everyone that comes in or leaves. Most importantly, I’m either the first or last thing they see.

It’s kinda like this. Who am I kidding? It’s exactly like this. G.R.owl.

Round Two just started. How it’s going to end is a different story. I’ve got my drugs. Ginger out the yin yang. I’m going to take things a bit slower this week than I did last time. Remembered to shave; sheared would probably be more accurate. They taste like chicken, BTW. Human souls that is.

Hey Girl. Want to do some chemo?

One Down

Finished my first day of chemotherapy. I’m scheduled for six months of chemo, twice a month. So that leaves me with 11 more treatments. I wanted to share a couple of random thoughts I had in no particular order.

  1. There are a lot of old, sick people there. Not sure where the young, healthy people get chemo, but it’s not here. Maybe I need different insurance.
  2. Aaaaaaah…Kelly Clarkson!
  3. My nurse was decked out like he was working in an Ebola ward, dancing on used needles, while handling my IV bags. My nurse is afraid he might get sick handling the stuff he’s about to stick in my IV and he’s here dressed like he’s fixing a Polonium sandwich for a friend of Vladimir Putin’s. Something isn’t quite right here.
  4. There’s going to be some discomfort when they remove this.
  5. I had a cheese burger for lunch, instead of a deli sandwich. I heard that too much deli meat can cause cancer. Good thing I didn’t spend my formative years working at Subway. Or eating my weight in sub sandwiches. That could have some serious repercussions when I get older.
  6. That was probably the chemo brain typing.
  7. My chemo has three pages full of side effects. Not a single decent super power among them. I’m now susceptible to cold, but I don’t get even a garbage mutant ability like Jubilee to make up for it.
  8. I asked for a drink. I got a room temperature Diet Coke. Forty-five seconds after being shown the stocked fridge of drinks. Warm. Diet. Coke. Because of a side effect from a drug I was getting three hours later.
  9. Nope.
  10. I took a change of clothes, but ended up forgetting my sneakers. Bad news: cowboy boots don’t EXACTLY go with sweatpants. Good news: I really am 6’6″ tall in heels. All these years I was joking after all.
  11. One ice cube in a glass of room temperature water is three too many. Sigh.
  12. I don’t glow in the dark. Not even a little.
  13. I numbered the list of thoughts that were in “no particular order”. The sad part, is that I didn’t realize it until just now.
  14. If I say something inappropriate now, I get to blame it on “Chemo Brain”.
  • Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12 that God allowed him to have a thorn in his flesh. Three times, he prayed that God take it away, and each time God said “naw, its good where it is.” I was thinking that I could use a little smaller thorn in my side. Instead. Maybe, I just need my faith to grow into my thorn.

Crossing the Jordan

Had some great news from my Doc appointment today. My wound has healed.

Truth in lending. My wound was healed on Monday, but I wanted confirmation before I got too excited. Monday when we changed out the ribbon packing my wound we were a little surprised. The ribbon, roughly four inches, had been pushed out of the tunnel and was coiled up nicely at the bottom of my “third belly button”. Yeah, I have three belly buttons now. Miracle of modern medicine. There’s also a nice set of railroad track looking scars. Gonna forgo the pic on this one. You’re welcome

We were shocked; shouldn’t have been, but we were. Our small group prayed for healing for my wound Friday night, and I got it. The tunnel went from 4.5 cm to 0.2 cm in three days. If that’s not God’s healing I don’t know what is. What I know is that God hears Ann’s prayers. There is no doubt in my mind of that.

Now it’s a bit of a mad dash:

  1. Appointment with my Surgeon on Friday
  2. Get a hold of the Oncologist and get chemo scheduled
  3. Bloodwork for my CAT Scan, Thursday
  4. CAT scan Sunday afternoon. Yes. Super Bowl Sunday. Probably why they had an opening. Let’s face it, I don’t watch the 38 hours of pre-game anyways.
  5. My country’s 500th anniversary to plan
  6. More bloodwork 48 hours before I start chemo (see #2)
  7. Probably something else I forgot

I’m at my Jordan river and I’ll admit I’m scared. I’ve spent almost three months recovering from surgery waiting to get moving. I’m moving. Look. It’s not 40 years of wilderness, I get that. It sure felt that way at times. All I have to do now is cross the river and fight my battles. God promised Israel victories, but they still had hard work to do.

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Joshua took 12 stones from the River and set them up as a reminder of what God had done, in the crossing (Joshua 4:1-9). With that in mind, I’m happy with my three belly buttons. There could have been more…

Small Word

My job doesn’t offer disability if you are sick, injured, recovering from surgery or what not. You have sick leave and vacation time that you use. After that, you can apply to be put into a Leave Donor program. What happens with the Leave Donor program is that folks can “give” you their vacation time that you can use. That’s what I ended up having to do. I used up all of my accrued sick and vacation leave and threw myself on the mercy of my peers for donated leave.

I got some news this week that completely humbled me. Three days after the request went out, I had over 300 hours of leave donated to me to use for my recovery. A touch over seven and a half weeks. My co-workers donated 305 hours that they could have spent with their families, to me. That’s incredible. Obviously, I’m thankful. Thank you just seems such a small word to say, but it’s all I have.

Your generosity leaves me completely humbled. Thank you.