Sunday, January 25, 2009

Freakin' frik frik

Happy Chinese New Year's Eve!

Yes, I realize the subtitle here is a little incongruous with the main title of this post. Today is a day for celebration (or at least the start of celebration, as Chinese New Year usually lasts for weeks, for some reason), but I have some unfortunate news to share as well.

Remember those pesky lung nodules I had throughout the past year? They're the reason I was denied from the medium risk clinical trial and put into the high risk category. They were on my initial scans but then didn't change too much, and so we thought that perhaps they weren't anything to worry about in the first place (since they weren't responding to the chemo). Well, one of them is misbehaving and has grown since my last scan in October. It was about 4mm and is now up to 9mm. That's still pretty small, but my doctor and the tumor board (that's the collection of doctors, surgeons, and radiologists who meet every week to discuss cases) agree that it needs to come out. Luckily, the nodule is pretty close to the surface in my upper left lung, so it should be pretty easy to get to in a minimally invasive way. They'll poke three holes in my left side and go in with laparoscopic tools to cut out the offending bit of tissue. I should only be in the hospital for a couple days (surgery will be on Feb. 2).

Of course I found all this out after scheduling the date for my defense on (of all days) Friday, the 13th of Feb. I guess we'll just have to see how things go, but if I can stay on track and defend, then I'll at least get that hurdle out of the way. Writing and turning in the dissertation shouldn't be too bad after that. I have a lot written and have just a couple more experiments to re-do so we can publish our data.

How do I feel? Honestly, kind of crappy. I'm trying to stay optimistic, I really am. It's just tough. Uncertainty is such a bear. Not a teddy bear, either. Anyhow, I've been reading different books about good nutrition and am slowly working on changing my eating habits, but honestly who really knows what will work in the end? I guess you just try and do everything you can and hope for the best. On the plus side, my strength is definitely coming back, and I've been able to climb more and more, which is great.

If I can get through this month I think I'll be golden. . . have surgery, defend, and then spend a few days in sunny Mexico. . . should be good. . .


Anonymous said...

Even though it's way-to-early in the a.m. to comment on a strangers blog I feel compelled to share a couple of thoughts with you.

I found your blog doing research for a web project. I trademarked the word 'freakin' and am creating an alternative 'freakin' network. I am researching how people use the term and how I may be able to propagate 'freakin' as a multi-market brand. You can check the 'freakin' project out here in it's ever-evolving raw form:

After reading your blog I felt compelled to contact you. Not because of my 'freakin' project but because of your situation.

My wife (42) has Lupus. Years of steroid therapy has taken a toll her organs, especially on her skeletal system - avascular necrosis. She's going in for her 4th hip replacement next week with both knees to follow .

Not meaning to drag my comment on... our challenges are huge compared to some yet minimal when compared to others. There was a time when processing her prognosis and the progressive nature of the disease where we found ourselves in the depths of despair, where surrounding circumstance lead to a grief so deep we came out of our tears laughing.

We realized that the only thing to do is to Create Joy Now regardless of our challenges, not knowing what the future holds being healthy or not. We decided to do something positive with our situation so we created and

When I met Angela in '92' her health was very poor, I secretly thought she would be gone before I could ever kiss her. I married her. 20+ years later we continue to laugh and enjoy the most simplest of things in life.

Point is, we found it true that a positive attitude and a life with service to others makes all the difference in the world... regardless of how difficult life can be. Looking at your interests you have a degree of compassion that shows a wealth of promise.

I would like to offer you words of encouragement and a most positive vibe as a contribution to your healing process. You seem to be someone who will use this experience as a way to be of service to others. I can't help but see your situation as a catalyst for opportunities yet to unfold. You'll get through the challenges because you are someone who can...

It's not necessary to respond, I know this is an odd comment. Just know that there is a stranger who has a candle burning for you and holding you in the Light.

Forgive my babbling...I should get some sleep.

Blessings surround you.

Sharon U. said...

Damn, what a bummer. Sorry to hear that another surgery is in your future, but here's hoping that everything goes as smoothly as possible and you bounce right back out of bed to defend on the 13th. Good thing you're not superstitious or anything...

Alex Tung said...

Thanks Sharon, and thanks to the anonymous writer for sharing your story. Managed my way through another step, as you'll see in the next post.