Friday, June 26, 2009

Ma' Brain


Well, according to the MRI I had yesterday, my brain is completely normal, aside from a couple of loose screws near the amygdala. Heh, what a funny word. Amygdala.

Today I'm listening to Michael Jackson. I saw a guy wearing a single white glove when I came into my building today, and I was wondering if that was a tribute or if the guy just had bad eczema or something.

On a completely different note, here's your pic of the post (I decided I will try to have at least one picture per post - I don' t have that many pics on this computer, so I dug up this one):

This is a picture of a picture from high school, when a bunch of us went up to Niagara Falls on our way to our friend's family cabin in Canada. I told my friends to put their hands on the railing so I could take a picture. Later, when I was taking a black and white photography class, I took the picture and put it on the railing in my dorm, with my hand added on. A little cheesy, but I thought the image came out nicely.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Woozy Woo


Well, it seems hydration is not the total solution after all. I've been feeling pretty woozy and light-headed the past couple of days - it got worse after my treatment on Monday. This is actually a good thing, as I believe it's a side effect of the Navelbine, though not a common one it seems. Just to be sure, I'm going to have a brain MRI tomorrow (actually later today, as it's quite late). Sometimes the light-headedness comes from standing too quickly, but sometimes it just seems to be there when I'm sitting and walking around. It definitely makes it hard to concentrate and get stuff done, or even just do not-so-productive things. Urgh.

Usually, I am not so acutely aware of how my body has revolted against me - I can just go about my daily business for the most part - but this has been driving me a little nuts. If it is a side effect, I'm not sure what the solution is, other than to grin and bear it - and hope that it goes away or I get used to it. It's possible that it's due to vasodilation caused by the chemo, where the blood vessels (esp. in the legs) don't constrict when they're supposed to (e.g. when you stand up), in which case wearing compression socks is supposed to help. I tried this out yesterday, but to little avail. My doc wants me to give it more of a chance. I guess I'll try again tomorrow. Nothing like stylin' in over-the-calf black socks.

And now. . . some pics for the day:

My friend Alexis, her daughter Maya, and husband Najib go to the local organic farm to pick up fresh produce every Saturday outside of Boston. Two Saturdays ago (6/13/09), I got to go with them.

You get to pick a certain number of vegetables from the stand per membership.

After picking up stuff from the stand, we went to the field to pick some sugar snap peas, of which Maya became immediate keeper and distributor once we got in the car.

Just don't get the number wrong when you request how many peas you want. "You can have 5, 10, or 12 peas. How many do you want?" "I guess I'll have 5." Looks at you with a slight frown. "Are you sure you want 5. . . ?" She doesn't flat out say your choice was wrong, but it's definitely in the subtext.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hydration Nation


A Starry Aside

You know, some days I feel like I should be an actor. I mean, the landscape of Asian-American male actors is pretty grim. It's either kung fu action stars (Jackie Chan, Jet Li), good actors who have been forced to become kung fu action stars (Chow Yun Fat), or, well, Harold. Is Harold (John Cho) really all we've got? He's the only guy they could get to play Sulu? Dude's not even Japanese (I know, we all look alike anyway).

On to more important things

Things have been going fairly well lately, though there are always new fun challenges to face. I started my new treatment about a month ago, and so far it's mostly been easier. I'm taking Cytoxan by mouth every day and then getting Vinorelbine (Navelbine) once a week. My time in the hospital is nominally much shorter, and the side effects haven't been too bad. The main issue seems to be staying well hydrated.

When I got my first treatment (May 13), I felt fine afterwards, and I decided I could handle going to Yosemite with some friends (hmm. . . i should post pictures of that). On the trip we did a short hike, during which I came close to passing out after feeling really light-headed on the way up. Later on I started feeling weird heart palpitations, so I went in to see a cardiologist. He thought the most likely explanation was dehydration. After ruling out anything more serious with a cardiac ultrasound, some bloodwork, and a Holter monitor (it's an EKG logging device that you wear for 24 hours to see if you have any weird arrythmias), it seemed that hydration was the key thing. It took a few days of drinking a lot of fluids to get back to feeling normal again. The palpitations also went away, so that seemed to work.

The other weird thing was that I kept feeling this burning sensation in my throat/esophagus. I suspected radiation but my radiation oncologist seemed baffled that I would be affected by the radiation in this way. My cardiologist suspected acid reflux, so he gave me something for that, which actually seems to have helped. So these issues mostly resolved after a bit. . .

Then last week I went to Boston to see some friends and attend an appropriate technology workshop run by Amy Smith (from MIT) at her family's home in Maine (hmm. . . I should post pictures of that). I started feeling light-headed again toward the end of the trip, despite drinking tons while I was there. Since I've been back it seems to be just as bad, despite my drinking lots. I got a blood pressure monitor to use at home, and my BP is running pretty low, even for me (mine is usually fairly low).

Prior to going to Boston I was working pretty hard on our final project (the India project), which ended up pretty nicely (hmm. . . I should post pictures of that, too). Point being, some combination of lack of sleep and dehydration might be at play here. In any case, I'm in the ITA right now getting some fluids. They drew some blood, too, so maybe that'll show something enlightening about my condition. Apparently this is a common thing, so hopefully it's nothing serious.

More info soon. . .