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. . .

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