Sunday, July 26, 2009

July July July


Every so often I remember that The Onion is available to entertain me, and it's like opening a comedy Christmas present any time I'm in the mood for something funny. The writers have just my kind of humor, but in the most irreverent and (often) offensive way. For instance, did you all know I'm good for your health? The print version is quite good these days, as they have a lot of China articles (since the paper has reportedly been sold to a Chinese conglomerate). You should go ahead and take a look (after you read my post, of course. But after all, if you're reading this, you must have some time on your hands, eh?).

Anyhow, so let's see what's happened this month. . .

Cycle delay
Last time I posted my counts were too low for me to get treated. I saw my doctor again the following week (Wed, 7/8/09), and we decided that even though my counts were up a bit and treatable, we would delay a little longer and instead of finishing cycle 2, move onto cycle 3 the following Monday. I'm not quite sure why we did this, but it did make some sense at the time. I think we decided to let my body recover a bit more before taking on another full cycle. So I ended up having two weeks off from chemo, during which I was still having weird dizziness and lightheadedness issues. The brain MRI I had in June was clear, so I started thinking maybe it was due to something else. . . luckily nothing else serious has cropped up. I saw a neuro-oncologist (7/17/09), who helped to rule out any weird neurological issues - he thinks the likely cause of the dizziness is just a rare side effect from the navelbine. Yay. It's like everytime I roll the dice I get better at coming up with statistical improbabilities. I hope that'll keep happening for me for the good outcomes, too.

Next Steps
On the 8th we also discussed next steps. Hopefully if I can get through the rest of this cycle without my counts tanking too much, we're going to switch to another set of drugs: Irinotecan, Temodar, and Vincristine. The idea is to catch the cancer off-guard and not allow it to build up resistance to the drugs I'm taking now.

Big News
I had a PET-CT (7/16/09) scan to give us a baseline for the upcoming treatment plan. A PET-CT uses a radioactive tracer that runs through the entire body. Any places that have higher sugar uptake than normal tissue (like tumors) tend to light up brightly on the scan. They overlay the PET with CT so they can see the anatomical features. My latest scan was mostly clear, aside from the two lung nodules. On the scan they had shrunk, and the radiologist couldn't tell if they were actually still active (as tumors) or if they were just inflamed from the radiation (inflammation can also light up on PET, which is why they typically won't do it directly after you've had surgery). So I'm calling this one clear, with those little nodules dying a slow, painful death.

Lake Shasta
The magnanamous Mike Ying organized a great trip to Lake Shasta last weekend, and though I'm feeling pretty exhausted this week, I'm really glad I went. We had 16 people on a rented houseboat and speed boat, and we spent the weekend lounging, swimming, wakeboarding/waterskiing/tubing, and having an all-around relaxing time. There was a ton of beer (I stuck to the EANABS*) and lots of tasty food. I tried waterskiing for the first time and through Kelly's skillful instruction was able to stand up the first time, but not for very long. It was kind of down-hill after that first try, but I'm eager to try again. I guess we always did the snow version when I was growing up, so I never really got into the water sports. There are a couple of photos below, but you can check out the rest of the pics here (Saturday) and here (Sunday).

I think some combination of the weekend fun and cumulative chemo has tired me out, though, because I was super super fatigued this week. It really sucks feeling that tired - one day I slept in pretty late, took two naps, and was still tired. Maybe I'm just bored ("I once thought I had mono for an entire year, but it turned out I was just really bored." - Name that movie, anyone?) Hopefully this weekend of sitting around doing nothing has helped me charge up for the week :P

* EANABS = Equally Attractive Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Morning glass on the lake.

Steph and I try our hand at staying on some inner tubes.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Counts down, hair OOC


Aside: By the way, I've added a handy feature over to the right --->
It lets you get email versions of my posts, so you'll be sure to get the latest and greatest updates. Don't worry, I'll only sell your email address if I can get at least $2 for it.

Brief update today. My counts were too low on Monday to get treated. Boo. I'll see my doc again next week to see if they've come up again, but I've had a sore throat for the past couple days, which will probably not help matters much. Otherwise I'm still a little lightheaded now and then, but it seems to be getting progressively better. I've been having some paranoid thoughts about little aches and pains I keep feeling, but on the whole I'm trying to ignore those - after all, my body is doing its normal aging thing, too, so random aches and pains are normal, right?

Anyhow, my hair was starting to get out of control, so I finally got it cut. Below are some of shots of the "before" situation. These shots don't quite do it justice, but trust me, it was getting out of hand. You'll just have to wait in giddy anticipation (or come see me in person) to see the "after" look. . .

June 7, 2009 - I've never had curly hair before. It's kind of cool, but also very unwieldy, as you'll see in the shots below.

June 22, 2009 - By this time, the hair was really getting out of control, especially the stuff growing out of my sideburns - on one side it would grow straight down, but on the other side it would curl out. And back. And all over the place. Cuh-razy.

Turns out its kind of hard to take pictures of the back and top of your head by yourself. But the thing I really noticed was the swirl of hair around what appears to be a bald spot. . . Well, just another sign that I'm still alive though getting older. . .