Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ding ding ding! Time for round three!!!

Here I am, sitting in this 12 x 12 prison, drinking orange juice and eating a danish. I guess after three weeks away, I am back in the best hospital in the world...

So I got to my room yesterday around 4:30. Jenny set up the room just the way I like it. You would never guess that I left for three weeks! But I did, and I am back. Time to get back to the business of killing cancer.

I got my first dose of Chemo last night. I don't feel a thing yet. I am taking all the same drugs and dosages as before. They scrapped the idea of a 14 day course and instead want to stick with 5 days of Chemo followed by 4 days of bio with 2-3 days of recovery. I should be out of here by the 9th or so!

So, I am going to try to post something that touches me everything I post. I was listening to Jack Johnson this morning and this snippet of lyrics caught my ear. While most songs of this type talk about what is important in life, this one talks about what is not important.

Gone by Jack Johnson
Look at those fancy clothes.
But these can keep us warm, just like those.
And what about your soul, is it cold?
Is it straight from the mall and ready to be sold?

Cars and phones and diamond rings, bling bling.
Those are only removable things.
And what about your mind does it shine?
Are there things that concern you more than your time?

Gone, going, gone. Everything gone, give a damn.
Gone be the birds when they donĂ‚’t want to sing.
Gone people, all awkward with their things.

By the way, Jack Johnson is awesome. If you don't know who he is, go out and buy his albums "Brushfire Fairytales" and "On and On".

Je t'aime, je t'adore. Quelque le diable voulez-vous encore?
(I love you, I adore you. What the devil else do you want? One of my mom's favorite sayings)


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hello there friends and family,

Well, I am not going to beat around the bush, I went to the doctor yesterday and all the news wasn't good. I have great news, good news, and bad news.

So the great news: When I had my first brain MRI one and a half months ago, there was a dark spot that the doctors were concerned might be cancer. They weren't convinced 100%, but the possibility was there. My brain MRI from Tuesday shows absolutely no cancer in my brain. Great news!

Now the good news: The object of all these drugs they give me is to shrink and hopefully eliminate the cancer in my body. According to the CT scan I had on Tuesday, the cancer in my belly is "Stable". This means no significant growth or shrinkage. The good news is that it hasn't grown significantly in the last month and a half.

If you just want the good news, stop reading now.

The first piece of bad news has to do with my hospital stay. Because they are afraid I have an infection in my belly, they don't want to start my third round for another week. They sent me home and have my a bottle of antibiotics. I consider this bad news because I don't want to give this cancer a chance to grow.

Second bad news. Like the smudge in my brain, on my first CT scan one and a half months ago, there was a spot on my left lung that they were unsure about. As it turns out, while it hasn't grown, it showed up in the CT scan I had on Tuesday and the doctors are pretty sure its cancer. I can't begin to tell you how much that sucks.

So, I am home for another week. I will post again this weekend. I Love you all.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Ok, here is the scoop.

Today was my last day away from the hospital for a long, long time. Tomorrow, I go in for an entire day of tests. Some of the tests I will be having are MRIs, X-Rays, and Cat Scans. I am having these tests to try and determine if the chemo is working so far (it's called staging).

Unfortunately, I had all those scans before the chemo and they really couldn't see my cancer. It took a surgeon looking with his own two eyes to see it. I guess, no news is good news from the tests tomorrow.

After my tests, I come home and sleep in my bed. Wednesday I go back to meet with the doctor about the tests, and then I get admitted to the hospital for an undetermined amount of time. Before I left last time, the doctor was suggesting a 14 day course of chemo and (bio) immunotherapy. It would go like this: 5 days of chemo, 4 days of bio, then 5 days of chemo, plus 2-4 days of recovery time. End result: 16-18 days in the hospital.

This would start a new phase of treatment. I would officially be spending more time in the hospital then at home.

So, I am not too happy about the hospital stay, but I am encouraged that my doctors want to get aggressive with my treatment. I have been telling them to take off the kid gloves and hurt me (and the cancer), and they are listening.

You all rock for staying in touch with me during this difficult time. I miss you all and hope to see some of you in the hospital visiting me (hint hint).

Love ya,


Thursday, June 15, 2006

As Dr. Nick likes to say, "Hi Everybody!"

So, whats been going on? I have been enjoying my time away from the hospital. Not doing much, just lazing around the house and resting. It is amazing how normal I can be for an hour or so, then I am beat. I just don't have the energy that I used to. Damn Chemo.

I bit the bullet and bought a new XBOX 360. It rocks! I bought Oblivion (which is a role playing game), Project Gotham Racing (super car racing, corvettes, ferraris, etc...), and John Madden Football (OK game, not really into sports games). I love the XBOX and it has helped me fill some of the long hours at home. BTW, if anyone is on XBOX live, my tag is Draki11a. (yes, those are ones instead of ls).

Hmmm, what else? Nothing really. My hair continues to fall out, but still in patches. My belly still fills with fluid, but I don't know if it is more or less than before. I am eating like a horse, but it is still harder to put down dinner than breakfast or lunch.

Here is a picture of Jake. He was "fixing" the chair. How many handymen will work in a diaper?

Ok everyone, I want to leave you with a peom that someone posted in the comment section of my blog. It is dark, but very powerful, and I think describes how I feel perfectly.

William Ernest Henley. 1849–1903


OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

What this poem says to me:
"Sometimes the only hope to be found comes from within, and that can be enough"

Love you all,

Friday, June 09, 2006

Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo! J-Dog in the house!

Ok, I am feeling a little nutty this morning. In my defense, I have a lot to be (pleasantly) nutty about.

I am home! I came home the Wednesday evening with little celebration. For those of you who have never had an extended stay in the hospital, coming home means so much. In the end, even with the visitors and constant doctor and nurse visits, hospitals are very lonely. And home, even with Jen at work and Jake at day care, is not very lonely at all. Maybe it's a quirk of spacetime, or just a fact, but being home feels good!

One of my aunts came to stay with us for a few days also, which is very cool. It is so nice to see her, even though she is working during the day too.

Yesterday, Jordan came over and brought lasagne for dinner, not to mention made a salad and an apple pie right there in my kitchen. I love my family.

So how am I doing? Pretty good considering I got a 10-day course of chemo and immunotherapy. I have a bad case of edema (swelling with fluid) in my legs, and something called Red Man syndrome has caused me to break out in a rash over most of my body. Like all the other minor annoyances associated with chemo, it's better than Cancer!

I go back on the 20th, and my doctor is already telling me that he is so pleased with how I have tolerated the chemo, he is considering a 14-day course next time. That would be a 5-day course of chemo, a 4-day course of bio (IL-2) and then another 5-day course of chemo! I am not happy about being the hospital 14+ days again, but the more they give me the better.

Until then, rest and relax. I was thinking of starting a library of video clips for Jake where I talk about my childhood memories. Ever seen "My Life"? Somewhat like that. I might sell my old X-Box on eBay too. Try to save up enough for an X-Box 360 and Oblivion!

Ok. This one is a little long-winded. I promise next time I'll post another picture of my head with no hair so you have something to look forward to. You know who are!

Love you all,


Monday, June 05, 2006

Hey! Yes, I know its 5:30 in thge morning and I should be sleeping but I have some great news!

My last dose of IL-2 just finished! Yippee Skippee! Time to start getting better. I winder how lonf it will take the nausea ti subsite, but I plan on easting a Schotzky's Sandwich as soond as possible!

Thanks for all the complements on my new hair cut. It is continuing to evolve from army-cut to soft baby's butt cutt, to not hair all all. Updates to come.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Getting Through It

Hello all you people in the real world!

I am sitting here and waiting for my dinner to arrive (more on that later), and I thought I would check in with y'all.

So, I have been feeling pretty crappy since my last post. The doctors say it's either delayed symptoms from the other drugs, or symptoms from the IL-2 that they are giving me right now. Hard to say, and it doesn't really matter. I basically feel nauseated all the time, which hurts my ability to eat.

I have stuck to my goals though, albeit with some slight modifications. My dinner tonight is jello, applesauce, and ginger ale. I am getting up and walking, but I am taking laps around the room instead of going downstairs. I am still believing, and that hasn't changed. I can just imagine these drugs making the cancer feel as horrible as they make me feel :)

So here is the plan. I go home on Tuesday, June 20, I will come back for a battery of tests, and I will meet with the doctor the next day to go over the results. Hopefully, we will have some idea of the effectiveness of the treatment at that point. If it is working, I will immediatly start another course on the 21st. Odds are I'll do 6 courses in total, running tests in-between each 2.

I have had so many visitors! Unfortunately, I have had to turn some away because of how I was feeling at the time. If you are reading this, I still love you guys!

I am not sure what else to say. I am looking forward to going home and recuperating. I cannot wait to feel better again for a week and a half or so :)

Be Cool! Stay in School!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Feeling Down With a Photo

OK. This will be my first "downer" blog entry. However, I promise to post the picture of my bald head at the end of it.

So, this new drug makes me feel horrible! It's called IL-2, and it is a protein that your body makes to pump up the immune system. I wasn't able to keep my dinner from last night or my breakfast from this morning down. That really sucks, because continuing to eat is one of my major goals for this round.

Oh, the doctor's say it is normal. My doctor says don't worry if you don't eat. But I remember how weak I was when I left the hospital last time.

Another benefit of the drug chills and fever. I get the chills and 30 minutes later, I’ve got a fever of 102. It happens about every three hours.

OK, enough bitching. I promised I would post the picture so here it is...