Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Birthday, Plus The Good and Bad

Well I am another year older, the big 31.

My birthday was pretty uneventful. I got everything I wanted and had a good meal at Lupe Tortilla's. Wait, scratch that. I ordered a good meal at Lupe Tortilla's but had to go home because Jacob stepped on glass in the sandbox. Lesson: don’t let your child play in a strange sandbox without shoes. Actually, we still had a good time.

My Cancer:
First, the not-so-good news. I am officially losing my hearing. It is a common side effect of one of the drugs (cisplatin) and the doctors are not surprised. If it is progressive, they may consider changing drugs but no real consequence yet. As far as I am concerned, I could care less. Hearing aids can be very cool. Also, who wouldn't like to be able to turn their ears off every once in a while?

The nodule in my lung continues to be stable. That means it hasn't grown or shrunken. No real news there. It is interesting that because they have not biopsied this (gone in and tested a piece of it), they don't know that it is malignant. It could just be a benign nodule.

Now, the great news. The cancer in my belly has definitely been shrinking. This indicates a response to the treatment. Now, I know I said I was responding to the treatment when my belly stopped filling up, but this is proof. My cancer IS GOING AWAY. I love this news; it validates all of the crap that I have been through in the last 4-5 months.

Also, since my belly isn't filling up with fluid, they feel comfortable giving me all of the drugs at once instead of two stages. They have canceled my outpatient treatment and will give all the drugs to me when I go into the hospital next Monday. I should still only be there about 7 days, so that's actually pretty cool. It will be interesting to see if the bad effects build on each other, or if I just feel as crappy as I usually do. Either way, I get a couple more days off before I have to begin. Life is sweet and the small pleasures make a difference.

My older brother came into town and we had a great time. That is, until my family got into a big fight. Oh well, this stuff happens in a close family. Everyone will get over it and we will all be back (almost) to normal. By the way, if you know my family, don't call/email for details about what happened. If it was your business you would already know.

Jennifer is sick with pneumonia, and is feeling like crap. I can't do much to help, because nothing much helps. At least I have a few more days to be home, taking care of her. God knows she has taken care of me enough in the last few months.

All in all, I am a happy dude. I do have something to say that I hope some of you will think about.

My cancer has shown me both the immediacy of life and the unimportance of most of the things we do. If your life ended tomorrow, would you be happy with what you have done with it? Would you be proud of how you acted, how you treated other people, or even yourself? Do what needs to be done, and spend the rest of the time loving somebody.

Oh, and smile at the people in the drive-through; it can be contagious.

I love you all!

P.S. check out the new baldy pic at the top right.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Movie Critic

Hello! Hola! Bonjour! Yo!

So, I have not been very busy. Jennifer has been in Arizona since last Friday, and I have been holding the fort down here at the house. Jake was with her for the weekend and I had the house all to myself. I played video games and watched movies. Quick movie reviews:
  • Jarhead: Good movie, reminds me of Full Metal Jacket. Worth seeing.
  • V for Vendetta: Better than I expected. Kind of a "smart" movie. Lots of quotes from classical philosophers and great action scenes.
  • Deep Water: A strange "twisty-turny" movie. Reminded me of U-Turn with Sean Penn.
  • This Thing of Ours: Good modern day mob movie. Not great.
  • Munich: Long long long. Not as good as I had hoped. Bring a pillow.
  • Underworld, Evolution: If you like the other Underworld movies, you will like this one.
As far as my cancer goes, there is no doubt in my mind that I am getting better. I have been feeling so good and operating and almost 100%. I just don't feel sick. When I bounce back from the treatments now, I really bounce back.

I go next Tuesday the 22nd for "re-staging". They do this every two treatments to determine how effective they are. I will have about 10 different tests (blood, x-ray, cat, mri)
. Then, on Wednesday, the doctor will tell me how great everything looks (hopefully). Cross your fingers.

I will start another chemo round the next day. Outpatient for a week then the hospital for a week. Interesting change: I will be studying for classes while I am doing the treatment. I m taking two classes for my MBA this semester, Futures and Options and an Accounting class. Wish me luck!

Well, that's pretty long for now. I am going to get back to my X-Box. I love you all and I will have real news on my cancer next Tuesday.

Life is a garden, dig it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

No More Belly Tube

Wow! What response!

It looks like most people want me to post whatever I want. That's good, because I would have anyway ;)

OK, last you heard from me I had done the outpatient chemo and was going back for the inpatient portion. For the most part, the chemo sucked. They give me two drugs inpatient, IL-2 and Interferon-A. The IL-2 is an immune system booster, and makes me sick to my stomach. The Interferon is a synthetic version of the chemical messenger in your body that tells you that you have the flu. They call the side effects shake-and-bake. This is because I alternate between horrible chills (warm blankets, wool hats, etc...) and fevers of 102+.

The combination of the these two drugs is just miserable. Not to mention they give me about five other drugs with them, including dopamine. They give me the the dopamine to increase my blood pressure. It also makes my heart rate stay at about 100 beats a minute the whole time I am on it.

So, that's the dirty truth. The good news is that they took the catheter out of my belly. I haven't had to drain any belly fluid, so it was pretty much useless.

I have been thinking alot about life expectancy lately. It seems that even if I go into "permanent" remission, this will be something I will deal with for the rest of my life. The odds are in favor of me fighting this cancer again. I will beat this cancer this time, but I just can't realistically look forward to living to 100 anymore. I know it is depressing but what the hell? I can't be a ray of sunshine all the time.

Right now I am just looking forward to my birthday. It is in less than two weeks and my family is going out for a nice dinner. I will have been out of the hospital for a long time so I should be able to enjoy the food. I might even try a glass of wine or two :)

Well, sorry this isn't my usual pick-me-up post. I'm sure I'll be in a better mood in a few days.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

What Do You Want?

Ok guys, try to be democratic here. I am going to ask the readers of "Fighting in Texas" what you want out of my blog. Would you rather:

  • Clinical descriptions of treaments, how they are going, my reactions, and changes to the treatments.
  • Funny missives coming from a man (that's right) with cancer, light on the tech descriptions.
  • Deep ponderings about the meaning of life, and how they fit into my families situation.
  • Pictures of me and my family.

you guys let me know either through email or comment on the blog. If you don't have my email, I am sure you can get it :)

BTW Jake and Jen are going to the Wiggles today!