Monday, June 30, 2008

DAY 33-Another Day in Paradise

A very fast 10 days. Things are moving faster in some ways and slower in others. It seems like this whole deal is a lifetime away and I am VERY anxious to get started. It has been a month since diagnosis. I have chemo class coming up this week and will bring Lise with me as they recommend bringing another set of ears to hear all the instructions. I picked up 5 different kinds of medicine just for the 1st Chemo treatment...mostly dealing with nausea and dizziness. I picked up my dental trays and am trying to find the fluoride gel that is supposed to go in to treat my teeth every night. The dentist say this has to go on forever...not a bad trade off for getting to be around forever.

Am finishing up things at work so I can be gone for awhile. As I am in sales, one cannot be gone long or the sales pipeline dries up and you don't get to play anymore. I am hoping to be able to work some everyday from home.

Learned how to add a link to my song of the day and to load a photo. This is me with my grandson Zak.

Bought a boatload of Ensure and Equate the other day to try to get used to it. Looked on-line for other brands. Made a smoothie today out of half & half and ice cream and feels evil to intentionally consume that many calories.

My daughter - 9 - asked me today what would happen if I didn't "take my medicine" which is how we have been referring to the impending radiation treatments. As she has been so mature lately, I told her the truth and she was visibly upset. I reassured her that I wouldn't forget to take "my medicine" and she could ask me every day if I had to keep me on track. I don't want her to think I wasn't being honest with her, but feel compelled to water it down a bit as long as I can.

Song of the Day Joe Cocker - "A Little Help From My Friends"

Friday, June 20, 2008

DAY 23- Another Day in Paradise

I finally have a plan in place. Supposed to start treatment on July 7 with a dry run and my first radiology and chemo treatment on July 8. This past week has been crazy . Things are picking up speed. I had to go to a special dentist referred by Kaiser to see if I needed any dental work before treatment starts. Looks good - that is a relief. The radiologist wants all dental work done before the treatment starts.

I have many doctors now. Radiologist and the scheduling nurse. The Chemo Oncologist and his scheduling nurse. The Nutritionist. My regular dentist. My new referred dental surgeon. Apparently there are real problems with having dental surgery after treatment has begun and the jawbone has been radiated.

Met with the Chemo Oncologist and the Radiologist. My Chemo guy reminds me of Jackie Chan and is funny - very easy meeting. I will have to go to a 2 hour class next week and bring my wife as a memory back-up. My radiologist seems like she is in her 20's. Very sharp - so hopefully she has all the latest solutions and techniques at hand. She used the 55% survival rate which is lower that the 64% I had been working off of - first bit of depression after that meeting. Over-all my "team" is sharp and seem to be on top of their game - which is me - so that is good.

Had to get fitted for my thermoplastic radiology mask. Very weird and could be very claustrophobic if so inclined. I preferred to think of it as an S & M "Spa treatment". You lie down and two nurses take a heated-up, warm and wet plastic mesh sheet from a steamer and place it over your face, snap it down tightly to a grid under your head (you are not going anywhere) and immediately start to press and shape it to a mold of your face. They use hairdryers (sounded like that- as I couldn't see) to cool and dry it as it hardened. The first one didn't meet the radiologist's standard, so we got to do it twice. I felt like "Star Wars" Hans Solo when Jabba the Hut had him encased in carbon and his profile was hung on the wall as art. [ ]

The purpose is to hold your head in the exact same position each time you have your radiation treatment, so only the cancer cells are zapped. I got to keep the rejected model - I may use it as wall art or a hanging plant basket on the patio.

I am anxious to get going on this treatment.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

DAY 18 - Another Day in Paradise


Got back from Canada late last night and went in for my PETscan this am early. Got my injection and sat in a tiny room in the mobile unit with very little lighting for about a half-hour - still have jet lag- went to sleep. Then headed into the scanner room - and because the A/C was on - they wrapped me in warm blankets and again dosed off - took about a half-hour. Sure didn't feel like spider-man with radioactive heavy metals. The whole deal was suprisingly quite easy and simple...the hard part is wondering what they will find and not wanting to find out that the cancer has spread.

7:45 am and into the regular day that every other Dad is having-

Yet another reason I am a lucky guy. I am blessed with 4 great kids. 3 sons, age 24, 22 and 20 and a daughter age 9. The boys are all out on on their own and my oldest has his own celebration today with my grandson. The "little family" my wife and daughter and myself - went bowling to see if we can bend over without dropping the bowling ball....Father's day tradition...heard from all the boys. Life is good.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

DAY 10 - Another Day in Paradise

Leaving today for long-planned week-long family vacation in Canada at 2p. Went in to hospital at 6:30 am to have my PETSCAN. It is good that I am a talker- making casual conversation with the tech as we walked out to the mobile PETSCAN trailer I happened to mention I was flying out to Canada in a few hours - the tech laughed and said no way - I would be so "hot" from the radiation that I would set off all the alarms in the airport and homeland security would be all over me and we wouldn't make our flight. As I have not told our daughter yet - I thought this would not be the way to broach the subject. I had no choice but to reschedule the scan fro next Sunday when we get back. No one told me I would be radioactive and couldn't fly - I had mentioned to everyone I was leaving on vacation that day. Had to reschedule until next week.

Friday, June 6, 2008

DAY 9 - Another Day in Paradise

Took the day off - spent it with my daughter - the lump in my neck has shrunk a bit - it must have been irritated by the biopsy.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

DAY 8 - Another Day in Paradise

Thursday June 5, 2008

Attitude is pretty good today. It has been one week. Still going to work. Throat gets sore if I talk too much - this must be ironic to all that that know me that have commented on how much I talk. I will try to alter my schedule to make calls in the am and give it a rest in the pm. Best to start a new schedule now.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

DAY 7 - Another Day in Paradise

Wednesday June 4, 2008

Had my CT Scan today. Fairly easy. Iodine shot to pinpoint cancer hot spots. Starting to relax a bit with the enormity of it all. Have always had a positive outlook...hence the Another Day in my answer to "How are you?" Don't need to stop because of this inconvenience.

Laughed tonight - I have been taking eye drops for Glaucoma for a few years, and then started taking a series for pills for atrial fibrillation All of these I have considered to be minor inconveniences and that I was a healthy and lucky guy. So now , I am starting a series of some Very Inconvenient cancer treatments and I still think I am a lucky guy and more fortunate that most.

Monday, June 2, 2008

DAY 6 - -Another Day in Paradise

Tuesday June 3, 2008

Sleep not going well - will be glad to get working on this thing vs. tests and waiting. Have a CT Scan coming up and a PET Scan on Saturday am before we fly out to Canada. If there is more bad news, at least I won't hear it before we go. I have a lot to do at work to get ready to be off for a couple of months.

Told my boss and the CEO. I have fantastic support from my work. Another reason to be positive. I have great support at home as well. My wife has been a huge positive in all of this. I have told my sons, ages 24-22-20. I think they are handling it fine as far as I can tell. They are tough and good guys. Have not told my daughter - age 9 - will hold off until after vacation and I have a real plan of action in place.

As I read on the internet about this and the treatment process, I can read the words about what it is like - have luckily been very healthy my whole life, but cannot relate to being down and out for weeks and months.

DAY 5 - Another Day in Paradise

Monday June 2, 2008

Slept poorly. Wild dreams of people chasing me with knives. The good news is that I got away.
Got a prescription for Vicodin from Oncologist and am taking only 1/2 in the am and 1/2 in the afternoon. Have to start making arrangements at my work. I am told that I will be off work from 3-6 months. I am fortunate that I can do alot of work from home....but as my wife says: I make my living with my mouth. So, a sales guy that can't talk, this a good thing? Maybe I can talk a little inthe mornings and wsork from my computer in the afternoon. Starting to do research on the internet for side effects. Does not sound fun at all.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

DAY 4 - Another Day in Paradise

Sunday June 1, 2008

We are leaving on a long planned week's vacation to Canada on Saturday June 7. Will have some tests this week a CT Scan and a PET Scan to confirm diagnosis and see what else there is to see. I am not looking forward to having the news be worse than it is now.

It is hard to concentrate on packing and preparing my work for being gone a week, setting up all these appointments. This is very inconvenient.