Friday, November 17, 2006

11.17.06 Friday Slide

Today's the last of a long week for me. Nothing eventful to be marked, save its end, no great ordeals or traumas, no riveting stories — unless you're overly interested in bodily functions and myriad fluids, let's leave that one there — just another name for another bit of time to say a little more has past. Everything seems to continue, and thought the next restaging is a few weeks away, it seems the cancer is moving right along with the time and the gradual diminution of days. Meds keep going, supplements, as well, calls now and then, emails — though I'm slacking there a bit — energy, and the various complications that are what they are and don't need mentioning today.

I do still appreciate the emails, comments, etc. From yesterday, 34DD, thanks and good to hear from you again; TS, I feel all your concern and the love you send and my thoughts are with you though my voice is often disconnectd; Slarry, I always appreciate your willingness to help out and know how genuine it is. Mom is out there somewhere, too, hopefully doing well: if someone could fill me in on today's check up I'd appreciate that. And from a couple of days ago: Jen, I am so sorry we couldn't meet up before your departure. But I hope you're in a better place and things conintue to improve. My thoughts are with you, both of you. Take good care.

My super came up to check out some apartment repairs today. I wasn't in the best form I guess so he asks whether I'm all right, says I look like I might have the flu or something. I thought I had mentioned my "condition" once some time ago, in order to expedite any FedExes that come for me since they're often meds I need, but apparently I hadn't. So for some reason I decided just to tell him, especially as he lives on my floor, he's a good guy, and he does stop by to drop off packages when they show up. (A new sofa in the mail today, a little more comfort for denizens and future guests. . .) Anyway, I told him, "Nah, it's not the flu, I have cancer." And Sam just kind of looked at me, "Jesus, Scott, don't tell me bad news.... What kind of cancer?" It took him a minute to mentally locate the pancreas, and he tells me he's just taking biology right now and has been learning these body parts. He finds it in his mind, then just says "Ah, don't tell me such sad news."

Just straight up, a moment. He didn't know what to say but, like so many of us have learned, if we didn't already know, that's not nearly as important as the sentiment involved. His sincerity was touching. It was just a small real event for the day. I don't know if I should call it a "bright" spot, it did bring some odd relief though. The small human connections.

Today's Franky Scale, related to this event, and seemingly increasing in its import or the degree to which I feel it defines my life right now, is low. Today's been down there, probably a 4 most of the day, though in the last couple of hours there's been some relief. It kind of marks this whole week, a tough one overall. A bit of slide, that.

I wish there were more to pass on, or better to pass on. Maybe with a little more time. Soon it will be thanksgiving, I'll be headed to Zion again, that strange spiritual testing ground of my youth. Family, friends, old places. Memory. Memories. And all the young kids running around in my family providing some sense of future. The travel itself I'm not psyched about, though it's a very manageable trip, still I am looking forward to seeing everyone. So that comes soon. For my friends there I hope you'll be able to stop by — I might not be incredibly mobile there but I should be available.

All right then, just that for a check in today. Thanks again to everybody for the good thoughts, the support, and the love. On we go, for now at least.

P.S. "pho" is soup. No repeat required :)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

11.16.06 Side Effects Roll

The past few days have been greivous on me, nothing written and equally little done as a result. That double shot of chemo on Mon and Tues really add up. The targeted-therapy drug I take daily, tarceva, is the cause of the acne-like side effect but I'm not sure if it's contributing to any of the general nausea or junk sickness. Of course it's not "junk" sickness, still it's just as crappy, dim-light, and cold-water. In any case, today is Day 4 of this new cycle and the nausea, fatigue, and motivation sapping have been severe. Worse that other cycles of chemo? Hard to say.

Some of those who have been very curious about the glyconutrients and their effects might now ask how I'm feeling with them. I'll answer again — who knows. I don't konw. I think "just wait and see" is the only answer. If they've been making me deal better with the chemo, that means the chemo otherwise would have been just about too much to deal with. So my guess is not much effect there.

My chemo nurse on Monday did say that my white blood cell count and nutrophils both looked noticably higher than normal, and asked if if I've been doing something "different." The suggested cause was glyconutrients; as the only really different factor in my diet or treatment/s. But I'd advise the utmost caution in how to read this initial, and not-quite-yet stable change in my labs.

A reminder, too, that the real results appear in other forms, specifically in the form of less cancer. Obvious, yes, but I promise you I'll have to explain this whole thing again a dozen times even to some who "read" the blog.

Franky Scale: 5-6. An improvement from yesterday, which may have been a record.

What I would I predict, as of today: hang tight and don't get overly excited. Stay strong and be prepared to help out more once we can figure out what the "ways" of helping might be.

Monday, November 13, 2006

11.13.06 Who Suggested Twice in a Row?

Two days of chemo in a row is a great deal of suck for one week, is my opinion. I'll just leave it at that. Little recovery time, a lot of hospital bed time, . . . you get the rest. Then today after I returned to my apartment from chemo (it was about 9 am to 1 pm) and slept until about 4:30, I heard this SoundWorks Project (is that the series title?) about a journalist whose father is, was, dying of lung cancer and she decided to record as much of the dying process as she was comfortable with.

Well, the amount she recorded and the manner in which she delivered her report were enough to challenge just how much I could "handle" over the radio. Crying to NPR bespeaks a bad state. In any event, for those interested I suggest you go to the web page and check for this story about a father dying of lung cancer, his wife and daughter caring for him, and the details of dying, slowly, in the living room, using a rented a hospital bed in place of the recliner he like so well.

Now, other than that I'm rather beat to report on my. Franky Scale might be a 5, just from sheer fatigue and the feeling of being beaten down. In terms of "new" news I'm not sure if there is much to offer but remind tomorrow to say something about my recent labwork and my white blood cell counts, for example. I think there's a CA 19-9 number from the last day of October too — I will double check but it was above 16000. High. Though Dr. Whiting suggests that due to the marker's halflife it might just be a few weeks still before we're able to know the effects of the current strategy.

Also, there isn't a great deal to say about it, but the Acne-like youthful bloom with which I've been blessed lately does seem to be tied to certain days in the cycle of the drug (tarceva); and I think I should have peaked already and expected it to ease up, less pain, less pressure under the skin of my face and scalp, less teen-age splendor.

If I can, too, I'll give some more answers tomorrow to questions that have been piling up in the Comments section of the blog. Thanks.