Tuesday, October 31, 2006

General upswing, I guess

In general, I guess I feel better. The Thalidomide makes me completely stoned though, so we're doing some experiments with timing the pill so I don't feel so zombied-out at work.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bad stuff

My BP is way high, and I had an episode with cardiac arrhythmia tonite. I guess I'll email my PCP.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A change in chemistry

Your favorite lab-rat gets to do an experiment on himself this week. I'm going to go off the Vitamin B6 I've been taking. Side effects are making it seem like I need to do this.... Will keep you posted.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I just got my 'protime' numbers back. This is a test of my blood-clotting rate. IT'S BACK IN NORMAL RANGE! Yipee!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Hiccup solution

It seems we've (quite literally) stumbled upon a cure for the hiccups. Ingestion of at least 4 fluid ounces of Cabernet-Sauvignon during dinner has eliminated the hiccups from my last two evenings. It works for me.

Progress report

Ok, I'm at the end of the second (4 day mini) round of steroids, and on my 12th day of Thalidomide. Bone pain is virtually absent, so I've been off morphine for about 3 days now. I haven't had to use tylenol much at all. The upside is that my digestive tract is returning to normal, which is positively impacting my urinary tract, which is improving my libido just a bit. Basically, this is all good. There's only one thing I'm still watching out for..... and that's my body weight. 160# this morning. 185# when I left Dallas 11 months ago. 180# before the trigger event for this adventure. So I've lost 20# in about 2 months. Maybe I should ask Jenny Craig when my skin is gonna shrink back to my new body shape. I look like a freaking lizard with my clothes off. Wrinkles and excess skin.... folds and flaps....... You know, like some 75 year old lady who decides to get back into shape, but who generally arrives in a room about a minute before her all of her skin gets there. (It's not really that bad. There aren't any 'granny-flaps' yet, thank goodness.)

Anyway, life gets better thru chemistry........ ;-)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Last night I had a vision.....

.....a mini-dream..... a premonition?

Death got into the shower with me. He slipped on the wet surface and his head came off when it hit the edge of the tub. Death DIED at my feet!

I got the hell out of the shower.

Altered States

It's really interesting what a drastic change in body chemistry can do. Sometimes I find myself wandering thru what I normally percieve as reality in an semi-unreal state. It's nothing too drastic, merely a shift in vision, hearing and 6th sense perception. I can be involved in conversations that I'm fully "in gear" with, and yet the conversation is more real than the person I'm talking to..... It's as if I'm being spoken to from a movie or another place in time..... It's real, but I don't get the sense that the person is on the same plane as I..... Get it?

I know the shift is coming from me... from the chemo and all the other wierd stuff I put in my mouth every 6 hours. Certainly I'm not going schitzo and beginning to think the world is wrong and I'm right. It's just interesting to watch..... I'm using my own brain as a behavioral observatory. Reality does shift.

Chemo seems to be eliminating much of the pain. I've been off morphine for a couple of days and am managing it all with occasional acetamenophen. It's not hard right now. Otherwise, I'm just getting used to the biological changes.... they're minor, and in the grand scheme of things, relatively unimportant. Problems with my stomach and intestines, altered vision, altered hearing, strange smells, high blood pressure at times, nearly absent sex drive, continued loss of weight.

Some things get better, some things just change.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Freakin' hiccups!

Hiccups. Hiccups. Hiccups. I get about 1.5 hours sleep in between sessions. Ever been woken up by hiccups?

They irritate everything in your chest after a while. (/Whine mode on/) Makes me wanna just die because the pain is starting to come back too. (/Whine mode off/)

We even tried the ig-NOBEL trick.... it only worked once......

Anyway, off to bed again.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Living in the here and now.

This is gonna seem a bit strange....... But I've sorta done a quick survey of my general reaction(s) to life-threatening events in my life. Historically, I've always become more "carpe diem" in my attitude toward my continued survival.

After my 6 days of hospitalization from a farming accident, I wandered away from corporate pursuits and took up roadracing again (to some success).

After every hospital visit from roadracing, I delved more deeply into the sport and never let it set me back much.

What is my attitude going to be like if I kick Myeloma in the ass? Will I become more of an adventurer within the limits of my responsibilities here? Will I shirk my responsibilities and ride coast to coast to coast to coast while I write my memoirs?

And what of Ed? How will he take to this drastic change in me? Will I even change? Stay tuned.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Chemo Day Three

Hickups. Every evening starting at 5p and ending at about 10p when I go to bed. Not fun.

Pain - Greatly reduced. The doc suspected bone pain as the culprit and thought the chemo might help. It did.

Weight gain - 3 lbs to 167. This is a good thing.

Vision - inverted. Suddenly I don't need reading glasses but I can't read street signs at a distance. Wondering if it's temporary.

Petichae(?) - small blood clots under my skin from spontaneous hemorrhages. Enough to look "freckly". Mostly on my legs. Appeared first day but don't seem to have continued. Just need to watch them.

Digestive system - back to functioning normally. Yippee!

Kidney function - appears to be improving.

So here's the real deal..... I guess my body is reacting well to the drugs, but my brain and control systems are sorta screwed up. The steroids are making me aggressive. Thank goodness they're 4 days on and 4 days off. My vision was a little strange today because it was foggy on my way to work. Nothing quite like a vision change on a visually challenging day!

I don't think I'm much fun to be with, but I'm improving. Now we just need to watch the numbers and make sure they're improving month to month. We just got some test numbers back that weren't so hot... Seems I'm producing ~100 times the number of antibody proteins I should be. If that number starts to go down, then the chemo is working. Gonna keep an eye out for that. Anyway, that's the story for today. Going to sleep now.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Surprise, surprise, surprise

Ok, so I got a call from the oncologist today. Apparently my blood tests weren't so great last night, so I've got to go in for two more units of blood at 9 AM tomorrow. That will add up to a total of 8 units since September.

I took a handful of steroids this morning. (10, as prescribed.) I've felt slightly manic and very good physically all day. Imagine what I'll feel like when I have a complete blood count and the steroids! Anybody wanna jog the 17 miles to work?

I discovered a horrible side effect of the steroids today. THEY MAKE EVERYTHING TASTE WONDERFUL! I had split-pea soup with ham chunks for lunch today in the hospital cafeteria. It qualified as one of the tastiest meals I've ever had in my life. This is NOT a good thing. I'll have to keep that little problem under control.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Chemicals and chemotherapy.

It begins.

Procrit gets injected into my leg once a week so I'll grow more red blood cells.
Vitamin B6 and Warfarin will counteract the side effects of:
Thalidomide, which will kill the cancer cells and enhance the effects of:
Dexamethasone, which is a steroid that will turn me into Mr. Hyde as it kills more cancer cells.

And next Monday, I get a bisphosphonate to help strengthen my skeletal bones.

Side effects? Hell, you don't want me to start.... but I'm really worried about the steroids.... Imagine me, with my personality, all wound up like a muscle bound steroid freak. I've already told Ed to find a "safe word" he can use when I'm all 'roided-out.

So far, I've injected myself with some Procrit. Everything else starts in the morning. Wish me luck.

Oh, did I mention that the Thalidomide pills are $107.14 each? I take one a day.

Monday, October 02, 2006


I told a very close friend the bad news. He cried, and with a squeaky little voice that most men would never admit to owning, he said:

"I always knew you'd pick a chicken-shit way to die."

It made me proud. See, I've been involved with some really dangerous stuff. I'm not talking about "Jackass" stupid stuff, but certainly the kind of stuff most people wouldn't do on a bet even if they were high on PCP. Some of it has damn-near killed me, and all of it could have killed me. Obviously it didn't. (Either that, or there are blogs in Hell and you're reading mine.)

And so, for my friend to say what he did was an acknowledgement that I'd survived (and therefore conquered) danger and death. That's an accomplishment as far as I'm concerned.

But it made me think.......... Have I always been ready to accept death? Don't misunderstand. I never chased death per se. The "success" of my adventures could only be measured by eluding death, by watching the black robed spectre walk away pissed-off, time after time.

I now find myself wondering if I'm just being smug.... assuming that I'll be able to keep digging clams in the shallows of the River Styx, ignoring the rules of tradition and 'fraidy-cats', merely assuming that I can win at the game again by sheer will and contempt of the institution of death. Arrogance can be a strong-suit in certain situations and I can be amazingly effective at it.

Hell, maybe I don't even believe in death. I don't know. I've never done it before. I'll keep you posted.