Friday, September 30, 2011

Update time

I had just noticed as I posted some other stuff that I haven't given an update in awhile. Plus, I only have 2 more treatments after today, so its a good time to bring everyone up to speed. It has been 3 months since I found out I had cancer today. That's weird to think about sometimes, and it doesn't always seem like its been that long as chemo has flown by for the most part. I got my latest blood work back on Tuesday and it was good news across the board. The tumor markers were back down to the levels you would see in a normal person. It doesn't necessarily mean that I don't have cancer anymore, but it does mean that my outlook is extremely good. As for what happens next, we shall see. My options are one of three: 1) Radiation to eliminate whats left of the tumors in my lungs and lymph nodes. 2) surgery to remove them or 3) do nothing and keep everything under close observation. The way my doctor explained it is that the tumors are dead and no longer growing, but due to their initial size, their would always be some critical mass left over. These are basically dead cancer cells just hanging out in my lungs. There's no guarantee they will start growing again, but there's no guarantee to the contrary either. The family is leaning towards surgery, which I admit scared the shit out of me at first (simply because it involves cutting lungs open and I'm naturally not a fan of that...) but now the idea has grown on me a bit. If for no other reason than, it ensures that everything is gone. Radiation isn't too high on my list because I don't like the idea of extending the treatment and since I've never had the urge to stick my head into a microwave, i don't see how I'd possibly enjoy having beams of it shot into my chest and stomach (although I am curious if they can cook a hot pocket any quicker with it.) As for observation, Its easier, but there's always the chance it could come back and I don't really want to chance that. I mean don't get me wrong, this whole cancer thing has really been a blast and all, but...

I don't know what will happen as it all pertains to my last ct scan which I'll get in about another month. Until then I'll just finish my treatment and wait patiently for it. We can all rest easy knowing now that the prognosis has been great and I'm sure good news will follow. I can't tell you all enough how much the support has meant to me. It truly lets you know that people care about you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Diversity...We has it as well as a LIVE BLOG!!!

Today started out as a fairly benign day in chemo. I was the only patient and I sat here on my laptop listening to some tunes and relaxing. Then in a matter of 15 minutes this place turned into the Model U.N. As I gaze around the room we have at least 4 ethnicities represented and 3 of the major 4 religions in the world. A quick check on Wikipedia tells me that our friend in the orange robe is indeed a hindu monk otherwise known as a swami. Up until now, my only interaction with a swami was the dude on the Bozo the Clown show and he was pretty badass, so I'll give this guy the benefit of the doubt. Plus, I dont think Hindus can curse people, but just to be safe, I dont think its wise to cross him. In the room we also have our friends from previous visits, the buddhist monk (actually I dont know if he's a monk, I just remember him mentioning that he worked at the temple.), although his friend left him, so I can't possibly translate what they're talking about now. We also have a lady who appears to be channeling her best Erykah Badu impersonation and generally freaking about needles. Might as well live blog the shit out of this...

11:40 - Erykah Badu is really concerned about having the tv on. Now that she's gotten that, she immediately starts making phone calls while on her phone. There is a huge sign by her precious tv that specifically states phone calls aren't permitted. Glad to see she's paying attention to both...

11:42 - I understand that everyone has differences when it comes to tv preferences, but this nutri-system infomercial can't possibly be entertaining to anyone. I mean, it's better than Matlock, but not really.

11:44 - The swami is Hindu, but he has clearly eaten well enough to develop a Buddha belly. This concerns me.

11:48 - The gentlemen next to Erykah Badu is a Chatty Cathy. He has easily jumped into every conversation going on. Except for the Swami's because he doesn't speak whatever language they're jabbering in...

11:51 - Now chatty cathy is talking about his puking while and after he eats while giving Erykah Badu guidance on how to best take a needle into your chest port.

11:53 - The lady that is with the Swami is getting treatment. They ask you to verify your name when they hook you up, her name is Josie. I seriously doubt that's how its spelt or that she knows any of the pussycats...

11:55 - Now the Buddhist guy is talking on his phone. I'm guessing he can't read the phone sign clearly posted. I'm also amazed at the number of older people who don't keep their phones on vibrate only. I think almost everyone I know my age does and manages just fine.

11:58 - chatty cathy is now talking about puking again. its sad that its related to cancer, but I have cancer too, so I can be annoyed. If you're reading this and you don't have cancer, you shouldn't. A button also popped off a machine and rolled under my chair. Chatty cathy jumped out of his chair and crawled under mine to retrieve it. It wasn't awkward at all...

12:02 - Erykah Badu just had someone bring in Chinese food. The Buddhist monk did act a little uppity as if to insinuate that it wasn't authentic Chinese food.

12:09 - Chatty Cathy is now asking if Erykah Badu's nail polish is emerald green. I doubt that he actually knows what emerald green is.

12:22 - Now my mom has joined into looking around the room observing. The swami's friend has a giant ruby between her eyes. Mom seems amazed by this. This somehow seems normal compared to the large hindu monk sitting beside her.

12:33 - chatty cathy has now started talking about Vietnam. I'm 25% concerned he may have a flashback and 75% hoping he does. Unless he has a gun, especially because the buddhist guy over there may be first to go.

12:39 - I've now begun trying to sneak pictures of the monks because I'm a horrible person. I'm also now concerned that both religions have some edict against pictures due to soul stealing or something. I'm sure it doesn't apply to me since I'm not Hindu, but I dont wanna get the Swami in any more trouble.

12:46 - The swami has left the building. :-(

12:47 - The buddhist and I have the same birthday. we should totes throw a joint bday party. I'm wondering if he would pitch in on the keg?

12:51 -This concludes our live blog as I'm finished. I''l keep you updated if the Buddhist and I decide to send out an evite...

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Life is about expectations. When you have cancer and a blood clot in your leg, expectations for most things get thrown out the window. You learn to accept whatever you get (Suz would disagree with me as she says I have become a bit of a diva throughout this. I cannot completely deny these accusations...) This doesn't apply to all areas of your life however, sometimes you only accept the highest quality of products or services. Sometimes average is just not good enough. If you asked me right now what that would be for me, the answer would be grocery store power scooters. From reading the last blog, you know that my time spent on the power scooter at Publix was a glorious time. They basically have the Cadillac of grocery store power scooters. You also know that I now have an urge to test all other grocery store scooters so that a correct comparison may be formed. Well, today we all came one step closer to having a true definition of excellence where power scooters in grocery stores are concerned. I went to Kroger.

Sundays are our usual grocery store day, so I knew it was coming, but to tell you how obsessed I am, Susan says, "I think we'll go to Kroger, their coupon deals are much better." to which I reply, "Agreed, plus I've never tried their scooters." She just starts laughing, but I know she wants to know how each store tests out against Publix as much as I do. So off to Kroger we went...

Suz dropped me off at the door so I wouldn't have to try and fit my crutches in the basket with me. Much like the chemo treatment room, I'm usually the only person under the age of 70 that you see in the store riding these things. I hobble over to where they are and sure enough, Two 70 year olds are sitting in two of the scooters, the gentlemen seemed to be quite focused on the lady, which led me to believe that he was spitting some serious geriatric game to her. While I know nothing about geriatric game, I assume it involves telling the ladies things like: which fiber additive or Metamucil flavor you prefer, comparing which restaurants give the best seniors discounts, and/or opinions on which medicare supplement plan is the best bang for the buck. As I hobbled by, they both looked at me as if I didn't belong when I hopped on the scooter. Upon initial inspection, you can tell that Kroger hasn't updated their scooter fleet in quite awhile. The seat on this thing looks wore out (its either that or this Kroger location has a larger percentage of super fat & lazy people that use the scooters even though they don't need them.) I hop on and go take off, but they take off is more like a sputter. Its so slow that, I'm actually contemplating just hobbling around the store. If the one at Publix went roughly 5-7 mph, this thing at Kroger was as slow as molasses. I actually contemplated racing one of the many old ladies to see if they were faster on foot, but feared losing too much.

The good news is that in a rousing move of solidarity, it seems that all grocery stores have requested that the back-up signals on these scooters to register just under, "jet engine taking off" on the sound decibel list. For these you also have to click another button into reverse before turning around. At least in Publix, the turning radius was good enough that I could avoid an aisle if I needed to, alas here at Kroger I was forced to plow through an old lady's perfume cloud because there was no avoiding it. Sidenote: Do the elderly purposefully spray i on that thick daily or is it to avoid bathing?? I mean this lady had perfume on so thick, she literally could have soiled her pants right beside me and I would've had no clue unless someone called for a cleanup on aisle 5. I also hope she enjoyed her damned green beans that took 12 minutes to select.

All in all, we can conclude that as of now Kroger has the shittiest power scooter fleet. I will imagine Wal Mart is worse, but I cannot stress enough that given what and whom I usually see operating these scooters at their stores, I'm a bit more reserved towards sitting in one myself. I may do it for the sake of research, but not before I soak it in Purel or use at least 2 boxes of those wipes they provide you with...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chariots of Fire aka my grocery store power scooter

I haven't updated this in awhile due to the fact that everything has been pretty quiet here. Chemo has, for the most part, been uneventful and other than the good report had us in good shape overall...until this weekend. I had started to get what felt like a leg cramp in my right calf on Friday. it continued to get worse through the weekend and by Tuesday, when I went to chemo, I could hardly walk. They sent me for an ultrasound and confirmed what they thought. I had a blood-clot in the veins of my calf. It doesn't affect treatment at all and it is something they see in chemo treatment (probably from me sitting on my ass continuously for 2 months...) although it isn't typical. Here's where it gets good, as treatment they put you on blood thinners naturally. What they don't tell you is that these blood thinners have to be injected daily, in your stomach, and your the one that has to do it. I had to go pick up my shots today and also show them that I could self inject (have I mentioned that I'm petrified of needles?). When one of the nurses comes in and tapes smelling salts to the wall, just in case you pass out, you can see why there might be an issue with you self injecting a needle daily. Other than the typical pain of a charlie horse and having difficulty walking, you'll be glad to know that there isn't much else to worry about. I'll have to be on blood thinners for about 6 months, but that's it. It doesn't affect chemo or anything else, although I really hope this leg cramp/walking is a bitch thing subsides sooner than later...

With me being a half glass full kind of guy, there are some bright sides to this. Susan asked me if I could pick up a few things at the grocery store after my doctor's appointment. Knowing there's no way I could walk around Publix, I had a eureka type moment. With cancer and blood clots in my leg, I finally had every reason in the world to use one of those power scooter baskets they have. If you don't have Publix where you are at, think of it as a nicer Tom Thumb. So as you can expect, their scooters are nicer (i really cant judge the other stores, but I imagine Kroger's are in line with their stores and Publix is a much nicer store...) This thing was awesome!!!!! Much faster than I imagined, an amazing turning radius, & every time I backed up it let out a beeping signal so that anyone in the store could be warned. I also imagined this song playing as people looked at me on my scooter

So off I go through the store at what imagine is roughly somewhere between 5-7 mph. This where it starts getting tricky. The scooter is wider than a cart and so if people don't move over then you cant get through. further proving that old people are fucking oblivious to everything or generally act like that because they're old and they can. I believe that's also why they shit their pants, but that is a post for another time. Anyway, I'm rolling down the frozen foods aisle and Granny McSlowasHell has decided to leave her cart in the middle of the aisle and walk back down and look at everything again. I assume that this means she wants to double check the fiber content of a few items so she can possibly shit on a more regular basis and thus be lighter and hopefully faster, but alas I'm now stuck not being able to get around her and she's oblivious to everything but the processed food in front of her. So I did what any normal (read: only a few) person would do. I rammed her cart and gently pushed it out of my way. I didn't send it flying or anything, but the lady near me did look at me like I was the asshole...

There were a few other old people that decided to play the unobservant, old fart card, but luckily they underestimated my scooter's ability to bust a u turn in the middle of the aisle. However, when you cannot bust a u turn due to the constraints of your surroundings, you can easily put it in reverse and notify the entire fucking store that you are, indeed, moving backwards and possibly dangerous. Seriously, this thing had the same horn they put on locomotives.

The other thing about rolling through a store in a scooter that's awesome is that you get to have Alex help you to your car with the groceries. The other thing I like about Publix is that they hire mentally challenged people to work at their stores. They always seem to really enjoy their jobs and it was clear Alex did. He also enjoyed asking me how I was doing, so much so, that he did it 3 times. It was funny to me and I have no clue why, but its most likely because I'm a horrible person. I will tell you this, there are two things that have changed now having ridden a power scooter shopping cart. You can bet that I'm going to Wal Mart and Kroger tomorrow to test theirs against Publix. (and possibly because Susan thought all of this was funny, so another blog post about it couldn't hurt...) and that as long as I live, I don't think I'll ever be able to forget Alex hopping on my scooter and dragging the empty cart behind him as he rode back into the store.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Live Blog Day!!!!!!

So, Tuesdays are usually the busy days in the chemo room, but with the holiday, today we have a full room and I'm feeling good so that means you guys get another LIVE BLOG!!!!!!!!

10:18 - I am literally the only person under 70 in this place (besides my mom sitting beside me)
Two things that just happened - a nurse just asked a guy if he was making sure to take his folic acid and other pills. Matlock is on tv. I know its always something they make fun of with old people, but they're watching this show like a bunch of toddlers watching spongebob.

10:21 - This episode of Matlock stars a young Patrick Duffy. No clue why I told you that...

10:22 - A lady just had to explain how to turn a smartphone on and off to her husband. He's 75. I don't think this is information he needs.

10:24 - There's a lady in for her 1st treatment. They always go over everything with you and she's lucky because the guy beside her keeps interjecting with tidbits of personal info. The nurse looks like she wants to kill him, and he's oblivious. He also has a cellphone.

10:30 - This guy's cellphone is the same Nokia I had my freshman year of college. It's Purple. He's also using it to make phone calls in the room. I absolutely loathe this. Have the decency to not make us listen to you dialing the wrong number repeatedly. Also, as expected, he's wearing fake TEVA sandals with white socks. His name is Kirby. I don't find that fitting, so I'm giving him a nickname. Due to his accent, I'll dub him Johnny McCajun. I reserve the right to change it if I think of something better, but for now thats it.

10:36 - McCajun WILL NOT SHUT UP!!!!!!
McCajun: "If I didn't have insurance I don't know what I'd do."
Me to Myself: "I don't know, but I'm sure it would involve talking to people against their will."

10:38 - I am now the only person he has commented on or spoken to. I'm not offended, but it is puzzling. Also, the 75 year old gentlemen just returned from the bathroom. I''ll call him Orville. Now Orville has a special skill, he's able to effectively pull his pants up past his chest. His belt might as well be a necklace. Of course, he may be trying to strangle himself because his wife and McCajun are talking about their cellphones. Since she can turn one on and off, she's an expert.

10:41 - Matlock ended. Luckily, In the Heat of the Night follows, and we avoided an old person riot. At this time, McCajun is also coughing up a lung into a trashcan. Right in front of me. All the old people are asking him if he's ok. I might be going out on a limb, but he's coughing while in chemotherapy. I doubt he's ok, Truthfully none of us in here are. However, if McCajun spews all over the place, I bet there's a chance a few others follow suit (myself included). This place will look like this (I imagine)

10:57 - Every commercial break during the last 2 tv shows has included a fiber commercial and one about med alert and falling down and not being able to get up. Given the makeup of this room, this was money well spent on advertising for these companies...

11:11 - McCajun has stopped talking. Bad news is that he's started staring. At everyone. It's not creepy at all.

11:13 - New guy in the room just asked the nurse, Adrienne: "How many people say, Yo Adrienne to you?" "I bet you've hear that all the time..." Adrienne is a very nice, sweet nurse, but she looked like she wanted to kill this guy. My last name is Dick, so I can understand someone's pain when somebody asks a stupid question about hearing a certain joke.

12:13 - The asian guys are back, but since they aren't rearry tarking, I can't do any transrations. This makes me sad.

12:26 - The chemo room has really puttered out now. McCajun has left, Orville ninja'd out on us before I even noticed it, and now its just different old people and the asian guy. His buddy left him, so there's no conversation to work with. So that'll do it for today's blog. Not as much to work with as I originally thought, but either way. Hopefully one day this week will be more entertaining.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cancer Update

Well, I'll guess most of you have noticed that I haven't posted anything since last week. I haven't been in the best of moods, mostly due to the fact that I had my halfway CT scan last week and didn't get to find out the results until today. I hate not knowing stuff and when it's something this serious, it's even worse! Luckily, I got good news today. The lesions on my lungs have shrank by more than 50% which is a better than expected prognosis! Suck it Cancer! I'm definitely not out of the woods yet, but it's good. The other good news is that we have lot's of people in the chemo room and one guy that wants to talk to all of us. He looks like "The Dude". He's actually super nice and for once I feel worse than normal for even giving him a nickname, but it's not every day that you get to have a conversation with someone who is a white russian and bathrobe away from being a doppelganger for Jeff Bridges. In the room now we have some really odd folks. For starters, almost everyone has an odd as hell look about them. The research lady (I think her job is to coordinate information for those who are participating in clinical trials) creeps me the eff out. She's a "close my eyes when I speak" person, and for whatever reason that freaks me out. This other lady in here has the most wicked stare in the world. Luckily she's reading and not looking around the room. Well its that or she's attempting to set the book on fire with her eyes. I'd put the odds of which is happening at even, with a slight nod to book combustion occurring spontaneously (Fahrenheit 451 bitches!!!!!). I've watched her for the last 10 minutes and she hasn't turned the page...which leads me to believe that she is definitely trying to set it on fire. She also may or may not be illiterate. Which means that I really wish LeVar Burton were here...

Now she's up walking around & talking to the nurse. The stare that she has while talking makes me glad that she doesn't stare at me. I also just figured out that she's a lesbian. That doesn't make any difference to me, it does however confirm some general, stereotypical looks that I observed. I feel like the New Balance shoe in white should be the official shoe of lesbians. You may disagree, but throughout chemo, I've made enough of these observations to have a consistent hypothesis on this matter.

You know these shoes. They are also worn by nerdy white dudes with khakis. I'm not sure what demographic or athletic event New Balance was trying to capture with this product. I am definitely sure, it was the nerdy white guy/creepy eyed lady sector. You can call me an ass for saying it, but without a doubt, you will now judge anyone and everyone who you see wearing these shoes. If you observe anyone other than those I've listed, please comment to tell me, bc like unicorns, I do not believe they exist...