Thursday, April 30, 2009

2nd treatment

Let me start by saying CANCER SUCKS!

We spent half the day at the chemo clinic yesterday. The young girl was there again, she was happy because she was there for her last treatment. We ended up chatting it up a bit. We learned that she has lymphoma and her treatment has seemed to work. I have to say that I'm happy that I won't see her there anymore. There is another couple who was there during our first visit. They are around our age and appear to be very sad. They don't smile and rarely make eye contact with anyone. There was an older guy there when we arrived and he was still there when we left. The home care nurse came to the clinic to hook up the pump. I'll have that on my hip until noon Friday. Believe it or not the home care nurse's name is Marilyn Monroe.

I felt decent after the treatment and seem to have a good appetite. I was up a few times during the night and woke up at 5:30. When I woke up I felt pretty horrible and very fatigued. I laid in bed until around 6:15 when Olivia started calling for me. I went to get her and she was standing in her crib with a big smile. She is what I live for. Olivia did give my pump rig a stare of wonderment. I tell her its Daddy's boo boo. She knows to be gentle and careful with me when she climbs on me. I love her like no other and I want to see her grow up to be a great woman just like her mother. Speaking of which I have to give much love to Sandy my wife. She has been with me 1000% through this and I don't think I would be able to handle this challenge without her. Sandy you are a strong and beautiful woman. I love you very much and thanks for everything you have and will do for me.

So again I'll say cancer sucks. The chemo treatments are not fun. I am tired and my body aches. I feel nauseous sometimes especially when I lay on my right side. I am feeling good that I am hungry and want to eat. Although I have lost a lot of weight. When we went to China I weighed about 170 lbs. When we arrived home I weighed about 160 lbs. Today I'm about 150 lbs. I can't really afford to lose anymore weight so I'm starting to use a high protein supplement that we'll mix with ice cream and whole milk. I figure it'll be a meal in a glass but like I said I have to keep my weight up.

I feeling confident that the treatments are working. I keep having this dream that after I go for my next CT scan the doctors are amazed at how well the treatment is working and are surprised that the tumors on my liver have disappeared. That is going to be my reality because I believe it. Anyone reading the blog... Please believe it too.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Good News

The other day I received an Email from the owner of the company I was going to go to work for that asked if he could call and talk to me. A bit of back ground for those not familiar with my story - I was recruited by this company Treo Solutions. They were looking for an experienced SQA professional to start a QA program in their organization. We struck a deal and I gave notice at my current employer. I wanted to take some time off between the jobs to relax and get some medical appointments taken care of and that's when I were diagnosed. SO I called Treo and let them know that I was having some medical work done and needed more time which they were OK with eventually I did not feel that it would be fair for me to begin a job that I could not give 100%. I called the guy who recruited me and told him of my situation and that I could not with good faith take the job. He understood and said that he would inform the owners. Fast forward to this past Tuesday when I get the call from Chris the owner of Treo. He asked me what my plans for the future were and how we were going to make it through the crisis that we are facing. I explained that we had some savings that we would use and that the COBRA insurance would last 18 months and the possibility of Sandy going back to work. That when he stopped me and said that he wanted me to come in and sign on with Treo despite my condition. HE said that he and the other owners felt that they made a deal with me and wanted to honor it. I was so shocked and surprised. I told him that I was not in the best condition and and could not predict how well I would be in the future given my chemo treatments. HE said that it did not matter if I worked for 2 days and went on disability for 6 months. Again I was completely in shock over the kindness and good that was coming to me. I accepted his offer and will be starting work again on Monday. Treo will give me all the flexibility that I need to get well deal with the doctor's appointments. I really feel blessed that this happened and having my career back means a lot to me. We will also have company paid health insurance and an income too!

As a side note to this story: My Uncle Bill was kind enough to get me a prayer shawl from the Nuns at the Provincial House. My Mom brought to me on Tuesday and I just happened to be wearing it when I received the call that I wrote about above. Thank you Uncle Bill and a special Thanks to all the Sisters at Provincial House. The power of prayer is strong and WORKS!

Positive vibrations and love to all...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Morning

I woke up this morning and noticed a red hue all over the trees. It rained last night and it must have helped all the tree's leave buds really "pop". In the morning sun it looked really cool almost like fall but I know that its spring and everything will be new again.
I'm feeling pretty good so far this morning. I had an appetite and I actually wanted to eat. Yesterday I went to a car show with my dad. I didn't want to take my car down because it looked like it was going to rain. I made it about an hour before I had to sit down because that damn truck came around and ran me over again. So I just sat in the car and relaxed a bit. We then went to lunch and I was able to eat. Yummy fried food that I shouldn't eat but what the heck. Dad dropped me off and I spent the afternoon napping and relaxing.
We are getting ready to go to church and I'm hoping that I'll be a little more lively today. I'm looking forward to getting out and seeing family, friends and neighbors.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

First treatment

Yesterday was my first Chemo treatment. It was a wicked long day. It started at 7:30 with a visit to Dr. D. I have to say he is an excellent doc. He doesn't mince words and is pretty straight forward with you. He never gives you the bum's rush. He must have asked us if we had any questions about 5 times. Next stop was the Chemo clinic. We met our nurses Amy and Hong. Amy is a very pleasant and kind soul. We joked around about the treatment we are looking forward to working with her. Hong is originally from China which gave us something to talk about. We opened up my lap top and showed her and Amy our photos from our trip to Beijing last year. See here --> China Blog.
We were early in the clinic and had our choice of seats and chose one near the window in the corner. The diversity of people in for treatment was amazing. Old men and ladies, others who were around my age and a young girl about 16 came in. All of us in the same boat, we glanced around the room at each other, I kept thinking to myself that I'm not alone in this and I hope to make new friends here.
My treatment plan is Folfox which is a cocktail of 3 drugs. Additionally I am in a research group for AMG 655 and received it at the end of the day although who knows what I actually got because its a double blind study with a placebo thrown in for fun. The IV drips in my port started at 9 am and finished at around 1:30 pm. The home care nurse came over and gave us the briefing on the infusion pump that I have to wear for the next 46 hours. We finally got out of the office at 2:30 pm with the pump on my hip. We came home and the nurse who will hook me up to the pump for future cycles. She was very nice and explained everything about the pump and the precautions. Sleeping with it wasn't that bad and living with doesn't seem like it will be that big of a challenge.
Knock on of the writing of this post I have not really experienced any adverse side effects. I little bit of reflux so far and some general malaise but tolerable non the less.
Until next time.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I will be participating in a study for a new drug AMG-655. Doing so will ensure a little extra attention at the the chemo clinic. From what we've found this drug shows some promise.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Family and friends

One thing good that has come from this is that my family has really rallied behind us. I really welcome all the phone calls with well wishes and offers of help. It's really funny because for the most part I feel fine. Very few of our friends know yet. It's hard for people I'm sure. They don't seem to know what to say I don't think that I wouldn't know either so to everyone reading don't worry about it. Just keep your words kind and encouraging. I love you all.

Oncologist visit

We visited the oncologist next and was given a treatment plan. Since my cancer has progressed to my liver the original spot in my rectum was secondary now. We will start with the chemo regimen and then look at operating. I'm hopeful that they will be able to re sect some of the liver. I may be eligible for a trial drug as well. What the heck I have nothing to lose so sign me up. I had a pet scan set up and went thru that yesterday. I had to drink the barium and be injected with a radioactive tracer. This will help the docs see my disease in a new light. I am scheduled to go in on Monday for a biopsy and get my port installed. The port is the chemo delivery system. Wow! Not what I expected...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The follow up

We went for the follow up visit with the GI doc. He had the results of the biopsy, the CT scan and colonoscopy. Well as it turns out the cancer was alot further along that I had hoped. He tells us that it has moved to my liver. and that he is going to get me in to see an oncologist. Again my reaction is holy shit and WTF. Not what I expected.

I was diagnosed today

I had been experiencing some issues with my ummm movements which prompted me to visit my GP doc. This was back in January. He did an exam and determined that it was likely a fisure. A fisure is a split in the sphincter that bleeds and hurts a hella lot. So he refers me to a gastro intestinal guy who I had to wait about a month to see. He does the obligatory digital exam (ouch that hurt) and gives me an ointment to apply and a follow up appointment 30 days later. I still was bleeding so he tells me that he wants to inject of all things botox into my bum and he will do a partial scope to check things out. So in the mean time I had quit my job and agreed to a new position at a different company. I had a week in between the jobs so I schec=dule the surgery and go in. They put me to sleep and then the news. The doc tells me that when he scoped me he saw something but it was inconclusive because I was as he said FOS. I would need a colonosocopy and a ct scan. I get the ct scan done and the guy who did it seemed a little gloomy and showed me the order which said that there was a probable mass in my rectum. By the look on the techs face I guessed that there was something there. A couple days later I had the colonoscopy and the doc told me that I had a cancerous tumor in my rectum. Holy Shit!