Sunday, March 16, 2008

back in black

"Back in black, I hit the sack,
I've been too long, I'm glad to be back"

Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile, but Tommy’s been pretty high maintenance - when he wasn’t sleeping, that is. He left this morning just after 5AM and Jon Luftig comes this Friday for a week or more or something. Christine is coming in early April? Right? Great! Middletown represent! Maybe we could get Risdal, Richie, and Rajeev over here? There, I’m all wistful, misty and maudlin again...

Tuesday saw us (Tommy, Irina and yours truly) spend more than an hour trying to pay for my oncology consultation at Karlák. I finally got in to see her at about 10:20 for a 9AM appointment - not bad, actually, for here. She checked my lymph glands and was surprised that the tumors had not grown at all in the three weeks since I’d seen her last. I was surprised at her surprise, but I guess that’s good news no matter how it’s delivered.

She suggested a monotherapy of DTIC (Dacarbazine) infusions (IV) every month. Unfortunately, I had a very important meeting on the other side of town with my tax advisor / accountant, agency helping me with my visa and other interested parties (Greg and Tommy) at 11 to go over all my documents for my trip to the consulate on Thursday, so we had to run.

After the hour-long meeting organizing my red tape, we went to the notary in my building for the rest of my documents and had lunch downstairs wid da krew at the Afghani. Then it was off to another insurance company to discuss my lack of options.

On Wednesday morning we went out to Motol (with Tommy and Irina) for my second opinion. Met the oncologist almost immediately and gave her copies of all my documents and a CD with the various tests – MRIs, CTs and the like. When asked if she wanted to speak Czech or English, she said she needed the practice, which she doesn’t, so English it was!

She gave me a full oncological exam – my first, and rather different from the neurological equivalent. I was with her for almost an hour and she gave me her mobile phone number without me asking. These are plusses in my book. She suggested a combination therapy of three cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs:
Dacarbazine (DTIC) and
Vinblastine (Velban)

I just took a break to check the spelling of the above and inadvertently read the long lists of potential side effects. I’m a little depressed at the moment and am going to wrap this up and do my Vodafone translation that's due tomorrow. That’s right, I’m working again!

But it looks like I’m going back to Motol – tomorrow, bright and early, as a matter of fact, for another consultation, blood and piss tests, and to go over my treatment schedule: three days (one for each drug) every three weeks for three to four cycles.

I’ll have to cover our wacky misadventures in Munich in my next post, but I quit smoking last Thursday around midnight, am still enjoying the nealko, and have developed a genuine taste for juices in all possible combinations. I’m walking more and sleeping like a champ – just hope it lasts. There’s been some demand for my contact details, so here they are:

Mike Gisondi
Karolíny Světlé 12
110 00 Prague (Praha) 1
Czech Republic

mobile: (+420) 777 352 024

And, I’ll leave you with this (CT from the 21st of February):

Healing nicely - and that was almost a month ago!


Anonymous said...

Great. Looks perfectly healed. That indelible black spot in the right hemi is obviously due to the mishaps when Tim and I broke into the Cornell observatory and you were forced to fraternize with university rent-a-cops. No hope. That will never go away.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Mike. The brain looks amazing. Really. And that's great news about the tumors not growing! I'm happy, too, that Tommy has apparently tutored you in the art of solid sleeping. All sounds good!

Send me an email about when in April would be best for a visit. I was thinking sometime mid to late? Will be sooo nice to be around you sans secondary smoke. It's hard to imagine.

Oh, and I just found a "Middletown Athletics" t-shirt that I'm going to give you in honor of your quitting. But maybe Jonathan is planning to give you one of his (from your shared semester in "special gym") -- ?

Hope to see you soon.

Love & xo,


Jiffy said...

Congratulations, Mikey! Great news all around. Enjoy the juice orgy and stick with it!

much love,

Greg said...

Yeah, before sending any shirts in honor of Mike quitting smoking, i feel it's my duty to report that by "quitting" he meant "cut down to a pack every two days".

It's still an overall net-improvement and he promises that he won't smoke during the chemo itself -- so that's something anyway :)


Anonymous said...

well Mike, it looks like Motol it is. I am really greatful that you did not panic and waited for the second opinion. Karlak is crap and I have been with you waiting there just once. And that was waiting for the NICE doctor. Still sick but getting better quckly (not drinking beer for one day did the miracle) so I hope I can see you really soon. Miss you terribly. Vrat

Anonymous said...

Your brain looks exactly like a walnut. Very nice indeed...

So glad you like your doctor, and hpppy to hear she's outraged at how they're taking advantage of you for being a foreigner. By now you're an honorary obcan for sure ...