Thursday, April 3, 2008

lookin' up maybe

I had a single ampoule (sp?) of blood taken last Friday at Motol, as opposed to the usual eight, for a CBC (complete blood count) and then went to see my oncologist. She was very impressed with my progress, or rather lack of serious chemo side effects, that is, and said I probably wouldn’t lose my hair after all.

She prescribed the Kytril (pack of 5), which turns out to be CZK 300 ($19) a pill, but I didn’t fill the prescription for the 1500 obvious reasons. I can think of better ways to spend 1500 crowns. It’s incredibly effective, but works only by tricking your brain into thinking you’re not nauseous. I have a problem with that concept, as well as with the cost, and will wait until I really need it (or insurance pays for it, whichever comes first) to fill the prescription. That said, if any of the new baby boom mothers have any leftover morning sickness pills, I’d be much obliged.

The blood count came back normal, so I’m on track for my second cycle on the 9th (next Wednesday) with another blood test scheduled for Tuesday morning at 7. I threw up again Saturday morning, but the nausea wasn’t as bad as the first time. I tire fairly easily these days and am all the way down to the energy level of a normal person ;-) - I only go out every other night.

Jon left Saturday morning after a really fun week. I had a great time with both Jon and Tommy and am very glad they came. I’ll let them comment themselves to put future visitors’ minds at ease that I'm not a tyrant ;-) Jon even got into the ear candle thing:

It looks like my triple-play treatment at Motol will be one tenth the cost of the proposed mono-chemo at Karlák. It’s the difference between paying $8 for a hamburger and $80 for one third of that same $8 hamburger, like in a French restaurant. Who the hell would pay $80 cash up front for a third of a hamburger? Not me. The Dartmouth Regime(n) has an 18% success rate, compared to 13% for DTIC on its own.

My former insurance company, Slavia, paid the outrageous (but finally materialized) Karlák invoice, so maybe they’ll get off my back now. I’ve had a fair amount of translation work and even a casting this past week. The paresthesis (slight tingling) in my hands goes much more often than it comes. Shiner’s completely gone and my arms have healed up nicely - on the outside at least. I think some of the chemo leaked through my pin cushion veins, as I have a burning sensation in several places in my arm. But things are sort of looking up and it looks like they may have finally removed that “cosmic ‘kick me’ sign” [Mary came up with that] I’ve been wearing for the past few months.

I don’t know who came up with that ‘no calls, no e-mail’ crap, although I think it might have been me. It’s just me and my cat right now and I wouldn’t mind hearing from some of you from time to time :-) So don’t hesitate to get in touch. If I don’t answer, it either means I’m asleep or at the movies or most likely both. I should have more time as I wrap up some of the bureaucratic bull I’m currently knee-deep in.

That said, it looks like I’ll last the month and then some, which brings us to this year’s MikeFEST™: I’m looking for volunteers for individual days and nights, as well as an overall MC. Before getting too excited about the coveted MC title, please realize that:

  1. it’s a thankless job

  2. you would have all of the responsibility and none of the authority

  3. no one has ever done it twice for good reason

  4. I’ve lost friends over this, so you can either be someone I don’t really care to lose or just someone above that sort of nonsense

  5. you will make mistakes and I will yell at you, but I will eventually apologize, provided you apologize first ;-)

    Just kidding - it’s not that bad and I’ll have bigger things to worry about. I’ll leave you with a kitsch picture from this year’s Matějská pouť :

Yes, that does indeed say 'WARM HE' and although this bear(? dog?) was by far the cutest prize available at this stand, plus points for correct spelling; points off for not making any sense whatsoever. Try to choke on this one:


Maie said...

Hey honey I don't have any contact details for you aside from this.... email perchance?

Bad said...

hey dude,

do u use skype?? if not get it. ill call u and tell u how much i hate chicago. it really does suck here. in the winter anyway. otherwise keep up the kick ass attitude and work!!

bad jeff

bex said...

we r still here watchin ya sweetie. U r a Star... I admire you in so many ways...and you just keep proving how strong you are ( as well as handsome ,talented,funny etc...he he ). Way to go. Ginger is the best natural anti nausea thing I know...munch on some dried might help a bit.
Talk to you soon. Kisses. Bex an Boyzxxxxxxx

Liz said...

Can't wait to find out who MCs this year's MF. Who wouldn't apply for a position with those great specs? Ah, the glory.

Pamela said...

Ditto on the ginger thing. The best thing is candied ginger from an Asian market - gelatinous, sugar covered goodness. So tasty, very cheap and makes you feel a lot better. I know there's not a huge Asian population in Praha, but if you have any NYC friends coming over, make them bring a few bags from Chinatown. Otherwise, I'll send you some the next time I can get Downtown.

Hang in there~


Anonymous said...

Dear Michael!
Sorry I've been out of touch. No excuse.
I can't come in april - but would love to come in july if you think you'll be around then (note: I refuse to use 'u' for you) - Above all, I would like to be there for the festification, in early May. I am very glad you're doing all right and am grateful for the blog news. will try to call soon - but if possible let me know if you'll be available at any time from july 15 to aug 27 (email
chinatown package forthcoming...
love tim

Pamela said...

The manufacturers website has a section on how to get free/discounted Kytril or some kind of financial assistance:

If you want me to call some of these places for you, let me know.


Anonymous said...

If I were there I would throw my MikeFest hat into the ring, that sounds like a challenge "no one has ever done it twice" will be having one in Denver! Ann

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

It's wonderful to read you are doing well with Motol and with your chemotherapy treatment. It must be a relief after the craziness of that $80 boulette avec dérision called VFN.

Being an "old wife" permits me to give out medical advice based solely on hearsay and personal experience :) --

I second the recommendation of ginger and lemon to prevent nausea, and would like to add mint to the list. Makes sense when you think about it -- at least I certainly don't know of anyone who ever got sick from drinking too many mojitos.

Back in the days of wanting to vomit for three months straight, I also found it helpful to ban the practice of frying meat, particularly pork, anywhere close to my olfactory range.

I love the photos and posts and hope all goes quickly and smoothly tomorrow, take care,

Liz of Brandys

Anonymous said...

No, Mike is actually NOT kidding about the horrible job he calls MC of the Mikefest, but you will feel really strong after completing the whole thing a nothing in the world will ever surprise you anymore.
It is a good training for any management position though :)

Anonymous said...

You tell em' Vrat.

Jon Luftig

Anonymous said...

....just got off of the phone with Mike. Since others probably worry as much as I do when they don't hear from him, and it has been a while since the last post, here are some of the details I picked up during the phone call...

1) Mike's finishing his second round of chemo this week and is still not experiencing side effects any worse than those he had the first time around.

2) He's understably getting a little irritated by the whole hospital/chemo thing, but--BUT no side effects worse than the first cycle.

3) He's growing a beard.

For those who have not yet been to visit Mike in Prague, or are thinking about it, I can strongly recommend it. We had a great time.

Greetings to everyone in Prague, and good lookin' out for Nealko-Boy!


Anonymous said...

NIce going Mikey! It sounds like you're showing this bee-yatch who's boss. I still have my Colon toilet freshener you bought me...

And the ear candle is frightening.

And hamburgers in the U.S. cost about 80$ right now, so you're not missing much over here. Besides Prague has the best meat-on-bun in the world. I SO wish I could come out to MikeFest (don't think I have the cojones to ringlead). However, I will be in Wyoming for the month, but I will be thinking of you nonstop!!! Good luck and keep getting those great health reports.

Big Love,