Sunday, June 1, 2008

and then there were three...

I ‘failed’ Tuesday’s blood test for some unspecified reason. I was told to come back the following day (again) at 7:30AM to retake the exam, as if I were in a very liberal New England college. “No chemo this week,” the nurse had said. I got up and, without showering or feeding my poor cat, ran out of the house just before 7 to go back to the hospital for what was supposed to be a five-minute visit.

I had my blood test and then decided to wait around for my oncologist, who was due to fly to Chicago for a conference the next day, to find out what the hell was going on. She couldn’t see me until after 10 and then told me “Just the platelets are down below healthy levels [116 v. bottom healthy limit of 140, WBC 5.9 - down a bit, but still within the normal range], but not unsafe. We’ll start the chemo today as planned. Go over there now.”

I went to the other wing, through the maze that is Motol, and they stuck me in a room with two old men who were obviously dying. I could see, hear and smell it on them. One snored heavily while wide-awake, the other groaned loudly in pain only while sleeping. The snoring guy crapped the bed twice. Very sad.

They put my kanyla in around noon; but after Jiffy arrived and already having waited almost four hours for the chemo, I decided to take a walk outside and come back when they were ready. In the mean time, they moved me and all my stuff to a much better room, with a different, but relatively cheerful old man. Chemo started after 2 and I was there until well after 6. Almost 12 hours for a three and a half hour procedure. I returned home to a very pissed-off cat at about 7:30 PM, who had traded her teeth long ago for eternal youth and an invisibility cloak that obviously doesn’t work:

The other two days of chemo were (not as) long, but uneventful. Dr. Pikus dropped by on Friday to give me my schedule and answer some questions from the PET scan results that I had yet to find a Czech who could understand.

The bad news is that the lung tumor is inoperable: they would have to remove the entire lung :-( not something I’m particularly interested in. The good news is that it is probably dying – ‘apoptosizing’ as opposed to proselytizing ;-) The PET scan revealed no highly-elevated glucose consumption in the lung. The lymphatic tumors are slightly smaller; and there are (apparently) only two left.

A PET scan, however, only reveals tumors larger than 5mm, so it is very possible that I have many smaller ones remaining, including the core of the lung tumor, but it appears that something is working, so:

6.6 - more blood tests
12.6 - moles excised and biopsied
17.6 - more blood tests + biochemistry
18-20.6 - fifth chemo cycle, including the dreaded Carmustine
9.7 @8AM - radiation begins

I threw up yesterday morning, before my pill had a chance to dissolve/work, but am otherwise feeling OK. I’m drinking my Chinese tea, taking my curcumin and even went on a juice fast last week for two and a half days; whatever it takes. I have a funny story about Jiffy, but want to post this now, so it’ll have to wait.

Thanks again for your support!


Anonymous said...

Hi, Mike. Let me know if you still can't find curcumin there, and I'll send some over. Sounds like sort of mixed news, but mostly a lot to be positive about. I'll call you today.

(Lovely picture of the cat, by the way.)



liz said...

Keep going, my lovely. V proud and impressed: it's not easy to do things like juice fasts, etc - needs energy and attention - so well done, and carry on. Shrink that lung-humbug.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,
Sorry I missed your skype. Glad to hear you are sticking to the various programs, this cancer thing seems like a full time job, too bad you can't sort out a way to get paid for it? Love you and thinking of you often. Ann

maire said...

nice pic. looks like her wedding photo :)

Pamela said...

Your cat is so cute. Must show that picture to Oscar - he loves kitties.

Hang in there. I know it's hard to keep the will and the energy up, but just look back on where you were in January and where you are now. It's truly a testament to your mental fortitude, so keep it up. Lance Armstrong had cancer spread into his brain and lungs too and he went on to win the Tour de France. You may not win any relays, but you can definitely beat this. Sorry if all that sounded cheesy, but sometimes a girl's gotta go there.