Thursday, July 10, 2008

42 23 18 17...?

No, those aren’t the lucky Lost™ numbers backward, that’s my platelet count(down) for the last twelve days – 150 considered the bottom end of healthy. They’re falling faster than the US dollar, but seem to have leveled off in the upper teens (maybe). I basically bleed and bruise very easily. If they go below 5, I’ll have to have a transfusion. My white blood count (WBC) was 3.3 yesterday, which is up slightly from Monday’s all time low of 3.0. More blood tests yet again tomorrow...

Hats off to Steve for nabbing the Friends karaoke concession: from 40 songs in English to over 4000 – a definite improvement. A great time was had by all and sundry. Yesterday morning, however, saw me up before six and puking in the shower, of all places, before Tom Parker (unshowered for obvious reasons) and I set off for Motol for the aforementioned blood tests and radiation planning at 7.

Radiation planning involved a lot of signing of paperwork that I didn’t bother to read and a fight between the receptionist and two old men complaining about the $1.90 doctor’s fee. I then got three large, deep purple ‘tattoos’ (the color, not the band) that make me look a bit messianic:

I will have these wild markings until the end of August – they’re what they use to align the zapper during radiation treatments. I spent about five minutes in a 'simulator' to get me used to the process or something and then had a CT scan of the relevant to-be-radiated region.

I have to go back on the 23rd for final adjustments and begin radiation in earnest on the 28th. Treatments will be Mondays and Thursdays for five weeks (ten sessions) at much higher-than-normal doses... but only twice a week, which is a relief, sort of.

Tomorrow I have more blood tests, see my oncologist for a chat and a check-up and my dermatologist for the mole(s) histology and another look-see. I’m jumping on the high-speed Pendolino with Jirka for the ‘Colours [sic] of Ostrava’ music festival in the early afternoon.

Tom Parker left this morning. We had a fantastic, jam-packed (less than a) week and so I’ve been too busy to post anything until today, sorry. A real sport, that Tom Parker, who can finally keep up with me. Here he is helping to reduce my drinking by finishing my beer again:


Greg said...

awesome pictures mike. given those blood counts, and your new propensity to bruise and bleed, i hope you're planning to avoid the mosh pits, and coal mines, in Ostrava...

I'm coming back to Prague on Saturday, so make room in your schedule for some lunches next week!

Pamela said...

Glad to get a picture of you - your hair looks so luxurious :>

I know I shouldn't laugh, but your "tattoo" is the height of irony. If there is a God, do you think s/he is making fun of you?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mike. That picture is sort of performance artish or Manson-Family-esque. You actually look quite healthy, though. Sorry about the platelet count. I've given Tim more curcumin to take over, but I guess you'll have to steer clear of that for a while. Not the best care-package choice, but I've also given him some energy drink packets. You can use them to replace coffee & beer, and they come in bright, cheery colors! Hang in there.



Jason said...

hang in there buddy. off to moscow shortly. may I return safe and sound.

Anonymous said...

Just to reiterate what has often been said before: visiting Mike was a great experience. Though it is hard to fathom without having made the trip or being a Prague denizen, in which case you’re exposed to it on a daily basis: there can simply be nobody less incapacitated by the mental and physical challenges of having cancer. It takes about two hours to change your vision from: “I am going to visit a dear friend who has cancer” to “I am visiting a dear friend who happens to have cancer,” the latter trifle being a detail that fades away with Mike managing his morning cigarette, coffee, CNN, music, and telephone. It goes something like this: Slurp.“Okay, shall we have a little B with the shark cartilage then—illegal and inconceivable to Czechs who live in a landlocked country to…Who the hell is that? Damn Jiffy- freak… Okay, yeah, karaoke tonight. Fine. Yeah babe. You too. Later. Okay…no we’re off to see Gottfried Helnwein after we check out the lunch specials…big culture day…All showered up then Tom?” After which, Mike lets out a humungous sigh and a puff of smoke, checks his finger nails, flexes his articulations and you’re off. It was seven days of this. Undoubtedly the highlight of my summer with more culture, good beer, great friends, than one can possibly imagine. Utterly exhausting. Just to clarify though: ostensibly the platelet thing has absolutely nothing to do with the cancer, but is the effect of chemo poisoning. So although it sounds, and is, dire, it is a passing non-cancer issue according to the docs which seemed to be bottoming out on my last day there. Furthermore if the platelets were scarce during my visit, Mike, they were undoubtedly up in the frontal lobe defending against the incoming barbs from someone who is doing a little more than “just keeping up.” Oh yeah!

Ingrid said...

LOVE the "2nd coming" portrait! Weird... had no idea that there are tattoos in this. I'd just have assumed you'd done some jail time. ;-)

Sending good vibes, hope you got the (Take 3) escapism I sent you (Catch 22 a la San Diego bond traders). Might be a bit too surreal for current conditions, but when you get to it would love to hear what you think.

All the best, sweeteart!