Tuesday, September 30, 2008

probably not good

Irina and I went to Motol this morning to meet my new erstwhile oncologist (mine is recovering from surgery) and get last Thursday’s CT results. That’s right, the verdict is: probably not good... maybe:

“Multiple small lesions and ‘infiltrations’ between 2mm – 4mm are apparent in both lungs.” They suspect lung metastasis. But it could also be some sort of inflammation - they can’t really tell or say. But they think it’s metastasis, they’re sort of sure (like they were about the ‘first’ lung tumor). The other lymphatic tumors are slightly reduced or the same as before. Gall bladder still in tatters, but the good news is that the report says nothing about my prostate. Yeah!

I compared both CT lung exams (July 24 & September 25) and can’t see any difference therebetween even with the fancy magnifying glass function. I’ll be looking for a second opinion, or yet again, a more definitive first.

Dr. Batko did tell me that I was very lucky to have lived this long. I’m to speak with him again tomorrow after he’s looked at today’s bloodwork and consulted with the other doctors (including my own, I think) at Motol and they come up with a plan/proposal for my next treatment, which I will most likely politely decline.

Because the really good news is that I now qualify for clinical trials! I’m just trying to remain positive. More as this story unravels...

Monogram were great last night - as always. I will be in Atlanta (ATL) twice actually in December for an hour apiece if you want to meet up for a quick $18 beer, Hunter.

Friday, September 26, 2008

the american tour

The tingling seems to be fairly steady in both feet and hands now and, it’s either gotten slightly better, or I’m just getting used to it. I am, however, having more and more trouble walking and standing for longer periods, but this usually remains unnoticeable to all but the most observant. We’re going to call it ‘peripheral neuropathy’ from now on, as that’s the name of the (more chronic) condition and fairly common side-effect of chemotherapy.

I got my ticket for the post-election gloat-boat, the “In your face, grandpa, and you too, ya cheap hussy” Express, for less than $700 (that’s like 50 crowns!) for all these imminent arrivals:

Sunday, Nov 16: San Francisco (SFO) 12:08 PM PST
Sunday, Nov 23: Denver (DEN) 11:44 PM MST
Monday, Dec 1: Austin (AUS) 10:09 PM CST
Friday, Dec 5: Baltimore (BWI) 4:23 PM EST
Tuesday, Dec 16: Fort Myers, Florida (RSW) 2:37 PM EST
Monday, Dec 29: New York (EWR) 10:56 PM EST

So buckle your seatbelts! Despite the recent ‘mental recession’, the fundamentals of the American economy appear stronger than ever: waste gas and pollute the air for next to nothing and buy lots of Christmas presents made (or at least bought) in USA.

But I progress. From October 30th to November 16th I’ll be in the greatest New York area, as well as after December 29th. I look forward to seeing all of you and your respective sundries at our mutual conveniences on any stop of the tour. That’s a pretty wide berth: you have no excuse.

I had my long-awaited CT scan yesterday morning. It took them four tries to get a working needle in for the contrast solution, so I’m back to junkie pincushion arms after a long break. I got the results on CD immediately after, but can’t find anything, nor have been able to in the past, except that my insides are a lovely shade of blue, my boxers are a little too tight in the waist, I have a strange wire running down the right side of my body and my spine is pretty straight for all my poor posture:

My oncologist, in a surprise move, is mysteriously disappearing (on purpose) for a month, or at least until after my last opportunity to see her before I leave for Germany and then the States. I’m to have blood tests and get my CT results on Tuesday morning with her replacement, Dr. Batko. I’m having some abandonment anxiety. I hope to arrange a PET scan before I leave, depending on Tuesday’s consultation with the second string.

I saw Dr. Wang today and told him about the neuropathy. He stuck ten relatively painful pins in my head, turning me into a real Hellraiser, and left me for almost an hour. I feel pretty much the same, although my much lighter wallet has put a little skip in my step.

Results on Tuesday could affect my US itinerary, so bate your collective breath until next time. Don't miss tonight's presidential debate, even if McCain does.

Friday, September 19, 2008

homeward bound

The paresthesis, for lack of a more accurate term, has got substantially worse and is now accompanied by burning sensations on?/in? my right hand and foot along with the previously-reported pins and needles. The good news is that it’s become so bad that it’s passed (more diffused) to my left side as well – strangely, but logically, considered a positive sign in the topsy-turvy world of neurology.

Diagnosing me via SMS (I was in Spain, she was leaving for the States), my neurologist blamed the usual suspect, the chemo culprit, for my new-found numbness. Seeing me in person on Tuesday, my neurosurgeon, Dr. Klener, gave me a slightly more thorough exam and concurred with her diagnosis. I will have an MRI on October 7th just to be sure. Forgot to ask whether or not this kind of nerve damage is permanent.

I went over to Will and Irina’s for dinner and the traditional bestowing upon of the winter coat on Wednesday - my Mother got last year’s. My first leather coat! And boy is it stylish! But here’s a picture of violins instead:

¡Me lo pasé dpm en Madrid! ¡Gracias a todos! Despite the fact that I lost another molar - this time to a potato chip, which I shouldn’t have been eating anyway. My dentist patched it up yesterday and will replace my chewed-up Terminator-(1)-looking crown, busted since February, a week from Monday.

The big Bulgarian beach barbecue is off (not only for the obvious health implications of ‘beach’ and ‘barbecue’, not to mention ‘Bulgarian’); and although they were practically paying us to go there toward the end, the grapes were really a bit sour: -20 degrees and hail the size of soccer balls or something. I did, however, get my ticket to the States after a protracted struggle with the delta.com booking UI, which has no back button and expects both decisiveness and perfection at every screen.

I’ll go up to Rügen Island for Henny and Florian’s wedding weekend on the 24th of October, apparently, and fly out of Berlin nonstop to JFK on the 30th. After about two weeks in the tri-state area, my other intended ports of call include: Baltimore/DC, Denver, San Francisco, possibly Austin, Miami and then Fort Myers, Florida for Christmas.

Tickets are surprisingly reasonable, pretty much regardless of the order of the aforementioned cities, so let me know if there are any potential conflicts or preferences. Nothing’s set in stone, I’m still flexible, but need to be fast. I should get the ticket early next week at the latest.

After Christmas, I’ll either go back to NY (for more), to Seattle or Bethesda (for clinical trials), Argentina and Brazil (just for kicks), or any combination of the above. I’m to return to Berlin on February 17th - hopefully to good news from the Embassy. I still need to get my papers in order (all over again), sublet my apartment and find someone to take care of the šlupers.

Some of my friends from the Northwest Territories took umbrage at my characterization of Sarah Palin as “Canadian-sounding”. If only she were Canadian, as Mary points out, she would have more to recommend her. I’d take Anne Murray or Robin Sparkles over Palin any day. Unfortunately, it’s specifically forbidden by the American Constitution. Wait a minute... that never stopped Bush!

So apologies to my brothers and sisters both to and from the North and, if you haven’t seen it already:


Vrat's birthday tonight.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

la vuelta de españa

Sorry it’s been awhile, but I’m in:

And don’t have a lot to report, medically, that is, but hope to make up for lack of text with some visuals.

I got the part as ‘housepainter extra’ or something from that casting after all. I guess dude must have been: too drunk to remember, overcome by remorse, completely desperate or most probably just some low-level flunky who happens to have a laptop and hang out with film people while trying to look important.

Fortunately, I had already bought my ticket to Madrid and therefore had the perfect excuse not to get up at 5AM for three days in a row and go all the way out to boondock Barrandov for full-day pretend house-painting and crap money. Maybe next time.

I arrived here last Friday, pretty much without a hitch - plane was late, food was terrible, but I was not immediately deported :-) Paco and I went straight to the hospital from the airport (his appointment, not mine for once), so I could feel a little more at home - shop and compare, as it were.

I’m floating between Pensión América (Paco’s Mom’s place downtown, where I used to live) and his beautiful new apartment in the near-burbs of Coslada from whence I’m writing now.

Been travelling around a lot: Chinchón, some town called Ear, up to the source of the river Manzanares, etc. and on Tuesday, we went to Salamanca to see Paco’s sister and pick up his nephew for school in Madrid. Here’s a picture of Paco, me and Rebe (his beautiful bird) in the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca:

Having a really great time, eating unbelievably well and healthy - no chorizo for Mikey this time, but lots of fish, fruits and vegetables:

I’ve been experiencing some paresthesis (numbness, tingling) in my right foot and hand, which has had me a little worried. I’m going to try to order a brain MRI when I get back to Prague, as it’s about time for one anyway.

Although it would be a greater risk than coming here, I may go to Bulgaria with my Prague peeps next week. I’ll let you know. Going to see the Senator DJ in Lavapiés (Footwash) tonight – should be wild.

As always, thanks for your patience, comments and continuing support. ¡Hasta muy pronto!

Monday, September 1, 2008

working in the garden

I had my last dose(s) of radiation today (I had mistakenly miscounted in the last post, apologies) and couldn’t be more pleased. The red areas are redder and I’ve lost a bit of hair in the pit and, aside from the: seemingly indelible, inscrutable, ‘out, out damn spot’, unscrubable, stigmatic welts of crosses from the dye, I’m fine.

Went to my good friend and former prodigy’s cottage up in my old rhinoceros stomping grounds of České Středohoří on Friday to help him with some gardening:

I unfortunately got called back on a callback for a commercial much earlier than I had planned on Saturday afternoon, only to find out that the casting director was the selfsame schmuck I had a bit of a ‘disagreement’ with last Tuesday at the karaoke of all places. With my recently-acquired arch-nemesis calling the shots, I doubt I have one. Prague is really too small.

So I bought a ticket for Madrid. I have some time before my next CT scan on the 25th and need to get the hell out of here for a bit. I’ll have a PET scan some time in late October and then plan to go to the States in time to vote.

If melanoma ever makes me crazy enough to pick a gun-toting, creationist, pregnant-teenage-daughter-having, small town politick, Canadian-sounding (no offence, but c’mon), right-wing whackjob as my back-up, just pull the plug.

My mother fractured both her tibia and her fibula playing golf with a baby this past weekend, but is recovering nicely.

Happy (only-in-America, gotta be different) Labor Day! Go Obama!