Monday, March 2, 2009

back at it

What an exhausting trip. New York seems like a year ago, but here goes:

A life-long dream of mine had been to see the Harlem Globetrotters® do that thing they do live. Bombarded and teased with advertising throughout my childhood for upcoming performances just a few towns away, I’d always felt a little cheated, left out and behind for missing out.

I don’t feel that way anymore. Thanks to the Garden of Dreams™ people at MSG® (OK, Christine, really), that dream came true much to my personal disillusionment. Not that there was anything wrong with the Trotters, just the ‘garden’ itself was a little fallow:

Remembering with relish the spread for the rodeo, I had starved myself all day in anticipation. This was on pay for tray at the event:

‘Unless them onions is frizzled with gold bullion, or that pork pulled out of the automaker bailout, I ain’t shellin’ out 91 clams for a sammich,’ I chided myself. There was, however, free beer (a lot), of which we indulged (a lot), before somehow waking up in a Dominican restaurant on the Lower East Side covered in salsa.

The rest of my time in NY was parties, packing and saying goodbyes and then off to Berlin, where I had a day of running errands and deutsche domesticity with Travis (doing dishes):

With Travis off to London and me chomping a bit at the bit to return, I took the train back to Prague the following morning and Jiffy picked me up at the station with a couple of beers:

In my absence, my apartment had been redecorated in the minimalist off-white motif of a 19th century hospital ward - not much different from where I’d been a year ago, so I felt right at home at home, as it were. I also lost CNN and the crappy German teleshopping/soft porn channels in favor of the Czech flavors, while the Vietnamese store below my house is, not-so-sadly, not with us anymore. And my cat is having a second childhood – not that any of these things are correlated, necessarily.

Maintaining the momentum from my trip for a few nights, I hit the town and finally hit the wall the first weekend with a flu that left me delirious with fever and otherwise incapacitated until the following Thursday when I went out to Motol for blood tests at 7AM.

I decided to wait around for my oncologist (instead of for the scheduled Monday appointment), so I’d be able to go skiing in the Italian Alps the following (this) week - four months of traveling not having been enough. She gave me the twice over, couldn’t feel any tumors in the nodes, arranged for a CT on March 23rd and a brain MRI on April 20th and told me to call later for the blood results.

When I called later, she told me that my creatinine (a waste product of the muscles) was three times the norm (245μmol/l) and I needed to come back the following morning for more tests and a sonogram, as this represented severe kidney failure. I did some research and it didn’t look good, so I cancelled my trip to Italy, drank lots of water and went to see Monogram with Josh at U Vodarny where I had a lot of beer to kick my kidneys into gear.

I went in at 7 for the tests and then came back at 11:30 for the results and the sonogram. The tests were fine and the sonogram cancelled. I’d managed to lower my creatinine to 63μmol/l – the low end of normal – even without dialysis! She also pointed out that my ‘melanoma marker’, the S-100β protein, which I had no idea they’d been testing for had dropped to .071μg/l from .232μg/l last March - now in the ‘normal’ range! Apparently, anything below .1μg/1 is good. Very good news if you can read between the Greek.

John and Amanda threw me a welcome back party of sorts somehow on Saturday night downstairs at Erra. Nicola, as usual, was in charge of the camera:

We then went over to the latest incarnation of ‘The Zone’ across from my old apartment, now called ‘Bendy’s' of all things:

Which was fun. I'm going to try to see my neurosurgeon tomorrow morning to arrange yet another exam, so I'm off. Sorry this post has been so long in coming (and in length), but it’s been a long few months. Thanks to everyone for their supportive comments on the last post and a special shout out to all those who hosted me on my American tour. I had a great time, but I’m glad to be back, for now at least ;-)


Una on Tour said...


Wow, now I don't understand medical speak, but that seemed like good news. Last year I was in Laos leaving blessings for you at Buddhist temples, this year I'm in Dublin and am really really happy for you.

keep rocking and rolling


Anonymous said...

Awesome. Glad to hear the test results seem normal. Plus glad to hear you are back to old tricks and old friends and your old lady cat. Skype soon, sorry I missed you on Saturday. Ann

Pamela said...

We miss you--especially Oscar :>
Hope we see you in May/June when the Czech Embassy finally gets it's act together and reviews your visa. Glad those nasty cancer hormone levels are down.


Jiffz said...

I think I look great.

Anonymous said...

Great news, all around! Congratulations! Can't wait to see you this spring.

Anonymous said...

Uh, that above comment would be Jess the Mess.

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming that the prices on that Madison Garden menu are special for people who don't wash their hands after they pee. I'm assuming the rest of us would pay a pretty penny more.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike. I didn't know about your problem with health. But you seem to be in a good mood. That is important. Hope to see you in a nearly future :) Ivan, Prague

Anonymous said...

I promise to answer my phone next time.


VMH said...

Hey you. As my birthday is the same day as your CT scan, I'm giving you my more tumors, no more cancer.
(Sorry I missed your welcome back party...lameness and a cold)

VMH said...

god, I should edit from time to time...that's birthday WISH ;D

maire said...

should i be concerned or grateful that you apparently photoshopped me out of the bendy's photo? i think i'll go with grateful.

that's terrific news on the test results :)