Tuesday, August 28, 2007

no rest for the weary

A mild weekend and a "day off" on Monday meant nothing much new to write about. I now have a rough calendar of what the end of the year will look like and, today, met with my radiologist, Dr. Cheston, for the first time... of many.

Dr. Grasso and Dr. Lee had confab'd last week and agreed that I ought to get some chemo and radiation therapy to start off. Dr. Cheston agreed with them and spelled out that process for me today along with some expectations of the effects I may (will) feel.

Every day for about five weeks I will drop by the radiation oncology clinic adjacent to Howard County General and get nuked. They'll hit me in three directions and maybe a fourth, but they will be trying hard to avoid zapping my lymph nodes, prostate, rectum, bladder, small intenstine, and the wedding tackle. In fact, I have special instructions to keep the kit clear of the firing range. I will be careful to obey.

The effects will accumulate and most likely not be felt until a week or two in. I may see an improvement in my digestion as a result, but the compound fatigue is pretty much inevitable. I anticipate this. We will meet weekly for x-rays and a "how are you feeling" discussion and work to mitigate any side effects. It looks like I may be approved for chemo via pills instead of IV and I will take them at the same time I get lit.

At least once during the therapy period I will meet with Dr. Grasso and tell him how it's going. This is in addition to seeing him next Thursday for outpatient surgery to get the porta-cath that has been approved too.

When the five weeks are up, I will have five to six weeks of no therapy at all to both let the chemo and radiation finish their job and to build my strength back up before the big surgery; the tumor will be removed. That is roughly the first week or two of November. I will be in the hospital for a week and I'm making it known again I expect visitors to keep me company!

I asked Dr. Cheston if there might be other people a little further along than I am who would be willing to talk to me about how they're doing. In return, if there are others coming behind me with the same kind of diagnosis and want to talk to someone, I'd be happy to volunteer. My Dad has been leaning on me to meet some fellows from church but I just think this is the wrong time to be trying to make new friends; at least friends whom aren't where Jody and I are at now. If anything, I think it may be most helpful both for me and maybe for someone else to be relating on this most serious of issues. I think I can help better that way and I also think I may be helped better too. I just feel that may be a way I might be needed while this is going on.

Meanwhile, more and more love keeps showing up in the mailbox and I thank you all for it. Today, the DHL truck dropped off an odd box labeled 'live plants' and 'this end up' on the outside. In the box I found a bonsai wine grape vine from California. It is remarkably cool and I think it may even produce grapes! I did not know whom it had been sent by until I found a little card in the elaborate box from some of Jody's old cronies at SPS; one fo the first companies she worked for full-time after the series of independent gigs she was doing when we got married. I will try to find a way to send my thanks back to them and to everyone else this evening too. I need to get some stationery...

Please, keep praying for both of us. Twice now I've asked Jody feeling I may have not been taking this seriously enough or that my optimism has been naive. I know this is Doubt and Fear trying to weasel their way back in. Jody is also going to need hands to replace mine as I get even weaker this next month. If anyone is especially handy with bathroom grout and caulk we could really use some help getting our master shower back on line again!

PS - yes, Beth, I do sudoku! I am about a third finished with a book of games Jody got me... I like the difficult level!


Beth said...

Somehow I knew you would; and that you'd like the really hard ones too! Thanks for the update. I'm sure you're feeling pushed and pulled in many directions right now by many different people. Know that I'm here for you and so is Scott. We're not close enough to rush right over in the physical sense, but that can be done fairly quickly too if you just say the word! You wouldn't want me to plumb or caulk anything and I can kill cactus and silk flowers with lightening speed, but Scott and Alex are both very handy and you won't go hungry on my cooking!

Love ya!

Scattered Gemini said...

i think you're right about meeting up with some other cancer patients and survivors, that sounds like it would be really good for you.

I think in such a case as this, your sense of humor will end up being a plus. Laughter is good medicine and staying positive is as well. Of course there will be times when you are down, frustrated or doubt tries to creep in...and that's when you should reach out to those friends and family who are there to support you.

Hang in there...one day at a time.

bySarah said...

I am SO glad and proud of your optimisim. Keep it up and do not let anyone else tell you otherwise.

I miss you guys!

Jolene said...

There are some mailing lists at http://www.acor.org/ that you may want to look into. Also Hopewell Cancer http://www.hopewellcancersupport.org/ has some adult groups.

Keep your spirits up!

I am going to see if Russell is up to working on the tile for you.

Amie said...

I'm sorry, what?

Cancer schmancer - NOTHING to report about Monday? Not even, oh, I don't know, dinner with four of the hottest babes on the eastern seaboard?

Seriously, Jody will have to try hard to feel unloved and alone during all this - we just aren't going to let her. You either. Hang in there.

John said...

Monday was back to normal, such as it was. I have dinner with Jody most every night... is that newsworthy? ;)

soapturtle said...

I just got Brain Age 2 and a DS Lite. It has Soduku in it, and would be handy to have for all the waiting you'll be doing. It has an internal battery that generally lasts about 16 hours, and you'll never run out of soduku! I think the first Brain Age has soduku too but since I don't have it I can't be positive on that.

Beth said...

Brainage 1 has sudoku.