Wednesday, February 13, 2013

As things go spinning by...

it seems like watching a whirlwind!

   The oncology appointment got moved up by 10 days as my pulomonologist pulled some strings. I met him, his staff, then his partner the radiologist. Very impressed with all of them, and have had no questions unanswered and they even made a point of printing pics from some of the scans to show me the aliens growing inside me.

   I had a P.I.C.C. line implanted a week ago Monday; a week ago today they cleaned it up and flushed it. I had some kind of skin reaction to either the stuff they cleaned it with or the knit sleeve they gave me to put over it; the resulting rash has had me living on Benadryl for most of this last week. 2 of those is kind of like flipping the lights off for me, but still better than scratching myself bloody raw!

   Tomorrow (yes, on Valentine's Day) I go in for my first chemo treatment. This after having a test done on Dottie's birthday, another on our anniversary, finding out about the cancer just in time for my birthday and one of the recent doctor's visits on my daughter-in-law's birthday. I'd like to get off of that cycle, but don't really want to delay this!

   Their original treatment plan was chemo every Wednesday for 6 weeks with radiation every weekday. As they did their homework and with some input from my pulmonologist, along with people from the Mayo, they figured out the radiation would destroy too much of what lung I have left from the idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. They opted instead to change one of the chemo drugs and give me higher doses of two treatments, 21 days apart, then do another P.E.T. scan to see how much reduction there has been in the tumors and the 3 lymph nodes (yes, a better reading of the scans showed a 3rd involved, they are on the bronchial tube leading into my center chest, but above the heart, so there is less worry there than there was).

  They expect a 50% reduction, and if the scan shows there is then they will begin 5 day-a-week radiation for 6 weeks, perhaps with a pause or two depending on how my skin reacts to it.

   I managed to slip up to the KU library the other week and renew my library card for the first time in a couple of years. Checked out some things that had been on my Amazon list that I really didn't intend to buy, but it's a convenient place to keep track of them. Two books by Irene Nemirovsky; a compilation of Emily Bronte's juvenalia poems about Gondal; Vita Sackville-West's letters to Virginia Woolf and book of essays she wrote "Country Notes in Wartime". I've already finished it and gained some new perspectives on British life in 1939 and 1940 I probably could not have gotten elsewhere. Among all her observations, the most poignant described being unable to sleep and going out for a wander around the grounds of her estate, ending up at a small lake. A moonlit night, the water is black and there is no reflection, but the iris are glowing and she rows out to cut some for the morning table.

   As she does, she hears something overhead and looks up to see German bombers headed to London or somewhere, being intercepted by the R.A.F., their cockpits aglow in the night. So surreal!

   Off now to load some Scott Hamilton onto my mp3 player for's already got a lot of Jay McShann, along with Goodman and Harry James and of course, Gerry Mulligan.

   I'll try to update again early next week, depending on how I feel. Dottie is taking the day of tomorrow to go with me and my younger son (probably should call him something else as he turns 34 shortly) is driving in from Lawrence as well. The older boy and his wife (she who lost her birthday to my appts. last month) are driving in from Colorado for the weekend as Dottie is working.

   May the world be kind to each of you!



Kranki said...

Ah, I am so sorry to hear this my dear friend. The sooner you start the chemo the sooner it ends, right? You'll very likely find the chemo nurses delightful and might even get a therapy dog visit or two. A couple helpful hints: bring some peppermints/gum/lozenges because sometimes the chemo can leave a bad taste in your mouth (LITERALLY and figuratively) and Dottie might want to bring a bum cushion because sometimes support people don't get a comfy chair to sit in. Also, crosswords are fun to do. Take care! xxoo

Doris said...

Thanks for the update Alan, Thinking of you and hoping your first chemo is not too bad. Hugs. xxx

Anji said...

Keeping my fingers crossed that the chemo goes as well as it can for you.

Hawaiianmark said...

My friend; I hope all goes well.

My prayers and good thoughts are there with you.

Calamity Jen said...

Alan, I am sorry to hear about all of this turmoil. You don't deserve one iota of it, of course. I am keeping you in my thoughts and wishing you strength and continued good spirits.

robin andrea said...

It has been a while since you updated this after the chemo treatment. I'm hoping that it all went well. Chemo is very hard on the body, but I know you are mentally prepared for all the possible side-effects. Sending you good healing thoughts and best wishes.

BTW, I love your reading list!