Monday, July 23, 2012

Can you say octreotide?

I'll post more as soon as I can but today is day #1 (of 3) of the octreotide scan that both MSKCC and Dr. Richards requested.  On a hunt to make sure we know where any neuro-endocrine cancer might be hiding.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Relative calm ensues

Before I shut down my computer for the night I thought that I’d make this quick post to keep my string of Sunday evening updates alive.

Whew, what a week!!  After a week of combination chemo and radiation that definitely had to be said.  I’ve never had to deal with a week like that before and I won’t mind if I don’t have to see anything like that again for a while.  The running back and forth had Amy and I hopping to the point where on more than one occasion we almost turned toward the wrong doctor’s office.  I don’t think I need to go into how interesting this made my work week.

All in all I held up pretty well with the different treatments.  My back is continuing to improve although there’s no question that I have a way to go before the pain is at an acceptable level.  Therefore I continue to use the Percocet on an as-needed basis.  And so far there haven’t been any terrible side effects to the chemo, or to the neulasta, so we’ll keep plugging away.  Tomorrow is my final radiation treatment and we’ll be monitoring the pain levels in the coming weeks.

Instead of using every last sick/vacation day I have this year on treatments and tests we decided to stand firm on trying to grab at least 5 days of real vacation this summer.  I have mentioned this trip on the blog before… we’re heading to Lake Tahoe and Colorado on Saturday July 28.  I can’t wait to show Amy some of the Tahoe sites.  It’s been a while since I’ve been there and I know that a lot of South Lake Tahoe has changed but I’m fairly sure that the lake itself is pretty much in the same place (lame attempt at humor).

I’d be remiss if I didn’t make my parting LiveSTRONG plea and thank you.  Our fundraising totals are continuing to climb as a team and we hope to be in the top 3 when all is said and done.  If you haven’t donated yet and can consider a donation of any size please click here to access my personal fundraising page.  Thanks!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A busy week

It’s only been a week since my last post but a busy week it was.  I thought several times about posting during the week but I just wasn’t up to it physically.

Radiation started last Monday and as an everyday event I immediately felt like I was on a runaway train since it kind of took over as a mid-day event that had to happen.  Radiation itself hasn’t been bad but the pain and mobility issues that I am having in my back had become somewhat extreme.  Advil definitely wasn’t cutting it anymore and Dr. Fein wrote me an Rx for Percocet.  At my request the dosage was kept low and it has definitely done the job for me.  Especially with regard to helping me get a decent night of sleep.  A couple of potential scenarios for when I might start feeling some pain relief from the radiation had been described to me and as always Amy and I just adopted our usual one day at a time outlook.  But with 4 out of 10 treatments under my belt I started to feel a slight bit of relief yesterday when I woke up.  Let’s hope that with 6 more to go it progresses to complete pain and mobility relief and that the relief is long-lasting.

Lasting relief would be great because this Tuesday is when we start the new chemo protocol.  I’ll be having chemo in the morning followed by radiation shortly thereafter.  As Steve Alexander would say, “Woof!!”.  Chemo will consist of VP-16 (aka Etoposide) and carboplatin for 3 straight days (carboplatin will not be given on the 3rd day) and this time around we’ll also be using neulasta on the 4th day to try and keep my white blood cell count above hospital visit levels.  This will all happen on a 3-week cycle so I’ll have chemo the first week and then there will be 2 weeks to work on recovery.

Remember too that the octreotide scan, another 3-day adventure, will be on July 23-25 at Princeton Radiology.  Since I haven’t had one of those yet I’m not entirely sure of what we might learn from this scan.  Of course I know what I’ve read about it but, as always, it’s one day at a time and right now I’m focused on the challenge of this coming week.

What followed my mid-June email plea on behalf of myself and the Mintz’s Mentschen team has been tremendous.  I know that I’ve said this before but you’ll have to bear with me being a bit repetitive about it as I am just overwhelmed by it all.  Love and support from all corners of my life as well as financial support that has my LiveSTRONG fundraising up to $5,160.  Mintz’s Mentschen is up to $16,743 and stands firmly in 4th place in the overall team fundraising standings.  We’re pushing for a top 3 finish so if you can consider a donation please do it as soon as possible.  The August 18-19 event is getting closer and closer!  My fundraising/recruiting webpage can be accessed by clicking here.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Here we go

I’m on the tired side and definitely a bit uncomfortable so this post will be a bit short.  But this week will start a month of July that proves to be on the wild side so before things get too crazy I need to post a current status.

The MRI results from last Tuesday were as I expected and by flagging cancer in several places of my mid and lower spine they provided an explanation for the back pain I have had since Memorial Day weekend.  I was able to get an immediate appointment with a terrific radiation oncologist, Dr. Douglas A. Fein (click here for his bio).  During that visit I had a grid drawn on me with magic marker and 10 tats were applied that will guide my radiation treatments.  Treatment begins tomorrow and I will get them for 10 straight days.  Dr. Fein is confident that I’ll have good results from this.  I told him that I need to be able to ride my bike 20-miles on August 19th and he told me that won’t be a problem.  I’m holding him to it.

Amy and I also meet with Dr. Richards on Tuesday afternoon to finalize the chemo plans and that includes figuring out the schedule.  I believe that the VP-16 is administered 3 days in a row.  Things are going to be fun for at least a couple of weeks while we have to juggle both radiation and chemo.

The fun part of this, as Dan Nies brought to my attention, is that I’ll either start to glow in the dark soon or I’ll be developing some kind of super powers.  I’ll keep you all posted on which it is.  I'm hoping for some kind of super power because that will be more fun then simply having a little extra glow.

Mintz’s Mentschen is currently in 4th place with over $15,600 raised.  Thanks!!  We have plenty of time to make a run for the top 3 places.