Friday, October 26, 2012

Round Two,Green Arrow and some football!

 Its 10:52 am

     First day I have gotten a chance to post this week. The second round of chemo has started and its not going to be as "easy" as the first round was....
 Monday morning found back at the U of Michigan's Cancer Center for the first round of chemo. While last time we were able to to have the treatment closer to home,each time you start a new therapy,you have to have it done at the hospital so you can be watched by the nursing staff. Its fact our "anniversary" of our first chemo won't be hard to remember,its the wedding date of the UK's royal couple,William and Kate. And we spent it at the cancer center as well....
   We got to Ann Arbor at 7:45 am for labs and a blood draw,that was over in 5 minutes and we went upstairs to the infusion waiting room. There was a small delay from the lab and we in the waiting room 45 minutes. While it seemed like a long time,it really passed very quickly and soon our name was called.
The room was pretty active with patients and loved ones sitting and chatting while the RNs went about getting folks hooked up with IV drips.

   We were seated and soon Lori was being prepped for her chemo. The anti-nausea medication was given first as well as a mild seditive to help her relax. I got her a heated blanket and a bagel while we waited for the  first IV of saline as pushed. This helps allows the chemo to flow faster into the body as well as protect it from the harshness of the chemo.
   The saline is also kept going throughout the entire treatment so after a while,you're going to go to the bathroom and going and going....

   There was a nice older couple next to us,the wife was undergoing treatment for non hodgkin's lymphoma. She had once before and had been in full remission for 11 years before getting it again. She and her husband had to drive about 2 hours 3 times a week for her treatment as they don't have a infusion clinic near her home.
   She was so ill the first time that she had to undergo a stem cell treatment,while it helped save her life,she was a little uncomfortable with the prospect of having to undergo that again because certain people commented on the fact that perhaps that the cells were harvested from embryos of fetuses. Which is complete bullshit....because while the best way to to get stem cells is by a donor match,there are far too few donors to be able to help. (unless you're Dick Cheney or David Cosby). If getting stem cells from an embryo is what is needed to save a life,then yes,you bet your ass I'll take it in order to save my wife's life and I have no problem with it.
   We chatted with them for a while,she shared a huge bag of candy with the staff. It was easy to see that this woman was a favorite of the staff and cared very much for her.
   After she expressed her unease about the stem cell issue,I gave her my phone number and said if she needed donors,I would volunteer to help her. I don't know how they harvest the cells but if can save a life,does it really matter what is involved?
   I went and got Lori a salad from the cafe which she was happy to get,then she took a nap. I started reading a book about the huge tornado outbreak in 1974 called F5.

This is a excellently written book about a small area in Alabama that got hit with TWO F5 twisters and the utter havoc and heartbreak that it left behind. I picked this up about 2 years ago at the local Dollar Tree and put it on my stack of  "books too read" pile at home.
  After 2 hours the nice couple left and the infusion clinic sort of thinned out a bit at 2 pm. Lori napped or had to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes.
    Another woman came in at 2:30 pm....she was suffering from ovarian cancer and she was ill before she even got hooked up. She looked terribly ill and the staff was so kind and gentle with her.
  Her husband looked sort of shell-shocked as he sat there. I wonder if I looked that way my first day of chemo...some caretakers did but others did not. I try and keep a absolute poker face when I'm around Lori,always giving her encouragement and hope. Its not a lie,I know she can beat this and knock it flat.

  Finally at 4:45 pm,we were done and I drove us home....with taking 3 pit stops on the way to use the rest room. Our house is only 17 miles from Ann Arbor so that should tell you how full of fluids Lori was.
  The next day,Tuesday,I went to work and Lori stayed home....she felt pretty good and had no real after effects of the chemo.
   Wednesday was the 2nd part of the new treatment plan. She went to the infusion clinic by the house and received a shot of a drug called Neulasta.

What does Neulasta do? Its designed to jump start your bones to produce white blood cells at a accerlated rate. White blood cells are the ones that fight off infections and illnesses in the body,since chemo kills everything,a cancer patient is at a higher risk for infection then most people.
The problem with this is simple,the body produces blood cells at a slower rate and pushes them out of the bone marrow very carefully until they hit the veins,where they then are carried throughout the body.
Now imagine a 150 cells per second normally are able to slip through with no problem...but with Neulasta,it becomes 1,500 cells per second...that is one very nasty and painful logjam. And that is what happened with Lori Wednesday night,her ankles were on fire. At 3:30 am,we were about to hit the ER when we were told Lori could take a Narco pill to ease her pain and then Motrin afterwards. This was worse then anything we saw/felt in the first round by far.
    My work was kind enough to let me come home early and sit with her as the pain slowly went away to a tolerable level. But we have five more Neulasta treatments to go and I think each one will be a little rougher each time.
  As of today,she is coming home early from work to rest again....and I'll be heading off to close at my shop this evening.  This really sucks to say the least.....

  On a lighter note,I just caught up with the new Green Arrow series called "Arrow" on the CW and I have to say I was pretty impressed. Nice twist on the origin of the Green Arrow and enjoyed the action and respect the creators have towards Oliver McQueen.

The action is top notch and having a guest star like Kelly Hu in 2nd episode and featuring a well known DC anti-hero called Deadshot in the 3rd episode was pretty cool as well. It establishes this Arrow in the DC Universe while not risking becoming "campy" that sometimes will sink a superhero show like this. Its what enabled "Smallville" to last 10 years in my opinion...not showing Clark Kent as Superman until the last show.
  And while we won't be seeing any major DC characters in Arrow as of yet,there are a ton of minor ones who'll do nicely if the show can get a couple of seasons under its belt.
   One weakness is the "name of the week" plot line which has GL chasing down a rich baddie every show. That will get tired real quick and could cause problems.
   While I would have liked to see Justin Hartley back as GL,I can respect the CW to move away from that casting and bringing fresh faces to this show. I wonder where I have seen THIS picture before????

After losing 49-27 to Utah State in the WAC opener,San Jose State had to rebound quickly because they had to travel to Texas to battle the 5-1 Roadrunners of Texas-San Antonio in the Alamodome.

The Spartans,after being completely hammered at home by Utah State,were not down in the dumps nor taking taking UTSA lightly. They flew into Texas and crushed UTSA 52-24 and it could have been much worse. The best part of this game was the fact several back up players also played,including highly touted QB Joe Gray with completed his one pass. SJSU moves to 1-1 in the WAC and 5-2 overall and playing Texas State tomorrow at home. The next 3 games are all must wins in order for the Spartans to secure a bowl win,a single loss will most likely end any chances of a good season becoming a GREAT one!
  Above is the video of the Spartans on their trip to play UTSA.

Alright,that is it for now...has anyone else seen "Arrow" and if so,what do you think so far? Pro and con...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Medical Update

Its 4:42 pm

   Not a good day....we just got a call of the U of Michigan Cancer Center. Lori and I are headed to Ann Arbor on Tuesday for a biopsy which they are now calling a "mass". Lori is starting to show a lot of pain around her bladder now and is having a hard time going to the bathroom.
   She was advised not to take any aspirin before Tuesday...which is fine,but couldn't they at least given her something for the pain and discomfort? Tuesday is a LONG away when you are having such discomfort.
What really is rather stunning is the fucking SPEED of this monster....I mean,it has presented itself very quickly...but then again,any pressure on the bladder will be felt very acutely. Try holding off going to the bathroom while watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy,right?
   I have to very careful here.....because I can't help but think about Amy Rauch Neilson. She too was in remission for almost 5 years....but when her cancer came came back with a vengence and ended up killing her in 6 months.
  We know that our next round of chemo will be a longer regime because of the location and the fact they already gave Lori the strongest chemo for uterine cancer that is on the books. We don't know if this mass is still uterine cancer.....we just don't know. I just know that I pretty scared out of my mind right now....and wishing Tuesday would hurry the hell up and get here already....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Medical Update: It's back....

Its 8:51 am

 Talk about a chilly morning! Its in the 40s again and the house is pretty cold already. Too cold in fact and I'm wondering if we have a leak somewhere upstairs. I actually have turned on the heat and that never happens until we have snow on the ground and we're a long way from that!

    So Lori had three days off and I had a favorable schedule as well so we were able to have time together.
Or so we thought.....cause she ended up working most of her Saturday,she is training 4 new people this week and she wanted to clean her office. What started as a two hour job turned into five as she didn't realize just how messy it was considering how little time she actually spends in there. I puttered around the house doing chores like laundry and the dishes as well as paying some bills.
  We were able to have a quick dinner then I had to go to work at my job,I closed so I didn't get home until 10:45 pm.
    Sunday we both had off.....and it was a cold chilly day. We decided we would go down to Bellevue and check out the Civil War re-enactment at a local park. We grabbed our chairs,dressed warmly and headed out. We turned onto a service drive that turned out to be a much bigger road that we had never been on before. We thought we would see signs pointing to the event as we were using our GPS and somehow thought it had sent us in a wild goose chase. Because yes,the GPS does do that once in a while!
  The service drive did lead us to the park which was tucked away between a couple of small hotels. We drove down into the park and saw a large group of folks....which was a reunion of some sorts and not what we were looking for. We drove on and same the tents that were set up. We came to the admission table we paid our 3 bucks apiece and talked to the gentleman there.
   As we did we saw that there were four tents set up....yes,you read that right....four tents.

The ticket taker said that their event was in its first year and that happened to be on a weekend of a much larger state wide event. So while they had President Lincoln in attendance,the turnout was very small compared to the day before and that weather didn't help much.
  We still went in,why not,right? We are the car and walked over to hear a minstrel and his lovely assistant singing songs of the Civil War era,another older woman was churning butter.

*This wasn't the singer....just wanted to give you an idea of what he was dressed like. Actually he was dressed in half a Union uniform and half in Civil War street clothes and he was about 60-65 years old.

The gentleman who dressed as Lincoln was spot on....he looked JUST like him! It was a little uncanny to tell you the truth. His wife was there in dress as well and she looked elegant as well.
 When we were buying tickets we asked if they were going to do any battle re-enactments....the gentleman was honest in saying that he didn't think so.....and he would be right as there were only 3 soldiers! Now I think you're getting where I going with this....there were ten people dressed up TOTAL for this event! But to their credit and to ours as well,we stuck it out there as a light rain began to fall.
  The soldiers were all dressed in Union/Federal uniforms and had erected their tents. They patiently answered all the questions and even drilled a small troop of about 6 boys and show them what boot camp would have been like back in the day.
   The big talk was about Gettyburg's 150th anniversary coming up and how they are expecting about 30,000-40,000 Civil War buffs to attend. They had 35,000 for the 135th anniversary and were able to completely re-enact Pickett's Charge. I can't even imagine what kind of emotions that would see how those brave men were shot to pieces on the field,almost to overwhelming to think about.

   We stayed for about 45 minutes before heading out as it had started raining harder and even the actors were talking about leaving.
   We went back out and turned left and discovered the back side of Bellevue that we never knew was there.
It was nicely built up and we drove through it commenting how nice it was and that it helped explain why the old downtown had so many empty buildings. Which actually is a shame since old downtown is very charming but the parking isn't very shopper friendly.
   We dropped by The Lunch Box,a small deli that has been open less then a fact they were working on their remodeling when we walked in. We each had a coney dog and a ice water. The owner was a very nice young man who had bought the shop when it was a BBQ joint and switched the menu. The problem he'll face is the same one that has caused 3 other eateries to fail,he is in "old downtown" and is about 3 south of where he really needs to be. But he has energy and good food so maybe a good of mouth will help him make it.

After lunch we did our marketing for the week and came home. Enjoyed a log fire and while watching TV before we hit the hay. I had to open at my job and Lori had to head down to get her results.
The day went by slowly at first but then we got busy at the store and before you know it,my time was up. Now normally I don't rush off the floor,I mean if my relief wants to drag their feet,that is fine by me. But not this day and I told him to step it up....I had a celebration to attend to.
   Drove home and saw Lori was indeed home...and knew something was wrong when she didn't greet me at the door. I walked in and asked "When is our removal date"?
   She was sitting on the couch and said "There isn't one.....the cancer is back". So there you have it....the motherfucker is two spots. The bad news is its in two new areas,including a patch by her bladder. Dr. Johnston is laying out a new chemotherapy plan and it looks like Lori will be losing her hair again. We also will be seeing a whole new battery of doctors because of the location of the new cancer. But there is sorta good news in the fact that the original areas are totally cancer free. The treatment worked there but of course that doesn't explain why or how this new growth got triggered.
   I admit it this time....I'm very scared this go-round. This is our worst nightmare because we had battled so hard this past year and a half just to make it through this and here we have to saddle up and do it again. Needless to say our spirits are very saddened and I hope my Inner Circle will rally around us again....and please pray for my wife.
   We should be hearing from Dr. J tomorrow after the tumor board has its meeting tonight (Wednesday) and we'll get a better idea of what we are facing. We do know that the chemotherapy will be different this time as the doctors don't like to use the same treatments back to back. We also don't know if we'll be facing radiation again as well.  I'll be writing about what will happen as soon as I know.

Well there it is.....

Derek Jeter turned 13 this month.

Tom and Denise - You two rock so much!
Phillip- God really blessed me with the best brother anyone could have hoped for.
Amy Lange- Happy birthday!

New "8 Questions with...." coming soon.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rolling entry

Its 8:45 am

    Sitting in Ann Arbor on a cold rainy day. I'm in the family surgery waiting room...I was here last year when Lori was having her twin surgeries done. The room is packed with folks and most seem to be in a good mood. I remember I was as well....until about hours in and Dr. Johnston hadn't come out as scheduled. Then the butterflies started kicking in...but now its a little different as I am on the outside looking in.
   Still anxious but relieved we're "only" here for a PET scan and not a surgery.

Pretty stoked about my Spartans....watched the Navy game on Saturday and while on paper a 12-0 score isn't all that,it was to us fans. Its the first time a San Jose State team has won past past the Mississippi River as we have lost twice to Florida,once to Miami(Fla) and also to Virginia. So its pretty cool Coach Mac led us to a bit of history with this win. We'll have more chances to get more wins as we still have a game with Navy and a series with Army starting in a few years.
   I have been a fan of San Jose State for about 30 years now and Coach Mac is the 2nd best coach we have had,the first still being Claude Gilbert. The players have totally bought into his coaching style and it shows in the games now. The last 2 years were rough because the losing culture that the worst coach SJS has had,Fitz Hill,had allowed to grow and fester. Combine that with a low level talent base and you get a 1-12 season that Coach Mac got in his debut season. But now the team is so much better and even the recruiting is getting exciting as we are getting players on a national basis instead of just Californa and the JC ranks....this will bode well as the Spartans move into the Mountain West season next year.

Someone just brought in a cup of Starbucks,does that look heavenly!

My FB group is really perking along now....the political jabs are coming fast and furious. I added two Admins because I can't always be online to moniter the posts. Watching the exchanges only has proven one thing,teapublicans have the worst selective memories on the planet. I mean,I can agree and freely admit that Democrats have major shortcomings. But ask a teapublican about what they don't like about their party and you get a fanatical Nazi Party response. They can complain freely about "big government" and "crazy spending" yet fail to acknowledge that fighting two wars,creating a recession by allowing it to happen and ignoring the housing crisis and the insane cost of healthcare doesn't "count". Its very hard to actually try and have a discussion about issues because of thier lack of facts and unwillingness to do even basic research.
  Some of the comments on the group page just make me laugh,I can't get upset because I feel sorry for the posters. Watching someone who you know in real life standing on the corner yelling basic propaganda rhetoric when in real life they are NOT that insane sounding is a weird dynamic. Its funny,they do make some valid points but because they make so many crazy claims and sound looney tunes,no one takes 'em seriously when they do share some facts.

  Hey! I picked up my 10th follower! Thank you ever so much and I hope you aren't too bored by my rantings and writing.

Its now Friday and its 5:45 pm

      Its raining outside. Just finished up a Subway tuna fish sandwich and am just chilling now watching the rain. Another week has come and gone. Glad that I have a job,a warm bed,a beautiful wife and a awesome kitty. Glad I have such great friends and a kick ass brother who seems hell bent on settling down and growing some roots in Portland.
   Sent off my new interview and am starting to prep for my next one with singer Cat Beach. I will be sending that interview out as well next week. I should be doing one interview of week but still haven't managed to fit that into my schedule as of yet. I also have seen my traffic drop off because I'm not promoting my blog as well as I have before I started working. Which is all relative of course as working does seem to be more important at the second!

   Okay,I know this entry wasn't the strongest but hey,I can't hit a homer every time out,right?
I'll post the results of Lori's scan on Tuesday after we get back from Ann Arbor.

Nelson- Thanks for understanding!
Warren - You're the subject of my next blog.
To all of my supporters- thanks for sticking around!
Tiffany- Think Aaron would be open to a interview?
Michelle-Can't wait to see how you answered my questions.