1 down, 5 to go – Cancer, I break wind in your general direction
Ok before I start this post some warnings
1. My pottty mouth is ramping up so if you are offended by those types of words please be careful or stop reading now
2. I am going to be really frank about my cancer – I have it and by writing about it here it is another small way I can take charge. I am going to post a bunch of the info on my disease and how I experience it. I hope sharing this information can make it easier for other people to kick its ass and not feel so alone. Some of this comes from inspiration from Dooce and Dad Gone Mad who have been both out there talking about depression and anxiety. I admire their courage and their willingness to be open about their experience, it has has really helped me. In the same way maybe one or two people can benefit from what I have to say.
4. I AM NOT A MEDICAL EXPERT – do not take my advice in the place of your Dr, RN, or PA – again DO NOT
5. If you want to follow along with the home game I am tweeting my chemos (Camino Medical rocks for having wifi – though I wish it didn’t time out every hour). Oh yeah and a shout out to all my homies in Camino medical oncology and infusion facility – they are frickin awesome. I felt cared for, listened to, they kept joking with me. I can not recommend them highly enough!
6. I will try to respond to comments but please don’t be upset if I don’t. I am riding this wave and I imagine some times will be better than others. My priorities right now are 1) beating cancer to a pulp 2) loving and protecting my family 3) living by my commitments at work 4) making the world a better place.
6. I am amped up right now on 3 cell killing drugs, a monoclonal antibody, a butt load of steriods, enough benadryl to knock out an elephant (saw it once on Wild Kingdom), and my happy pills. Please excuse the writing style if it is not working for you. This update will not be a thought piece but more of just catching people up with where I am…
With that out of the way – here we go, buckle your chin strap and hang on.
So last week I finished up all my testing, my blood work, my PET scan, my CAT scan, and my Bone Marrow work. I will post my pictures and reports later in the week when I pick up the CD. It came back that I am stage 2, which means I have two lymphatic areas that have cancer but they are on the same side of the diaphragm. Thanks everyone for txt’ing in and picking Stage 1 but I think AT&T messed with the results and so I am stage 2.
Based on this I am still really curable. As a matter of fact my oncologist, the excellent Dr. Wong, said “You have a really curable cancer don’t fuck it up”. He said this in making sure i don’t dilly dally with getting the chemo burn on. I really trust Dr. Wong and felt so good about how he is doing, that i have chosen not to get a second opinion right now.
I pushed really hard to get my chemo started as soon as possible and work was incredibly flexible about moving meetings around, allowing me to begin today (friday). I am taking 6 rounds of CHOP-R, once every 3 weeks. If you want to find me in 3 weeks – I will be sitting in a lazy-boy pumping in those great cancer killing poisions. I will scan my drug regime and put it up later next week as well so you can find out the acronyms. The cool one is the R part which is not a chemical drug but actually a monoclonal antibody that targets the CD20 receptor on my cancer cells – better living through biochemisty!
As the day approached for my chemo I was really starting to get sad. In retrospect I really let the fear of my chemo take hold of my thoughts. In the end, for me the chemo was relatively easy to have administered. I had a slight allergic reaction to the C drug which is why I had more benadryl and the steroids, but it was very managable. But it was really very easy to have the drugs put it. I sat there today and tweeted and did some work (hurray for billable hours) and watch geoGeekTV with Dave B.
Lesson from today: Don’t let your fears work you up – we, as humans, are generally much better at spinning fears down dark paths that are false. I think this also helps to explain why more communcation is better than less. The vaccuum of information is usually filled with peoples’ fears.
I am experience some of the nausea symptoms now but I took some anti-nausea drugs, ate some ginger ice cream, and went for a walk and I am feeling a bit better. I am sad that I missed the Shavuot Torah study last night and the festivals today.
I went into the infusion center @ 8:30 AM and left at 5:00 PM – it has been a long long day that I hope (Baruch Hashem) you never have to experience. I am finally starting to get sleepy. I want to thank TheQueen for being so awesome at my side today and riding the wave with me, my kids for being so good and having all the other parents say they were a joy to have over, the excellent staff at Camino, and all you out there in ether land. Getting the tweets, txts, facebook updates, and email just made me plain joyful. I love getting the good vibes and the sillier or happier the note the better.
Tomorrow shall try to be a day when I post pictures of what I look like on day 1 of my smashing of cancer. Here I am a 40 year old, out of shape but soon to be working on it, European and Iranian Jew who defeats cancer and rides off into the sunset with his lovely family and friends at his side. Let’s see where this goes….