Monday, January 28, 2008

The ABCs of dealing with cancer...

A lot of days, I struggle to find something to do with myself. The other day, I put all 375 DVDs in alphabetical order. It didn't take as long as I thought it would (about 2 hours). I had stacks of each letter of the alphabet in my living room. Some of the stacks had to be relieved to multiple stacks because I'm not too tall and I couldn't reach the top any longer.

Now they are all in proper order from "Airplane!" to "You, Me, and DuPree." Some facts:

The letters S and M turn out to be the most used letters for film titles. (And no, its not because of my extensive "S&M" movie collection, people!)

The letters Q and Z were not used. (I do not have Zoolander, sorry.)

If you have a film named with a U name, chances are the next lext in the word is N. I have Unbreakable, Underworld, Unfaithful, Unforgiven, United 93, and Untouchables. I have only two films that start with U, but are not followed by the letter N. Can you think of some?

Okay, now questions for you... How the heck to I alphabetize "Ocean's Eleven," "Ocean's Twelve," and "Ocean's Thirteen?" In release date, its obviously 11, 12, and 13. But in alphabetical order, its 11, 13, 12! What to do???

This happens again when dealing with "box sets" of DVDs. Let's look at Star Wars. We have: "Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones;" "Episode 1 - Phantom Menace;" "Episode 3 - Revenge of the Sith;" Now I'm left with a box set of "The Star Wars Trilogy" that includes "Episode 4 - A New Hope;" "Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back;" and "Episode 6 - Return of the Jedi." What the heck should I do with all that?

And don't even get me started on the whole "Harry Potter" series mess!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Boogie-woogie Bugle Boy...

He was a famous trumpet man from out chicago way.
He had a boogie style that no one else could play.
He was the top man at his craft,
But then his number came up and he was gone with the draft.
He’s in the army now.
He’s blowin’ reveille.
He’s the boogie woogie bugle boy of company b.

This song was brought to you, in part, by my new army haircut. Too much hair had fallen out, so I went with the "high and tight" this morning. Who knows? That might be gone soon, too. We'll see...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pain in my side possibly discovered...

I got a chance to look at the x-ray with my doctor the other day. (And, my god, is my colon huge compared to my spine! Wow.) Anyhoo...the stent did not move. That's not a bad thing...just not as good as if the cancer went away. The doc said that the reason the colon looks so big could possibly be because of gas that is backed up behind the stendt. He told me to buy some "Gas-x" pills for it. Before even trying any of the pills, I felt some relief. (Oops...was that me? Pardon me.) :-P And I have not had ANY pain in my side for two days now. And that is without pain killers!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New chemo treatment today...

Hey everyone,

Ill be kinda out of it for the next couple of days. So, calls until at least Saturday or Sunday, okay? (Exemption for my mom)


Monday, January 21, 2008

You know the expressions...

..."pain in your butt" and "thorn in your side?" Well, I've got a "pain in my side." Those who know me, know that I am not one for taking painkillers, but I have to these days so I can get some sleep.

The plan is to get an x-ray of my side to see if they can tell what is causing the pain. The best possible scenario is that the stent they placed in my colon has moved. (Background: Before starting chemotherapy, my colon was almost blocked with the cancer tumor. So, they placed a spring-loaded-like, metal stent in there to make sure my colon wouldn't completely close during my treatments. That would be bad.) I was saying...the best scenario is that the tumor has decreased in size causing the stent to move. I like that option, so we are going with that for now.

Because this "pain in my side" is so constant, I want to opt for the "thorn in my butt." I could pull that out in two seconds!

Let's see if I can do this...

I'm not sure how to post photos, but I wanted to show my new haircut. Why wait for it to fall out...I just cut it short. I'll go shorter, if need be:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Run/Walk for Shawn - Scope It Out 5K!

Hey everyone! A couple of my friends are so great they came up with the idea to form a team in support of me during a 5K run/walk in the end of March. (Thanks Anne and Carrie!) :-) The "race" partially benefits the Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center (where I go for treatments). Below is all the info you need. I signed up...hope to see you there. For those Seinfeld fans out there... "I CHOOSE to run!"

A lot of people have reached out to support Shawn and are wondering what more we could do for him. So, we're forming a team to run/walk in the 'Fourth Annual Scope It Out 5K' race in Washington, D.C., and would like to invite you to run or walk with us (Team Name: "Never FELT Better"). You can also volunteer and donate to support the fight against colon cancer. To register to run or walk with our team, follow this link:

Make sure to indicate when you register that you are participating with team "Never FELT Better". Registration is only $20 before February 1st! Race Details: The race will be held at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 30, 2008, in West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C., during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. To date, Scope It Out 5K has raised over $185,000 to further colorectal cancer research and awareness. Proceeds will go to the Prevent Cancer Foundation, Colon Cancer Alliance, and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Hospital (where Shawn is currently getting treated). Official race website:

There are other ways to support this effort besides running or walking the race: 1) Volunteer during race day, and do things like register participants and hand out water. Volunteer information can be found on the race website. 2) Donate to help the cause. Donations can be made in support of "Never FELT Better" at

(Thank you!!) We would like to keep track of who is participating in the race or volunteering. Please email your information and any questions you may have to Anne Dilger at or Carrie O'Brien at Hope to see you at the race!

Remember - feel free to pass this along to anyone who might be interested in supporting Shawn!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hair today, gone tomorrow...

I wasn't sure if it would happen. But, judging by the "rug" I leave on the bottom of my shower each day, now, I only have a few days (maybe a week or so) with hair. Oh well...what can you do? Anyone want to go hat shopping with me? And how do I tan my head while its snowing outside? I'm too pale!

Should I grow a goatee? Actually, I'm not even sure I can grow facial hair anymore. So, that might not work. Maybe I need an Howie Mandel on "Deal or No Deal."

Cross your fingers that I keep my eyebrows. After all, *bald* might be "in," but *weird* is still weird! :-)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"No gnews is good gnews..."

Remember "The Great Space Coaster" tv show with Gary Gnu? (No? Then visit: )

Anyhoo... that quote sums up me lately. I haven't felt too bad lately. You know, if you had told me that I'd be on chemotherapy and feeling okay, I would have thought you were crazy. I always thought chemo just made you sick as a dog -- always. But, I'm doing okay. I'm not going to run any marathons today or tomorrow, but I can do normal, everyday activities with ease.

Oh, and I had the best nurse today! I went to Georgetown to get blood taken (routine check) and I never even knew she put the needle in my arm. It was amazing...if there wasn't blood on my band-aid afterwards, I would have thought she didn't do it! I'm going to ask for her every time!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Don't want to leave you hanging...

I was able to get two different drugs for hiccups and the combo allowed me to rest. I got my sleep last night without hiccups. Today, though, I'm just in a fog. I think the drugs have made me too drowsy. I'm out of it. I did, however, go to the gym for a light workout. That felt better, but it didn't wake me up.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What's your record for hiccups?

I've had mine for almost four days, now. I've tried all those stupid remedies...even when they work, its just by accident. Finally, today I'm getting a prescription. Yay! Hopefully, the pills will allow me to sleep more than one or two hours at a time. Ugh.

My hiccups aren't even tied to eating or drinking. I could simply wake up from a nap and I immediately start bouncing. My ribs/lungs/back are all starting to hurt.

But, if this is the worst that chemo can do to me, I guess I should feel lucky. Its just annoying.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Second go-around

Today is my 2nd time for a chemo treatment. I made it through the first 2-week session!!! (We are doing a 12-week program to start.) It hasn't been all peachy keen...there were unpleasant obstacles (vomiting, insomnia, "the runs"), but I made it. I only hope that the cancer is having a worse time of it than I am. I'll find that out in a few weeks when we do a CAT scan to see just how the cancer is reacting to the chemo.

In the meantime, wish me luck on my next two week treatment starting today! Try not to call for a few days. I'll be out of it, as I'll most likely feel like I was run over by a really big, Tonka truck.

Monday, January 7, 2008

A thank you shout-out! whomever sent me the t-shirt which reads "I'm making cancer my bitch!" :-)

Movie Night...

I needed to watch a DVD last night...something that had to do with winning. My selection: The Katate Kid!

How can one not get teary-eyed when Danial LaRusso is in the tournament and the lyrics you hear being sung are: "'re the best around...nothing's gonna ever keep you down!"


Sunday, January 6, 2008

A glimpse of normal...

Yesterday, was a "great" day, relatively speaking. I started off by eating breakfast (just cereal, but hey, its something.). I had all this nervous energy, so I went to the gym and walked a mile on the treadmill (in 16:30 mins). Came home, ate raviolis, then I went to the movies (I liked National Treasure 2, but not as much as the first one), and I ended the day by cooking pork chops on the grill. How's that for normal? Take that, cancer! :-P

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Between Treatments...

Each of my chemo treatments consists of 4 hours at the hospital getting 3 different bags of goodies hooked into my IV. Then they connect the last bag which is slow-release and I take that home with me on a battery pump. That gets disconnected 48 hours later. Then, I have about 12 days of no treatments. I just sit and let the chemicals kill things inside me. (A main one is my hunger and another is my energy level.) Well, the other day, I got "TOO" tired. They did blood work and my red cell count was way too low. I was due for my very first blood transfusion. Until that time, I had no idea I was O+ blood. Good to know. As I watched the blood drip into me, I kept thinking of the Seinfeld where Kramer was saving his own blood in case of an emergency and Jerry needed it. He woke up in the hospital to Kramer telling him, "you got two pints of Kramer in ya, buddy!" I don't know whose blood I have, but thank you!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The treatment...

When the doctors knew what they were dealing with, there were a couple of options. One was to remove the cancer in the colon with surgery and then start chemo. But, that still left chemo for the lesions on the livers. The decision was to start chemo right away and see how small we can get these things before using a knife.

My colon was close to being blocked, so there was a concern that it could become blocked during chemo and really cause havoc. A colonoscopy doctor went "up" and placed a springy-piece of chicken wire in my colon to hold open the blockage throughout the entire, upcoming chemo months. (I have photos...I should post them.)

Chemo started on 27 December 2007 with me receiving a "boatload" of drugs. They say a lot of people either get one type or the other, but I got both because I'm young and strong. (Have you seen me lately?) So, we are one cycle into this process, now, and I'm SOOOO tired!

Everybody has guts...

...some just work better than others. No matter what you do, all day long, your guts are plugging away. A main occupation is digesting your latest meal. Well, most of you who know me, know that I don't eat too many large meals. So, I guess my guts were bored and hitting the pavement looking for a extra paycheck. They found it. Construction. In the two years between my beautiful colonoscopy photos and this past month, they worked as hard as a beaver and almost dammed up my colon with cancer cells.

The doctors told me that it has spread to my liver which classifies it as "colon cancer stage 4." (Apparently, whenever a cancer spreads to another organ, it becomes stage 4 regardless of severity.) This led me to tell people that I had both colon and liver cancer. Not true. I have colon cancer with "colon cancer" cells on my liver. I have never developed any cancer on my liver...they just moved into town when the neighborhood went in the colon. (Its the dirty part of wouldn't' want to live there, either).

That's the quick run-down of what i have. I will keep you updated as I find the time and energy.