Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is leap day and that happens to be my uncle Paul's birthday. So, I guess he is technically only turning about 18 today. He can now vote! :-)

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sorry for the delay...

its been a week, so I didn't want to leave you hanging any more. I received some news that wasn't so great. Along with my shrinkage, there are also some other small tumors they discovered. These tumors are basically floating in the abdominal cavity near my colon. But, because they are not attached to anything, they can't be cut out of me with an operation.

Not good news.

So, I'm going for a 2nd opinion at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in either Philly or Chicago. They do a 3-5 day examination on me and we'll go from there.

I'll have more later...but now I just need your thoughts and prayers. Thanks! :'-)

Thursday, February 21, 2008


The doc just said on the phone, "everything seems to be shrinking." He'll have the %'s once the radiologists look at it more in the next few days.


Who said I wasn't thin enough???

I got partial results from my CAT scan yesterday. Still no results about the tumors, but I have an addition to the mix...a blood clot in my lung. Again...lovely. So, now I have to be on blood thinners. Can't we get me something to "thicken" me up?

I have to give myself a shot in the stomach each day for the next several months (up to six months, they say). And if any of you know about me and needles, I'm not looking forward to it. I did the first one today by myself...and I got through it. They (again with the "they") say it will get easier and I'll "become a pro" at it. If I was going to turn pro in something, why couldn't it be something that woudl make me rich?

Rebecca -- You are now my support group for this!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In stark contrast...

Whenever one has a CT (CAT) scan performed, the medical technicians need to use "contrast."

Medical note: Contrasts are pharmaceutical agents (liquids) and are sometimes referred to as "dye". Contrast is used to make specific organs, blood vessels and/or tissue types "stand out" with more image contrast to better show the presence of disease or injury.

How many ways can one administer a contrast into the human body? Well, the first way is to have me drink this crap. Today's crap was a chalky milkshake that can only be described as "liquidy thick." Not good when it tastes horrible. I gagged about 75% of that down.

After putting on my nifty hospital gown, I was able to have the nurse stick me for my IV contrast. This is the one usually referred to as "dye." When this dye is shot into you, you feel warm all get a warm chest like you just drank a shot of brandy...and you get a warm pelvis like you just pee'd your pants (which you aren't wearing.)

I thought I was done. Nope. They needed to see the lower end of me. So, a huge IV-like bag of milky stuff was hung. The tube dangled down. Then the other end was inserted in my other end. Lovely. They had exhausted the ways of injecting contrast into a person. I win!

Stayed tuned for the results of the scans...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Raffle time...

As you know, my CAT scan is in two days. Here are the scenarios: A) The tumors got which case we will have a surgery as soon as we can. B) The tumors stayed the same or got which case we will have a surgery after we continue with chemotherapy for a while longer. How long is chemotheropy, you ask? Well, the GI docs seem to think that 12 sessions of chemo is no better then 8 sessions before surgery. Originally, my doc said I'd go for 12 sessions. I started chemo on 27 December. So, there are lots of possibilities. Pick a date in 2008 for my (first) surgery!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Latest side-effect of chemotherapy...

...stupidity! Dwayne drove me home from chemo and as I got out of his car, I shut the door with the back of my coat still in the car. I was literally trapped with my back to the car until he came back over to the car to unlock it. Smoooooth...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Its been seven weeks...

...and I've taken everything in stride pretty least, I think I have. So, I'm allowed one day (today) to feel like I do...

"I don't want this any more." :'-(

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Ronald Ramon Shot...

Remember in my previous post that I looked up from my autographed football to see Pitt making the winning shot? Well, that was ESPN's play of the week!!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Perfect timing...

All the drugs I take make me very emotional. I cry at commercials...a touching story about a dad and daughter...seeing a photo of somewhere I was...etc. Last night, I was opening a gift in the final minute of the Pittsburgh basketball game (I thought they were going to lose because they were down by 4 points near the end). The gift turned out to be an autographed football from the head coach of Pittsburgh's football team:

"Shawn - Always keep the Faith.
Dave Wannstedt
Hail to Pitt"

I started crying. As I looked up, I had to clear the tears from my eyes just in time to see Pitt's Ronald Ramon making the winning shot with no time remaining to beat West Virginia by one point. I kept on mom didn't know what else to do but hug me.

Also, earlier in the day Jen gave me a teddy bear with a Pitt shirt (an Oakland Zoo plush toy for those of you in the know). I named him "Ramon," after the winning shot was made. :-)

Out of the hospital...

It turns out that my white cell count was really low, making me susceptible to everything out there...any cold or flu virus riding on anyone's finger tip or nostril. Its called being neutropenic. (That name sounds like a face-cleansing creme to me). Everyone who visited me in the hospital had to wear a mask -- including the doctors and nurses. I felt like John Travolta in "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble." Everyone forgets that Travolta was the original "Bubble Boy" ever since the Seinfeld episode appeared about the same thing:

Well, my counts came up and I'm home from the hospital now. My chemotherapy is pushed back a week, meaning my CAT scan is also delayed a week. The CAT scan is now the 20th. So, all of you who were thinking "shrinkage" for me have another week to organize your thoughts into well, thought-out plans of attack.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Not avoided...

My fever is not cooperating. Its over 101, so I'm being admitted to the hospital to get IV antibiotics. Chemo will be pushed back a week. :-(

Trying to avoid my first setback...

Over the weekend...actually during the Super Bowl...I was running a low fever (99's). Then the next day, it was still there. I called the doctor and he said to come in for some blood tests. The tests showed I have a high white blood cell count. So, now I am taking antibiotics for a week. If the count doesn't come back up by Wednesday morning, I cannot get my chemo treatment that day. We don't want that to happen. No delays! No, no, no...I don't want delays!

Everyone start wishing for good white blood cell counts!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I'm nervous...

It's February 2nd and less than two hours from sunrise and I don't know how the drill works. If I see my shadow, does that mean six more weeks of chemotherapy? If I don't see my shadow, does that mean that a surgery is right around the corner? Quick...someone get me a groundhog to confirm all this!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Not all "shrinkage" is bad...

I am now scheduled for a CAT scan on the morning of 13 February. This will be my first CAT scan since starting chemo. That will mark the 7th week, so its time to see what the heck is going on in my colon. (I mean, I know some of the production coming from my colon because I see that several times daily, and that ain't pretty!) Now, its time to see what the cancer is doing.

The doc will compare those results to the CAT scan I had back before the holidays (the one that let me know I had cancer.) He tells me that about 70% of people see "shrinkage" of their tumors. Most of the other 30% see it stay the same (meaning it stopped growing.) So, if I'm in that near 100%, we will continue with the chemo treatments and see how small we can get this damn thing. If, for some reason, the tumor has grown...then we will most likely go in and knife it out.

So, send "shrinkage" thoughts my way for the next couple weeks! If you would like to hear about "bad" "shrinkage from Seinfeld," click here:

Btw, did anyone ever have to drink the crap for a CAT scan? (or colonoscopy?) Oh my god! The worst ever. I have a ritual so I can even remotely get most of it down my throat. First I stuff my nose with tissue. This takes away some of my sense of taste. Then I chug as much as I can. (Why wasn't I a beer drinker in college? I never learned to chug!) After gagging as much down as possible, I quickly rinse with Gatorade. (I'm not allowed to swallow anything after midnight before the exam.) Then I pop in a piece of Trident gum. I have to repeat this for about 2 liters worth. Wow. Its a scene, man!