Saturday, May 24, 2008

In the round...

99 hypodermic needles of blood thinner on the wall
99 hypodermic needles of blood thinner
You take one down; shoot it into your belly
98 hypodermic needles of blood thinner on the wall

I now have 99 days of blood thinner remaining in my program of six months to remove the blood clot in my lung. I hate doing it each day, but there's no other choice, so...oh well. It's getting harder in the past few weeks because the months of shots have now developed hard lumps of black and blue in my abdomen. The hard part is finding a soft spot somewhere.

I'll be glad when this is all over...looks like right around Labor Day. Let's see...this is Memorial Day weekend. So, I guess I'm allowed to wear white pants for the entire duration of my shots!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Where am I? Who am I?

In the late years of my grandma's life, she lived with dimentia. She had almost no short-term memory, it seemed. One thing she loved was watching the Philadelphia 76ers play basketball. She couldn't get enough Charles Barkley. So, we video taped some games and she could watch them all year 'round. It was always a new game to her. She was happy, so it wasn't mean or anything.

Recently, I've had one of those moments. Back in January, I blogged that I was doing okay on chemotherapy and I made it out of the house to go to the movies. This week, that movie (National Treasure 2) was released on DVD. I watched the trailer on tv and I have NO memory of any of it. I read the back of the DVD box and it says that the plot has to do with the president being kidnapped. What??? There's a president in it?!? I'm so confused. Its actually kinda scary that I have no recollection. I guess that is what they mean by the term, "chemo brain."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Weight...don't go! Come back!

Having Crohns Disease and now Colon Cancer has definitely not allowed me to gain weight like a normal human being.

Things started out pretty good...I was a sophomore in high school playing football at 132 lbs (I was 5'4" or 5'5" at that time). I was pretty strong, too. Pound for pound I was the 2nd strongest on the team. Of course, a 215 lbs fullback didn't need too much strength to knock me into tomorrow on a sweep play where I was the cornerback.

During my junior year, I contracted Crohns and dropped to 96 lbs. Football was pretty much over, but the tennis coach convinced me to pick up a racket for the first time ever at the tryout. (I made the team and during the course of the season moved from #20 on the team to #12. I'm a quick learner.) :-)

The doctors put me on steroids to gain weight. That was lovely...I had this phobia about swallowing pills, so I had to crush the steroids in chocolate ice cream. Talk about gag-reflex! But, the steroids worked...somewhat. I graduated high school and started college around 110 lbs. Throughout college I weighed somewhere around 115-120 lbs. I looked like I was a sickly 12 yr old. That's just what the college girls wanted. (Did I mention I only had two dates in college?)

From the time I was 22 until I was 32 I weighed a constant 122-125 lbs. (Need I say that I didn't date a lot then, either?) Then when I was 33, the doctors found "weird cell formations" in my colon. These weird cells could cause cancer, so I had a few inches of my colon removed. The operation caused my Crohns Disease to flare up and I started losing weight again.

Over the next 6 weeks or so, I tried a different medication every week. Nothing worked. Finally, when I had dropped to 108 lbs, we found a miracle drug called Remicade. Remicade is administered via IV infusion. I got better THAT week. Not to be gross...but I went from 12 or so bowel movements a day to one every other day. I was finally able to put on weight.

During the next year, I bulked up to 140+ lbs. My one softball coach told me that some players were asking if I was on human growth hormones. (This came after I hit the fence on a few of my softball hits.) Nope! Just a well-working colon for the first time in 15 years!

Over the next couple of years, I reached a max of 148 lbs. Unfortunately over those years I had two hernia surgeries that caused me to drop weight each time. I could not seem to win!

This past winter, I reached that peak of 148 lbs again, but then the cancer was diagnosed and chemotherapy came. Ugh! I dropped to 128 lbs in seven weeks. Can a guy catch a break???

My chemo nurse, Marion, is a life-saver. She convinced me to try Ensure milk shakes (350 calories in an 8-ounce bottle.) For four weeks leading up to my most-recent surgery, I supplemented my diet with two of those a day. I also lifted weights like crazy. I gained 10 lbs in a month and went into surgery at 138. Three days after surgery I was at 126 lbs. (All together now...UGH!!!) I was at the hospital and got weighed. Its been four weeks since surgery and I have not been allowed to lift weights during my recovery, so I wasn't looking forward to the scale. Drum roll please...136 lbs! Not great, but a good start!

Now if I could just quit having surgeries, I might be able to look normal. Oh...will you look at that...I have a dying, tumor-filled lobe of my liver that needs to be removed in the near future. Isn't that special? :-)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lights, camera, action...

As I mentioned in a previous post, I participated in another 48 Hour Film Project last weekend. (see more about the film project at ) Our film screened at the Silver Spring AFI Theater on Friday night and I think it went over fairly well. So, we have a shot at making the 20 "best of" to be screened later this month. (Our film made the cut last year.)

After our screening on Friday, I was walking back from the restroom and I was stopped not once, but twice by a lady and a girl who both wanted to tell me that they thought I was "creepy" in my role. Gotta love that, I guess... I only had three creepy could I have been? Maybe I'm creepy just normally! :-) See for yourself, as the film can be viewed online at:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Touching story...

I emailed this out to a few of you. But so everyone can see it I'm posting it here:

This kid is18 yrs old and 5'5", 93 lbs. When I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in high school, I was 5'6" and dropped to 96 lbs.

I don't have it so bad...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Two weeks since surgery...

Well, its been two weeks and I'm healing. The incision is not nearly as gross as it was right after surgery. I can stand up without much pain. Most of my pain came when I had to burb, hiccup, or simply digest food. My abdominal cavity had no idea where things should be, so it raised heck when I did anything! Now, my organs are starting to find their new resting place and it feels better.

Also, I'm slowly becoming able to eat enough to keep me from losing weight. (I can't wait to get the go-ahead to head back to the gym in another month or so. That's the only way I can gain weight.)

I'm trying to get out and do stuff. Last Thursday, I watched my Arlington softball team play. On Friday, I took my mom to a happy hour (only coke for me). On Saturday, I acted in another one of those 48 Hour Film Projects. If anyone has seen "Just Shoot Me," my character was a lot like David Spade. I was hitting on someone's girlfriend in a sleazy way. :-) On sunday, I went to a softball practice (just to watch...settle down people!) But I ended up taking the mound to throw one pitch. It was a strike. I still got it! :-)

I'm also trying to walk at least a mile a day. I'll build that up over time.

My follow-up with the doctor at Johns Hopkins is in two weeks. At that time, we'll decide when to do the next surgery and when I'll be doing some more chemotheropy. So, I don't have any news on that yet.

All for now...