Monday, June 30, 2008

Breakfast is the most important meal...

Check out my breakfast for today. Mmmm! I get to follow that up with clear liquids for the rest of the day. I might get solid food again on Friday. Yay!

I was just weighed today at the hospital...139.5 lbs (I almost made my 140 lbs goal by surgery.) The bad part is that I'll lose weight this week by not eating. I lost 8 lbs last surgery.

Think of me while you're eating lunch today. I'll be in the outhouse. "Gotta go..."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Last man standing...

Last night I pitched in what might have been my final softball game of the summer. In between chemotherapy and surgeries, I managed to pitch in 10 games. I was the winning pitcher in seven of them (two losses and one no-decision). Not too bad under the circumstances...but I hope to do better next year!

After the game, a lot of my team when out to the bar. They played "flip-cup", but since I'm not a beer (or any type of alcohol, now) drinker, I just drank my pitcher of coke. I downed the whole thing. My god was I wired! I didn't leave the bar until after 1am and didn't fall asleep until after 3am.

That was my latest night out since being diagnosed. Almost all of the softball people had left by the time I left. The bar (by then) had turned into a college scene. I did get a smile from a girl who was either 21 or underage and had a fake ID. Like Ralph Malph used to say on "Happy Days," "I still got it!" (Of course, had I actually talked to her and mentioned "Happy Days" she probably would have introduced me to one of her aunts.)

Oh wait...I must mention the waitress at the bar. Apparently, it was her first day and she was by herself with a group of softball teams. I ordered "chicken cheesesteak with no onions or green peppers. And can I substitute broccoli for the fries?" Well, my entire table had about finished eating and I still didn't have my food. Then the waitress re-appeared. Not with my food, but with the mushrooms that my friend didn't get on her hamburger. Of course, the hamburger was now eaten and she was left with a bowl of mushrooms. Later, I did get my chicken cheesesteak...and FRIES. It was chicken and cheese on a plate. "Umm..can I have a bun?" "You want a bun?" "Yeah, that would be helpful." Judging from the mushroom incident, I decided to eat my food without the bun. After I finished, the bun arrived. Later in the evening, a plate of brocolli also arrived. So, basically, I had a 3-course meal...chicken and cheese on a plate, followed later by a bun, and topped-off with a lonely plate of broccoli. Classy!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Going my way?

There is a possibility that I will need a ride home from the hospital (Johns Hopkins in Baltimore) next week. I should get out on the 4th or 5th of July. I realize it's a holiday, but if someone is free during the day, let me know. Most likely, I'll be released between noon and 2pm on one of those days.

No balloons or flowers, please!

During my last surgery back in April, I must have had 15 balloons in my room. They were too much of a hassle to bring home, so I left them there. So, if you were thinking of sending some for my surgery next week, don't worry about it! Also, I'm not a flower guy...they annoy me. If you want to send something...send...ummm...I don't know...a slurpy. I love those!

Also, I decided to donate the crappy part of my liver to science (like you didn't know I would). But, for those of you who worried about the rats starving because they wouldn't get it...I found out that it would have been incinerated anyway. So, I won't be harming any rodents in any way.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Most recent CAT scans...

The past six months have been filled with CAT scans. Every doctor wants to constantly see what's going on inside of me. As I've mentioned before, there are several ways to administer the contrast needed for the images (by mouth, IV, or enema). Let's review the "by mouth" part in my most recent CAT scans...

February -- drank two big cups of chalky, thick...gross, crap

April -- drank two big cups of crap mixed with Crystal Light. Not great, but at least no vomiting.

May -- drank two big cups of water. That's it...just plain water! Wow.

Today -- as I walked in, the technician said, "why don't you just chug that bottle of Gatorade you have?" (I brought it with me for after the scan.) What??? Drink the orange, wholesomey goodness known as Gatorade??? Those of you who know me, know that this was not a problem!!

Judging by the progression of my scans (by my calculations) my next CAT scan most likely will consist of me being served a couple of Captain Morgans and Coke as Ashley Judd and Keira Knightly operate the CAT scan machine...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What to do...what to do?

This week will most likely be the best I'm going to feel for the next five months or so. (I'll have six weeks of recovering from surgery, followed by three months of chemotherapy.) So, I decided to do something fun (instead of going to work). I had never been to Antietam Battlefield and being a Civil War fan, why not go?

I don't know a lot about that battle, but now that I've seen the battlefield, I can do some reading and understand it better. It was a great day for site-seeing (except for the millions of gnats in the fields.)

On the way home, I drove through Leesburg. I was stopped at a stoplight in the left lane. Something on the median moved and caught my eye. It was a rooster! What the? I wasn't next to a farm or anything. Now...we all know the chicken crossed the road to get to the other side. But, why did the rooster cross the road? We still don't know because he wasn't very responsive to my interrogation.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Clinical Study

I volunteered for a clinical trial during my last surgery where they used a new ultra-sound machine on me. That machine gave the doctors a higher resolution picture of my body. It allowed them to better know where the tumors were. Why wouldn't I agree to use that?

I got another call from someone at Johns Hopkins the other day and she asked if I wanted to be part of a clinical study during my next surgery. The surgery will be the removal of part of my liver that has tumors in it. A portion of the removed liver will be sent to the lab to be tested. The remainder is thrown in the trash can.

Johns Hopkins wants my permission to use the garbage part of the liver in medical experiments on new medications. Hmmm...let's see... Either throw out my liver and have the rats eat it at the dump or use it in experiments that could save lives in the future. This decision could take a while!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


This past Friday, I went to Georgetown for a PET scan. The guy inserted the IV and started me on saline solution. That was fine. He then injected me with the radioactive material. I started thinking about exactly what was happening inside of me...

"I don't feel so good."
"Do you need to lie down?"
"Yeah, I probably should."

He started walking me down the hall and while my eyes were still open, the hallway went dark. I couldn't see a thing. I laid on a table for about an hour before they scanned me. While I was on the table, he came back in with a treat! I was required to drink a liter of crap that was supposed to taste like "berry." Riiiight. I got less than half in me and now I was dizzy AND sick in my stomach. Fun.

Then, this past Monday, I was at Johns Hopkins for my pre-operative tests. My pulse, temp, and pressure were all good. I even gained two pounds in the past few weeks. The really good news is that my latest CAT scan showed that my blood clot has disappeared! I still have to remain on the blood thinning daily shots because I'll be more at risk for another clot after my next surgery. But, I should be able to stop them in a couple of months. I'll do a dance then. (Just in my one can watch.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Upcoming Friday the 13th...

Are you superstitious? Even if you aren't, there are certain things to avoid on any given Friday the 13th:

-- walking under a ladder
-- letting a black cat cross your path
-- breaking a mirror

You all know the basics. Well...I've been on google all morning and the one thing I can't find to be unlucky is shooting radioactive material into your bloodstream. So, I'm going to do that this Friday the 13th at Georgetown Hospital.

Stay tuned for PET scan results...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cut it out...

I had a couple of firsts (in a while) today. I got a regular haircut. My only haircuts in the past six months have been me shaving my head because most of the hair had fallen out anyway. This was a lot nicer...they shampoo'd me and everything. I think it looks okay...its still pretty thin, but that'll take a little while for all of it to grow back. Lucky me...I'll have chemotherapy in a couple of months and be back to shaving my head again.

I also went to the gym and lifted weights. VERY LIGHT WEIGHTS (so relax know who you are.) By the time I'm able to get back in a groove at the gym, it'll be 1 July and I'll be under the knife again. Ugh...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

CAT scan/ next surgery

Earlier this week, I had a CAT scan before my follow-up visit with my surgeon. Its been five weeks since the surgery and the good part of my liver has gotten bigger. That allows us to have my next surgery to remove the bad part of my liver. Surgery date has been set for 1 July. No new tumors showed on the CAT scan, either, so that's also good news.

Sadly, this will be the first time in about 12 years that I will not be down on DC's National Mall for the 4th of July fireworks. :-( I *might* be able to leave the hospital on 4 July, but it'll be close. The plan is: 1 July - surgery; 2 July - ice chips; 3 July - liquid diet; and 4 July - regular food and go home.

I guess if over 100,000 guys could fight a battle in the 90 degree Pennsylvania humidity on 1-3 July back in 1863, I can do this.

In theory, this surgery could remove the remainder of my visible tumors. After I heal, I will go back on chemotherapy for three months to hopefully kill any and all cancer cells that have yet to form tumors. If everything goes perfectly, I could be cancer free by December. I'm not celebrating yet, but there is hope...