Thursday, October 30, 2008

Last softball game tonight...

My fall softball league ends tonight and that will wrap up my softball year that started back in late March. I was on chemo then and I'm on chemo now. I didn't get to play as much as I wanted to this year with the pesky surgeries getting in the way all the time. But there were some great moments. My Pitt teammates will remember me being cleared after my first surgery and pitching a couple of innings about 6 hours later. I fell down fielding a ball. Smooth... My Darwin team will remember me gasping for air after only pitching a couple of innings. I just can't get into shape while on chemo. My work league will remember me not being there. (Hey, I can't play every game while battling cancer!)

It's been a really frustrating year, to say the least. I just never was able to get back to full strength to play the game the way I know how. Don't get me wrong, I did well...damn good under the circumstances, but I watch my teammates hitting homeruns as I struggle to hit the ball out of the infield.

Next season is less than six months away and I so want to be healthy all year. I mean, I can take a scraped elbow or a bruised knee or a punctured lung or a broken collar bone or a blister. You know, something easy to deal with. Just no more cancer crap, please!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Can't sleep...

Since I'm having my usual insomnia after a chemo treatment, I thought I'd take advantage of the time awake and write a blog entry.

It was just about a year ago when I started feeling badly. I don't know the exact date, but it was around Halloween week when my low-grade fever started and it didn't stop for about two months. Finally, in mid-December, I checked myself into the E.R. with a high fever. About 14 hours later, I left the hospital with abnormalities on my CAT scan. They didn't "want to scare me, but it could be cancer." The strangest thing of all was that my fever disappeared the day my CAT scan showed cancer. I didn't take any drugs and wasn't treated at all. The fever simply went away on it's own. It was almost as if my body was screaming for two months, "hey, look here!" and once we looked there, the screaming stopped.

Even with all the crap I am going through, now, in regards to chemo, I guess it beats constantly feeling sick and not knowing why. At least now I know what I'm up against and I have a time-table for the end. If all goes well, my last chemo will be on 30 January 2009. The party will be a few weeks later. Be there! :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

5 out of 12 down...

Ugh, these are getting tougher. My vomit streak ended at about four weeks. My neuropathy (sp?) is getting worse. That's the damage to my nerve endings...where I can't control my fingers or toes and they are really sensitive to coldness. I also am SOOOOO tired. It's only 2pm today, but already I've taken two naps. I could barely keep my eyes open to drive to the hospital today for my booster shot. Next time, I might need a ride to hopsital.

Keep counting down with me...we'll get there! :'-) Seven more to go...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'm fat again?

I was at Gold's Gym the other day and had my "percentage body fat" calculated. It was almost 16%. The chart said that under 10% is athletic. I used to be that, but I understand I'm not back to it, yet. But 10%-15% is "lean" and I'm not even lean???!? I'm in the "average" range.

Now, for any of you who have seen me...who in the world would say I'm average body fat or weight? There is not enough of me to be average body fat!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I didn't vomit during this cycle!

For the first time in four rounds of chemo, I didn't vomit at all. That's a relief. You know what else I didn't do? I didn't: puke, barf, heave, ralph, yak, hurl, spew, blow chunks, up-chuck, emesis, shout groceries, train to be a supermodel, technicolor yawn, pray to the porcelain god, toss my cookies, whistle beef, or have morning sickness...

Well, I did feel sick some mornings, but not in that way!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Anyone get the license plate...

For the first time since my chemo back in the winter, I was totally wiped out by it. I was in the hospital on Friday and everything was okay. Saturday and Sunday had me connected to my "take home" chemo IV pack. Saturday evening was fine...I was over at a friend's house for dinner (yummy filet mignon) and wasn't doing too badly. Sunday was even okay for dinner (this time pork chops and applesauce)...until later. I was planning on seeing a movie, but I couldn't. I was simply too tired. That tired feeling lasted the next two days. I was not really able to get off the couch much. I was tired but not sleepy, so I was on nerve pills. My sleep patterns were all messed up.

Tonight was a meeting of my running group. I did NOT feel like going at all, but I went anyway. Instead of running, I walked a mile and a half. I actually felt a little better after the walk than before. I hope this means I'm on my up-swing and I'll be good for the next nine days! Need I say it? Chemo sucks...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

33% done...

Well, I'm completed 4 out of my 12 treatments. This time there weren't too many side effects, except one that has me worried a little. Over the winter, I had a side-effect where I was jittery and couldn't keep my leg from tapping a mile a minute. I had that same feeling earlier tonight. I went for a walk to "walk off" my nervous energy and it seemed to help a little. But, I had to come home and take a sleeping pill. I just wanted to wake up and have it be gone. For the most part, it is gone (my nervous tapping, not my leg).

The sleeping pills are scary, though. The last few times I've taken them, I have had dreams about scary clowns trying to kill me. That's not exactly relaxing sleep! This clowns! There has to be a joke about "how do you kill a clown?" If anyone knows, let me know so I can use it in my next dream, if need be!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Over-doing it?

4:30pm - 5:15pm -- lifted weights

5:15pm - 5:45pm -- 30 min run (I ran the entire 30 minutes! Slowly, but I never stopped running.)

6:30pm - 8:30pm -- two softball games (Our team had two extra players tonight, so everyone could rest a couple of innings. That is, everyone except me. I was the only pitcher. They say "there's no rest for the weary." Well, there is no rest for the guy on chemo, either!)

I have the whole weekend to "flop" as it's my chemo weekend.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


That's the sound of an approaching CAT scan. I had an appointment with my oncologist today and we scheduled my first CAT scan since I was declared in remission. That will be on 3 November. It's the day before Election Day, so I suggest you vote "No" to cancer.

It'll be four months since my last surgery that removed the remaining tumors. So, there has been time for other tumors to grow inside me. But, I've also been on chemotherapy, so that should have killed anything in there. just makes me a little nervous...or maybe more than a little...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Not a slug!

Well, I'm no longer a really, really slow slug. I worked out tonight with my "Cancer to 5K" running group. For the first time in five weeks (since the program began), I finished the entire workout. Other times, I wasn't able to run during all of the workout and had to walk because I was so winded.

I'm not 100% sure, but I'm fairly certain it has to do with my iron level in my blood. Last week, I started taking iron tablets and I have seen drastic results. I'll know more on Thursday when I play softball. If I can hit a triple and still talk to the 3rd base coach after sprinting, then the iron is helping. Hmmm...I haven't hit a triple all year during treatments. I'll just have to suck it up and be a hitter...just for scientific reasons!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Army 10 Miler...

Yesterday was the "Army 10 Miler" race in D.C. I woke up early (very rare) to head downtown to cheer on some friends. I was looking for seven people, but in the midst of 26,000 runners I only saw three of them. It was like needles in a haystack, only needles don't usually wear jogging shorts. Wait...maybe they do. I don't know...I make it a point never to look at the needles my nurses use on me.

Anyhoo...the race was very inspiring. Wounded soldiers from Iraq were running on prosthetic legs or using hand-operated, three-wheeled bikes. Others were running with shirts reading "In memory of Sgt ____." I saw many "Live Strong" and "Stand Up 2 Cancer" shirts. So many emotions were churned up.

Later in the day was *supposed* to be my light running day for my "Cancer to 5K" training. How the heck did they expect me to only run lightly after witnessing what I had? I ran more than I had any day in many months. I just had to...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The mail must go through...

This afternoon I wrote a letter to the football coach of the University of Pittsburgh thanking him for signing a football for me at the beginning of the year. Then later tonight, Pitt knocked off # 10 South Florida in a great game. The win made the letter all the more appropriate. So, I thought I'd share it with you:

Coach Wannstedt,

In January of this year at the request of a friend of mine and fellow Pitt alum, you autographed a football for me in support of my battle with cancer:

"To Shawn,
Always keep the Faith
Dave Wannstedt
Hail to Pitt"

Well, I never lost that faith and after months of chemotherapy and a couple of surgeries, my cancer is now in remission. I just wanted to send you a quick note to say thank you and tell you how much your message has meant to me. The football rests firmly on top of my television stand as a constant reminder that anything is possible.

I know this football season did not start out as planned, but unlike some of my friends, I have not lost that faith. I calmly tell them that my year started off pretty bleak, too, and look what happened. Things can always change for the better.

I am still undergoing chemotherapy to make sure the cancer doesn't come back, so I am not able to make the trip from Washington, D.C. for all of Pitt's games, as I have done for the past seven seasons. I get to the games when I can and I am glued to the TV when I cannot.

Keep up the good work! I know you’ll make me and the University of Pittsburgh proud. Thanks again…

P.S. When you see Dan Cafaro on the practice field, tell him that he has a fellow cancer survivor in the stands rooting for him.

La La La...

That's the sound of me being happy. :-) I just weighed myself...139.5 lbs. I'm only down 10, now! La la la...