Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Delay in starting pills...

I met with my oncologist today and my blood tests still show that my platelet count is low. My count should be at 215 and it's at 127. That is up a little from last time, but not as high as he expected it to be since stopping chemo. The good news is that it's going up. The bad news is that there is a *possibility* that it shows cancer. He followed up with, "but don't think about that...I just have to tell you the possibility."

Because of this issue, he wanted to start my pills in two weeks instead of today. But I leave for Puerto Rico in 16 days and I didn't want to take a chance of having a side-effect while in San Juan. So, we will start the pills on 18 February. Just to be certain of everything, I will have a CAT scan on 17 February.

Having my CAT scan results means my party on the 21st will either be a bigger celebration or an encouragement party.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Yes, cancer sucks. Yes, the treatment is not at all pleasant. But, some good stuff comes out of it. Over the weekend, I attended a party with a group of people I met through "Cancer to 5K" (the running group for cancer survivors.) At work today, I met a guy who had heard about me and his mother is about to start chemo and he just wanted to talk to someone. After work, I went shopping with a friend of a friend who has started chemo.

I would not have met any of these people, had my disease never come about. It makes it a little easier to deal with...

End of Chemo/Cancer Party!

Hey Everyone!

As most of you know, 2008 SUCKED for me. Well, 2009 is better by far. I ended chemotherapy, Pitt is #1 in basketball, and I was selected as a calendar model. What's next??? I'll tell you what's next...

My end of chemo party! If you are in town, I'd love for you to be there.

Date:Saturday, February 21, 2009
Time:6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location:Crystal City Sports Pub (3rd floor)
Street:529 23rd Street South
City/Town:Arlington, VA 22202

We have the entire top floor ( cancer sticks) of the Crystal City Sports Pub. The Pitt/Depaul game will be on the big screens and I'll have some appetizer trays there. Meals and drinks can be purchased, too.

Here is the website for directions and menus and such:

Let me know if you plan on coming (unless you already confirmed on Facebook), so I have an idea of the size of our group.

When does softball start?????


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back to work for good this time!'s been about 13 months that I haven't really been at work. Sure, there were weeks where I went in here and there, but nothing really serious. I would get to work one day and the next day I was pounded with chemo and asleep next to Rip Van Winkle for the next two weeks.

But this time I hope it sticks. The plan is to do 4-hour days for a few weeks and then bump it up to 6-hour days for a couple more weeks. By March...full time! Cross your fingers that the pill form of chemo I'll be on doesn't wear me out.

"He works hard for the money.
So hard for it, honey.
So, you better treat him right."

Friday, January 9, 2009

Not eligible for the clinical trial...

Because of my Crohn's Disease I'm not a candidate for the clinical trial for the vaccination shots. I had pretty much decided against the trial anyway. There was a chance I'd be put in the placebo group and that is not something I wanted to risk. If we were treating depression or something, then okay. But just being out there with no protection against cancer returning would be a scary thought.

So, I'm going on pill form of chemo for the next two years. I'll also get an infusion every two weeks of Avastin. It's not a chemo drug because it's not a's a biological agent. So, I'm on biotherapy, now. Sounds better than chemotherapy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow

I heard the news today. It came out of nowhere.
I wish I could run away,
but where would I go?
Is this my destiny? Something so unfair... What will become of me?
God only knows.

And they say the road to heaven might lead us back through hell.
Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow, we will win this fight and bury this sorrow.
We're so alive, still holding on, not ready to die, so we LIVESTRONG.

My pride is left for dead, as my world gets shaken.
The thoughts inside my head are so hard to control.
I am staring down the unknown, but one thing is certain.
You could break my body, but you will never break my soul.

And they say the road to heaven might leads us back through hell, but we're holding on for more
than stories to tell.

Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow, we will win this fight and bury this sorrow.
We're so alive, still holding on, not ready to die, so we LIVESTRONG.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pick an emotion and I have it.

Today was supposed to be a chemo treatment. I met with my oncologist and we went over my side-effects (extreme fatigue mostly). We then talked.

Five years ago when people had colon cancer with mets to the liver, they would do three months of chemo, have surgery and then do 12 more months of chemo. A study later showed that only doing six months of chemo after surgery prevented reoccurance just as well. Studies are now showing that four months is the same, too. That's where I'm at...four month of chemo after surgery.

Because of my fatigue and my lower bone marrow counts (mine are 100-150 and should be 215...50 is dangerous) we are stopping chemo now. The numbers will come back up. So, I'm done with chemo infusions! That's the happy part! I'm crying because I'm happy.

I have two choices, now. There is a clinical trial for a vaccination shot that I would do every week or two where they would shoot a protein into me. It bonds with my cells and boosts my immune system to fight cancer cells. If I am eligible for that, I'm going to do it. I might not be eligible because I also have Crohn's Disease. If I can't do it, we will start pill form of chemotherapy. I'd be on that for two years. Neither of these avenues have long-term study results. That's the scary part! I'm crying because I'm also scared.

My mind is trying to think about all this and it's almost too much to handle. There are no percentages to go by. That could be good or bad depending how you look at it. They told me back in February that they couldn't do anything for me and I didn't listen too well to that.

"Never tell me the odds." -- Han Solo

Sunday, January 4, 2009

We're # 1 !!!!

For the first time EVER Pitt is number one in the country in basketball!

What a difference a year makes. Last year, I wasn't sure if I'd live. This year is only four days old and I've been accepted as a calendar model, met Dick Vitale, and my favorite team is number one.

Wow. Just wow...

"Awesome, baby!"

Yesterday, Pitt was in town to play Georgetown. It was going to be a good game with two top-10 teams playing. While I was in El Paso this week for Pitt's bowl game, I ran into the Athletic Director for Pitt and he said that he just got word that Dick Vitale would be announcing the Georgetown game.

I made it a point to get to see him and thank him for his work with the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research. So, I walked into the Verizon Center at 10:30am (game at noon) and went to a few different ushers until I found one who would let me down to courtside to "take photos of the court." Once I was down, I drifted towards the scorers' table and called out to Mr. Vitale. I told him that my friend (who was with me) and I were both on chemo and I thanked him for his help raising money. I also said that some of that money might have helped me because my procedure was very new and it worked great.

Btw, Pitt pulled away and won the game 70-54! They are now # 2 in the country!