Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The tide turned tonight...

Over the weekend, I ventured to Raleigh, NC for the Pitt/NC State football game. I stayed with a friend of mine and also about 10 people from DC made the trip. So, I got to hang out with everyone. It was a lot of fun despite the rain throughout the entire game and the fact that Pitt had a big lead, but ended up losing. When I came home, I worked Monday and Tuesday. Monday night I went to see the movie, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs." I laughed a lot! Tonight I played softball along the Potomac River and was shivering in the cold wind.

So, I dealt with rain, meatballs, and wind all in the past few days. But, I loved every minute of it.

Tonight after softball, I made my ordinary Tuesday night trip to the grocery store to pick up my chemo staples (bland, soft food that is high in calories). While carting down the aisle, I lost it. The tears just kept coming. As you have read, I cry often. But tonight was different. This cry was because I don't want to head to chemo tomorrow. I have felt so good the past few days and now it has to end -- as it does every two weeks.

I normally try not to think about it at all and just show up at the infusion center pretending to be naive about what will occur (if that makes any sense). But it got the best of me tonight. Even as I type this, my eyes are soggy. It just sucks only feeling good for eight out of every 14 days.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

They'rrrrrre Heeeee-eerrrre...

Remember that line from the little girl in "Poltergeist?" (Trivia: She died of Crohn's Disease.)

Anywho...in the past five days, I've had old friends come to town from Philadelphia, Atlanta, Jersey City, and Berlin! I had the chance to spend time with three of the four (just too tired to squeeze everyone in...sorry, you-know-who.) Three just happened to be working in DC this week. Why did they all pick a week I was dead from chemo??? :-)

And now I want to return the favor and visit each of them! I see trips to Independence Hall, The Varsity, Madison Square Garden, and a concentration camp in my future. All four of those things are related to two of my favorite subjects...college sports and history. Sure the last one sounds morbid, but as you know, I cry all the time anyway, right?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What am I thinking?

Do you wonder about that? Well, today was my long chemo day at the hospital. I woke up at 6:30am to leave by 7am for my 7:30am appointment. The first think that happens is that the nurse "accesses my port." In English, she sticks a needle into my surgically implanted device in my upper chest. We count to three together so I can take a deep breath. It's not that it hurts THAT much, but nobody wants a needle jammed into their breast.

She draws blood and then I wait and wait for the blood test results to see if I can even have chemo today based on my blood counts. When I was on chemo last year, I would just lay in the bed and wait. I no longer do that. I take the stairs down 4 flights to the donut shop. (I hate elevators and I need the calories...they work against each other, i know.) Then I talk to other patients. This go-around, I'm trying to remain more normal than before.

I felt bad today. One guy (maybe around 30-35) was in a chemo bed and it was his first time. He was holding his significant other's hand and his mom was there, too. I could tell he was scared. I thought about talking to him, but they drew their privacy curtain. If I see him again, I have to say hi.

The blood tests came back and I was on the low side, but still cleared for chemo. The pre-meds are first. Two Tylenol and then IV Benedryl. Talk about loopy! It's a great drunk feeling. (I'd like to say without the hangover, but I'd take a hangover over my next few days any time!)

Then the chemo starts. I'm asleep for most of it. I have to wake up to pee every so often. And when I do, my clothes are wet. It makes me sweat. And it's not like I get to shower to clean up...I take home the IV pump for 46 hours and I can't shower while that is still connected. Also, another cool effect of the drugs I get is that my calf muscles start to spasm. They actually look like aliens are trying to find their way out of my legs. It's so gross!

Later, at home (in other words, now)...I feel just plain weird. I have to keep food in my mouth most of the time or I know I'll puke. But the trick is finding the right foods because a lot of different things will make me puke. It's not easy.

I would love to be in the movie "Click" with Adam Sandler. I would fast forward the remote control 4 days and be back to almost normal. The chemo effects always linger until you completely stop the drugs, but after 4 or 5 days, they aren't so bad. So, sometimes I sleep because I'm worn out. Other times I sleep just to pass the time and not realize that I feel like complete crap.

I also try to do things to get my mind off of it. For instance, on Saturday morning, I'll try to meet up with my running group and run/walk. Also, tomorrow, I'll go to keep score for my one softball team. That takes my mind off everything. Sometimes, that is all you can do.

I like to think that I am doing everything I can. I received a note from my sister, Shannon, today. I'd like to share because it made me cry:

Do you remember when you said you liked the song, "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack? There is a line, "When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance." Dear brother, you are dancing.

Someone in the know...

I was at the infusion center today for chemo. I overheard a girl talking about how her cancer is back as of this month. Based on the drugs she was taking, I knew it was colon cancer, so I introduced myself and started talking.

We both had stage IV colon cancer. And now we both have mets (it spread) to the liver and lungs. I told her, "stay right there. I want to show you something."

When I came back, she immediately said, "Oh you have a Colondar!"

"You've heard of it?"

"Of course. I'm on Colon Talk all the time!"

"Well, I'm in it!"

She looked at my page and said, "yes! I read your bio online and watched your video. I was about to order one, but I'll get one from you."

Does one person knowing of me make me famous? :-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I woke up this morning and read my Facebook page. It was littered with quotes from Ghost and Dirty Dancing, so I knew right away what had happened. I'm sorry to hear about Patrick Swayze. Pancreatic cancer is one of the worst you can get. There are no symptoms, so usually when it's found, it's too late. But Swayze kept acting until the end. Gotta do what you want to do!

Also, I'll leave you with a light-hearted note... My debit card expired, so they sent me a new one. I cut up the old one and when I went to use the new one, the ATM said it was expired. I cut up the new one! Damn chemo brain!

Friday, September 4, 2009


OMG...so much has been happening this week that I totally forgot to post that I got my CT scan results last week! As you know, I had seven cancer nodules. A few got ever so slightly smaller and a few got ever so slightly bigger. The radiology report classifies this as no change or "stable disease." That is all the doc hoped for in the first two months. So, the chemo is doing what it's supposed to. In three months prior, we went from no cancer to seven nodules and in less than two months we stopped that growth of all of them. All good news.

Sure, I wanted shrinkage, but I'm greedy. But I live on. Or as I've stated in my previous softball blog (something I've kinda adopted as my new motto): "We have one more game." :-)

And I still owe you guys a blog about my trip to Little Rock for the Big Dam Walk. I'll get to that soon!

Colondar Video...

One of our models, Miss October (Evelyn Reyes), has her on TV show "Boston Latino TV." They created this video...