Tuesday, October 28, 2003

6 hours south. The fires are more than six hours SOUTH of me. Thanks everyone for asking. But really, California is a LONG, Narrow state, and the fires are south of Los Angeles. To put it in perspective for my pals from Texas, If I were in Austin, these fires would be in Brownsville.

More chemo today. I still have the needle in my arm. Ick, oh, Ick. it will last for 3 days, and they want to use it that long, it assists in keeping my veins less "ropey" it also makes me sick like you cannot believe. Needles, Ick!

My good pal Flash sent me 3 books about adventures, Monday I read about some Englishmen who rode BSA motorcycles in 1961 trying to trace the trail of Marco Polo. Amazingly, one of the bikes actually ran the whole time.

Today I read about some fellows in the mid 1980s who drove a GMC Sierra pickup truck from Tierra Del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. in 23 days.

yay flash.

Today my pal Ethan picked me up in his MONSTER Dodge Ram 2500. What a truck. Big, powerful, comfortable. Oh, I had truck envy.

Got home, drank fluids, ate a corn dog and a bagel dog, and am waiting for Sara to come home.

light headache, mild nausea, very tired.

I have the new desk out in my truck, we are not strong enough to get the package in the house. I think I will wait till saturday, or have someone help, then just try to get the box inside.

I feel once the box is in the house, I can do it step by step with Sara's help.

no big.

must rest. needle, hard to type.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Day 1 Round 3 is in the history books. I did not get too sick, and am TRYING leaving the needle port in my arm overnight, It will make it easier on the nurses tomorrow morning, but making me VERY icky sick tonight.

I feel okay, they hydrated me and did the chemo, but I am afraid when the anti nausea wears out, it may be a barf-o-riffic night.

Kevin picked me up, brought Sophia and Fiona, I hope they were not permanently scarred seeing gross needle icky stuff and me laying in a chair all zonkered out.

Got home, had a little strength, Sara took me to Office Mac, I bought a cheap computer desk to replace my printer stand.l It should allow me to better organize my room, BUT, I can only use one arm, and we were not strong enough to lift the crate out of the back of my truck. ha!

I will leave it out there till I have enough strength to get it in the house, and slowly assmeble it. No rush.

Have needle in arm, tryping is difficult at best.

ate soup for dinner, drank fluid, sleepy.

BUT< OMJ approved the rice publishin recipe;

this is the Spanish rice I find so comforting. My order is in to RM Quigg for the rice packets.

OMJ's Famous Spanish Rice:

1 10-oz package RM Quigg's yellow rice mix
1 medium onion coarsely chopped
1 medium bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 pound ground round
1 10 oz. can RoTel original chunky tomatoes and green chilis
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper

In large pammed pot with good heat transfer (8-qt or 6-st) sear meat until gray (break up chunks). Salt and pepper to taste (I like lots of pepper).

Drain juice from 2 tomato cans into measuring cup and add water to achieve amount of liquid on rice package (4 cups for 10 ounce package).

Add liquid, RoTel tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and 1 tsp salt to meat in pot, bring to boil and simmer about 30 minutes.

Add diced tomatoes, bring to boil and stir in rice mix, bring back to boil for 1 minute, reduce to very low heat, cover, and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes, stirring once.


Remember, tomorrow morning special thoughts go out to:

Kate - Job Interview
Sherry - Job Interview
Joyce - Cataract Surgery

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Spent most of today in bed. Should have been high energy day, but something was just not in place. Megan came by and picked up 2 boxes of stuff she is gonna help sell for me on eBay, Sara washed her motorcycles, and did a buttload of yardwork, Matt came by on his way home form a great MC ride, and told me all about it.

Last night Rebecca came over, and we all watched movies and ate ice cream. Oh, and went out for dinner. Maybe that was what sapped all the energy for today.

I recieved not one, but TWO caps from pals of mine, Who bought them from the same wonderful place. I gotta say, I have WAY too many hats now, but these are fun:

Paul and Dee sent me one that says "Fuck Cancer" and Alan & Michele sent me one that says "Cancer Sucks"

people react well to them in public too! I gotta send thank you notes.

AND, I am sick and tired of my 5 year old printer cart that I am using as a desk. I cannot justify spending the big bucks like on Sara's desk, so I am gonna break down and buy some particle board crap, but I want a larger desk, that will allow me to set up all my computer junk, and get rid of a bunch of boxes, and be a little better organized.

Unfortunately, I did not get this done today, so it will have to wait a few weeks.

tomorrow, Round 3.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

YAY! My pals have rallied, I have rides covered for next weeks Round 3 of chemo.

Miscellaneous: Do not renew your cell phone contract just yet. I was talking with my pal Elaine, and realized, most people do not know that there are some cahnges coming November 24.


my basic misunderstanding is you will be able to get your cell phone number to follow you if you change service companies. Now if this is true, they will be pushing everyone to renew a 2 year contract, asap, so you do not jump as soon as you can. I'm just gonna wait and see, cause I think the market will get VERY cut-throat, with all sorts of wonderful possibiliites for the customer.

Tuesday Morning! Please give a good thought for Sara's younger sister Kate, who'll be exploring employment possibilities with a job interview.

Tuesday Afternoon! My kid sister Sherry has an initial interview for a part time Municipal Court JUDGE! So good cheers towards her. If she does, actually become a judge, I am afraid of the havoc it willl reek on the legal system. how cool

Last night I cooked the Bayou Magic 10-Bean soup. Since my lovely finacee is a vegematarian with fish, I did not use the recommended 2 lbs of ground beef, chicken or wild game. Instead I substituted Shrimps. Also cajun. I followed the directions, I browned the shrimps in seasoning, I seperated and washed the beans, I soaked the beans, I added water to the shrimps and got em boiling, seasoning in, beans in, then I realized there was a HECK of a lot of cajun 10 bean soup there.

The directions says "feeds 7-10 people or 5-7 Cajuns"

Oh my. Fortunately, Eric & Lissa & Kevin managed to stop by and help us out with some of this soup. But still hae 2 mason jars of leftovers.

We also watched the dvd Zoolander, which was silly funny.

and I overextended, and had some barfing. But still, I got a lot of fluids in before they came out, so that was a plus. Always good to have freinds over as well.

I am pretty worn out this morning, however, and am laying low and in bed. Our pal Hesh came by, he and Sara are playing in the garden, trimming the rosemary hedge in front, and doing all sorts of fun stuff involving power yard tools. I am laying in bed with earplugs in.

OH! I keep forgetting to re-mention this. I am copying my blogs into a document, and sometimes I copy in cool emails. I'm up to about 130 pages. When I get done with chemo, I my try to figure out how to edit all this and make a cancer-diaries sort of book. So if you have any really good juicy stories, please let me know, I may need more 'spice'

ha ha ha. oh, I gotta rest.

Friday, October 24, 2003

OH! almost forgot, I can barely drive now, I seem to get very car sick when driving, and would like to work out a schedule for San Jose pals to help with pickup this upcoming week.

I am unsure about Monday, and will work with Sara, but I would really appreciate rides home from the clinic tuesday through Friday. It will be about 4:30 every day. at Hamilton and Winchester to my house.

and if i could get volunteers for 1/day, it would spread the load, and make me feel better.

emails please. and will work out what days are best. thanks Charles

Last night I was on the bathroom floor at 3am barfing the pasta Sara made for dinner. Barfing Pasta, good Pasta soft. till it comes shooting out your sinuses at speed. then Pasta BAD, very bad.

and I am laying on the floor, sweating, trying to get pasta out of my nose, thinking all negative "my life sucks, i'm naked and sweating on the bathroom floor, with long stringy snot covered pasta bits coming out my nose."

My pal Jack always tells me, 'when you've been staring at something too long, turn the binoculars around and look through the other side.' Which is probably some drunken Irish way of saying "change your perspective, change your attitude"

then I turned the binoculars around, and started laughing. You see, Sara DID tell me to chew better so it would be in smaller pieces!

Then I am laying on the floor, naked, sweating, stringy pasta snot, and just laughing my butt off. I will live. I will conquer this. I will chew my food more.

It's 11:45am, and I have beeen answering emails, doing a little work, but generally, have not got out of bed for more than to take anti-nausea pills. My plans for today involve much more laying around. Sara mentioned playing in the garden this weekend, and a light, close to home sort of plan.

I'd like to try to go to the hobby shop with my pal Kevin, to look at Park Flyers, maybe Saturday early. Then I do not know what else. James & Tara may stop by Sunday afternoon to pick up a box of model train stuff I have for him. And Lionel & Jen might be in town, will see. Chris mentioned gardening, I will send him an email, maybe he'll come help Sara.

My only plan is to try to cook some Bayou Magic 10 bean soup for dinner tonight.
http://bayoumagic.com/preseasoned.html Bayou Magic, "Be a Magician in Your Kitchen!"

OH, and I finally have OMJ's Spanish Rice recipe, but the RM Quigg's rice has not made it here yet. Since I start round 3 Monday, I suspect no rice for me for about 2 weeks.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Woke up with odd amounts of energy this morning, so I drank lots of water, took my nausea pills, and decided I needed to get SOMETHING done. I cannot just lay around. Maybe small things. Maybe, like, OH! I could get rid of stuff!

My pal Julz significant other is developing a strong attachment to the Superhawk. So I called her over, she took the spare tank, windscreen, bodywork, etc... 2 LARGE boxes of stuff, GONE!

Then I went through my toy chest. When I was in college, I bought a 'Wild West" wooden toy box at a garage sale. The cowboy on the front has a "S" on his shirt. S? Statman? Cowboy? How cool! Ever since, it has been filled with a collection of mysterious toys and junk. Well, today I cleaned out a large amount of the junk.

Then I went through the toys, and thought, "What could go on eBay?" and started making a pile. And cleaned the chest out more. Then I went to the bathroom closet. I have a roomy bathroom closet, it is full of toy motorcycles and models, and miscellany. I really like toys. But added a bunch of them to the pile.

Then out to the garage, what else could I sell on eBay? I came up with 2 very large boxes of things that really really COULD go away, and I would not mind.

However, I am about to start chemo round 3 on Monday, and will not be able to handle all the packing and shipping and dealing.... So I emailed my pal Megan. She has been helping pur other freind Matthew sell off some of his stuff, and seems to have a good working arrangement. She picks it up, sells it, takes a commission, gives him a spreadsheet of costs, etc.. and a check. Helps everyone out. My stuff dissapears, I don't have to think about it. I get a little money, she gets a little money, everybody wins. She's gonna try to come by tomorrow.

Then I realized I was starting to run low, so I ate a little, drank some fluids, and had a big old nap.

This evening Sara did some gardening work, involving moving past the SCARECROW. So she turned it off. and forgot to turn it back on. Hmmm. CAT PEE!. Set it back on, made a few test fires, we are back online. I ALSO walked over to my neighbor Florence's house, to tell her what was going on. I made it very clear I was NOT unhappy with her, and I know we cannot control cats, but that I have this sprinkler thing, and why, and not to be worried if JoJo comes home wet, but it will help me if he does not piss up my house all the time. She was very understanding and agreeable, and all good-neighborly about it.

I still think I am gonna borrow a live trap from Lissa, trap the little scum-bag and unload a bladder full of chemo whiz on him before letting him go. Will see. If Lissa finds out, she probably won't loan me her trap.

Sara made some wonderful pasta for dinner, and so far, I've managed to keep it in. YAY Sara.

Then our pal Mark came by to deliver the custom made nightstands. OH MY. Hot-ROD nightstands deee-luxe. This man works wood like an artist. These are beautiful. Sara also told me her father is restoring Sara's Steamer Trunk, which will go at the end of the master bed. YAY! Cool things with meaning.

Finally, before I sign out and sleep, I got the nicest thought today from my pal Rebecca. I cannot get her words right, but basically, she said she wished she could help me, by standing in for a day or so, as a substitute to handle the pain.

Of course there is NO way this could happen, but it sure is a nice thought. Like, if I could just have one strong, normal day, and someone else stood in my shoes. What a lovely thought to be willing to make that offer.

BUT! This stuff? I would not wish it on anyone. It is hard, and I need to bear it to survive. No one else can magically stand in for me. And if they could, I would not let them. It is too painful.

Sure, there are some people I might think about handing it over too. Yes, I DO have a list. There are people on my list, but even them, well, this is nasty stuff.

I'll live with it through december...... but thanks Rebecca.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

This morning I got the nicest card from Sara's folks. It sure is swell to have in-laws who like you. For whatever misguided reasons. Oh, if they ever see through me. :)

Camera advice has been numerous and simple. Basically, yeah, the S400 is a GREAT camera, can you wait 6 months? the price will drop, and you will be happier. Good advice.

Speaking of Photos, I updated my Yahoo Photos "CancerBoy" folder. It shows me with the hair iterations, as well as me sitting in the clinic in my pirate hat (thanks Rick) getting chemo. The bags on the trays are different stuff. Some is chemo, some is just fluid. But basically, in 8 hours, it all gotta drip into me. The last 3 pix are the hydration pump i had to sleep with, and the dang needle that was sticking out of me all weekend.

I know, some people are okay with tubes and stuff. not me. bleah. Just editing and posting the photo made me a little nauseaous. Good news? I ate two corn dogs last night! and one this morning! and some soup. and NONE of it came back up. Whew!

Okay, I was going to do this another way, but starting at the beginning is really easiest. So here is another story of my past life.

I worked for the prestigious political consulting firm of Emory, Young and Associates in Austin for a long time. We planned, managed, predicted, polled, advertised, and basically handled democratic candidates in statewide elections. I was the statistics guy and the computer guy. (associate) Without going into full details, there were two principal bosses. William "Bill" Emory, and William Robert "Peck" Young. These guys were amazing.

Bill was a college professor for a while, and was absolutely magic to watch interpret polling and people. His statistical abilities are unmatched. He dressed from the "heavy boys" section of the Land's End catalogue, and is very devoted to his wife Marilyn, who has fought MS as long as I have known them. Bill could shake a candidate's hand, earn his trust and pick his pocket all at the same time. He was also moody and tempramental, usually based on home life.

Peck got his nickname cause when he was born the doctor said "Well, there's another little peckerhead in the world" and it stuck. Peck wrote out memos longhand, then had his secretary type them up. After 2 years, I could almost decipher the chicken scratch. Peck had built deep relations with the Texas Democratic Party since he was in grade school I believe. He has a way of remembering names and numbers and events that astound me. He could tell you the voting history of every precinct in Grayson county for the past 30 years. Rattled the stuff off the way sports fans know baseball stats. He could also watch the polling results on election day and KNOW which precincts to push for more turnout.

But. He was also the kid who got picked on in school. And now he was smart, and he was gonna make those bastards PAY. Peck wore a Manny Gammage Texas Hatter's Custom "Half Breed" cowboy hat. Felt rim, Straw crown. Knee high Lucchese Ostrich Ropers, and a powder blue polyester suit that might have fit him 30 years and 150 pounds ago. Usually a red sweater/vest. And at the time carried the classic Motorola BRICK cell phone, and a fistfull of papers in the pockets of his suit coat.

Folks, this is in 102 degree 87% humidity Austin Summer. 320 lbs if any, and I am probably on the low side. Man doted on his wife and children. Doted.

In morning meetings, Peck would butter a slice of bread till it was yellow, then salt it till it was white. then push it down with 3 bearclaws, 5 strips of greasy bacon, a pitcher of OJ, and 3 or 4 sausages. Keep adding salt while eating. Favorite Lunches was the 12 oz T-Bone at the Hoffbrau.

So basically, these guys were my bosses, and mentors, and paying my rent.

Thrown into this mix are 3 associates. Me, Jim Ranes, and Fred Cantu, the associates. At one point, our only joy was going to lunch. We had a few favorite spots, and for an hour to hour and a half every day, we'd sit at some lovely austin restuarant, eat, chat, and be normal.

Then, this one day. 3 boys in the lobby, ready to go, and Peck asks "So, where you boy's goin' for lunch?"

You know that groan Homer Simpson makes, like, when Patty and Selma are coming over, "dooooooohhhhhaaaa" but really low? we made it.

"Um, the Mongolian barBeQue up the street sir"

"Great, I love BarBeQue, I'll join ya!"

In the middle of summer, we walked 5 blocks up San Jacinto Blvd. With Peck groaning, sweating, straining. I thought he would have a heart attack. Some sausage from breakfast would JAM in a ventricle of his heart and stop it for good. The hypertension from all the salt, .....nope. The man has the heart and stamina of a bull elephant. We made it to the restaurant fine.

"Boys, this don't look like no Kreuze's meat market to me. Looks like a gawd damn Salad bar!"

So Fred explained the concept of picking veggies and meat, putting them in a bowl with sauce, and the chef would stir fry it on an giant upside down wok.

we moved down the line, picking beans, broccoli, ginger, Peck shuttled ahead, and packed his bowl as much as he could. Beef and pork. No chicken thanks, and no damn shrimp.

When we finally caught up, he had 2 ingredients. Pork and Beef. The chef tried to explain that with no sauce, it could not cook, so he put a dash of soy on top.

We were seated. We come here all the time. The waitress KNOWS us! Iced Teas all around. And Mr. Young would also like a glass of ice water. Which he poured exactly 1/2 the sugar shaker into. the other 1/2 went into his iced tea.

The rice and flatbreads came, we ate, we drank, he told us war stories about campaigns long gone.

Finally, the food comes out. I am still mystified as to how they remember who gets what plate, but they get it right each time. And we dig in. Yum, Mine had the perfect ginger touches to accent the chicken and the baby corns.

Peck is scarfing down the meat. I mean in heaping forkfulls, and drinking and telling stories. But it is obvious he likes the meat. and the story.

then it happens. An event that will change my life forever.

a small gurgle. a hiccup in the story. then a pause. then a little 'grep' noise, and some food comes out of his mouth and trickled down his chin into his tea glass. then another grep, then a full blown BLARGH! and he refills his food bowl. The man just BARFED UP HIS LUNCH ONTO THE PLATE.

For a moment, time stood absolutely still. Nothing happened.

Then he got up, excused himself and headed to the bathroom.

I was sitting to his right. The Middle associate. The loudmouth. And I spoke first. "What the HELL just happened? I wanted to laugh, but he does sign my paycheck."

On his left, Jim, the youngest allowed "Oddly, I am still hungry, but I am afraid my food may have been tainted"

Across the table, the oldest, the wisest, the brightest among us, Senor Fred Cantu first said something in Spanish that we did not catch, then he said "I was right across from him! I wanted to run! But I was frozen, and strangely, MESMERIZED!"

a few moments later, Peck returned to the table, he went to the bathroom and washed up. there were little bits of paper towel clinging to his red sweater vest. and the whole front was wet. He started to continue the story, but I picked up the bill (by the dry corner) and said "well, let's get out of here"

He grabbed the bill and said "Yeah, I'll get this one"

He went up to pay, and we did not know what the heck to do. I think we collectively shovelled about $30 on the table for our waitress, hoping she would be okay with it.

We walked back to the office, as if nothing had happened.

NOW. Assuming you just barfed on your 3 associates at lunch. What would you do?

think about it.

I would go home, have a shower and a nap.

The Mighty Peck Young took a cab to the airport, hopped a plane to Houston, and met with a client.

The moment he left the office, all 3 of us rushed into Bill's office and blurted out "Say Bill, has Peck ever, well, at lunch has he,..."

"So he blew on ya did he? Hiatial hernia, catches him sometimes, just blows. It happens" Bill said.

"Does it ever happen on clients?" we ask

"Well, once on Sam from AIPAC, but they love us"

we were amazed, our lives had changed forever. We did not return to the BBQ joint for about 6 months, and then apologized to the waitress, who laughed, yeah, great tip, I had the bussers clean it up, happens more than you might think.

Today I drove to work, and met with Keith, my current boss/mentor. We talked about leadership, we talked about how I was doing. We talked about travel. And I had one of those moments where I realized, again, how damn lucky I am. You learn something from everyone you meet in your life.

At the moment, my mentor is not someone I worry about taking to a Mongolian BBQ.

I am very lucky to have the life I currently do. I will continue to fight this cancer. I will continue to be grateful for the blessings in my life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

My poor old Kodak Digital Camera is just sucking mud. I cannot get any more life out of it. It's big, it's bulky, it takes forever to recycle for next shot.

I am beginning to think of abandoning the American manufacturer, and look elsewhere.

Lots of my biker pals have the Cannon S series. they are tiny, convenient, and seem to take good snaps. Too bad I am not in Austin to get the Torque & Recoil suggestion box.

I want: Small. Easy to Use. Decent Photos. Easy for other people to use. (here, take a picture of me) It should fit in my tankbag, or backpack, and shouldn't be an ordeal to get out, set up, turn on, warm up, uses. It should be "zing! Camera! Point! Click! Yep, I was there, I saw that."

I am thinking the Cannon S400, but it is sooo expensive. It fits most of the other criteria. I will have to do more research and see.

Cat tripped the sprinkler once already, and I have not smelt any cat pee, so it may be working. At 8pm, I have recovered some of my energy, and am gonna try to go sit in the kitchen and have something to eat.

My pal Elaine has possibly solved the cat pee problem. With this amazing product.

That goshdarn cat pisses on the bushes outside my window every 4 hours. I want him in FEAR! I want a little cat shit trail leading all the way back to his yard. Fear. fear good. cat piss bad. cat piss smell = instant vomit for me.

Orchard Supply Hardware on Branham did not have them. So the boy at Branham called the boy at Cottle and said put 2 aside for Charles. (picking up one for Elaine too.)

I went to get them, ask goofy teen boy, "Escobar called from the other store, you have 2 scarecrows on hold for me" he points at 2 Halloween scarecrows

“Now son, I am bald, sweating, have no eyebrows, not looking happy, the heat is not good to me, and I am nauseous cause I missed my 2:30 chemotherapy vomit,” I look at boy and say "do I LOOK like I want some straw dolls to you? TWO $70 devices to scare the livin bejeezuz out of wayward pissing cats. PRONTO!”

“ yessir, here they are, sorry for any misunderstanding”

Man, I am in no mood for ass-hats. This afternoon when JoJo comes to mark his territory, with his foul piss he is in for a BIG goddamn surprise.

Hmm. how do I glue FANGS to this thing? Can I make it squirt sulfuric acid?

$70 bucks worth of no more goddamn CAT , without having to roast the fucker and make poor little old neighbor lady sad.

Assembly feels like the part of the movie where they build all the cool guns they are gonna kill the bad guys with. ohhhh, the barrel is attached, the battery test fires perfectly. sticker time. the eyebrows make it look really angry

time to go adjust sensitivity and test fire

Brief Interlude.

oh, that was horrible, but in place now. I am over heated, and passed out twice. The previous owners had lantana bushes at base of tree. Now Sara cut out a lot of that, on top, but Lantana has LOTS of roots.

Too many roots for the mighty Scarecrow's plastic foot to pierce, however, there was 1/2 of a T-post sticking up too. so if I pull the T-post, I can put the mighty scarecrow in there. Do you know how deep you are supposed to drive a t-post? 3 inches PAST the T flange. Do you know how deep THEY buried the T Post? 4 feet with lantana root all around it and only 3 inches sticking up.

Think! Alternatives? No, NOT enough to ziptie the scarecrow to.

oh no, I am a TEXAN damnit!

you know that goofy black thing on the front bumper of my truck?

it is a Hi-Lift Jack

with that, and some trucker's chain, you CAN pull a T Post out of the damn ground, it takes longer when there are 4 FEET of post in the ground.

post is removed
i got overheated a lot, and had to stop and drink water, which is good
and I only passed out 2 times, but that was from the water I think

so, post ... OUT!
ground … smoothed
scarecrow .. IN



waiting now for cat.

all I need to hear is one Squirt-MEOWWWW and it will be worth every bit of it.

but right now, I am so drained, I can barely type.

Cancer sucks the energy and the life out of me. I had to do this, I HAD to be human, but now I have to rest. I am able to eat a little, and drinking, and most food has been staying down. So now, a little nap, till I hear it. Squirt! MEOWWWW!

And I’ll sleep the sleep of the just.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Okay. This is gonna be a long one. So brace yourselves.

This past weekend was horrible. I had a chemo pump hooked up to a tube coming out of a vein in my right arm. The pump slowly injected a saline solution into me all weekend long. 'cer-chunk, cer-chunk, cer-chunk' all day, all night. To accomplish this, I had to carry a black bag with 2 litres of saline (changed once) from Saturday at 3, till Monday at 9:47am. Just the thought of the needle coming out of me made me increasingly more nauseous as the weekend wore on. By Sunday night I was vomiting every 30 minutes, on schedule. Ker-Chunk, Ker-Chunk. I know most of it was in my mind, but that is still part of this.

The great news is my pal Eileen drove me to the doctor's this morning, (and knit me a warm hat) and we got the hep-lock tubing and associated assembly out of my arm.

Where to start, What to describe first? Where to begin? Okay, I said this was going to be long and rambling, so it will be.

Divorce: Until now, the worst failure of my life was my Dee-vorce. I was in a realtionship for 5 years with a woman who did not comprehend the idea of "other people" and it pretty much went downhill from the moment we got married. I fought really hard to make it work. I tried counselling, I tried giving her anything she wanted, I tried to become someone else, hoping that guy may please her. In the end, I had to admit defeat, and get a divorce. I still see that as a large failure. I could not make it suceed.

To understand my degree of failure, and remorse, there is a story. And you have to understand the story, to realize WHY I was able to make the decision I needed to.

All my life growing up, if something was too difficult, Mom let me quit. Just Quit, do something else. I rarely finished anything. Then after college, I trashed a motorcycle, and part of my body, and decided to deal with it as an adult. I finished what I started. From then on, PIT BULL! I would finish anything, Just dig your teeth in, and GROWL and GET the job DONE. Divorce was the next thing I quit

A Beautiful Miracle: In December of 1999, one of my best friends, Jim Learmonth, and his wife Alva had a baby daughter. Maya. I was at the hospital. Moments after Maya came out, they let me hold her. I was holding, in my hands, with my long shaggy hair, and blue flannel shirt, a FRESH OUT OF THE OVEN BABY. Not just any baby, but the baby of my roommate, confidante, and close and dear friend. (3 guys in Austin, Jim, Chris and Joe, they are my brothers, nuff said)

I was looking into Maya's tiny little face, and realized, this is the greatest thing any of us will ever do. NEW LIFE. A new beginning, A new chapter in our history. And here, my best pal is standing around dumfounded, cause he realizes, he and Alva have just done it. For me, at that moment, I realized, Cars, houses, money, status, jobs, power, all worthless. Raising a kid is the hardest, best, most brilliant thing anyone can do. And here is one in my arms. I would still give up anything I have to make her smile. She embodied all that was good and wonderful about the world.

She's still a pretty cute kid. Though I am overdue a visit.

A Party and revelation: So on December 31st, 1999, Jim and alva had a small New Years Party at their house. Rona (the EX) and I had 2 stops. Jim and Alva, and my pal Ran & Bernice (friends of OMJ). We stopped at Jim's, and everyone was carousing and congratulation, and at some point, one of tha aunties brought Maya downstairs to visit the crowd. When she got close to Rona, the EX shrieked, backed away, and said "get IT away from me".

Everyone in the room was stunned. How could a human NOT like a baby? And have a violent reaction?

Of course, it was time to excuse ourselves, say some goodbyes and head over to Ran & Bernice's.

I may not have all the following quotes exact, but this is the general discussion in the car, that turned my mind. She said "when I saw the baby, I just wanted to grab it by the heels, and smash it's brains out on the wall. "


"You know, to save it from all the pain and misery people have to go through in life, just kill it there"

At which point, my vision of her changed. She no longer had a sharp face, glasses, and strong chin. She looked like some kind of drooling lizard-thing, hunched over the steering wheel, bat wiings, fangs, flickering forked tongue, bile spewing from every orifice

HOW could someone NOT understand how perfect and beautiful and amazing life is? How could someone have such a sick, twisted, bleak outlook on life. And if she EVER threatened that perfect baby.....

Signs By the time we got to Ran & Bernice's, I had all the signs I needed. During the previous month, on my Sunday motorcycle rides, I would be unhappy, coming back to the ranch, looking across the double yellow lines at oncoming trucks, and thinking "I am going 120, he is going about 75, if I change lanes, I'd never have any of this pain again" Of course I sobered up in time, every time.

Purging But that was a sign. And the reaction at Jim's. I knew. We got to Ran & Bernice's. I said hello to those I cared about and loved. Then I went out into the backyard and began vomiting. Not beer, not sick, just all the pain that had built up over the past 5 years. It was like purging out of me. And I knew what I would need to do. I had to get away from this person. She was killing me.

The divorce was final in July of 2000. Close to my birthday. Pretty amicable even, I kinda walked away. She still wants me to repay her "the $7k attorney's fees I asked for. $7k. And we can still be friends. I was not entitled to that money."

There are a bunch of stories that happened in those months that really need to be written down.

She hates me, every so often I get just hate filled emails, or whatever. Me, I actually still worry and care how she is doing. I stupidly hope she will be okay. And I realize it is because I invested so much of my life in trying to make things work, that I still care. That caring is part of who I am. Friends would be nice, or an occasional birthday card, or the photo albums with the last pictures of my grandmother, but nah, not gonna stress. I am a caring person. If I wasn't, I could easily walk away. But I would not like who I was

So okay, that was divorce. That was hard on me. That was 5 YEARS of my life. That was pain and misery.

Compared to Chemo, Divorce was a 25cent game of skeeball at the amusement park.

Chemo. I know I am going to survive. 98% chance of survival. If I could get those numbers in Reno, I would be there right now. 98%. In December, this will be over. And I will be able to move ON with my life.

C'mon, you went through 5 years of hell, what's a few months?

It is impossible to explain all the hard parts of chemo. Emotionally taxing, physically abusing, mentally draining, and we don't EVEN want to discuss how hard it is on a relationship.

Needle Hatred: I hate all forms of needle. Having the hep-Loc in my arm was like looking down, seeing a clear tube, but imagining a giant spider, an icky Brown Recluse Spider with massive claws and fangs and pinchers, slowly digging into my veins, and working it's way up them, headed to my heart. Spewing poision the entire way.

When the chemo pump sprays saline, you feel each pulse, chugging up your arm. Saline, the hydration of this weekend, is cold. So your whole arm is freezing. But if you put it under covers, you snag the line, and when you move it pulls, just little tugs, but there it is biting at you again.

When it sprays Chemo, it is hot. The Cisplatin has to go in slowly, or the heat from it will actually make you squeal in pain. That's done at the clinic. The nurses there can slow it or speed it, and help your comfort. No, this weekend was home alone. All my nausea was in force.

I could not eat. Just the thought of food going in makes me know it is about to come out. Sara bought me a raspberrey filled doughnut on Saturday morning. I had raspberry bile till Sunday night. No, you do not want to eat. And even though you know you SHOULD drink, it is hard. Cold water comes right up, lukewarm water is hard to get down. Sports Drinks, well, yeah, maybe, you can just try.

But the pump is chugging away, ker-chunk, ker-chunk, filling you with saline. The sound ringing in your oversensitive ears, also making you nauseous.

Every half hour, get out of bed, gather the pump, the bag, and all the tubing, make sure you are not caught on anything. Stagger to the bathroom, set the pump on the ground and decide, shich end is it coming out of. Sit or Squat, something liquid and forceful is about to painfully exit your body.

Brush your teeth. Bile rots the enamel on them. Most Bulemic girls have to have dental work because of this t some point in their lives. Brush. Mouthwash. And it starts. I have a sore spot on the upper right side of my mouth, and my inner lower right lip has a tear. These will not heal, because my white blood counts are so low. I have to keep them clean so they do not get worse.

Today I picked up a special mouthwash and some antibiotics that will help with this.

Sleep does not come. You know, every 30 minutes. So you lay flat, watching the clock, and thinking, maybe I could hold it for 45 minutes.

The telephone sounds like a klaxon. I do not know what the hell they want, and I am not gonna answer it.

Hair At 4am Sunday, after a very hard purge, I am brushing my teeth, crying, and I wipe my face. My beard hair wipes off with my hand stroke. The Etrophocide has affected my hair in wild ways. All the hair on my head thinned, then we clipped and finally shaved it. It is not really growing back in, but there is stubble.

I shaved my chest hair, it is blank still.

My eyebrows are thin, but still there. My eyelashes, seem normal

My pubic hair all turned grey and fell out.

But my beard kept having stubble and growth. Till last night, when it started rubbing off in chunks. Maybe a hot shower today and scrub sponge will help finish that off.

Arm and leg hair is thin, but still there. Oddly.

The veins in my wrists are tender from poking, and the nurses say they are starting to get "ropey" and hard to hit. Maybe this week off will help.

Line So in the midst of all this, last night, I am thinking all the thoughts. I KNOW it is gonna be over. I know the pain is temporary. I KNOW there is a finish line. I know I will survive.

But it is still hard.

then I think some [ositive thoughts. Cause I KNOW Positive energy will save me. Positive Mental Attitude will be the ONLY thing to get me through this.

Maya Learmonth. She is a reason for living. She saved my life once already. She told me to get away from the flaming Iguana Rat-thing. She told me to reclaim my life, and get back to living it.

Sara Jane Hammer. She is a reason for living. She loves me. And even though we have some difficult times, she tries to learn to work WITH me to make our relationship grow.

Sara's Family. They send cards and gifts, they send good wishes. I am blessed.

My Family. without them, I would not be here.

Then, the kindness of my freinds. I got an email from Joe's parents, wishing me well. Wow, that was nice.

AND, I got a positive, happy email from my sister. I love my baby sister, she is one of the greatest people in the world. But she has been known to say some nasty things in the past. I think she is maturing and changing. She said it so well, I need to just quote it. This thought helped me:

"Joe and Natalie brought little Giselle. She's now moved from being a baby to being a toddler and it was really neat to see her looking around the room. I can't tell which parent she favors, but hopefully she'll take after Natalie-- who hasn't aged in 10 years. My biological clock is ticking a bit, so I think all babies are precious BUT Giselle is especially beautiful. "

My sister thinks one of my best freind's child is especially beautiful, and his wife has not aged in 10 years! WOW!
so I thought about Joe and Natalie and Giselle, another perfect little miracle. Life is special, and kids are the key.

So then I thought about Chris and Chelle, and my main man Zack Thomas, who is now 16 and can drive a car. Wow again. I remember when Zack was about 4, and afraid of monsters.

Life has some powerful good things in it. And I know, going through this chemo is one of the hardest parts of my life. I am sick of "building Character" and "Learning Life's Lessons". I want the good stuff. and I want it NOW.

But I know, till December, more sick, and more pain, and more misery. When people ask me how I am doing, and get better and all that, all I can think of now is "I will be better in December" thanks for the good thoughts.

Anyhow, I rambled. Lots of stuff, Hope any of it is good. I will try to answer some emails now, and get some replies in, and drink this yummy Jamba Juice I bought on the way home. I bet I can keep it in too!

This is suposed to be my 2nd OFF Chemo week. We will see how stong I can get, and how social I feel.

I am thinking I will be better in December. I want to go to Texas to visit over the holidays, Check on my grandma's stove restoration, see pals, Then In July Jack will be 50 and I will be 40. We are going to Cork, Ireland to celebrate with his mum.

Somewhere in between there, I am thinking of a weekend gathering in San Jose. Maybe a Track Day for bikers on Friday, then rides in the hills and parties all saturday and sunday. For everyone. But that's a dream for a ways off.

Thank you all for your good wishes. I could not do this without my friends

Friday, October 17, 2003

potentially one of the worst days yet. Hydrated all yesterday. came in this morning to do same. and they are worried I will not get enough fluid over the weekend.

do we check me into the hospital? do we arrange for home health care?

I drove myslef in this morning cause I was feeling bettter, and I had not made any prior arrangements with anyone else. I am very bad about this part. I know. I hate relying on other people, especiallyt when I have no solid schecdel


At 3pm, the decision was made to leave the vein port IN my arm for the weekend. there is a tube sticking RIGHT out of my FUCKING ARM, and just looking at it makes me want to barf.

Sara's gonna be gone most of this weekend. So I am kinda winging it.

The nurses arranged to have a home health care nurse drop by the house Saturday at 3pm. This nurse will hook me to a 2 litre fluid bag, that will pump through the port sticking out of my arm.

I need to not knock the port on anything, or barf all over it.

and lay low at the house. The bag changes sunday afteroon.

Monday monring, I will arrange a ride to the doctors office at 8:45, where they will take blood, then remove the vein port from my arm.

and hopefully I will be able to take in normal fluid over the next week.

Except for the fact that there is a huge goddamn THING sticking out of me, that makes me barf every time I look in the general direction, and my appeetitie is totally shot.

i hate being on chemo. I hate this.

wilth all best hopes, I sould be able to eat normally for a few days next week.

i want to cry

Thursday, October 16, 2003

So if I am gonna post on this, I gotta keep doing it, even on the really bad days. Splitting the chemo over the weekend was really bad for me. I was sick all saturday & sunday, then restarted Monday & Tuesday.

Yesterday I felt okay in the morning, and went into the office for a brief visit. Then to the Chemo, to get a NewLasta shot. It is supposed to help rebuild blood cells. On the way home, I got a little car sick.

then it just kept getting worse. Nausea, inability to drink, dehydration setting in.

By 9pm Wednesday night, I thought I was gonna barf my toes up, but there was nothing but dry heaves. I could not even take in capfuls of water. I knew I was deheydrating overnight, and tried to drink, but was losing the battle. Nightmares about my gums pulling away from my teeth, and my eye sockets drying out.

woke this morning, really weak, and Sara took me to the clinic. 2500ml fluid through the vein in my left hand. All day.

and I still do not feel good. I am going back tomorrow for more.

I fired a procompazine (kiester missile) but am also nauseous.

the fluid helped, but my belly keeps saying "barf" and it hurts to drink

I cannot split chemo over a week. this week is horrible.

tomorrow, more fluid, and will see how the weekend goes. Next week is supposed to be my 2nd week of recovery. you know, the one where I can eat and stuff. today, it does not feel like it will be any use.

positive attitude. one foot in front of the other, will get through this. ow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

On my way in to chemo today, I got lost. Disoriented at first, then just plain lost. I was driving around in downtown Campbell, trying to figure out where the HELL Winchester and Hamilton are, and I could not find any landmarks. Then I got car sick, cause everyone else drives so goddamn fast in the morning.

So I pulled over in a shell station, got out, barfed in their bushes, and consulted my trusty map. 3 blocks north, 3 blocks east, easy as pie. But it scared me.

Leaving Chemo yesterday, I saw the sushi bar, which advertises "Udon Noodles Lunch" and thought I may want some.

Well, got into chemo today, and that was what they ordered for lunch. Nice. Very nice.

Took all my meds, finished the second Chemo round. Now I have to live out the rest of this week, and Next week (2nd week is always better) and start up 3rd round.

My plans are to remian hydrated as possible.

Got hoome from Chemo, and the front of the house (my bedroom too) just STANK like cat piss. So if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. I mixed a 50-50 bleach and water solution, and sprayed the front courtyard, walls, windows, pathways, etc. It smells less like cat piss.

Tomorrow, I will try to go to work for a bit, then need to be at chemo clinic for a NewLasta(sp) shot to rebuild blood cells.

After all that, we will see what energy I have. If I smell more cat piss, it is straight to the feed& seed for a fence charger and some wire.

If that does not work, I will try another liberal spraying. No bleach, but .12 ga Lead.

It is probably a nice cat. And the people who owned this place had a cat & dog, so there are territory issues, I understand. But I have Cancer. My smell is like, OVER sensitive, so are my ears. and cat piss, Nah, I do not need to live with cat piss.

Sara just got home and needs hugs, she was on call late last night.


Monday, October 13, 2003

YAY! at 8:45am this morning, Dr. Steve told me my Kidney Markers are in a very healthy range. We are STILL working with Cisplatin! This is my silver bullet, remember, the BEST drug to defeat this cancer. So our strategy of hydration is helping.

By the way, I won the battle this weekend, no major barfs. I was able to keep most all stuff in me.

Last night, however, I had the wierdest dreams. My pal's Eric & Lissa live in a wonderful Victorian over in the Rose Garden. They have 2 pet rabbits and a Giant bird named Rainbow who hates me. Anyhow, I dreamed the bunnies had gone mad, a'la Monty Python Killer Bunnies, and were slowly munching someone to bits. But I did not know whom.

Then Eric walks in, in a full silver glittery (NON Sigfreid & Roy) Ringmasters outfit with a top hat, and announces to all of us that he now owns the four most brilliant trained dalmations in the world. They are Named after the cardinal points of the compass, and when commanded to SIT, they will go and face the correct direction as named. e.g. North faces North, South faces South, etc.

Then there was an interval of Eric performing the most amazing tricks, with 4 dalmations, in the parlor. We were all enchanted. Lissa was in a frenzy of not wanting more pets, but being dazzled by Eric's mastery of the dogs, then,

well, then I had to wake up and go to the bathroom. I will never know what happened to the dogs, But I am sure it is a message that as soon as I am a little stronger, I need to go visit Eric & Lissa. :)

Someone sent me a copy of "Boy's Life Magazine" last week, I could not recognize the name on the shipping envelope, nor the city. But looking through it, I must say, they sure tried to get Boy Scouts to sell an awful lot of junk. Seeds, magazines, artwork, promotional packets, who knows. And the ads! Woo Hooo! "Dad, This is why I want a suzuki Trailhopper 90!" YAY! Minibikes!

Then today the Jones family from Texas sent me a black watch cap from LL Beans. I believe this is a pal of my mom's, but need to get correct address for TY notes.

Jim, Joe, Chris, some of you austin Boys, GO to OMJ's house, and FORCE him to transcribe the spanish Rice recipe for me.

Finally, before I sign off and rest, Cat Piss.

Yes, Cat Piss.

My neighbor Florence has a black oriental short hair cat named JoJo. He looks a little like Bob The Cat, but is very very not cool. JoJo's favored pastime is to climb onto the wall by my bedroom window, and piss.

and piss

and spray

then piss in the plants

then cat piss in the trees

basically, the whole front quarter of our house smells like cat piss.

And it wafts in the window, hitting my ultra sensitive nose bits, and makes me gag.

Unfortunately, by the time I smell it, he is gone. I cannot get UP fast enough to splash him with the water hose. Or the .12 Gauge for that matter.

and she is a nice lady, I don't want to hurt her cat, to a fatal point. But I am tired of the waft of cat piss.

I believe we may try spraying a light bleach solution over the corner of the house tonight, to see if it helps any. If not, I may need to take a trip to the local feed & seed, and pick up an electric fence charger kit. Just a few rolls of highly whack concertina,..........

Tomorrow is my last day of 2nd cycle of chemo. yay.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Saturday passed mostly in bed, drinking water. Just trying to pound down enough water to make sure my Kidneys are wet and runny. My pal Julia came by and spent some social time with Sara. This was nice. But I was mainly in bed with earplugs.

Sunday morning I felt okay, I even had 2 hardboiled eggs. Took the Emend anti nausea pills, and attempted a semi normal day. Not.

I had a shower, washed my bedsheets, then had to stop and be still. Whatever is in my belly wants out, and I am gonna fight it. Sara arranged to have lunch with our pal Joanne, so that was nice. Me, I arranged to go meet the new owner of the condo. I had some tax paper he needed, and I left my shoeshine kit there, and wanted to get it.

2:30pm, I am laying in bed, stark naked, sweating profusely, trying not to vomit, and hoping the drugs will kick in soon enough. By 2:45, I had semblance of control. Got in the truck, set AC to full MAX blast, and drove over.

He was not there. Fortunately, my pal Margaret was in, so we chatted about cancer, about people, about the 'war', about the Homeland Security Act which really scares the hell out of me, and then, about resumes.

half hour later, guy is there, I hand off some papers, pick up shoe-kit, back in truck, MAX-AC to house. Driving is okay, but I know I am slow. I am paying entirely too much attention to everything around me, JUST to be sure, and I am slow. it is okay.

Get home, Sara is playing in the garden, which is really nice to see. She looks like an angel, with the sun in her hair, playing with plants, smiling. it is grand. But I feel bad, so flop, back in the bed.

Around 7 we decide to watch a movie, and I sit up through it, but the entire time, I keep tasting bile rising in my throat, and my stomach is leaping upward. Make the whole flick, even have a handfull of popcorn. And drink lots of water.

When it is over, I want to barf. Everything in me says "let go, just let it go" but I am fighting. I do not want to. I want to keep as much fluid in me as I can. Tomorrow morning they are going to measure my blood counts, and my kidney markers and a bunch of other scary things. These determine if I can stay on the CisPlatin. CisPlatin is that 98% survival rate magic bullet. To do it, I gotta have wet kidneys. I gotta keep in as much water as I can.

I cannot afford to vomit. If I can mentally surpress the desire, if I am strong enough....

Just to make it through tonight. Tomorrow, more chemo. I will push, no more split weeks. 5 days in a row. then time off. this weekend was better than the last, but I bet I am gonna repeat it all starting Wednesday. No more split weeks.

You know how to get through Chemo? You remember to put one foot in front of the other, and keep on walking.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Friday was extremely difficult. It was my third "all day chemo marathon", where the hope is to hydrate the heck out of me, so my kidneys can continue to take the cisplatin. all day. 8:30 am til 5pm. Sitting in a chair, watching fluid just drip into you. I keep telling myself, be positive, come december you will be all better. But man, all day long.

In effort to bring cheer, I have tried to wear a different hat every day this cycle. Wednesday was stamdard baseball cap. Thursday was an orange & black striped "Cat in the Hat" hat my pal Lissa gave me, and Friday was the Pirate hat Rick Cramer sent me. I have Monday & Tuesday of next week, and do have 2 more caps. unfortunately, I left my favorite black beret with the ex-wife, so no Beret. S'okay, i swiped it from another gal years ago, so no loss.

also took photos Friday, will try to post them, showing what chemo chair and room looks like.

In addition, I promised Mary the nurse a pirate joke on Friday to go with the hat. Here is the Pirate joke, it is not an original, I cannot remember where I heard it though.

A young sailor is walking along an avenue in Cartegena, you know, on the old Spanish Main. He sees a pirate with a wooden leg, hook and eyepatch. So the young sailor walks up and asks "ahoy pirate, how'd you lose your leg?"

The pirate replies "you know, the pirate life is hard on a man, but we try to keep good attitude, and move along. The leg, quite amazing actually, we were engaging a French Frigate, hoping for plunder and a faster ship. lead filled the air, it was a supreme battle, then, all of a sudden, I heard the boom of an 8 pounder, and the darn cannonball took my leg right below the knee. Fortunately we had a good doctor on the ship. He was able to save the knee, and the ships carpenter made me this leg. I've learned to use it, and hardly miss my old one. You have to keep positive to be a pirate!"

"Wow," remarked the young sailor, "that is truly amazing and good you can keep such an attitude. How about the hook?"

"You know sonny, once you have a peg, the jobs on board a pirate ship get a bit harder, and the crew works with you more, But positive attitude and drive, you can do anything. We were moored off the coast of Belize, and saw a Spanish Galleon, so it was all speed to raise the anchor and drop the sails for pursuit. She sat low in the water, we were sure a full load of dubloons! My job was helping raise the anchor, and wouldn't you blast the luck, a wee tiger shark was holdin the chain. I reached to knock him off, and SNAP! he took me hand! Again, we had a good doc, he made a clean cut. Once the stump healed, he worked with the ships smithy, and they fashioned me this hook. I've learned to use it, and hardly miss my old one. You have to keep positive to be a pirate!"

"Brilliant" says the young sailor, "but the eyepatch?"

"Ahhh, now that's a sad one. Shortly after I got the hook, well, tragic truly, I looked up to the heavens, and well, Bird poop!, I'll never get over that one. Took me own eye with the hook."


that's my pirate joke.

After I got home from all day chemo yesterday, I slept. And slept. I'd get up to go pass water, and I have been making a strong effort to take in double the water that comes out. I will not let myself deheydrate, but it is not easy. The cisplat has brought back the ringing ears, so I am in earplugs most of the time now. Loud noises, heck, any noise is a pain.

I thought I'd be able to do a little something today, but I am really too tired and worn. Chemo drugs take a lot out of the body. I'll be in bed off and on all day.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

today was a long hard day. I sat between 2 breast cancer patients, night and day. One had the positive attitude, she is GOING to heal. the other, a soccer mom, had a hard time with the meds, kept calling the nurses, and was pretty broken up about it all. It is gonna be harder for her.

still reading Bryson's book, good stuff.

behind on emails, will try to catch up later tonight

sorry, fatigued.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Up and in traffic to chemo up at 8:30 am. the needle went into my veins at 8:45, and stayed there till 5:00pm. The new routine sees me taking about 2000ml of saline, in addition to the Cisplatin, Etrophacide, and a new drug called man-something that makes this man need to go whizz more often.

I also got a new anti-nausea pill, but forgot the name of it. Somehting like Enxcit or something, that helps. What really helps is all the fluids, and tha Atavan in the IV.

Sitting in a clinic all day, well, I like the nursing staff, they try really hard to make this easy on me. But really, sitting in the clinic all day stinks. I cannot DO anything, and the poisions they pump in kind of freak me out. However, they are gonna kill the cancer, and allow me to live.

Thanks to Robert Kennedy, he sent me "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson, off my amazon wish list. Bryson is an author more than scientist, and starts with the big bang, and gives a short, layman's version of how we got from there to here. I started this morning, and am 217 pages into it. Bang - opening of the Atomic Age. Fascinating stuff. Like Hawking's "Brief History of Time" yet easier to read, and with really cool ancedotes.

I spoke to some other patients, some are positive, and you know they are gonna live. Some are not, and they whine a lot. Positive Attitude, even when forced, is the KEY to surviving Chemo.

Got off the tube, bleah, I hate needles. They keep telling me they can leave it in overnight, making it easier on tme the next morning. Wrap it with tape & Gauze. The chances of me walking out of that clinis with a needle hanging out of my arm are about the same as a red assed babboon flying out of my butt with a bouquet of flowers singing "Maria" from West Side Story.

I HATE needles.

Got home, had some soup. Drank some water, took some leaks. Chatted with my sweetie pie. Answered some Email. Talked to folks on the phone, then watched a DVD my mom sent me, closed off watching a dvd from netflix, and am laying in bed typing. My stomach feels like it is on fire, my left arm is tingly (normal from chemo) my head is pounding, and I have earplugs in.

this is day 1 of round 2. I will fo thru Friday, then resume Monday & Tuesday. Eeek. I do not feel strong enough. But thinking about all my freinds sending me good wishes is helping.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

California is a totally screwed up state. They have reported the election over and results as final at 7:45pm,. Even thought ballots are open till 8PM. In Texas, they report % of ballots in, and % of numbers as the night goes on. So who knows? Me, I do not care. It is just gonna cost me more to live here.

So, after a whole day at doctors office learning about my kidneys, I was actually hungry. at 3:30 I went to taco bell on almaden/branham got the #8 combo and was sitting eating crap I would not usually eat, even if not sick.

Apparently this is THE PLACE to go after school, and by 3:45 was full of dumbass high school kids, morons, every single goddamn one of them. Our country is in BIG trouble if these bozos are our only hope.

I am there, bald, in a Hawaiian shirt, eating crap, finished, gathered all my trash, walked to the trash can by the door, held it open, shoveled all the trash into it, then held it open one second more, and …..

barfed every bit of the food right back into it.

one retch


but I mean, RIGHT INTO IT, did not miss a drop, and it came out with FORCE. like a big barf fire hose right into the mucking trash can.

ONE, ONE of the guys, who was obviously young went “wow! Cool!” it was hilarious, all the chicks were grossed as this hairless abomination in a Hawaiian shirt regurged all meal in one quick BLARFFF


what would a REAL trooper do?

back to the register, "ummm, I am still hungry, can I get 2 bean burritos to go"

They made those things faster than I have ever seen. like, usually, order, wait 10-20 minutes,... nope, WHAM “here, bye, go now please, thank you”

I ate one in the truck on the way home, and tossed the other when I got home, fired a kiester rocket to help with nausea and took a nap.

Initially, I was afraid to blog this, because Sara will know I went to taco bell, which I rant and rail against as having crappy food.

But my pal Julia told me I must, and that “you are sick -- you get a free pass on food”

BARF! … one stream of taco grande puke! Not one drop missed, right through the door and into the can. I’m a target vomiting machine! You KNOW this will be a good skill for drinking games

Woke up in a great mood. I am still alive. Got directions, and went to do my civil duty and vote in the California Recall Election. I have no idea how it will end up, but I am positive my old consulting firm of Emory & Young could have run and predicted this election like nobody's business. Too bad they were not hired by any of the candidates.

Then we started with the chemo again. Dr. Steve needs a little more information. There neds to be some more research. apparently my kidneys got kinda sick from the last round, but improved. We think it was because of the dehydration. blah blah, will not bore you with the details, enough of the train, bring on the caboose!

NO chemo today. Tomorrow I will go in earlier than usual, and we will continue the same routine of CisPlatin and Etrophocide, but will add MUCH more fluid. And will monitor my kidney and blood counts during it all.

But Charles? You are now 2 days behind? Wel, yes and no. Will resume tomorrow, pause for Sat & Sun, and do more Monday & Tuesday of next week. The third cycle we will get back on a Mon-Fri schedule.

What if I dehydrate on saturday? We can monitor Friday, and determine if we need a home nurse to come administer hydration on Saturday. COOL! I can use my favorite line for nurses.... ":I feel dirty, really filthy, you know, down there. Can I have a sponge bath?"

On the way home I grab sara, haul her acrost the street and MADE her get food for lunch, from Butt-Whole Foods. Close by her office.

Home, mail call. Someone sent me LoungePants with bears on them, but no tag or note. And Louis, the Evil Bat Boy sent me a HUGE box of Max Leight Disposable Earplugs. Packed in pairs. I can put them in every jacket pocket and bag. I can have hearing grace damn near anywhere now. I am actuallly wearing a set as I type.

Before I go nap, cause I am shagged tired, I would like to send out best wishes to my Uncle Irving who is having some cataract surgery today. I hope he feels better soon, and I hope he remembers my all important line to the nurses.... ":I feel dirty, really filthy, you know, down there. Can I have a sponge bath?"

And in Closing, Mad Phat props to my boss/manager/mentor Keith, who has supported me through this like a champion. I will never be able to thank him enough.

Monday, October 06, 2003

I am at such a loss, I barely know what to write, so I will start with the Good Stuff!

sunday sara and I drove over to Kevin's house. Once his daughters Sophia and Fiona arrived, we piled into his car and drove to Sears Point to watch Motorcycle Races. Well, and to say hello to as many pals as I could. I placed a hat, water, long sleeve shirt, juice bags (I am told they are not called BOXES, but id you say Juice Bags fast enough, well, it could be misunderstood) I took anti-nausea pills, sunscreen, a bottle of spray water, I took a backpack with food and drink and everything the travelling cancer boi may need.

We all got to Sears, discarded the "turn left park on the hill" instructions, drove straight to Jack's pit, and parked right there. Big hugs from Jack, and everyone ran around like mad hooligans trying to take it all in. I cannot list who all I saw, or missed, or was glad to see, or wanted to talk to more, but it was wierd, not many people recognize my new "Vin Diesel" look. Oh, and Linda flashed me. Sort of (sportsbra, damn) :)

We saw some racing, we saw some freinds, we distributed some hugs, Sara played with the girls, then around 2, I ran out of steam, and we all came home. Adventurous driving in San Francisco brought us great views of the beach, Ft. Funston, and a little more coast before we got back on the highway.

Got home, around 4-ish, and was very tired. Rested a bit, then met Joanne at Fiesta Del Mar in Mt. View. Sure it's cali-mex, but the Fiesta Del Mar Enchiladas are very much like the Enchiladas Del Mar from El Arroyo in Austin, and I happily pretended I was somewhere else, while scarfing a belly full of food.

It even stayed in me! Of course I fired some Kiester Rockets beforehand, just to make sure. Got home and was sound asleep by 9:30.

Monday! Big day. Round 2 of the Chemo begins. Yom Kippur also. Think about all your sins and ask repentance for last year. Ya know what? I am pretty sure I am getting about 5 years worth of sins out of the way with all this chemo.

Blood test at 9:30. Then weighed me. 172! woo hoo! I gained a pound since last week! Then meet with Dr. Steve.

Uhhh, wrench in the works. Remember back 2 mondays ago, when I was all deheydrated and sickly? Well that did some 'bad things' to my blood counts, and worried it could be bad for my kidneys. Let's re-strategize. Maybe switching from Cis-Platin to Carbo-Platin would help. But we would need to add in the Bleomycin to help.

Uhhh, NO. I mean, I got sick that one weekend, cause I was not forcing enough fluid down me. I know the drill now. Let's stick to Cis-Platin. It's the testicular Cancer BOMB! and NO bleomycin, that stuff messes up your lungs.

Well, Okay, lets do some tests, and see what we can learn. The bloodwork for the kidneys is already done. But I need to do a Pulmonary Stress test to see what shape my lungs are in.

We decide to wait and NOT do chemo today. We will get some more test results, and finalize the decision tomorrow at 8am. This part is normal, adjusting and tweaking. But more tests needed.

The receptionist calls and schecules, Oct 14. NO, we gotta do this TO_Day! She calls back, using the magic medical word "Stat" and I am scheduled for today at 12:45. Don't eat, don't drink, and oh yeah, there is a risk of heart attack during this test, just so you know. See ya tomorrow.

EEEK! Now I have some stress. What are they gonna DO to me? Treadmills with hoses in my throat and up my butt? Electrodes on my heart? C-Clamp on my remaining Testicle? I am having visions of Dr. Mengele's torture chamber of horrors. oh my, breathe in breathe out, this will be okay. Heart attack, Oh god.

I have 2 hours before I am supposed to be at the hospital. I bite the bullet, stop at Fry;s and buy the cheapest Norelco Razor they have. This will help trim the short hair that is still growing, and fallig out randomly. For some reason, I thought a Norelco Razor was like, a $20 item. uhhh, no. the TOP of the line that you can shower with AND it squirts goo on you runs $250. NO THANKS! I buy the $100 boring, shave and not cut your skin up one.

Welcome back to O'Connor Regional. Where I meet Mike, the Pulmonary Stress Test Tech.

And he shows me the test equipment. I sit in a chamber, which is open for MOST tests, and breathe into a tube. That's it. Well, it is HARD breathing, and can make you lightheaded, and yes, some pateints do have heart attacks, but don't worry, you are in great shape, it is just deep breaths and shallow breaths, you will be fine.

After 17 repetitions, I am seeing stars, and understand how it COULD make some folks have issue, but not me. I am just tired after all is done.

75-100 is normal, I score 74. So I am a little on the low end of the lung scale, but not in any danger. This is good data for Dr. Steve, we will make an informed decision tomorrow, and start chemo R2 then. I will make up a day NEXT monday, then go back on regular schedule for the remianing 2 cycles.

this is not a setback, it is just gathering data, and making the best decision reguarding my kidneys.

Okay. And, NO Heart Attack! whew.

I am behind in emails, I need to call my cousins and decline diner tonight, I am wore out, and I meet with my attorney at 5, to figure out how to get out of the wheelie ticket.

I know a boy who is gonna sleep good tonight. and this afternoon.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

So, My hair is falling out. Even after using clippers, there is a trail of 1/4" fur trailing me. I am not supposed to use a blade to shave, cause if I cut myself, it may not stop bleeding. But I could not stand it anymore, and shaved my head.

Well, actually, I shaved 3/4 of my head. I have no idea how you shave the back of your head, and I even thought about how my pal James would approach it.

Then I admitted defeat and got Sara to help me. It was a pretty terrifying 15 minutes. Women have no idea how to shave, even though they shave more of their bodies than we do. I am ever so grateful for her help, but it is pretty scary letting someone else shave you.

I am now bald. And not handsome at all. I look like a dumbass. Vin Diesel nothing, I look like the window lickin' kid on the back of the short bus.

that is all.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Woke up early & queasy today. But I had a meeting I really needed to attend, so I went to work. On the way, I phoned my buddy James. We talked about my posting, and he was pretty impressed at my recollection, as well as the fact that his kitchen is one of my 'comfort memories'.

Apparently the entire holdup on the Spanish Rice production has been the location of the ONE KEY ingredient. R.M. Quigg's Spanish Rice Mix(tm). They stopped carrying it at his neighborhood grocer a few years back, so he stopped making the dish. Sure, he experimented a little, but it was not quite correct. And for a perfectionist, correct is everything.

I begged him to just send me the recipe anyhow, and I will improvise, so that is in the works. Till then, I did a little internet research, lo and behold, New Iberia, LA! RM Quigg!

So I've emailed James to find out if this is the correct rice, pending his okay, and wich size bag is required, I'll be able to order the KEY ingredient! YAY!

After the meetings at work, I somewhat hit a wall, and had to go home. And rest. I slept most of the day, and it looks like any thought of going out tonight is crushed, I am simply worn out.

Alan called, the escrow has officially closed, I no longer own the condo, official like. Whew, there's $11k out of my back pocket. So, Charles, what WOULD you have done with $11k spare? I am thinking about the Dodge Dakota Club Cab. Not as big as a full size truck, but not a 'mini' truck either. With a solid motor, and a real size bed.

But Charles, Ford Truck guy from long time back. Even a Chevy Suburban. What happened?

Joe the red headed menace says the Dakota is a solid motor, and a good value. That's what.

However, as the Rev. Jesse is so fond of saying, "The Point is MOOT!" All my money gone to unloading the condo, and that's that. Maybe next year sometime. Till then, we'll ignore the dash lights on the Isuzu, and spray a little more silver Krylon over the oxidizing paint. Yay! Country Boy can live.

I'm queasy. This is the second week of 'recovery' from the chemo, and I still get queasy. My hair is falling out in patches, I have really bald parts, and slightly bald parts. I look like a dang mangy dog, and my guts hurt. Monday morning I start infusions again. Oh joy.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Went to work yesterday, trying to deal with my finance person in swcotland, who apparently has a NEED for us to be on the telephone together to solve a problem. Nah, email will not work. When I get better, I am gonna GO to Scotland, just to meet this person. Usually she does miracles. Yesterday was not.

Left work, ran to grocery, started BBQ grill, smoked some meat for last night, then ran to Alan's office. We managed to close the deal on the condo. YAY! I lost big bucks in the California Real Estate Market. $10,799.25 check from me at close. BUT, they forgot to prorte in the Property Tax, add another $602. YAY! I spent $11,000 to give away my condo. Yes, my anus is sore. Yes, I cannot sit down. Yes, I realize most of this was due to how I financed the condo.

It is my cherished hope that I will be able to regain some of that at income tax time. If not, I just gave away my condo, AND a new truck.

BUT looking on the bright side, we do have a wonderful house, and we do not have to pay $2,500 per month for the condo, where we no longer live. So really, in about 6 months, i will be better off than had I kept the condo. Boy the new house is nice. Ouch, my ass hurts.

Got back home, and all pals came over. Eric & Lissa, Jack, Sara, Dale & Joan, we bbqd lots of meat & veggies, and ate and talked smack, and it was wonderful. Plus, Eric took my grandmother's television to replace the one he has in the basement. So there is more life left in it. YAY.

I slept like a rock. in 4 more days, I start round 2 of chemo. :(

The short hair left on my head, it is also falling out, in patches. I look like a mangy dog.

yes, it is time for a nap, I am cranky.

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