Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Sara got home, and we went out in the backyard with a pair of clippers, and got after my hair.

if you go to the Yahoo Photo album, this is what you will see.

#1 Me sportin my A.A. Roedl Excavating hat. Cause you gotta support the family. If you are in Beaver Dam, WI, and need a job done, call Sara's brother Tony.

#2 it is coming out in handfulls

#3 First we got creative, and made a mullet, or a mohawk, I am not sure which. (Note the Bird of Paradise Flowers in the background, Beautiful!

#4 Mullet View #2

#5 cut it all off. I have a bumpy head

#6 with the right light, and angle, I could have a chia head. and have plants coming out my skull

Had lunch with Herb, International Playboy, and his dad. Original Joes. 1/2 Ravioli, 1/2 Spagetti, small size plate, thanks. And OH, how yummy it was. Not only is Herb married, they are pregnant. A BOY! A Herb the 3rd. Oh, this was wonderful news. This is the kind of news I wish I could hear every day. Friends having kids. Ohhh, wonderful.

It was great to see Herb. His dad and I were in strong agreement, if you are a normal, healthy, 35 year old male, you really should have some basic blood work and a physcial done, just to KNOW what is happening. This cancer is proving to me more and more, preventative health care works, but you gotta ask for it in the US.

After, I went to the OSH, picked up some grants kills ants, ant stakes for the yard, put them out, took another shower, and the hair is coming out in clumps. BIG clumps. I'll have Sara take a photo when she gets home, then we will go out on the back porch and hit it with the #1 clippers. I cannot have big clumps of missing hair. ick


I went in to work yesterday. Woke up at 6:30, and just felt pretty damn full of vim and vigor, so I drove in. And I used the newly fixed right turn signal on my Isuzu even to just change laned. Tink Tink Tink.... not bzzzzzz. Yay.

Attended my bosses boss's staff meeting, he seemed a little shocked to see me, but I told him there were some things I needed to handle, so I wanted to do my best to come in when I had strength. I am a fighter. Not some daisy pickin weenie-boi.

Okay, well, my back hurt most of yesterday, and I felt like said daisy picker...... After a little work, a few meetings, I left with the idea of sitting through an afternoon matinee. Got to the Great Mall of Milpitas, and found I was 12 minutes late for every movie playing. Recently my mom reminded me that whenever feeling down, her mom, Grandma Sylvia, would indulge in Chinese Food. So there I am at the Mall. Mister Wu's Fast Chinese! I had fried rice, tofu with broccoli, and chinese not spicy chicken. Oh, and a Ginger-Ale. I ate slowly, sitting in the shade at the food court. Then decided I did not want to see a movie anyhow, and my lower back was killing me, so I prepared to go home.

Walked into the parking lot, hit by the sunlight, and I did actually make it TO my truck, before returning all Mister Wu's wonderful food as a burnt offering to the vomit gods. All over the parking lot, just missed my shoes. The security truck was there in no time at all, with a wonderful first question "Step away from the car, have you been drinking?"

"No sir" (sir, the guy is 18 if a day, I have socks older than he is) "I am taking chemotherapy treatment for cancer, and it makes me very ill, I am sorry about the mess, but I need to get out of the sunlight, and on my way"

and I got in the truck, started her up, signalled right, "tink tink tink" and drove away, leaving some stunned teenager with a walkie talkie looking at a stomachfull of sick boy remnants.

Got home and just crawled in bed. My lower back is in such pain I can barely move. If I am lucky, I'll be able to get an appointment with my chiro, and see if she can pop some of it away.

Drank lots of water, just to remain hydranted, and napped the afternoon.

The front of out house has this stucco wall, sort of a fake courtyard, a nice touch, with a gate. The bells hanging on the gate let me know whenever anyone is here, and the postman announced himself with a gentle tinkle. Unlike my neighbor's cat who announces himself with the WAFT of a gentle tinkle....

My Discover Card bill is here. This is the one with the big-ass TV on it. And a few other bills. I wake up, write some checks, rebalance the check book, and go back to sleep till Sara gets home. My back is in spasm, I want to cry.

At Sara's arrival, she rubs my back a little, providing a very temporary relief. We walk the 4 houses to the corner, and back. Just before we get to our house, I see our neighbor Orry. He and his wife Jackie have been living here since 1963. At present, he is restoring a sailboat for one of his pals, and we chat about sailing. Did you know I was the sailing instructor at George W. Pirtle Boy Scout Camp outside Carthage, Texas? Yes, I was. Taught kids to sail on Dolphins and sunflowers.

When I was not doing that, I also taught canoeing, rowing, waterskiing, and swimming. Canoeing was my favorite. They had an Old Town classic wood and canvas canoe that just felt so right under me. The regular scouts just used Grumman metal canoes, but wood and canvas felt alive.

Anyhow, we spoke to Orry about sailing, then came home. Sara cooked some eggs and tortillas, which I kept down, then we modified and reworked her resume a little. Then, I could not move, so I went to bed.

Woke up this morning, and my back is fine. No pain at all, lots flexibility. I have no idea. While taking a shower, however, the Etrophacide caught up with me. My hair is coming out in handfulls. This was supposed to happen Saturday, but, okay, 3 days later....

I am not really too disturbed about the balding. I knew it would happen, and I suppose I set my mind to it. I am disturbed by taking a shower, and having handfulls of hair fall into my mouth! It was icky. hair in my hands, and running down my face, in my mouth, tangled on the soap. Ewww! ick!

After the shower, I did my usual "shoeshine ride" across my head with the towel, and "whapoof!" there was a great shedding and floating cloud of unattached hairs all around me.

I have a lunch appointment to meet my pal Herb Schreib, International Playboy, for lunch at Original Joes in downtown San Jose. I think I'll wear a hat, to keep all the hair close to me, and away from the food.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

I saved energy all day Friday, Sara and I had Rosh Hashana dinner with my cousins Mike & Evvy, and their daughter Lisa. Son Steven is living somewhere near Philly and working too hard now.

Dinner was great, I managed to eat a bowl of soup and a full, real plate of yummy delicious food. We stayed till 10:30 and talked the night away. I fell asleep a few times on the ride home, and they only live a few blocks away.

Saturday morning saw me wake to a pounding headahce, dry mouth, feverish, and a little delerious. I could not concentrate on anything, and kept going back to bed. I do not think it was actually tied to anything, like dinner out, talking, etc., I think it just comes and goes with the chemo coursing though my body. But Saturday sucked. Period. There was nothing good about Saturday.

Sara kept pushing me to drink water, which was the right thing to do, so I did not dehydrate. I'd take a few sips from a water bottle, then go lay in bed with pillows over my head, cursing whatever neighbor decided to handle some chainsawing, from 11am till about 5pm. I know, not their fault, but I was miserable.

Finally, around 7pm, I got out of bed and sat upright on the couch for a bit. VH-1 is running a series on "Why I Love the 70s" with a different year every hour. We watched 72-74 I think. Since Sara is only a few months younger than me, we were able to remember about the same things. and laugh at the silliness.

I finished half a bowl of cherry jello, got really excited, ate a bageldog, drank more water, had some yogurt, then we watched a Netflix rented movie.

Sara Jane LOVES "art-house" movies. so at the last few art movies we seen, there were previews for "Rasing Victor Vargas" and it was on NetFlix, so I rented it. we sat on the big ass couch and watched it on the bigass tv.

Plotline: Poor dominican kid lives with his grandma in some big city. He has the hots for some girl. She is pretty. All the guys wanna bone her up. She hates that. She trusts no men. Eventaully, she and Vic hook up.

So about 3/4 into it. NAUSEA! I run to the bathroom and hurl yogurt all over the place. It's been so long my aim is off, and I paint the wall next to the hopper.

I am not sure if the sick was from chemo, or this horrible ass movie. If you are so poor that you have to live with your grandma in a crappy building in a crappy city, GET A DAMN JOB. Stop hanging out at the pool and GET A DAMN JOB. Wendys? Always hiring. GET A DAMN JOB and buy your grandma some nice dinner.

Anyhow, I cleaned up and drank some more water. We finished the movie. The funniest part of the movie. the ONLY funny thing in the whole movie, was Vic's grandma explaining to the love interest what a bad boy Vic is, cause his kid brother is spankin it in the hopper. Over dinner. Other than that, totally worthless flick. ugh. GET A DAMN JOB.


The Nausea comes and goes, I take one of the tiny pills, it helps. And go to sleep early. Tossing and turning.

Sunday morning! YAY! I lived to see another day! YAY! Sara is going for a motorcycle ride with friends. This makes me VERY happy. Jack and Joanne, and who knows who all else, but Sara, ride. She needs to get out some. and I am happy for it.

I got up, it was cold outside, so I got all energy excited, took the steering column collar off my truck, and sprayed contact cleaner all over the turn signal relays. My right turn signal works now. No more 'bzzzzyyyyy' just 'tink tink tink' not that anyone in San Jose pays attention to them, but it does work.

It took my strength, however, so I did not try to troubleshoot the "Rear Wheel Anti-Lock" light issue.

I went in and lay in bed to type this.

Other random thoughts:
The Guillows Lancer model airplane I am building is taking a long time. I'm tired, and cannot spend too much on it at once, but the wings are covered, and the fuse is almost framed. As a side project, I took down an older model and stripped all the tissue off it. I've been sanding it, so once the frame is clean and tidy, I will re-cover it. That plane was always a great flier.

My pal Glenn in Austin dropped an email to inform me that one of the 'ad banners' above my blog was for model rockets! Apparently the comments about my suppositories triggered it. YAY!. He also mentioned reading Boy's Life Magazine as kids. Which I used to do, cover to cover, the day the postman brought it. Boy's Life was the magazine for Boy Scouts. It had nifty articles, comics, adventure stories, always some act of heroism that got a scout a medal, AND, Ads for Estes Flying Rockets. (the catalogues were great, their website sucks) Glenn mentioned the Estes Rocket that could fly above your house, and take a picture of your neighborhood. And yes, I do remember being in AWE of this. In 1974, young boys all over the country would spend hours studying the Estes Model Rocket catalogue, and dreaming of building the biggest thing they had.


The other cool thing was the back cover, which offered millions of fabulous prizes you could win if you sold GRIT Magazine. Being in a small community out in the sticks, we all KNEW we could never sell enough GRIT Magazines to win poop, but we'd look at the prizes anyhow. Bicycles, SpaceShip Plans, Sea Monkeys. I don't even know what Grit Magazine is. But man, in 1975, I sure as heck wanted to sell 50 thousand subscriptions, so I could win a Schwinn Black Phantom bicycle. An internet search shows them to still be in Business, but I have no clue. Right Wing hate sheet? Dunno?

And Sea Monkeys? What a ripoff. Brine Shrimp. Why didn't anyone sue the PANTS off these people for lying to kids and crushing our dreams? Hell, tey are still in business, selling broken dreams and brine shrimp to kids.

2 other emails of note, one telling me to be less nagative, and one telling me i inspire my pal to try to lead a better life.

wow. both correct. I gotta be more positive.

When I was a kid, everyone got Schwinn Krate bikes. I had the Sears Spyder5 version. It eas silver, with a big shifter knob, and I crashed it all the dang time. I saw a link where Apple Krate mint condition will fetch $4,000. OH MY GOD. And the Sears Spyder5? Just saw one go on eBay for $35.

Friday, September 26, 2003

my buddy Mike sends me this. It's good to have friends, I suppose.....

I have not mentioned it in the blog yet, but I really should. Chemo has totally wiped out any sexual energy or drive. I couldn't even use something like this if he sent it.

Or, as a nurse told me years ago, when I was waking up from anesthesia, seeing my girlfriend of the time in a dark room, NOT seeing the nurse on the other side, I said "hey baby, let's do it" the nurse said "Baby Doll, you just came out of serious anesthesia, you couldn't get it up if she was twins in a tub of butter"

>>>>
I figure the chemo has to be kicking your ass, and you're probably feeling all sapped of strength and
lethargic... So I'll order you up one of these.

http://daimaoh.kir.jp/ho/menssom.htm

What color you want it in?

-Mike-



Last night was swell. Jack and one of his many nieces came over, as well as Kevin with daughter Fiona in tow. We all sat on new giant couch and watched "Viva Las Vegas" Elvis is the king!

then I hit a wall, and fell asleep.

i woke up at 4am and re-arranged my explorer bookmark files. ugh. silliness.

This morning, however, I felt great. I drank 2 cups of OJ (which still tastes like aluminium foil) and toasted TWO whole bagels in the new toaster over I bought yesterday. There are just a few things the house needs, and we have been trying to populate it slowly, but I wanted a damn toaster oven. They are cheap, I went and bought one.

And ate TWO toasted bagels with cream cheese!


Then sat quietly to digest..... The phone rang, arrgghhh! But it was the doctor's office, this is why I leave the phone on. They wanted me to come in for blood count and to see how I was doing, give me liquids if neccesary.

I was great, till I got in my truck and drove over there. Had a little bout of car-sickness, mostly brought on by the dunderheads who drive the streets of San Jose. Okay, you got a car? I am impressed. Impress me more by driving like less of a jackass. When I put my turn signal on, it does NOT mean speed up and get in the lane behind me.

HELLO? LOOK at my TRUCK! it is a 1989 Isuzu shortbed with a camper top. The paint is peeling, and there are dents. I do not give a good goddamn about your new Lexus. I will hit you. I will not even care. Slow the HELL down. And stop honking, I do not care how important you think you are. It's a resedential street, a school zone, AND there are kids out. Hang up and slow down.

If you were really important, they would wait till you got into the office to ask your opinion.


So I get through the hellground that is traffic here, and into the office. Where the receptionista is obviously getting ready to leave for lunch, what AM I doing there?

"Dr. Steve wants MY BLOOD! YOU CALLED ME, oh, nice pants"

It worked. She knew it was humor, and the pants reference totally threw her off guard. A smile. I got a smile.

"Have a seat darlin', I'll get your paperwork RIGHT to the phlebotomist." Wow, she was almost as polite as someone from Texas.

They took my blood, and asked me to go sit for the nurses, to check me out. So I told them I was doing fine, but had to wait a while. Which, for some reason, was making me a little nauseous. No probs, you are fine, go home. Okay,

Walking across the parking lot to my truck, some yuppie jackass in a LEXUS nearly runs me over, AND honks on the horn. She is in a hurry for lunch at the sushi bar across the parking lot, she has her cell phone to her ear, she is trying to park next to me in the "Oncology Patients Parking Lot"

She is honking and yelling. I have my hands to my ears, cause it really hurts. Like, paralyzed, can barely move, sonic death monkey hurts.

She stops honking, and says some snot about "get out of my WAY, I am in a HURR-Y"

So I walk to the door. I point to the clinic. I point to the parking spots marked "oncology patients only" I say "do you know what Oncology is?"

"I am late for a lunch-date, can you MOVE PUH-leeze?"

Listen you idiot. I have cancer. We do chemo-fucking-therapy in that building. I do not give a goddamn about your lunch meeting. I think you are a hideous, ugly, nasty woman, and if you do park here, I swear to god, I will slash every tire, break every window, THEN call the police to have your shitheap Toyota towed away. Make a decision, have a swell day.


She parked there. I could not believe it. She parked there, on the cell phone, got out of her car, looking at me, and walked across the parking lot.

Unfortuately, the sun is out, it is warming up, and I do not have the energy to break glass. But I did let the air out of all 4 tires and take a really nasty Chemo-whizz all over the hood and driver side door handle of her car. Remember how I keep saying chemo whiz smells like puppy pee? It also looks BRIGHT yellow, and tends to have an acidic effect. ON the door handle. She HAS to touch it to get in her car. Lexus is just a fancy Toyota. I don't care what they told you. And touching pee pee is bad.

Then I drove home. Slowly, with the AC on. I hope she got bad fish.


The rest of today will be spent resting. We have dinner tonight at my cousin's house. If I can rest enough, I may have the energy to sit up and be polite the entire evening. L'Shona Tova! all the best for a happy new year.

YAY

Today I recieved my first email from someone I do not know, who is reading this blog. And sending me good wishes. Thank you Paul. I hope you are having a good day in Indianapolis, and thank you for the good wishes.



Thursday, September 25, 2003

I keep trying to say this, and maybe no one listens, or maybe no one cares. Or maybe people just think I am joking, or it is 'someone else'.

The Cisplatin has caused my eardrums to swell. Every sound is incredibly amplified. Every sound hurts. Speaking? Hurts. Extended noise? brings vomit and nausea. The ceiling fan? sounds like a helicopter. The air under the pillow over my head reverberates like waves on a beach.

Before you pickup the phone to say hello, think about this, I am probably laying in bed, with pillows over my head, in tears. trying my best to hold down the last few bites of food. Keeping the bile at the back of my throat.

Please PLEASE

Email me. Send a card, send a letter, email, burn a candle, write a poem, think healing thoughts. But please don't pick up the phone. If you have to, phone, imagine, 'would I willingly walk to his house and smack him in the head with a hammer, repeatedly?' Cause that is what the phone does to me.

Caring is good. Telephone is bad. Very BAD. Sara suggests I turn it off, but I can't, someone could be calling with something important, for work, or someone needs help, or my realtor needs me to sign a letter for the house sale, so I have to leave it on.

But Please. it kills me. Email. I love email. it does not hurt.

Have you ever seen a film get caught in the projector, and stop running? Maybe you have not really experienced it, but have seen video of that it looks like. You’ll be enjoying your regularly scheduled program, then all of a sudden, all the motion stops. If you are in the room, there is usually a screeching as the drive gears tear the filmstrip. Then, just for a second, the picture gets very bright. As the film stops, the one frame being projected begins to melt. The image gets clear, bright, then turns brownish. It bubbles and boils, the brown turns to little circles of brown with black edges, then the whole thing melts. The image disappears, the bubbling celluloid begins to burn from the intensity of the projector’s light, and it all breaks down into a bubbling, oozing mass.

When I close my eyes, this is the process I believe my internals are undergoing from the chemotherapy. My cells are bubbling and boiling down, turning from an image of regular life, into a bright burning bubbling ooze.


Yesterday I had some emotional side effects. I’ve been told to expect depression, anxiety, you know, the ‘normal’ stuff. I felt bad, and I wanted something I could not have.

In Austin, on Avenue F, just north of Koenig lane, there is a little white frame house. The swing on the porch is actually sitting on cinderblocks, it just never got hung up. Except you won’t notice this, cause if you go there, you go in the back door, just like everyone else. You have to know to pull into the alley. Parking on the street is off limits, it’s a bus stop after all, and we cannot hold up public transportation. But if you pull around back to the alley, be sure to get very close to the workshop door. You know, to leave space for other cars to go by.

Get out of your car, or off your bike, the walkway runs between both the workshop and the small garage. Since you parked by the workshop door, you will walk by that nicked corner. I did not pay enough attention once, and my old Yamaha RD fell over. The handlebar scraped the corner trim. The gouge is only an inch or so, but it’s still there. Sure, it’s been painted white, over and over, you’ll still see it, hopefully it’ll remind you to make sure the kickstand is on firm ground, especially if it looks like rain.

The workshop is a long affair, running parallel to the ‘small’ garage. As if to make up for size, however, there is a homebuilt carport on the end of the small garage. He built it at another house, and moved the carport when he bought this place. After all, you’ve already built it, why not? I am told it was strapped to the Volkswagon Double Cab Pickup Truck, and moved from Fruth Street shortly after the purchase. I do not know, but it has been there as long as I have known him. It’s also painted white. Probably not the same shade as everything else, just whatever was on sale when it needed to be painted. White is close enough.

There used to always be a red Corvair under the carport. I’m told he got a Geo wagon now, but the Corvair is there in my mind. It’s yellow, after a repaint/restoration job, but underneath, it’s red. I know. I’ve ridden to the races in it enough. It’s a red car. It probably need an oil change too. Maybe I’ll get to it if I have time.

Check the door on your left now. Is the light on? Can you hear the radio? Is he out in the workshop machining things, cleaning or polishing? Maintaining some arcane bit of the past? Nah, not tonight the shop is dark. Keep on to the house, there’s a faint glow of light in the window.

Finally hit the gate at the end of the sidewalk. Its more decoration than actually to keep things in or out, pass through it into the tiniest backyard, and you’ll see the house. Classic post war. Just like all the other houses in the neighborhood, hardwood floors, bathroom in the center, sure, some are upgraded, but for the most part, three bedrooms, one bath, framed and ready to go.

Except this one is different. …. This is where I want to be.

Open the screen door, not too far, it hangs on the aluminum awning. Knock? Nah, we belong here, just barge in. As you open the back door, you can see down the dim hallway, past the master bedroom, into the kitchen. Why on EARTH does he use those low wattage yellow bulbs? I cannot see a damn thing. But I know where I am going.

The hallway smells like, well, like dirty socks, peanuts and light beer farts. That’s just the smell. Anything else and I would not recognize the place. Unless it is Thursday. Thursday is laundry day, and the sock smell will be gone. For a while. If you glance in the bedroom, there is a huge platform, with a skinny mattress on it. The headboard has some heat lamps sticking out of this crazy light fixture. They are on adjustable stalks, so you can position them. He claims it was for warming up wild nights with hot wimmen, but now, you know, the heat lamps are to warm the torn muscles, ease the pain of broken bones, give comfort to racing injuries from the past. Tatty old chair, and the TV. Damn the TV. If it weren’t for the TV, he’d get out more.

Pass into the kitchen, and it is almost right. Yep, there he is, Pearl Light beer in hand, grizzled, bald, cold, complaining. His hands hurt. He misplaced his glasses. Why didn’t I call first? Racing motorcycles is not kind to an old body.

But then you see it, and smell it. OMJs famous Spanish Rice. There’s a big pot on the stove. Who knows how long it has been boiling and simmering? And what’s inside it? Rice, tomatoes, chicken, sausage? I do not know, but he can tell you, exactly. To the teaspoon. It is duplicated exactly, every single time. And it always tastes the same.

“No No No, Charles, it is not ready, you have to wait! There is a formula. You are so impatient!”

We adjourn into the dining room. The chalkboard takes up the entire wall between dining and kitchen. Years ago we worked out jetting and timing advance on it. He taught his son mathematics there. We discussed gear ratios, and illustrated possible lines around tracks. Now, it is a giant phone book. People’s information stored on chalk, just to be handy.

We’ll sit at the table, I can picture the chairs. They are yellowish, with a floral pattern. Around a 50’s dinette. Or is it 60’s? Oh, and there are stacks of paper everywhere. There is junk mail here that’s older than I am. It may be kept for a number scribbled on the back, or the color was pretty, I do not know. If we could recycle all the old paper on that table, he’d probably be able to add another bathroom with the space regained. But we’ll just shove it aside, and sit and chat.

All the stories have been told. Someone got sick this year, and so and so won the GP in Macau, and did you hear about the new Japanese technology…. But I am not here for the stories. I am here for the comfort. Smelling the rice. Being in my friend’s house. Being able to sit and know, here is someone who believes in me.

Of course we cannot wait for the appropriate formulic time. We dip into the pot of rice early. Spoon up two bowls. Have another Pearl Light. Oh, it is delicious. Yellow saffron, rice, small bits of meat, tomatoes. Spicy, but not too hot. After it’s sat in the fridge a day or so, it will be even better tasting, but to sit in James’ kitchen with a fresh bowl of Spanish rice….

I live over 1,500 miles away now, in California. I have a nice house, a fiancée who loves me, and am surrounded by wonderful friends. But yesterday afternoon, really badly, to the point of tears, I wanted to not be on chemotherapy. I wanted to not have cancer, and I wanted to be in two places at once. I wanted this life I have, but I also really wanted to be able to sit in James kitchen. Where everything is okay. And the rice is really comforting. And have another Pearl Light, and talk about how dang fast Eric Falt is going this year, and discuss the merits of a 1964 Honda 305 Superhawk. Where Joe Galletti is just a phone call away to fix anything, and Chris Thomas can cheer me up by talking smack with Jim Learmonth. I wanted to be in James kitchen, with my friends, and a bowl of rice.

I just wanted to be okay for a little while. Where the film keeps running, and the blood cells don’t bubble and break down.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Tuesday I felt great. Well, as great as can be. Sara was happy, she found a couch. We will slowly populate the house with the right bits of furniture, and make it a comfy home, that does not look like monkeys and bachelors live here.

So we stopped by the bank, and withdrew a large stack of Benjamins. I prefer dealing with Benjamins when purchasing furniture. At least the lady in the shop will remember Sara, and be nice to her on the next visit, right? Oh yeah! The folks at the Black Sea Gallery in Willow Glen will remember Miss Hammer. We bought a Sofa with a Chaise lounge on the right side. It looks kind of like this Chaise, but with a big sofa attached.

I could be wrong. I remember some gold, big pillows, and a happy Sara. It'll be delivered tomorrow.

Then I got all excited and went to the office. I thought it would be a quick trip, I would have lunch with Stacy, then come home. Once I got there, of course, there were a few things I wanted to take care of, and a few people to greet, and some schmoozing, then finally Stacy and I left for lunch. Thai Orchid on first street. I had Tom Kha Shrimp soup. NO spice. It was filling, and the chicken broth gave me tons energy.

On the way back to work, chatting was limited, cause the horrible ringing in my ears. Cisplatin has that side effect.

After returning, it was too hot outside, and I simply set the AC in the truck to MAX, and drove home. Anything else for the day was lost, the plan was cool, inside, rest, not get sick. I took one of the ORAL anti-nausea pills. Odd thing about those pills. The "keister rockets" are the size and shape of Flash Gordon's Rocketship. But the oral ones are about the size of a grain of sand. Hmmm someone's idea of a joke.

The Home AC is set to 76. I am naked, sprawled on the bed, with a fan on me, and panting. Why is the heat so bad? I think, as I pass into oblivion, and nap the rest of the afternoon away. Sara comes home at 6:30, and is happy. Apparently, even though the sun has not set, it is NOT a million degrees outside. We are not sure if the heatwave has broken, but by 7:30, we opened the windows of the house, and a cool breeze was coming in. This helped me indredibly.

Drank lots of fluids, cause I gotta hydrate, all the time. And we took a small walk. Just to the end of the street and back. really, only 3 or 4 houses worth, but tried to walk.

Phoned my folks, sometimes talking is better than email, even if my ears are ringing, and I want to cry because it feels like everyone is screaming, even when they are not. Checked a little emails, have some wonderful freinds, cannot eat, watch a movie, then go to bed



the heat yesterday nearly did me in, but it seems to have cooled off some last night, and now, about 9am, the sun is not burning, and it is not heating up. Maybe the heat wave broke?

and I will have some relief?


One of the Cisplat side effects is ringing ears, and mine fill like they are fill of cotton balls, soaked in gin, set afire, to the beat of 1000 tom toms of war.

eeeek

Today will be resting in bed. no matter what.

Monday, September 22, 2003

FIRE ONE!

Sara refused to help. I had to figure this out. Okay, open the box, look at the pills, MARY MOTHER OF GOD they are the size of a V-2 Buzz Bomb! Tip to tail easily 2 inches, with a solid 1/2 inch center around.

Sealed in foil, waxy white....

This IS gonna save me, right? Will stop the nausea

Just go in the bathroom and remember a joke.

A drunk walks into a bar and claims to be able to sing from his bottom. (No, not Josef Pujol, this is a joke) So the bartender says "I'll take that bet" Drunk climbs up on the bar, drops his pants, and proceeds to walk up and down the bar defacating in drinks, pooping in peanuts, flatulating the flappers. He makes 2, 3 four trips up and down the bar, leaving a trail of destruction and filth"

Bartender stops and says "Hey, what the heck are ya don' buddy? You promised you could sing out your butt"

Drunk says "My good man, even the late great Ethyl Merman had to clear her throat before she sang"



Okay, I clear the way. Nothing there anyhow. I am sitting on the throne, I clench, then think to relax. This is not someting I do on a regular basis. For my entire life, I have thought of this as a ONE WAY valve. EXIT ONLY! (Well, there was that colonoscopy, but that's different)

Breathe in, breathe out, curse Sara for not helping, PING! Up and away. while the last corus of some Frank Zappa song is bouncing in my head.

it feels greasy, and immediately wants to come back out. I need to hold it in, but how? I will lay flat on my back.

was a page turned? Did my life change? Do I now understand fashion and skin care? Heck no.

I am just hoping I won't be nauseated for a few more hours....

So maybe you remember a tequila drunk. You know, a LONG time back. In your past. Where you are empty. There is simply nothing in your stomach. But there you are, on all fours, driving the porcelain school bus. Arms draped over the cool cool steering wheel, head down into that abyss, and something deep inside you screams "AGAIN!"

Every muscle tightens. You cannot breathe. Your eyes bulge. Your nose runs. It feels like your belly is trying to jump out of your throat.... but nothing happens. Just a little yellow bile. a little fluid. Your back sweats. It feels cool against the air. Could it be over?

"Again!" like some cruel task master. "Thank you sir, may I have another?"

"Again!"

My knees ache from being on the tile floor. My right eardrum is ultra sensitive because of the noise. I just want to pass out.

"Again!"


I cannot remember exactly when it passed last night, but I finally got in bed, and managed to rest for a few hours. It feels like my body is shrinking, and my ears are very raw. I had a headache that could not be described to modern mechanical scales.

And the sun came up, and I told myself "I have lived to see another day, hoseana! I will survive this."

Woke up, took a shower, ate 1/4 bananna, then lay in bed and waited for my Cousin Evvy to give me a ride to South Bay Oncology for my appointment. It was already heating up again. C'mon, California! September! Why is it 100 degrees??? Help me Lord. (and ya know who helps those what help themselves.!) Flash OH Flash! You and your wacky gifts. Months ago Flash sent me a gel based evaporative cooling collar. It's this wacky little device from Wal Mart. You dip it in water, and then it 'cools' your neck all day. Flash. XOXOX My freind, today, you triumphed.

On the way to the doctors, We had to stop a few times over, as the nausea came back, but managed to make it there. YAY.

My blood counts are as expected, but I was very dried out. The Nausea and the not eating are bad. I also dropped from 186 to 171 lbs. They decided to hydrate me. Dr. Scates tells me that yes, it is normal to have a really horrible spike in pain and nausea after the first week, we will pump fluid in me, get me some anti nausea drugs, and see where we can go.

Evvy sits with me while they pump 500ml of saline and anti nausea into me. I am feeling much better. The nurses call in an anti-nausea regimine to the pharmacy. But, errr, one of them is a suppository. I cannot reach to do this. I am gonna have to have help. Sara, ... honey, ... I love you...


After fluid, I feel like a new man. Well, a 1/2 new man. We go home, and it is hot. I mean, the little thermometer on the back deck is banged off 110degrees. Help me! The official weather report says San Jose hit 97. My aunt (Tante Rifka) suggestspaying for the AC is worth it, we have the house set at 75. Still hot, but almost liveable. The Texan in me cannot stand keeping the AC to 75 degrees, then opening the windows at night to let it all out. I hope this heat wave breaks soon. I am too sensitive to it.

Get home, there is a package on my bed. It appears to be from Austrailia. I open it up, it is a skin of some animal. Scott? Did you send me an animal pelt? What is this? It is nice and soft.

I nap. For a bit. to take the heat off. Then I mix a half cup of clear chicken broth. And get it all the way down. Where it has stayed for nearly 4 hours. YAY anti Nausea. I am due for a pill in about 15 minutes, but Sara is not home yet.

I push my luck to the stops, and eat a can of mini-ravioli. Either it will stay and give me some energy, or it will be very soft coming out. I am also able to drink water now. And have been guzzling as much as possible.

I suppose tonight will be a test of the anti-nausea drugs. If it works out correctly, I should be able to slowly keep energy, and burn through the chemo for the next 2 weeks.

If not, I will go back to the doctors, as I will not let myself get that dehydrated again.

Oh, and my hair is thinning, I feel and see it in the bathtub.


If you have kids, go hug them for me, right now.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

the cure is worse than the sickness.

Remember all that stuff about 'be positive' and 'I'll knock this out with my positive Texas Attitude'?

I am having to really fight to remember all that. Cause I want to roll over and stop breathing.

nausea? I just lost that battle. I have been tryng to keep things IN me, to keep up strength and energy, but today, I just lost the battle. Sara made me 2 eggs over-easy for breakfast. I managed to keep them in for about 3 hours. Then I had a half cup of yogurt in for about 2 hours.

I did force myself to have a shower, it was refreshing, and we left the AC set to 75 all day. I cannot take the heat.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with the doctor at 10:30 to do bloodwork, and I do not know what else. I will ask about if this is normal, or a spike, or will it get worse or any better.

Positive. I have to be strong.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

the chemo has caught up with me. they SAID it would be really bad on Saturday, and I had no idea. I have often heard the phrase "I was not comfortable in my own skin" but never really understood it. This is a million times worse than being trapped out in a parking lot on a hot Texas afternoon.

I have no energy, and it feels like my entire body is on fire. It seems I can hear everything very well, and just conversation makes me nauseous. When I move in the bed, I can feel the blood shifting inside my body, and it hurts. Squirrels chattering in the backyard sound like machine gun fire.

It has been so hot outside, that all I can do is lay in the house with the air conditioner on, and rest.

ick-o!

Sara's folks sent me the biggest card I have ever seen, that was nice. And my pal Chris Null sent me a book through Amazon, he must have seen a wish list or something. Good guy. Oh, and my mom sent me some MandelBrot, which is kinda like jewish Biscotti. but it hurts to try to eat anything.

I am pretty sure this is the effects of all the chemo, without the anti-nausea, anti-pain, and the doc did tell me my blood cells will start breaking down over the next 2 weeks. I do not want to eat, I just want to lay around, and I want it to not be so damn hot.

Sara, by the way, is being a complete wonderful princess in putting up with me. Heck, even I do not want to put up with me.


Friday, September 19, 2003

Friday. Wake, shave, yes, shave, and go in for day#5 of Chemo.

There is some stupid ass spam going around about Microsoft Security Updates. This is plugging up my email inbox. I try to clear it out asap. So ifyou get a "box full, message returned" please resend. I paid the $25 to get a larger Yahoo Mailbox. Now i have $25 more space worth of stupid spam. But try to clear it regular like.

I do not know why I get so irrationally hyped up over the needles, but I had a thought, long back, to an extremely traumatic, and very bonding experience with my dad. As a child I was short. Really short. Shortest kid in my class, shortest kid in my school, no growth spurt, something was definitely wrong.

The folks found an Endocrinologist in Dallas. This specialist studies possible errors in your life systems. Is something not right? and how to fix it. All I really remember is I got to go to Dallas on a school day, with my pop. I think I was about 7 or 8 years old. We went to a seedy looking office building, where they strapped me into a chair, and used REALLY long needles to take samples of blood, bone marrow, glands, oh my god it was horrible.

Then they gave me something to help clear out my system, so I puked, and pooped, and puked more. We had a lunch break, pop took me to Burger King, let me get the full whopper King deal, or whatever it was back then, and I clearly remember spraying an entire giant orange soda pop out my nose and all over the bathroom.

The poor man knew I would do it, but wanted to try to give me some lunch. Afterwards, back to the doctors, and back in the chair for more samples. The next strong memory was me, screaming, at the top of my lungs "Daddy, Daddy, don't let the mean man hurt me anymore"

Then it was kinda hazy, more vomit, more needles, I think I have tried to block this out of my mind. But can you imagine the torture of a scientific man, hoping to help his first born son, having to listen to such emotional cries?

At the end of the day, we left, with about 1/3 the samples collected. Pop drove me to Farrel's Ice Cream Palace, where I got to eat the biggest goddamn Ice Cream Sunday I wanted. We talked, and he told me he loved me, no matter how tall I was. But if we wanted to continue this research, we would have to come back for more.

On the way to the car, I told him I loved him, then puked all over the inside of his new car.

We did not go back. Who knows, if we had? I might be 6'2" tall with long blonde hair, and muscles like Arnold. But I am pretty okay with who I am, and I love my pop. And we tried. Our next trip to Dallas was just him and me, and we went to Six Flags over Texas. The hell with the needle doctor. We had fun, and he dispensed fatherly advice that sticks with me today. "Son, never pass up a chance to use a clean bathroom"

So this morning, sitting in the chair, Mary the Oncology nurse was putting the IV into my left arm. It is just a little prick. She is so gentle and caring. I hyperventilate, turn pale white, and almost pass out. I try to reassure her it is my needle anxiety, and nothing she is doing. Cindy, one of the other nurses was trying to distract me, with a 'look over here and smile" but when I looked over, she was inserting an IV into a patient's chest port. ARGGGG

Cool wet towel to my forehead. Atavan in, and I slowly calm down. With the sunlight behind Mary, I can almost see her halo.

Today it kind of mostly caught up to me. The anti-nausea drug helped last night, but I am feeling very tired. I do not want to read. I do not want to think. I just lay in the chair, and watch the bag of poision drip down the clear plastic tube, and into my arm. Between 9am and 2:30 pm, I got up to urinate 6 times. Each time, it smelled like puppy pee.

Lance Armstrong has his "race for the roses' TC foundation to help with research monies. I want to figure out how to build a foundation to provide nice things for nurses. If anyone out there has ANY thoughts on how to start a foundation, and how to raise money, and get it to nurses, for important things, as rewards, anything, please, give me a hint. These ladies help everyone who is sick. I need to find a way to give some sunshine back.

They order in sandwiches for lunch. I had a turkey with provalone, and some cranberry relish sauce. It tastes like cardboard, but I force it in, cause I know I need the food, and I know the anti-nausea will help keep it in me for a while.

Finally my last drips have dripped, and they remove the tape, the IV comes out, and I put pressure on the vein. If you press on it, hard, for about 2 minutes, it helps prevent bruising. My next appointment is September 22nd, to check blood cell counts. I say goodbyes, and thank you's.

Drive home slowly. I am now facing the next 2 weeks of recovery, where my body has to deal with all the chemistry in it. My hair is supposed to thin. I am definitely nauseous. I am tired and out of energy, and when my eyes water, when tears roll down my face, they burn my skin. Dr. Scates says it is the chemo coming out, and I should wash it with water.

I have finished my first week of Chemotherapy.

My tears burn.


Thursday, September 18, 2003

Wednesday night saw some nausea, probably from wearing myself out on that oh so needed, oh so therapuetic motorcycle ride. This morning I stopped on the way in and picked up a box of doughnuts. Everybody loves donughts, right? Somehow they got shuffled from the patinets room to the staff break room, but my point was to bring some nice thoughts in for the nurses who work on my veins, and comfort me through the chemo days.

As she was putting the IV into me today, Nurse Cindy saw I was huffing and puffing. She commented "Deep breathing Charles, DEEP breathing" I thought I was, apparently, I was hyperventilating. The needle anxiety is not getting any better, but once the needle is in , and the glorious atavan slips up into my arm, I calm right down.

While on my first bag of saline, I recieved a cell phone call. Usually I try to turn off the phone, cause, well, I am sitting in a room full of other folks also on the IV drip, and you know, manners! But this one is from area code 908 My home town, and I do not recognize the number.

Turns out it was my Scoutmaster Mr. V.G. Rollins. This man had a profound influence on my life. For years he tried to convince me to hang on, and work my way to the finish, no matter how difficult I thought the odds were. Mr. Rollins saw me vomit my way down 150 miles of the Sabine River on a canoe trip, and NOT give up. Any long hike brought words of "We're almost there, just over that next hill!" "one foot in front of the other, you can make it"

In addition to motivation, he also led through example. This man spent his work vacations carting loads of scouts to camp. He'd take us on one campout every month, no mater what. He dedicated his life to helping raise good kids. And in my opinion, his success is overwhelming.

It was great to talk to him.

Then I needed to return focus to chemo time. Drip Drip Drip. You just watch, from 9am till around 2pm, the bag goes in, drips, empties, and is replaced with another bag. The poision drips down a clear tube and into my veins slowly. People come and go in the chairs around me. Some have a positive side, some are waiting to die. Drip Drip Drip. the gravity feed does not care. How will I handle this? With a positive attitude, and thoughts about my freinds. My strength, my greatest asset.

For some reason, my mind drifts, and I think about my pal Eileen. She, her husband Jim and son Ryan took a long weekend to go to disneyland. This is wonderful. Family trip! Yahoo. Wait, my brain is wandering. For a while, Disney's log ride had an auto photo taker at the end of the plunge, and So-Cal teenage girls were 'flashing' the camera. Oh yeah, and posting the photos to www.flashyourrack.com NOOOO, Eileen would never do that. What is wrong? Must be the atavan twisting my brain.

Lunch is soup and half a sandwich, I wash it down with water. The clam chowder tastes great. Actaully, it doesn't taste great, it just does not taste metallic. So that is good. But it hits bottom with a wave of nausea. I mention this to the staff, and they add some extra anti-nausea to my final IV, this should help me tonight as well.

Waiting for the final IV to drain in, I close my eyes. Rebecca gave me this Jeero doll, I am holding him pretty firmly under my arm. The Bracelet from Israel from Israel is now in the pocket of my fanny-pack, I cannot have it on my wrist due to the IV. Missy's mini-sock monkey is in there as well. And I think about Sara, who looked like an angel when she came into my room last night to kiss me goodnight. What nice thing can I do for my angel? Well, not barfing on her would be a good start!

I finish the bag, they offer to leave the needle in for tomorrow. This is an option. I cannot stand to think about it. Going home with needle in me would cause great distress, no thanks, pull it, we'll repeat tomorrow.

I drive myself home, still able to do it, but feeling weak. Not disoriented or unfocused, just weak. Get homoe, drink LOTS of fluids, and nap on the bed. It's 78 degrees and climing in the house. Will this heat wave ever end? I need cool, not hot. Fortunately it cools off at night, and that helps.

I need more water.



Wednesday, September 17, 2003

So I had to do it today. I HAD to prove I could ride. Took the SuperMotard in to chemo! Sporting my mad Hi-Point Motocross Boots, I was a vision! I looked like a regular normal guy. Not a cancer patient.

Got to SouthBay Oncologists, pulled the boots, jacket, helmet, etc, stashed them behind my chair, and had a seat. Today, for some reason, the chemo took a long time to get in me. But they did order lunch in. Yummy sandwich, which I managed to get all the way in. There was some complications, I got a little bruise on my vein, but it is normal.

After chemo, I rode like a fiend. Up Black Mountain Road to hwy 35. Over 35 to 9, where I stopped and was nauseous and barfed all over the parking lot. Fortunately, got helmet off and had enough power to push it past the boots.

Earp! arf arf! Woof!

So I sat in the shade for a while, being calm and sedate. Making sure I had enough energy and focus. Drank some water. Thought about all the people counting on me to make it safe and back home.

Zoom Zoom down 9. I was fine. Got home, took off all the gear, and realize, I will not have enough energy in the weeks to come. So I took a nap. Long nap. woke up feeling a wee tad nauseous. No appetite.

Sara came home, we took another nap. Around 7, wake up, She had to go into work for category rollouts, I get up to walk some. No desire to eat. But had a small bowl of mud pie ice cream. It calmed my stomach. I had a bageldog.

Phone rings, Jack talked to me for a while, very good. I am gonna sleep

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Last night I was in bed, couldn't really sleep, just somewhat floating in and out of conscious thought, for hours on end. Pondering all the poisions they are pumping into my body to kill this cancerous parasite. Sara fell asleep well, and for hours I held her hand, and listened to her snoring. Gentle, rythmatic, consistent. No bad dreams, no quick changes, just a constant in and out. At times I could even hear her heartbeat. It was nice. I felt very lucky to be alive, and experiencing those moments.

Whenever I rolled over, I would feel a little bile creeping up the back of my throat. Not a true nausea, but an indication, a hint, a gentle forewarning of things to come. Shifting back a little would make it go away. At 3:45 I sat up and had trouble opening my eyes. They were stuck together? With effort, they came open, I went into the bathroom, splashed water on them, then drank a large galss of water. Dehydration is an issue here.

Around 5am, I began thinking of our families. My father, analytical and hopeful for the future. My mother, who always wanted our lives to be perfect, you know, like on TV. And I thought about Sara's folks. Her caring mother, and her dad, soft spoken, but strong. I always thought my dad could do anything when I was growing up. Meeting Sara's dad, I am pretty sure he can do the things my pop can't, and vice versa.

I would really like to continue the chain of family. These folks deserve great grandkids. Sometimes Sara does want to discuss it, other times she does not. I understand. We are both 39. this is scary. But I hope it works out. It'd be cool. If not, I have 14 frozen spermsicles that would make expensive practical jokes, I guess....

My maternal grandfather was supposed to be able to say a time the night before, and wake up at exactly that time the next morning. I said "7:04am" but really woke up at 6:55. Then lollygagged about till 7:30, when I got out of bed. Showered, shaved the tops of my hands to make it easier for the IV drip, and tape removal, then dressed, logged on to work to answer some emails, and drove out.

Stopped at the bank to deposit a check. Thought about buying doughnuts, but decided against, and went in.

When the nurse is putting the IV into my hand, I squirm about, hyperventilating and acting like a big huge baby. The needle pricks, then snakes its way into my vein. I can feel it, it doesn't really HURT, but it makes me horrible uncomfortable. And my brain takes over and really turns me into a wussy.

They start a saline drip, then get some atavan into me as soon as possible to help calm me down. Which it does. I know what to expect now, so I am not as scared. First small saline to make sure the vein is open, then 250 ml of Saline to hydrate me. Once the IV needle is in, they just swap bags on top, that part is easy, I can even watch it without getting too scared.

After the 250 ML Saline, we drop in 250 ml of Etoposide. this is the stuff that will make me bald. Once it finishes, 250 ML of Cisplatin. this is the real cure for the TC. Next is 250 more ml of Saline.

Assuming I get in the chair and started at 9:30am, I am ready to leave at 2:30.

I pass the time talking to other patients, John also cannot look at the needles going in. Rachel has 'busy legs' she fidgets as reaction to some of her drugs. I also read, books and e-books on the palm.

There are large amounts of time I cannot focus to read, so I close my eyes and think about my life. What is important. What I will try to change. Who is important to me. And when I need strength, I thinks about my friends. Today I thought about Jim Queen III, a roommate of mine, years ago, who has the most beautiful eyelashes I have ever seen on a man. I also thought about Kevin Tiene, a new-er freind, who flies model airplanes, and has 2 wonderful daughters. I wonder where my life will go next, and how I can make it better.

OH! And Rick Cramer admitted sending me the Pirate Hat! YAY!

Werner, who took flowers to my sister from me for her Birthday sent me this great link. September 19th is "talk like a pirate' day. the website is cumbersome, I just like the idea of everyone talking like a pirate.

My pal Herb the International Playboy and his new wife will be in Vegas September 26th - 28th, visiting from their hoe in Tashkent. I want to try to go meet her, see them, see all the folks from Texas who come out. But I do not know if I can phyically handle it. I am going to try to make reservations, and see what happens.


Tonight, I feel good. Ate a little steak, my appetite is dimisnishing. But will be okay. If I am feeling well enough tomorrow, I may try to ride a motorcycle in, JUST to say I did it. Early in the treatment, while I am still okay.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Chemo Day 1. I know I am going to regret saying this. But Day 1 was anti-climatic. I'm sitting in bed at the house, a little queasy, knowing it is GONNA get worse. Today was not so bad.

Sara got me into the office at 9am for my 9:15 appointment. Dr. Scates said my bloodwork looks great, everything is normal, nothing is climbing rapidly, I should react well to the drugs. We chatted about cars, he has a Ferrari 350. Cute little sports car. :-> I think the cars & bikes in common is helping us have a middleground to relate to.

He takes be back into the 'infusion room'. open room with windows, and a row of blue chairs around the outside edge. You sit in the chair, with this big post next to you, where the IV drip hangs from. Some people have a pump to push the chemo in, me, I just rate a drip. So I sit, Dr. Scates gives some instructions to Marta, the nurse, all I can overhear is "first time, very nervous, help him" Which is all true. I am shivering and shaking, and worried about what the heck is gonna go down.

Dr. Scates brings me some 'sample packs' of drugs. Apparently this is a cool way for doctors to give patients free dope. I got 5 100mg tablets of Anzemet. And can take one of these nightly before bed, to reduce nausea. I also got a box of 5 8mg Zofran. These can be used 3 times a day, orally discolved under the tongue for nausea. No discussion of Procrit for energy yet.

Steve leaves and Marta comes to chat. I inform her I am a big stinking wussie baby, and needles scare the heck out of me. I fo not know if it is the needle part, the through the skin part, I have no idea why, but I really do not like needles. She understands, used to be a pediatric nurse, and knows how to handle babies.

She starts a saline IV drip into my left hand, the arm feels cold, from the inside. I am scrunched up and fidgeting, and deep breathing, and turning pale. I try to reassure her it is nothing she did, but all a mental issue of my own self infliction.

No problem. Once again, I am in drug central. Drop in some Ativan, this makes my arm feel warm. Not fire, but more like someone just spiked my arm with some hot salsa. Kind of spicey warm and chunky. Then, a few moments later, it feels fine. I kind of like Ativan. Sure, it's no Morphine, but it makes me relax and stop squirming like a freak.

Marta predicts 4 hours to get all the drugs into me.

Once the saline is in, we switch bags and start on the Etoposide, also known as VP-16. This one made me 'feel' all the previous breaks in my bones. they kind of ached a little more than normal.

Etoposide: It prevents cancer cells from growing by interfering with the DNA. Early side effects include: Metallic taste in mouth (check), Mild Nausea (check), Facial flushing and reddening (not yet) allergic reactions can occur, but they are rare (not yet) and Inflamation of the vein used for the IV (check)

Long term effects include: Temporary decrease in white blood cell counts occurring within 1 to 2 weeks of treatment. AND, Temporary thinning or loss of hair beginning 2 - 3 weeks after administration of drug.

Next we switched to Cisplatin. prevents cancer cells from growing by interfering with the DNA. Early side effects include: Nausea and vomiting may occur during administration and for 24 hours after, lasting several days. this can be controlled with medication. Diarreah may occur, but usually subsides within a day (this is, of course, another good reason to post verses to the "Diarreah Song" which I will do at the end of today's entry.) Finally, Loss of apetite may occur 12 - 48 hours after injections, and may last 1 week.

Late side effects: Ringing or 'stuffed' sensation in ears (check) and lowered blood cell count.

At this point, I met Joan from Los Gatos. She is fighting breast cancer, and was giving me some kind patient tips. Her husband rides a BMW, and she has a Vespa. She's also writing a book on how to manage your treatment, What to look for, how to research it, etc. She was very nice, will see if we meet her again.

Finally, I finish the cisplatin, and get a 250ml bag of saline. Just to make sure I am hydrating enough. I finis around 2:30 pm, and oddly, feel okay. Marta even told me the drucs may give me a little more energy, and try walking tonight. So I will.

Tomorrow, I will try to drive myself. There was nothing after the treatment that would have prevented that.

I KNOW further into the treatment, I will need to arrange rides. But tomorrow, I will drive. (I say that now, from the comfort of my bed.


SO! What did I notice? What is different? What is happening? What do I feel?

Sara picked me up, we drove home, and I had some leftover steak, eggs, beans, and about 5 big glasses of water. My ears are already sensitive, every little sound annoys me. Sara is ironing, and I can hear the iron passing over the grain of the clothes. The radio in the front room is low, but it rattles and tingles my ears. I will wear earplugs a lot through this.

I have to pee a lot from all the water, that is normal. However, the urine smells like puppy pee. There is no other way to really describe it. It smells like a month olf puppy dog's pee. Either you are familiar with it or not.

My stomach IS queasy, but I do not think I am about to barf.

There are random 'pricks' of firey pain in my veins. sort of floating around my arms, legs and chest. Every so often there is just a 'prick, hello, we are here, reminding you it hurts"

My fatigue is not as bad, but the muscles in my crotch where they surgeried out my testicle feel sore. Tired kind of a sore. Like it will hurt to lift that leg.

the tips of the fingers on my left hand (where the IV was) are tingley. Probably fromme clenching them. And my forearm where the goo went in feels bruised. It is not bruised to look at, but it FEELS like someone gave me a good whack with a stick.

My digestive system seems to say "poopy time" but it isn't. so that is odd.


Okay, so first day, drugs in and circulating. Boy resting.

Before I go, the Diarreah Song.

When you're running into first
And your feeling something burst
diarrhea, diarrhea!

When you're truckin into second
And your feelin something beckon
diarrhea, diarrhea!

When you're sliding into third
And you dump a greasy turd
diarrhea, diarrhea

When you're sliding into home
And your shorts are full of foam
diarrhea, diarrhea

there are some variations out there, but baseball is the way I remember it all goes back to the "batboy was evil" story, which I will repost for our audience...

More Diarreah links
DV1
DV2


>>>>>>>>>>
The Batboy was Evil

Growing up in a small, East Texas town was tough. I was a short, underweight, intellectual type in a town of tall, blonde, corn-fed boys. I was a shadow, a fly on the wall, the last kid picked for kick ball. Adult: cool to be different. Child: worst thing on earth. When you are eleven, you want to be exactly like everyone else. It wasn't just me, my entire family was different, we were the Addams family in a subdivision full of Bradys. Occasionally, Mother tried things to make it better; swimming lessons, Cub Scouts, then Little League.

"Little League will help," the man from the Optimist club told mother, He looked down at me like I was some circus freak, a kid who rode the “short bus” to school. "Builds character, teaches teamwork," he muttered. Old bastard.

I begged mother not to make me do this - I knew it would be horrible. I wasn’t athletically inclined and I’d never be athletically inclined. But it was the early 70's; I was too small, Mother was too strong, I got an orange baseball cap and blue glove.

In sharp contrast to my fear and dread, my younger brother viewed this as a fabulous opportunity. Three years younger, already taller, Louis became team batboy. As a ballplayer, I was expected to perform. I had to hit the ball, catch the ball, run around like I knew what I was doing. The batboy, however, had the lush life. His job was running out to the plate between hitters, bringing back used bats, and retrieving foul balls. I don’t know if the problem began with button-fly pants, or foul balls, but there was a problem.

When a batboy retrieved errant balls, he got a token from the umpire. Ah, the magical tokens. Louis would hold them up to the sky and dance around. Good for spiffy treats at the concession stand, rocket fuel for a hyperactive seven year old. Since the early 70s, doctors have revised their views on sugar and hyperactivity. We knew that if Louis drank a few root beers and ate cotton candy, he was good for 3 more innings.

Half a season passed and I managed to not get killed. Then it happened.... no, I did not hit a magnificent home run leading my team to victory, insuring well-adjustedness for the rest of my life. Rather an incident that shaped me for years to come. I don’t remember much about this particular game, except it was at night. Our pitcher was tossing blazing fastballs, our opponents were fouling out one after the other. Louis was happier than a pig in slop, he’d filled both pockets with "foul ball tokens" and was sucking down junk fast. Malted milk balls, sno-cones, butterfinger bars, bombpops, cotton candy, lik-m-ade, root beer, popcorn, sweetarts, goobers. He had tokens and he ate it all.

Our mother was sitting in the stands watching me sitting on the bench. Mom didn’t see all the junk Louis was eating, she was trying to see me build character while keeping Sherry, my baby sister, from crawling on the ground and putting cigarette butts and peanut shells in her nose. Louis, kept trading foul balls for hyper-fuel. He was so wound up he was just a blur. There were times we could barely make out the shape of his head. That boy was darn near close to achieving flight.

Finally, the game was over and it was time to drive home. The baseball park was on the “other” side of town, and although mom grew up in the South Bronx, it scared her go to "that" part of town. The big, green Olds Vista Cruiser Wagon was locked like bank vault. Nope, she did not like it. If she hadn’t forced me to undergo the twice-a-week humiliation, we could have stayed home in our safe, suburban house watching Star Trek re-runs. It was her own fault.

Before we left the park, Louis announced he "had to go." The ballpark bathrooms were outhouse type and Mom was afraid we’d get molested, fall in, or both. In any event, they were forbidden and we had to wait. It took considerable effort to harness Louis and get him into the car. He was running Mach III, Hair-On-Fire trying to burn off some sugar. We got him into the car with the promise of riding "shotgun" and away we went.

Mother said we could stop at Dairy Creme on the way home. Dairy Creme was a small Texas chain much like Dairy Queens of today. The sign was shaped like a giant ice cream cone, surrounded with malfunctioning neon. You could get burgers, soft-serve, and clean place to pee, statewide. One of these roadside wonders, an oasis of the blacktop, sat just outside the ball park. That was our destination. Soft Serve, whiz, then a 45 minute ride to safety of home. It sounded reasonable, simple enough. Louis and I would go to the bathroom while Mom would take Sherry, get four small dipped cones, meet us back at the car and head for sanctuary.

Mother changed Sherry, got cones and was back at the car in about four and two thirds seconds. I had no clue that I was about to experience one of those major character building events, the kind that sears itself on your brain forever.

I, being the big brother, had to take Louis to the bathroom. Louis, “Booger Beans” to my friends, was having difficulty un-buttoning his uniform pants. I offered to help.
"No, I'm a big boy, I don’t want your help damn-it!" he said as he frantically tugged at the fly. I knew when to shut up. I did my business, washed my hands and went out to meet mom. I don’t know why, but to this day I can close my eyes and see her standing next to the car. Sherry was buckled in the child seat, Mom had a gigantic Clairol red dye #5 bouffant and a bright green mini-dress with chunky white shoes. She was holding two cones and Sherry-Baby had two.

"Charles Barry Statman, where ex-actly is your brother?" Mom demanded. I knew I was in trouble, but none of us had an inkling of how much.

"He's is in the crapper, he can't get his pants un-buttoned." Two errors to start: I was never allowed to leave Louis alone, and it was a bathroom, not a crapper.

"Charles Barry, you go back and get him or you can't have your soft-serve!" After further scolding, I marched back into Dairy Creme to retrieve Louis. I heard him before I saw him, so did the counter lady, who had hair bigger than mom's and a cigarette with a half inch long ash dangling off it. She glared at me, knowing I was kin to what ever was screaming at the top of his lungs in the crapper.

Louis never did get those pants un-buttoned.

When I opened the men's room door, it was quite obvious he had, uh, er, done "number two" in his pants. I knew I was out of my league, I actually felt compassion for Booger Beans.

"Stay here, I'll go get mom," I said as I ran out to report the gory details.

"Mom! Mom! Louis shit himself in the crapper and I can't help him." She dropped a soft-serve (mine, I was sure) and smacked me. A horrible look crept over her face. It wasn’t because she had just hit me, either. It was the first time I remember seeing my mother become afraid. Not of child molesters and falling in the out house, but really afraid. Afraid of not being able to control the situation. And this was going to be one hell of a situation.

"Charles, go tell him to come out here." Well, I was back to Charles, if she was not using my full name, I might get out alive. I went back in to deliver her message.

They say the third time is the charm. Well, my third trip to the bathroom was not charming. He still couldn’t get his pants un-buttoned, but somehow managed to get his hands into his pants. I don't know, maybe he thought he could unbutton from the inside out. He was fueled by the intense sugar rush and now pumped to the gills full of adrenaline. When he pulled his hands out of his pants, he had apparently gotten them covered in, uh, er "number two" and got hysterical. Somehow he managed to get poop all over the front of his shirt, the sides of his pants, the bathroom counter, the silly cloth towel thing that was really just a big loop of cloth, it had a mean brown streak that would never come out.

There was poo on the walls, poo on the floor, poo on the ceiling. There was a MAJOR temper tantrum going on, and I didn’t want poo on me, so I split. I ran out of the bathroom, past the staring woman at the counter, out to the car. I informed, hoping it would buy me some immunity.

"Mom, he is covered in poop," I panted breathlessly. "I'm only eleven," I began to scream. "I don't know what to do!"

"GO BACK AND GET HIM," she said through grit teeth.

Trip number four to see a kid covered in number two. I tried to stroll casually back through the Dairy Creme, but counter lady knew something bad was going down. I ran past her and was in the bathroom with him again. The entire bathroom was covered. There was poo on the mirrors, door, and floor now. To make things worse, Louis had a bad habit of pulling at his hair when he had temper tantrums. He would grab big handfuls of hair, pull straight out, and scream. Only this time, his hands were covered with crap. His feces-covered hair was sticking straight up from his head, in two distinct “shit horns”. Today, he is a man of 30 who is losing his hair and I know why.

Whenever someone mentions Satan, I mentally picture Louis standing in the bathroom of the Eastman Road Dairy Creme with blood-shot eyes, little arms and legs flailing wildly, a bat boy uniform covered in poo, and shit-horns poking up from his head. He was furious. He was filthy. He was hyper. My job was to get him out of the bathroom, and I was not cut out for it.

He threw himself to the ground and yelled "I’m stuck! Go get Mommy!" With all the poo, he very well could have been stuck to the floor. I beat a hasty retreat to the parking lot, and stood up like a man.

"Mother I give up. I will not deal with this anymore!” I paused and then added, “I’m going to eat my soft serve before it melts."

She finished her soft-serve in one gulp, grabbed an old blanket we kept in the mighty Vista Cruiser, and went into the Dairy Creme to retrieve her child. I don’t know what she said to him in the men's room. All I know is, about a minute later, she came marching out with him following, wrapped in that tatty, old, yellow-striped blanket. All we saw were his feet, and these two gigantic horns sticking up from the top of his head. It looked as if the situation was under control, and we would be on our way.

"Louis, go sit in the way-back," Mom said, meaning the very back of the station wagon. A simple phrase, a polite, but direct request. To him, it was the final insult. The way-back was the least desirable position. No-one wanted the way-back. He began to protest:
"Shotgun! Shotgun! You said I could ride shotgun!" It might have been possible earlier, but was out of the question now. Mom was no fool, she didn’t want a crap-covered child next to her.

The sugary sweets flared up, he got an extra jolt of energy, broke from mother's grip, shed the blanket and began sprinting around the parking lot. Judging from the faces pressed against the glass, no-one in the Dairy Creme was eating their soft serve. Louis, the poop covered, shit-horned hellion was running circles in the parking lot yelling, screaming, and speaking in tongues.

I couldn’t help it, I started to laugh. I looked at the baby and she began to giggle. I laughed more. I was rolling on the ground laughing so hard I could not breathe. Sherry’s laughter turned to tears, she began to cry. She was covered in melted soft serve, watching one brother laughing like a hyena, the other brother running like a shit-covered super-hero, chased by Mommy, who couldn’t catch him.

I laughed so hard I peed in my pants.

"Get him!" was all I heard Mom say. I wasn’t an athletic child, but I brought him down in my best NFL-protest shoulder-clip from the rear. He squealed and dropped like a box of rocks. I was in charge now, no more tom-foolery. It was late, I’d been denied soft-serve, I wanted to go home, we were about to miss "Wild Kingdom” with Marlon Perkins.

Mom grabbed him. No more need for the blanket. Everyone in town knew what happened. She forced Louis into the way-back, put me in the back seat and fired up the cruiser. He kept trying to climb over the seat and no one wanted that to happen. Mom’s hair was leaning to the side, she was tired, fed up, hot, smelly, and at wits end.

"If he tries it again, just whack him with your baseball glove," she said. The ride home was the most fun forty-five minutes I ever had with that damn baseball glove. His horned head would pop up over the seat and WHACK, I'd let him have it.

We finally made it home. Dad, the engineer, was out watering the yard. White, v-neck T shirt, black sans-a-belt high-water slacks, watering the yard with a hose. Why men hold hoses on the yard when they have sprinklers is still a mystery, but I also do it now. Dad is incredibly intelligent, a tall, gentle man who’s own mother was cool enough to let him be a nerd and not have to do team sports. He knew little league was a bad idea, but he loved our Mom and didn’t argue with her about the small stuff.

Mom didn’t pull into the garage. She parked in the drive, rolled down the rear window, and Louis was out like a horse at the races, running in circles and screaming. Mom briefly explained the situation to father, and HE took control. Dad was the 1950s idea of a father; a good provider who took care of stuff when it went wrong.

"Charles, Louis, come here NOW!" he commanded.

We knew better than to disobey. Front and center, at attention. He ordered us to strip. In the BACKYARD! Naked! The neighbors could definitely see us, but we did as told.
"All clothes in one pile, stand still," Dad said then proceeded to shower us with the hose.

Mom found some Hartz dog shampoo in the garage.

"Next the baby," he said. Sherry got it too, although she got a towel shortly afterwards. I thought he was going to tell mom to strip, but she went inside. After all, the neighbors WERE watching.

The way-back of the station wagon was a terrible mess. I saw Dad cringe for a moment when he opened the door. His next action stunned me to the core. He hosed out the Vista Cruiser! Carpet, blanket, papers, moon roof, ball gloves, poo, everything got hosed down.

"The damn car is destroyed, it might as well be clean," Dad muttered. Even Louis was shocked. His tantrum came to an end, sugar crash: can't talk, coming down. Louis sat naked in the driveway and cried for a bit. We left the car open that night. The next day, it was dry, kind of nice actually, smelled of fresh cut grass. We kept it for four more years, and Dad still regrets trading it in.

Louis still eats junk food, says it gives him the energy he needs for extreme sports.

Sherry left home, made it as an attorney, and sees a therapist.

Mom still tries to control all of us.

Dad is still a calm, quiet man.

The Dairy Creme closed and someone made it a nightclub for girls who don't like boys.

Oh yeah, I never had to go to Little League again.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

So my sister points out that on the top of my web-log there are ads. And they appear to be auto-generated by the content of my log. Right now one is for male infertility, and one is for sperm count. She suggests I type a lot about barfing, to see what comes up. Maybe next week.

Friday night Sara and I closed the TV task. We set our budget, went to 3 different shops looking at TVs, and ended up with a big one. Mitsubishi 55” projection, Silver Series. I think it is actually larger than my first apartment. The idea was we would be able to sit on the couch, and see it across the room, allowing us to leave the room open, and not crowd furniture into a huddle around the TV. Well, we suceeded. This thang is easily viewable, probably from outer space. Remember the part about a budget? Exactly DOUBLE what we said we would spend. Doh! Drove it home in the back of the LLROL, the follies of Sara and I unloading and moving it were probably humorous, to someone. Anyhow, The project is done, the search is over, next step, comfy couch that does not look like I found it on the side of the road.

Saturday morning I woke up tired, and did not get much better. We ate, lunch at Aqui's, then drove to a Home Despot to have them 'color match' some paint. The folks who sold the house had a HUGE entertainment center. Bigger even than our TV. Which never moved away from the wall, till after we bought the house, and found the giant spot they chose not to paint. How do you match a color? You take an x-acto knife, slice a bit of wallboard, about the size of a quarter, drive it to Home Despot, and the kid at the paint counter loads it into a computer, scans it, matches it, and glorp! mixes up a bucket. We can now repaint the giant mistmatched area and be reasonably close. Hurrah!

Napped the afternoon away. Called friends, Rebecca came over for the rest of the weekend, Dale & Joan came over for ice cream & movies. We talked, then sat about the living room, watching Herschell Gordon Lewis' famous "She Devils on Wheels" YAY! Crazed female biker gang. I highly suggest you rent it, blockbuster don't have it? No Problem, Something Wierd Video does!

At the suspenseful high point of the movie, Joan SCREAMED! then Dale SCREAMED! I understood Joan's scream, but not Dale. Ha! She squealed and tossed her glass of wine all over Dale.

OH MY, I laughed! It was wonderful, and really cheered me up.

Speaking of cheered up, Rebecca brought me an "Ugly Doll" to keep me chemo company. Jeero! I have Jeero. Apparently, he makes no decisions, and answers no questions. Much the way I feel at the end of the day. YAY Rebecca. She also brought me a Tiara. Sara says we'll duct tape it on if I am hairless.

I don't know what Monkey thinks about it all, but will see.

Sunday was eating tour. Since I may not have much appetite, we ate like piglets. For breakfast I made Migas. Yummy Yummy Migas. Not quite up to the famous El Arroyo brunch in Austin, they were still really yummy..

Then had showers, and drove to Southern Lumber tolook at different woods. Sara is working with our pal Mark Alpen, to design and build custom furniture for our house, but we need to decide on woods. Southern Lumber has one of the best selections around, so we checked it out.

Then over to Road Rider, to look at motorcycle stuff. No buying, just looking. Road Rider is like Target for bikers. they have everything.

Next to Dairy Belle,
for milkshakes. This IS an eating tour.

Back toward the house, we stopped at the Almaden Cinema, and watched the movie "Once Upon a Time in Mexico". Wow! How cool I won't try to review it, I'll just say wow.

After the show, we went to the house to clean up, pee, and get ready for more eating. Drove over to Santana Row, this hank yuppie, hell, I do not even know what to call it. Like, a shopping mall, with condos. Sort of a built up mall/resort, in the middle of town, a totally fabricated city. Rebecca's best comment was "I like the urban idea, it will be cool in a few years, you know, when it is not so sterile, and a little run down & seedy"

But we went there, cause that's where the new "Blowfish" sushi bar is open. WAY too trendy for me, but I enjoyed it. Yummi dead raw fishies!

After dinner, however, I was banging off the rev limiter. No energy left. Had to have Sara drive the truck home, and Rebecca rode back up to her home, in SF. We got home, and I took a bit to relax, then typed this up.

It is 8:10pm. I go in for my first chemo appointment at 9:15am tomorrow. we are in that final stretch. Did I mention I am scared? Well, I am. Trying to keep a positive mental attitude, but still scared like hell. Tomorrow, I will know, at the end of the day, what is really happening. I will know how much time I need to absorb the drugs, and I will know if I can drive, or need to be driven.

This is the Logistics plan, BTW: Sara can drop me off every day, if I cannot drive. Then I will set a schedule, and ask people for rides. If I need it. So Monday night, I will email and call around, and set things up for the rest of the week.

Best case scenario? I can do it myself.

You know what runs through your mind when you are about to take chemo? It is wierd, just blank, raw anxiety. What WILL happen next? It's kinda like the first time you talk a girl out of her clothes. Once the battle is won, you all of a suden have no idea what will happen next. Will you be good enough? Will it be funny? Will it be scary? Same feelings.

Well, that and fear of needles! Think good thoughts for me tomorrow. More tomorrow night.








Friday, September 12, 2003

Friday morning. Last day of work before Chemo Week #1. Trying to scurry and cover all bases, and I realize, my team has this all under control.

Last night Sara and I went to Cdoor's house for dinner and watched the movie "Bowling for Columbine" again. My two thoughts were "Charleton Heston looks like hell" and "I should stop by WalMart and restock ammunition before I get sick"

So my co-worker Kirk's Saturn got sick the other day, and needed a jump start. Which I gave him. Afterwards, however, the "Rear Wheel Anti Lock" and the "Brake" dash warning lights on my truck came on and stayed on. So I read through the manual, and my guess is I had a power surge and it messed up either the AntiLock computer, or some of the sensors.

Arghhh, I do not want to mess with this. So I started thinking, the Lesbian Low Rider of Love has served me well. Carried me through the divorce, out to California, to the races and back, it is a good truck, but maybe it's time?

Unfortunately, there is nothing else I can think of to replace it with. Don't really want new truck payment and insurance. Can't think of anything used I really want. Hmmm. Heck, the air conditioner still works. Maybe I need to pay someone to fix it for me.

So in the midst of my truck considering, my sister emails me. Apparently, our mother hydroplaned her 1989 Oldsmobile Hooptie Station Wagon. Did a 360 and nearly hit a van!

So here I am in San Jose, about to start chemo, and I am worried, cause my mom drives an old beater. She needs new-modern saftey features. There have been many safety improvements since 1989 including airbags, anti-lock brakes, side-impact beams, daytime running lights, etc. etc., If the really loved me, they'd replace that wore out Hooptie!

I do not need to be worrying about her rolling it off the road and into a ditch in North East Texas.

So I have no idea what I would get, but I am thinking a Honda Oddesy, or even the CRV. New, modern, safe. I am worried, have cancer and the last thing I need is to have Mom in the hospital because she had an accident in her busted-ass old hooptie.


Man, what else can I worry about.

Hooptie.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

last night Sara went to SF for dancing with my pal Rebecca, I think she had a good time, I hope so, she needs time out. YAY!

I had a talk a few nights ago with my pal Linda and Sara about poop. Oddly, my co-worker Stacy sent me this link, and I think it is humorously applicable. I hate pooping at work, and here are lists of rules.

www.icbe.org

It is thursday. I am tired. this is normal. I am scared too.

Had a sortof email disagreement with my mom, who tries very hard to give advice, and make my life better. And she thinks I am a jerk. But guess what. I have Cancer. I have to solve it. I KNOW what is going on. and it is very difficult for someone else to know.

So I gotta handle this on my own, with my friends and family, but in the way I do it. I cannot handle it any other way. PLEASE everyone, figure it out. If the doc says I am gonna barf a lot, I am gonna barf a lot. Please no more hints.

my head hurts and I cannot focus.

OH, yesterday, the brake light and the "rear anti lock warning' light came on on the truck. Yes I have brake fluid, yes I checked out the brakes. I think the anit-lock control unit gave up the ghost. And the turn signal switch for right turns is still broken. And I just cannot work on the goddamn truck now.

I want to cry


Tuesday, September 09, 2003

I had to wake up early, in order to make it out to Palo Alto for a deposit. 6:45. I know, sounds like normal to late, but for me, it has become early. Fatigue all day long as a result. Made it to Palo Alto at 8:27, for my 8:30 appointment. Traffic stunk. Just stunk.

Did what was required, no small talk, and off to work. I did not even fantasize about 1964 305 Honda Superhawks today. I was too tired. Just business. then thought, 'what if Sara absolutely does not want to have kids. damn, I have wasted time."

Work: The goal today was to make lists of tasks and goals, set timelines, and get everything ready at work, you know, just in case I cannot make it in all the time. Spent the morning strategizing, finalized around noon. All I wanted to do was go the heck home.

Had lunch with co worker. THEN went home.

and slept the entire afternoon away. Just fatigued.

Today is my sister's birthday. My good pal Werner took flowers & goodies to her office. YAY! Remote control gifts and good thoughts from freinds. YAY! Tonight they will all be going to the Texas Chili Parlor for birthday mayhem. YAY.

I slept more.

Many friends have contacted me about providing rides & help. This is great. I keep meaning to email folks too, who offered doctorial assistance. Okay, I am scrambled, but will try to get it all out so it makes sense.

Rides. I will do chemo on Monday, begging Sara to pick me up with a cell call. Then I will know how bad it is, and what time it is. Once I determine all this, I will try to set up some kind of schedule, and find out when I may need rides. and NOT LIKE moving, I WILL call on people to help me, and set schedules for the weeks I am "on"

Doctors: I am VERY satisfied with the physicians I have working for me. They have explained everything. Basically, I have cancer, it is 98% survivable. I just have to go through the treatments. TC is like the ingrown toenail of cancer. Every body knows how to fix it. YAY! Chemo. boo!

Food: I will break food down into three basic food groups. Soft, inedible and Hard. Inedible is stuff that reacts so badly with the meds, that I cannot push it down. Soft goes down. Hard goes down, but hurts coming up. There is no nutrition program during this, I just try to keep anything in that I can.

That's about all I got. I am very tired, still. But trying to keep on the positive side. I WILL be able to fit in my custom "Texas" leathers when all this is done....

Ya know what? I am scared. shhhh don't tell anyone.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Chemo!

This morning started with preparations to head to the Chemo Doctor. Step one, find where the office is located. Because the address I have does not show up on MapQuest. Oh, Campbell, not San Jose. Okay, there it is. Then we have to get OUT the door. Sara has been pushing all schedules to the very last minute lately, I do not know why, other than she probably likes seeing me get all agitated.

We arrive at SouthBay Oncology Hematology Partners, and I have to fill out forms, I'm already a little steamed about being late, and the forms came out of a folder, with all that informaiton already typed up! GRRR! and it is all about business. I am really not liking this. And, I am also scared like hell.

Finally they show me to a room, and I meet Dr. Steve Scates, who introduces himself as Steve, and insists on being addressed as such. Ya know, this is a plus. He is not into the whole "I am doctor! My word is divine" thing. I like that. It sets me at ease. He talks to Sara and I, the more he talks, the more I like him. This is gonna work out.

So, let me try to highlight the important things we learned. If Sara has anything to add, will do later tonight. OH, Dr. Scates likes Bagel Dogs! I'm set.

The Treatment will involve a chemical cocktail of 2 drugs, listed below, with links and side effects:

Cisplatin: Nausea, numbness, kidneys, hearing sensitivity, taste changes

and Etoposide: nausea, hair loss, reduction in blood cell production, loss of apetite.

The timeline looks like this: 4 cycles of 5 days on, 2 weeks off to recover.
I will begin on Monday, Sept 15th. I'll get Sara to drive me there initially, and figure out how to get home, then see what time will be lie for the rest of the week. At that point, I may call on friends for assistance.

He took us around the office and showed where to go, what to do, where I can barf, and generally a quickie orientation.

Did I mention Dr. Scates likes Bagel Dogs?


So one of the side effects is hair loss. Scott Gordon from Austin suggests I draw on eyebrows to emulate Max Von Sydow as Ming the Merciless, Ming the Merciless, from the 1980 version of Flash Gordon.


I agree.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

So I got this email from mom, chastising me because the photo of Sara is not a good photo of her. And I tried to explain, I have NO good photos of her. She always makes faces or runs away. So the photo is not the best, sorry. She is really very beautiful.

Then mom went on to tell me about their Torah study class today. Reviewing Deuteronomy, which is kind of the explanation of many of the rules. Actually, Deuteronomy and Leviticus are quite similar, but I did not want to mention that. ANYHOW, there is this one chapter in Deuteronomy, outlining penalties for disobedience, etc. that whenever we read, causes myself and my father to laugh till we are in tears.

To save you the trouble of looking it up, here is Deut 25:11:

25:11 If two men get into a hand-to-hand fight, and the wife of one of them gets involved to help her husband against his attacker, and she reaches out her hand and grabs his genitals, then you must cut off her hand-do not pity her.


So here is the mental image:

North East Texas. Friday Night. Parking lot behind the Rio Palm Isle nightclub.
(Rio Palm Isle – A Longview landmark that opened in 1937 as the Palm Isle Club. Operated during World War II by the owner of Mattie’s ballroom, another Big Band club of the era. Today features country / Western entertainment year round. Open daily except Monday. Located at Texas 31. 903-753-4440 )

Bubba is faced off with Ed Earl, his third cousin twice removed, in the midst of a whiskey fueled argument over whose momma makes the best fried chicken & taters. Ed Earl takes a swing at Bubba. But what's this? Bubba's second wife Lurlene jumps in and WHAMMY! Slaps the trademark Kerry Von Erich "Iron Claw" on Ed Earl's package!

Ed Earl crumples in defeat, but Bubba recoils in horror!

"Lurlene what have you done? This goes against Deuteronomy 25:11! Ed Earl, when you can stand up again, go fetch yer axe outta the truck toolbox......."


Oh, I cannot breathe.


If Lurlene tried that with me, there is now a 50% chance she would miss!

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