Stage 1 Complete

chemo-certFirst stage is finally over: 6 months to the day when I was told I had this crap.

12 rounds of Chemo completed, about 5 gallons of chemo consumed altogether. A combined 24 days of having a small pump strapped to my waist.

Next phase: a brief (6-week) period of healing, and we’ll see what the MRI scan has to say about things on the 19th… so it might be a while before you hear from me again, as I make every effort to be outside, enjoying the Spring, and repairing myself.

Brother Billy and family will be here from Chicago tomorrow to kick off the next part of my journey; wonderful pork and smoke-related projects are in store.

All of the healing powers i can get are needed now that the chemo is absent; i’m not taking a break from the war, it’s going to step up now.

Be good to yourselves and to your loved ones; please get out for a walk when you can. See you here in about a month with updates. Stay Strong, it’s a beautiful time of year!

Hold Up, Hold Up

To embrace life one must also fully embrace the prospect of death; over the past 6 months I’ve had plenty of time to ponder this, mostly in the chemo clinic during infusions.

Tomorrow is the last appointment of its kind that’s been scheduled; and I’m looking forward to not thinking so much about those things, while still focusing on rebel cell death within my own liver… such a dichotomy of intentions and feelings this affliction offers. It’s definitely not for the weak-minded.

Hit it, Snoop!

Hold up, hold up
I bet you thinking that we dead
Hold up, hold up
I have this bullet in my head
Hold up, hold up
Mama what’s them words you said?
Hold up, hold up
Why you make us think you’re dead?

Oh they, oh they think we dead
Oh they, oh they think we dead
Oh they, oh they think we dead
Oh they, oh they think we dead
Oh they, oh they think we dead
Oh they, oh they think we dead

Hold up, hold up
Me and Dilla ’bout to blow some trees 
Hold up, pass to Austin and to Freddie Mercury
Don’t need nobody, we bouncin’ on that Astral Plane
Hold up, hold up
I think I just forgot my name
(That’s cause you’re dead)

Nickel plated nine
Bang bang blow your mind
Beep beep flatline
Gotta get yours, I been had mine
Hold my hand, laying in the bed
Family crying, they think he dead
No jokes no hoax
Felt his palm, he had no pulse
Could’ve been the drank, it might’ve been the smoke
In light of all that he was considered dope
And now I’m left to keep you strong
And I kept you Flying Lotus and I step too
You can’t run, just gonna get you
I was live when I met you
Now this seems to upset you
This what the shit gon’ get you: Death

Can we have your liver, then

Met with my liver surgeon this morning and got both a better look at what’s ahead and a big ole dose of uncertainty as well as we move out of the chemo phase.  While the recent CT scan showed more progress, it shows that the increased chemo has not shrunk the tumors quite as much as the initial round of chemo did; and while the one tumor has indeed moved off the main blood vessel going thru my liver, it’s still too close to it.  And we compared the initial pre-treatment CT scan with the current scan, it was crazy to see just how much of my liver was cancerous before all this – my oncologist told me I had about 8-9 months left here on this planet, had I not sought treatment; now I believe him.

So I need to get a better scan, an MRI scan, which will provide a clearer picture and help with making a decision on what to do next: as my surgeon is not on an island professionally, he has a panel of like-minded surgeons off of which to bounce options once we get this new MRI done (April 4th).

One option might be surgery, if the new MRI shows there’s enough tumors that have shrunk to a manageable size. This will mean, to be safe, that there will be 2 procedures: one to redirect the blood vessels away from the larger part of the liver with most of the tumors and allow a smaller, save-able section (like a third of what I have now) to try and grow and support my system, in which case then there’ll be another procedure to take out most of the liver with the tumors in it without fear of liver failure. This obviously means, in the long-term, my days of enjoying my own homebrewed beer might be over, or at least heavily restricted. A year ago I would have met this news with unfathomable sadness….. but I’ve been slowly weaning myself off of alcohol pretty much since this whole thing started, so now I have priorities in place.

Second option is that there might be too many small tumors to operate; in which case I’ll go up to Memorial Sloan-Kettering in NY to have a small chemo (or radiation) pump installed in me that will target my liver exclusively in an attempt to shrink down the tumors without immediately having major surgery. Right now these are just 2 options; more might crop up as the MRI is reviewed.

So the journey continues and is fraught with uncertainty; that’s how cancer is, I’ve discovered. I can only focus on what I can do to help, which is continue to be positive and receptive of all the energy and prayers I can get. I’m stepping up my psionic warfare with this crap, so please forgive me if I look like a wild-eyed maniac if you happen to bump into me.

Also forgive my sense of humor about this; I have to keep laughing at this in order not to lose perspective. This isn’t my predicament but it’s still funny……… to me anyhow. I loves me some Monty Python, can’t help it.

I love you guys. Please keep me in your thoughts, I need them now more than ever. It’s all for the good of the country.

I love springtime

I had a post queued up for my 11th chemo treatment yesterday and I just couldn’t post it, it had too much negativity in it. On the contrary, I’m feeling abnormally strong today and it’s because good friends are visiting this weekend; I always get extra energy from that.

Added to this, my visit with my oncologist over my recent CT scan was all positive and he reassured me the stuff i was worried about is from the extra chemo treatment so they shouldn’t be issues.

Also added to this, my chemo load came down to about half what I was expecting, so my side-effects are much reduced, also in part because it appears Springtime is on its way, it’s been in the low 70s for a few days now and among other things, my fingers are less cold-sensitive now which is a relief. Overall I haven’t felt this normal in a while… and I still have my chemo pump on!

Couple of things I can report on now that I’ve seen my actual CT scan:

  • the tumor that was sitting on my blood vessel going thru my liver has not only shrunk and calcified, but has moved away from the artery (or vein, not sure which).  Which means I probably can get at least some of my left half of my liver back, instead of lopping the whole thing off.
  • I’ve been told there will be no chemo after surgery, which will happen in mid-May.

Planning on keeping the high energy humming around here as things wake up from winter. Thank you for your prayers and positive energy today. I’m seeing the end game now and am excited about it, hope you are too.

CT Updates

“Friends seen and unseen, to you that are riding along in your automobile, to you that are sitting at your table I greet you with the holy word PEACE. For in my infinite mind I thinks constructively; for your minds are my mind and my mind is your mind and i’m sending out my Christ mind to you, you and you. And I’m able to draw whatsoever I want into my immediate surrounding.

“But I’m saying to you right now, let the spirit in me be in you, yes on last night the spirit told me to tell you, the spirit told me to tell you to say these words: I am what I am. Now repeat this behind me: I am what I am. And that’s all I am, and I am It. It makes no difference who you are, or what you’re doing, what you’re trying to do or want to do, repeat these words: I am what I am, and that is all I am, is what I am. Look, that’s all I am, is what I am. And I am IT….

“You got to remain to being yourself, you can not be nobody else, in any use, or trying to being no whirlwind, and jumping here and playing checkers your own life, that ain’t gonna work, baby. Now repeat these words behind me: I am what I am. Now that’s all you are. You are what you believe you are…”

— Prophet Omega

Got a new CT scan on Monday, already got the report back. I don’t speak Doctor so some of this is gibberish but I intend to get my oncologist to explain it to me when I see him next Wednesday.

Here’s what it says, with my comments:

CT Chest with IV Contrast
CT Abdomen and Pelvis with IV Contrast

Comparison: 12/8/2015

Indication: C18.9 Malignant neoplasm of colon, unspecified, staging

Technique: CT imaging was performed of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis following the uncomplicated administration of intravenous contrast (Isovue-300, 150 mL at 3 mL/sec). Iodinated contrast was used due to the indications for the examination, to improve disease detection and to further define anatomy. The most recent serum creatinine is 0.8 mg/dL.
3-D maximal intensity projection (MIP) reconstructions of the chest were performed to potentially increase study sensitivity. Coronal images were also generated and reviewed.

Findings:
Chest:
There is a right chest wall port with the tip noted in the right atrium. The central right IJ is narrowed (series 4, image 13). There is a standard 4 vessel arch. The thoracic aorta, main pulmonary artery, and heart are normal in size. There is no pericardial effusion. There is no hiatal hernia.

There is no adenopathy within the thorax.

The previously seen pulmonary embolus is not identified although the exam was not tailored to evaluate the pulmonary vasculature.

There is no endobronchial lesion. As noted on the prior there are several tiny nodules noted along the right minor fissure. A tiny calcified nodule within the right lower lobe is unchanged. There is no malignant effusion.

Nice to see the blood clots have gone away in the lungs. Tiny nodules? In my lungs? Didn’t know those existed before. Wonder if they’ll address that during the surgery.

Abdomen and pelvis:
The liver has multifocal lesions most of which are calcified the overall size and distribution of the lesions is unchanged subcentimeter lesion on the border of hepatic segment 8/7 which is less conspicuous. Some of the lesions also appear to be subcapsular. One of the dominant lesions within hepatic segment 2 measures 2.5 x 4.5 cm, previously 3.3 x 5.9 cm (series 4, image 54). A lesion along the capsule of hepatic segment 6 (series 4, image 65) is slightly more conspicuous.

The spleen is enlarged, but unchanged. The adrenal glands pancreas and kidneys are normal. There is no hydronephrosis.

The gallbladder is distended.

Most of the lesions have calcified, that’s nice to see, though I would have liked to see them shrink more than they did. Nice shrinkage in segment 2, woo hoo!

Ugh, looks like I have to address the gallbladder now. Could be gallstones or perhaps a polyp blocking things.

No hiatal hernia. The stomach contains a small amount of fluid. The bowel is normal in caliber without focal wall thickening. The appendix and terminal ileum is normal. The previously noted short segment of focal wall thickening of the distal sigmoid colon is not as conspicuous. There is an unchanged calcified lymph node within the pericardial colonic fat (series
4, image 109).

Did not know about the calcified lymph node before.

There is no new pelvic adenopathy. As noted before there are tiny small subcentimeter lymph nodes (series 4, image 99). There is no retroperitoneal adenopathy.

The abdominal vasculature is patent with a normal sized infrarenal abdominal aorta.

The bladder is normal. The prostate is enlarged in the transverse dimension.

No aggressive bone lesions.

Prostate enlargement no likey. No aggressive bone lesions? I don’t want to hear about ANY bone lesions.

Impression:

1. Interval decrease in size of multifocal hepatic metastasis.
2. Stable tiny retroperitoneal lymph nodes and a calcified lymph node adjacent to the sigmoid colon, attention on follow up.
3. The perviously seen focal sigmoid colonic wall thickening has resolved.
4. The previously noted right lung pulmonary embolus is not seen.

Overall I sense improvements, the impressions seem to be generally positive. Though I didn’t know about some of these other things, perhaps they were not discussed because they’re effects of the chemo and they don’t impact what I’m supposed to be doing? Hopefully I’ll get more answers and that they’re treatable when my surgeons go in for surgery.

How am I feeling: generally good, i’m a week in between the chemo sessions and last week’s was the last one with the entire bunch of chemo being thrown at me, so they will start taking some of this stuff off now. I have some peripheral neuropathy, my fingers and toes tingle a little all the time now. Some bleeding when I blow my nose but that’s been going on since December. Saturdays right after chemo seem to be my ‘crappy day’ now, I get fatigued and need to be a zombie sometimes. Other than that, I’m good. Looking forward to more explanations next week, will share what I find out.

I’m just happy that the pileup of chemo is over, and I can manage the last 2 sessions this month. 10 down, 2 to go!!

Thanks for the continued energy. Keep walking, it’s getting warmer out there!