Monday, June 29th

Me setting on the couch, watching Jeopardy at 7:09 PM on June 29th, 2015
Me setting on the couch, watching Jeopardy at 7:09 PM on June 29th, 2015

So – this was not a very eventful weekend. Methotrexate made me very sleepy most of the weekend, and I am not feeling hunger still – so I am forcing myself to eat at normal meal times, and eating until I would normally be full. Yay!

Decided not to take a laxative, as I had bowel movements, so that is pleasant – well, as pleasant as that can be.

I took a three hour nap on Friday because of the methotrexate, which was a nice little nap. Had orange jello after the nap, because orange is one of the best flavors of jello (Green is great). When I was not sleeping or watching TV, I was playing video games (Crusader Kings II, as of late) on my Microsoft Surface Pro 3. So, haven’t looked up much about vacations in the past few days – due to a combination of tiredness and wanting to wait until airfare is available (usually 330 days before the flight) – so I have to wait until August at the earliest, darn.

My Ask Me Anything on reddit is going interestingly (See my last blog post for information on it) – I’ve had a lot of cool questions asked (and I have answered them).

Still wasn’t hungry this weekend – guess it is the methotrexate? Or today really. So I forced myself to eat a poppy seed roll for lunch and had a slice of white pizza for dinner. It was tasty.

So, on Wednesday I see my oncologist in NYC – he should be able to tell me how I am doing and when I get off the horrible Prednisone (which was rather difficult to take on Sunday, it didn’t go down the first time. Eugh.) and how the methotrexate is doing. Hopefully, all is well, and he can tell me how much longer i’ll be doing the methotreaxate for (I am guessing 5-11 more months, if it is working) along with answering some questions I have.

So, faithful blog readers, if you have any questions for me or anything – just post them in the comments section of a blog post, and I will reply.

Wednesday, June 24th

Here I am, sitting on the couch, on Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 at 3:40 PM - a bit before heading out to my oncologist.
Here I am, sitting on the couch, on Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 at 3:40 PM – a bit before heading out to my oncologist.

So, not much the last few days. Been sitting on the couch like usual. Heading to my local oncologist in a bit, so that should add some meat to this update.

So, just got done with my local oncologist. He likes what he is seeing in the blood work. My WBC (White Blood Cell) count is now within the normal range, which means that at the least, the prednisone is working. Yay! Red blood cell count is the same as last time, which is good. No toxicity is being seen, another good sign. Spleen status: Can’t really tell, I am too ticklish – but it should start to shrink in the coming weeks. Then, I will be able to get back on my desktop computer, rather than using my tablet and phone for my gaming and computer needs. I haven’t been on my desktop since April/May.

Tonight for dinner I had a Salami & Cheese sub. It was pretty good. Tomorrow, barring anything happening tonight, I will take laxatives again. Yay! Tomorrow evening, I have posted AMA on Reddit where you can, as the acronym implies, you can Ask Me Anything. Also, hello redditors reading my blog for the first time!

People were asking me about some pictures I mentioned that my NYC oncologist gave us (my parents and I) on May 18th, when we got the diagnosis. Here they are! Enjoy the drawing skills of a doctor, who drew them with his special markers!

Here's the first picture.
Here’s the first picture.

Here's the second. Yay! Doctor Handwriting!
Here’s the second. Yay! Doctor Handwriting!

Monday, June 22

Good morning!
Good morning! It’s June 22nd and I woke up like 40 minutes before taking this.

So, it’s Monday. Yay! Good morning everyone (I started to type this at 9:45 AM, in case I get tired later in the day)! I have three pills of Prednisone left after today’s dose, so I’ll be calling my NYC oncologist later for a schedule to wean off this stuff. I took the methotrexate on Friday, and it made me tired for the entire weekend. We’ll see if I am still tired today – which, at least, is a sign it is working (I hope).

So, Saturday I went to my aunt’s house about an hour and a half away – one of my cousin’s graduated with her Master’s in Speech Pathology, and she is going to be teaching English to preschoolers in Colombia for the next year. She leaves on July 25th for a year in Colombia. Most of the time, I was either stretched out on their couch or sitting at the table in their open-concept kitchen/living room (One thing about lying on the couch since April? My mom loves those HGTV shows. I overhear a lot of them.). Heard a lot of interesting stories and other things. For example, my step-grandfather eats peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches. While we were all making noises of revulsion at his statement, he kept going “What? The mayo makes it nice and creamy! It tastes great!” Obviously, none of us believe his claims, because, ew – just no. We eventually left around 8 PM and got home by 9:30 PM – it was a fun time.

On Sunday, I felt hungry for the first time in a while, so I my dad offered to get me something for breakfast, despite it being father’s day – he got me an egg & cheese sandwich on a hard roll from the local bagel place. For Father’s Day, we got him two gifts: a subscription to a wine-of-the-month club that we’ve been getting for him for the last two years, because he loves red wine (and it lowers his blood sugar, as he is a diabetic) and we also got him a gift card to get a massage at one of those massage chains. He liked his gifts, so yay. My mom, with a little help from my brother, helped to prepare the Father’s Day dinner – Rib Eye steaks with some compound butter, baked potato, and green beans. Obviously, my stomach is not adventurous to try that, so I have a baked potato with cheese and butter as a side to my homemade cheesesteak sandwich – it was rather delicious, and I got to integrate some delicious meat back into my diet.

I talked to my dad a bit more about a remission vacation this weekend – he said that if I am in remission my next May or so, he talk to his boss and see if he can get the last week of June off, plus a bit around the Fourth of July, then we can vacation at a decent part. He told me a few things about his requirements for going on vacation:
1. No going to Hawaii, because “what, we’ve been there twice. I am never going back.” (He went twice with my mother before either me or my brother were born)
2. No going to Alaska on a cruise, because “We have to fly to Seattle, then take an expensive cruise to Alaska. That’s too much money!”
3. “If we go somewhere out west that isn’t the west coast, I am going to Yellowstone, because I have always wanted to go there!” (Of course, he doesn’t think about what my mom or I would be able to do, as neither of us can walk that far, even with frequent breaks).
4. San Francisco is “a pretty cool place.”
5. Seattle is “a nice place.”
6. Europe “would be cool, but only if we could fly there for under $500 a person.”

So, currently I am thinking one of the following destinations:
1. Las Vegas
2. San Francisco
2. Seattle
4. Reykjavik, Iceland (As it is pretty much Europe) – but my mom doesn’t feel comfortable going outside of the country so soon after chemo, so that is probably out.

So, now it is 9:55 AM, and I haven’t exactly had a Monday yet, so i’ll stop the update here, because I need to eat breakfast.

Okay. Now it is 6:40 PM – and I have experienced most of my Monday :P. So, I ate breakfast (Some organic chocolate chip waffles from Whole Foods, delicious) and then took my prednisone 40 minutes after that. Called the oncologist’s office and waited a while to get a phone call back – turns out they want to extend my prednisone by 10 days. That sucks. Had a Salami & Cheese sandwich for lunch and a slice of white pizza (no sauce, just cheese & and more cheese, for the pizza uninitiated) with a few pieces of pepperoni for dinner. A bit less tired today, yay. So I guess the methotrexate just makes me sleepy Friday through Sunday!

On Wednesday, I go see my local oncologist for another checkup – so i’ll see you guys again on Wednesday with an update on how I am doing.

Now that you are done with the most recent update here – go check out the blog of my friend from high school, Greg Caggiano, over at [url=]Reel to Real[/url] – where he covers topics ranging from movies, history, sports, paranormal investigations, and food.

Wednesday, June 17th

Me, after dinner, on Wednesday, June 17th. I sure look tired, don't I?
Me, after dinner, on Wednesday, June 17th. I sure look tired, don’t I?

So, today and Tuesday have been relatively uneventful – word to the wise, though: if you are on chemo and require an OTC laxative, take the dose recommended on the bottle, not however little you think you need. I took one pill yesterday and learned that that is not exactly effective, so I had to take the proper dose this morning. Yay. It started to take effect, very enthusiastically, in under two hours. Luckily, I had a respite to take my prednisone – never thought I would think that thought. Other than that, chemo is going decently, still not feeling that hungry, though – so I am just making myself eat every few hours to try to stabilize my weight.

So, with a vacation after chemo, my dad doesn’t want to go to Vegas, because “he saw everything last time we went and so we’d just gamble the whole time.” So he would rather go somewhere “interesting” – which to him, can be many things, rather arbitrary how he considers something interesting. I’m thinking that since we would travel August 2016, the Southern US would be a very bad idea – too humid.

For domestic travel, I think the west coast or something in the western US would have the most hospitable climate. Or an Alaskan cruise – but my dad loathes the idea of taking one because of things he heard in the 70s/80s and depictions of them in media (fiction and non-fiction). In terms of international destinations, I have never left the US, so I could go anywhere, price permitting, as my father can be quite frugal – when we went to Vegas in 2012, he complained practically the entire time at how expensive it was (I had managed to find a package deal for flight & hotel for $2800 for all four of us – and we stayed in a casino, too!).

So, given his previous behavior, he will complain about any cost – the thing is finding his true price ceiling so I can start dreaming about a possible trip. I am guessing it is somewhere around $4000 for flight & hotel (or cruise, whatever). Some people I know online say I should make one of those crowd funding pages for a vacation – not to pay for the whole thing, obviously, but supplement my parent’s budget a bit – maybe go to a really great place for dinner or something. Thoughts on both vacation destinations and starting a crowd funding thing? I await your comments!

Monday Update

Sorry for the darkness - it's me at 10 PM at night, June 15th, 2015, on the couch.
Sorry for the darkness – it’s me at 10 PM at night, June 15th, 2015, on the couch.

So, how have I been? Had my ups and downs the past few days – had a Holter (a 24 hour heart monitor) from Thursday to Friday afternoon. I will get the results from that later. To stay on subject, saw my new heart doctor today – first visit and I am a “very interesting” patient. Yay? After a quick visit, he determined that my heart is stable, other than the PVCs, of course – and he wants to see me in three months for a follow-up. His scale clocked me at 103 lbs, for those interested.

This weekend was interesting. On Friday, I was not hungry all day – same with Saturday and part of Sunday, so I just forced myself to eat (without incident, didn’t even need any Zofran this weekend!), which wasn’t too bad. Took a nap on Sunday and my mom baked peanut butter cookies, which are just delicious. So, i’ll post an update on Wednesday, but all is pretty okay with me right now.

Almost to two weeks of chemo & Blog Update

Picture of me, Thursday June 11th, 2012
Picture of me, Thursday June 11th, 2012

So, went to the oncologist today for a follow up – he wants me to stop the metoclopramide because he doesn’t like that medication. Going to have all of my blood work back tomorrow. Going to the hospital tomorrow to get a 24-hour Holter (It’s a little box with a EKG inside that I wear for a day. Yay!). One of my aunts will be driving me and my mom there.

One thing I have started to think about: Cancer sucks, but don’t dwell on the present, even when chemo makes you feel not yourself. So my solution? I am thinking of going on vacation with my parents & my brother after I am done with chemo. Any suggestions in the US to go to? I have been to the following destinations: Lancaster PA & Pittsburgh PA/Hershey Park, Williamsburg VA & Washington D.C., Lake George NY, and Las Vegas (Flew there, was sick the whole time, so it doesn’t *really* count as a vacation). So most likely, we’ll pay for it through a combination of rewards points (Yay, amazon credit card!) along with money saved up – unless I give it to requests from people I know online and start a fundraiser, which I would most likely use for spending cash/cash to eat food at good places when on vacation (or one *really* nice meal) – because enough money to fund a vacation might be a bit excessive from the internet, in my opinion.

So, with the blog – I think the updates will be more satisfying if I update the blog 2-3 times a week (Monday & Wednesday, or MWF?). What do you guys think?

On the 13th Day of Chemo…

…I took a laxative. It was very… cleansing, to say the least. Had multiple bowel movements today, yay!

So enough about feces. Today was a decent day – took a 1.5-2 hour nap, which was nice. Ate some microwaved mashed potatoes for dinner. Seeing my oncologist tomorrow for an update, so tomorrow’s post should have a bit more meat to it – probably not much, just an update on how the chemo is going so far.

Chemo, Day 12

Today is a decent day. Talked to the oncologist’s office about some things today – they prescribed prescription prevacid for the acid reflux and also told me to start taking a laxative to help cleanse my system – i’ll start that tomorrow. Haven’t taken a laxative in quite a few years, last time it was… interesting. At least it’ll make things flow! Took an hour nap today, which was nice. I scheduled an appointment for the 24 hour home EKG my cardiac electrophysiologist ordered, my aunt will be driving my mom and I to the hospital that does them on Thursday. Yay! Goooo awesome aunt!

Chemo, Day 11

Today was an okay day. Prednisone went down alright. Sat on the couch most of the day watching TV with my mom – had Ramen for lunch (No flavor packet, cooked in chicken broth) and roasted potatoes (Olive Oil & Salt only) with some white rice (with a small bit of butter) for dinner. Yay nausea-prevention diet! Helped set up my old tablet for my dad so he can work from home when he isn’t actually at home (aka my oncologist’s office, or his heart guy).

Had to take both the antacid and Zofran today. But they both kicked in nice and quick, which I greatly approve of.

Need to call the oncologist’s nurse tomorrow and discuss a few things – namely insurance getting all prissy about paying for more Zofran (They need a special form outside of the regular medication approval form filled out for patients undergoing chemotherapy), the bout of constipation on Friday, and some general questions about the antacid.

Anyone got questions? I’m happy to answer them. Either post a comment here or shoot me an email @ IGotCancerBlog at gmail dot com (Have to type it like this or else the spam bots will get me. Evil Nigerian Princes!).

Day 10 of chemo

Hm. It’s already been 10 days? That was quick! 20 days until I wean off the prednisone, yay! I ate a nice baked potato for dinner that my mom made. Yay! Potato. Eating the skin helps to reduce constipation. Yay for reducing constipation!

So, usual symptoms, fatigue, bit of nausea, the usual. Insurance is refusing to fill more than 12 Zofran a month, so I get to call the oncologist on Monday and have them send in yet another form to insurance. Yay!

Until next time…