Monday, October 31, 2005

10/31 Final Update

I’m calling it a day. I’m starting to feel the fever more. I’m going to try the protocol my friend, Dr. Dave suggested. I’m doing 600mg of ibuprofen, which I just took. He says this should last me for six hours. Then another 600mg to finish the night off.

I find that having a fever messes with one’s sleep patterns. I get really weird dreams – OK, weirder than normal.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/31/05 8:18 PM | Link

Do We All Carry Cancer?

In reading Steve Schneider’s book, he makes a statement that one theory is; we all have cancer cells in our body. It’s just that in most cases, our immune system keeps them in check. When our immune system gets depressed in some way, the cancer takes off.

One story from the book relates the tragic story of a father that donated a kidney to his daughter. Six months after donating a kidney to his daughter, his daughter was dead.

Upon further investigation, they found that 15 years earlier her father had contracted melanoma, but was later declared to be cured and cancer free. It turns out, there were likely still many cancer cells circulating through his body but his immune system kept them in check. When the kidney was transferred to his daughter it was contaminated with the cancer cells. She quickly contracted the cancer and died.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/31/05 7:51 PM | Link

Three Questions

I finished Steve Schneider’s books, “The Patient From Hell.” It was an excellent read. In his book, Steve says the patient should ask three questions of his doctor about treatment options.

1) What can happen?

2) What are the odds of it happening?

3) How do you know and how can you verify the answers to the previous two questions?

I think it goes without saying; one has to work on one’s interpersonal relations when asking these questions.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/31/05 7:39 PM | Link

You Need a Mate

I’m finding my operating at sub optimal performance levels enlightening. The Vorlon Wife has been my rock. Not only does she follow up on my condition, but when were at a client site last week, she interrupted my training to make sure I didn’t work through lunch.

I don’t know how someone could go through my little rough patch without a “mate.”

I’m reminded of a documentary I recently saw on TV. It interviewed survivors of a WWII Japanese POW/Work Camp. The Japanese latterly worked the prisoners to death as well as providing only the most minimal humanitarian care.

One of the survivors that was being interviewed said that the only hope one had of surviving this hell on earth was if you had a mate. There were many Aussies in the POW camp. He said if you had a mate, you looked after each other. You treated each other’s wounds and did what you could to help each other. If you had no one, you’re chances of survival plummeted.

I thank God daily that I have the Vorlon Wife to fall back on.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/31/05 6:33 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

10/31 Midday Update

Just sitting here, I don’t feel too badly. But when I get up to walk across the room, I feel decidedly worse. I am hoping this low-grade fever will quickly subside.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/31/05 2:48 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

10/31 Morning Update

I woke up this morning with a 100.4 degree temperature. Needless to say, I didn’t feel too well. At 9:00 I went to the oncologist for a blood test.

They were able to give me my test results quite quickly. It seems y red blood cell and platelet counts are right where they should be. My white cell count is a little on the high side. She thought that could be due to my current low grade fever. She told me that if my temperature goes about 101 degrees I should follow up with the office immediately. Apparently they will give me something a little more portent than my current antibiotic.

Although I could be lying down, I just feel like I spend enough time lying around. I felt pretty degraded this morning, but I just finished my lunch and I’m starting to feel better. Yesterday was similar, I felt almost human again about 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Then I quickly went downhill.

It will be interesting to see how I fair today.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/31/05 1:02 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

10/30 Evening Update

For a while this afternoon, I felt pretty good. However, tonight I started to fade fast. The fever is back and I can really feel it – slight chills with muscle aches.

So far, my back has not been complaining too much. In addition, my left rib cage feels somewhat better, although I still cannot sleep on my left side.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/30/05 8:08 PM | Link

10/30 Morning Update

Yesterday the Vorlon Wife and I stopped by a church that was selling pumpkins. I rather liked this photo.

This morning I still have a low-grade fever – 99.1 degrees. I feel a little washed out, but I slept OK. My back pain seems reduced last night and that helps a lot. The nap I took yesterday afternoon reduced my sleepiness at bedtime.

I still have some numbness in my toes and the three fingers on my right hand. Overall, there’s not much to report this morning.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/30/05 7:03 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

10/29 Evening Update

I’m running a little downhill this evening. I cut the grass and faired pretty good. Then, after lunch I started to feel rather tired. I decided to take a nap and slept pretty well. Upon arising, I felt I rather warm. The Vorlon Wife took my temperature and it was 99.7 degrees. She checked again half an hour later and it was 100.1 degrees.

I decided to call the oncologist. I promptly returned my call and I explained my situation. I offered as how I was experiencing no other symptom except the fever. I volunteered that my white cell count was probably compromised. He said with the Neulasta, my white cell count should be good.

He said to take Tylenol for the fever symptoms and then called in a prescription for 500mg tablets of Levaquin. I’m to take one a day for seven days.

While we were scheduled to go to a Halloween party tonight, it looks like the Vorlon Wife will go unescorted. As for me, I plan to sleep a lot. My experience is, when I have a fever, sleep seems to be my best medicine.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/29/05 6:36 PM | Link

10/29 Update

The pain in my back subsided last night and I slept better than I have come to expect. Although my back pain was reduced last night I did experience a little chest pain. I considered going to the ER just to make sure I was OK.

However, it was identical to the chest pain I felt four weeks ago. In that instance I DID go to the ER. They found my heart was fine, but discovered the tumor in my lung. So it was a worthwhile trip. In my PET scans they found a couple of infected lymph nodes in my chest. I’m of the mind the pain is coming from those infected lymph nodes.

In addition, I really didn’t feel like spending the rest of the night in the ER and I don’t thing the Vorlon Wife would have been very enthusiastic either. Her shingles continues to plague her.

On more piece of evidence is m blood clotting factor is down. The chemo knocks it down. I have had a running nose, common for me, and the last day or so, I’m starting to get a little blood when I blow my nose – In know, yuck!

I feel pretty good this morning and plan to cut the grass. It will be a slow grass cutting. But I have found that when it comes to physical effort, frequently the hardest part is just getting started.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/29/05 10:29 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Friday, October 28, 2005

10/28 Evening Update

Not much to report tonight. I still have numbness in my fingers and toes and I’m feeling lethargic. Actually I feel like I could zonk out in a heartbeat. I suspect it’s because I’m just not sleeping well. I am also trying to survive without caffeine. A good cup of coffee would really light my fire right now.

I spoke to my doctor friend about the pain in my back and he insisted I bring it to the attention of my oncologist. I’ll put together a missive tomorrow. Since doctors don’t do email, I type up what I want to report and fax it to the doctor. I figure, if they receive it, they are probably required by law to read it and file it in my folder.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/28/05 7:31 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (5)

10/28 Morning Update

I slept pretty well last night. I put some Aspercreme on my back where it hurts. I woke up about midnight feeling the pain. I put some more Aspercreme on the spot as well as taking a refill of my painkiller. I arranged several pillows to take some pressure off the area. I laid there for about an hour until the pain subsided. Then I return to my normal sleeping position.

When the alarm went off this morning, I got up and walked two miles around the neighborhood. I have been meaning to do that, but today was the first day I actually felt like doing it. I also felt hungry when I awoke.

My back pain is going to take some observation to determine the best course of action. It doesn’t seem to bother me much during the day, but when I lay down to sleep, there it is. It seems to have a diurnal rhythm to it as it hurts least in the early morning. I’m going to try icing it for 20 minutes tonight to see if that helps.

I still have numbness in the fingers and toes.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/28/05 6:34 AM | Link

Thursday, October 27, 2005

10/27 Evening Update

I’m feeling better than the usual tonight. I feel like I’ve been eating everything in sight. I could probably sit down right now and eat some more – but it’s getting late.

I’m about halfway through Schneider’s book. It is very good reading and gives on a lot of food for thought. He recommends becoming as expert in one’s cancer as possible.

I will tell you, I find that hard. It hard to read about something as life threatening as this is. I find I can only do it in small bites. I think the human psyche can only take so much at once. The good news is, as one becomes more used to the data, it makes a little less impact on the psyche each time.

Late this afternoon I stopped by one of my networker’s house. She’s into nutrition and such. She has some herbs she credits with helping her husband recover from melanoma. Partly to humor her, I got some from her. It’s called Hoxey Red Clover. I honestly don’t expect it to help. However, it’s not expensive and what am I really risking?

While I was there, she gave me all her cancer-fighting tips. As I was getting ready to leave, she related as to when her husband and her two grandchildren were driving out of the yard and I guess the pray together as they go places. While I other people have conversations, they apparently pray – or something like that.

She said that when they were deciding what they were going to pray about, her four-year old grandson said, “Let’s pray for Ted.”

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/27/05 8:48 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

12/27 Noon Day Update

I got hungry early today. I went to the local sandwich shop and bought a roast beef sub with American cheese. I ate it about 10:00 am. After eating it, I decided it wasn’t really that great, but I was hungry and can use the calories.

I stated reading “The Patient from Hell.” It staring the dickens out of me. But its information I need to know. I can relate well with the author as he is a technical guy and understands some statistics. I suspect doctors do not. I am hopeful I can get some thing from this book to improve my odds. After all, Failure is not an option.

To the Vorlon Parents, “Thank You” for the heads-up on the book.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/27/05 12:03 PM | Link

10/27 Morning Update

I feel pretty well this morning in spite of a not very good night sleeping. Last night I went through two or three pillow combinations – none of which really got me comfortable. I wound up sleeping with just a regular pillow. I think I’ll try something like Aspercream or a hot pad tonight to see if that is a better solution.

I feel hungry. I stepped on the scale this morning and found my weight has gone done a pound or so.

That concerns me a little. My doctor friend tells me that my regimen raises my basil metabolism and I need to make sure I consume enough calories. I have been trying a vegetarian diet and am finding it hard to pack on the calories as one could with a full turkey diner with apple pie for desert. In addition, when I am on-site with a client, it is more difficult to take a food break.

On a side note, I received a copy of “The Patient from Hell – How I worked with my doctors to get the best of modern medicine and how you can too” by Stephen Schneider, Ph. D. The Vorlon Parents saw him interviewed on TV and emailed their impression. I checked Amazon and, although there were only a half dozen reviews, they were all positive. The book arrived last night, but I have yet to crack it open.

I keep expecting my hair to fall out and I think I’m getting close. I have noticed the last couple of mornings that when I shave, my beard feels like it has grown very little. For me hair loss would signal that at least the munitions they have pumped into my body are having an effect. I expect to suffer through this, but I expect to have the cancer suffer more. I want to close with and kill the enemy.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/27/05 7:06 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

10/26 Evening Update

I survived pretty well today. Four hours on the road and working several hours with the client. Tonight I a little tired. However, I don’t feel too badly. If I can get a good night’s sleep, I should feel pretty well tomorrow.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/26/05 8:40 PM | Link

Return from Away Trip

I recently returned from my one-day away trip to a client for training them. On this trip, the Vorlon Wife flew co-pilot. We took Blue Velvet instead of Dasher-1. Dasher-1 is a stick shift and I just didn’t feel like shifting.

The Vorlon Wife proved to be useful. She was able to help train some of the less complicated parts of Great Plains. There proved to be a slight downside, however.

At one point, I was having a discussion with the client about how we might implement certain procedures. Users always want to duplicate exactly their current procedures, when the new system can frequently change their procedures and streamline what they do.

Therefore, I was discussing what the client wanted to do. My goal was to understand why and put together a solution that fits the client. Part way through this discussion I noticed there was a new participant in this discussion. I’m used to working by myself and it’s just me against the whole team.

I just sort of stood back and thought, “What happened?”

It was an unusual experience.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/26/05 8:26 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

New Tagline

I recently mentioned Apollo 13 near disaster in a recent post. Their motto during that few days they searched for a way to bring the crew back alive was, “Failure is not an Option.”

When I wrote that, I thought about changing my tagline. I’ve had a couple of suggestions to do so.

Look at the top of this blog. You’ll see I have changed my tagline. There is nothing like going public to motivate one to accomplish a goal.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/26/05 8:18 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

10/26 Morning Update

I slept pretty well last night and, as a result, I feel pretty well this morning. Sleep can have very curative powers and I feel it’s working for me.

Most of my chemo effects seem to be gone. I still have some numbness in my toes, but it’s not as bad as it was. The thumb, index and forefinger of might right hand as still pretty number, but me left hand is unaffected. I’m trying different fingers for dial telephones.

I feel well enough to call the oncologist and tell him I’m ready for another treatment. I have been expecting great tribulations with the chemo. Although I have been knocked down, I’m starting to bounce back. My thinking is, if I can take it; why not hit this cancer again.

I consider this war. In war, you suffer as much as you can in the hope that you can make your enemy suffer more. If one wants to close with and kill the enemy, one cannot hesitate just to become a bit more comfortable. In my case, I don’t believe my enemy should be allowed any rest or time to recover. If I can take it, I want to hit the cancer as hard as I can.

I am going to a client site two hours away, so I’ll see how I do. I think I’ll do pretty well, until sometime in the afternoon. I’ll let you know upon my return.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/26/05 6:08 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

10/25 Evening Update

I felt pretty good today until about 15:30. Then I started to fade. I bagged it early at the office. The Vorlon wife and I went to Boscov’s, Wal-Mart and K-Mart to find a foam wedgie to help me sleep tonight. Alas, I was unsuccessful.

It looks like I’m going to do some more experimentation with the Vorlon Wife’s pillow collection – which is sizable. (I could never understand how one woman could need so many pillows, but I digress.) At least this time I’ll have a better idea of where I want to take this design. Maybe I could train myself to sleep standing up. I understand that horses do this all time.

Tomorrow I have scheduled a one-day away trip to a client in Rahway, NJ. Since I’m not sure, I have the stamina for the four hour round trip drive, the Vorlon Wife will be flying co-pilot.

If I start to fade, I’ll put Dasher-1 on autopilot and relinquish control to the Vorlon Wife.

I friend from my networking group related a story about how her husband recovered from melanoma and she attributes it all to organic vegetarianism and herbs. I’m not convinced that organics vegetarianism would help, but I see now reason why it would hurt. I still plan to proceed with my chemo and radiation therapy. Since not everything is known about lung cancer, I’m willing to try unconventional therapies as long as they don’t conflict with my normal treatment.

After all, when it’s “Failure is not an Option”, one leaves no stone unturned.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/25/05 7:59 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (4)

Thank You

To all who have stopped by this meager journal, please accept my thank you. I have received more comments, emails and words of encouragement than I ever expected.

I guess I had better make good or I’ll have many people really upset with me. I won’t let you down. I’m reminded of the phrase they used during the Apollo 13 near disaster, “Failure is not an option.”

Maybe I’ll try that on my oncologist next time I see him.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/25/05 7:53 PM | Link

10/25 Morning Update

I’m feeling a bit better this morning. Last night was tough for a while. I’ve been having trouble sleeping. When I lay down to sleep, I experience some pretty severe back pain. It was pretty bad last night. The pain medication I have doesn’t seem to knock it down very well.

I finally started experimenting with different sleeping configurations. I found that if I used pillows to build a slight ramp for the top part of my body, I had a position that didn’t hurt quite so bad. In fact, once I had found this position, I slept pretty well. Mind you, I was rather constrained to one position, but if I can sleep well there, that’s OK.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/25/05 6:17 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Monday, October 24, 2005

10/24 pm Update

Today was a busy day, doctor wise. This morning I met with an oncologist from the University of Pennsylvania for a second opinion. In the afternoon I met with a neurologist about the tumors in my brain.

The consensus of the two is I should have the radiation therapy on my head. They both feel it is better to do it now while the tumors are very small (less than 1.2cm). I will admit to feeling a bit discouraged at this news, but those who fail to admit reality wind up being bitten by it.

It turns out that chemotherapy treatment is typically once a week or once every three weeks. I am on the three-week rotation. When on the three week rotation, they give you a bigger hit with each treatment versus if you are on a one week rotation.

I asked him how they decided how much to give you. He said it is based on body surface area. The take my weight and height and decided how hard to hit me. I reminded him that calculation assumes everyone has the same percent body fat and that is not an accurate assumption. He just shrugged his shoulders at this and just said that’s what they do.

He confirmed the diagnosis and the treatment. He also confirmed that I am in serious trouble here.

I’m finding that once oncologists get my diagnosis and find our I NEVER smoked, they start asking questions like, did I work around smokers? They seem to have a paradigm that if one gets lung cancer; it MUST have come from cigarette smoke. Although there is some part of me that wonders what caused this, it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is what my best course of action is.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/24/05 5:25 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

10/24 Morning Update

I’m discovering that if I want to feel pretty good, I need to make sure I take enough painkillers. I felt pretty good yesterday, but then started to fade just before bedtime. Once I fall behind in taking Ibuprofen or acetaminophen, it takes several hours before I can build the levels back up to what I need them to be.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/24/05 8:11 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Tonight is much better than last night. Instead of feeling 110 years old, I’m down to about 75 years old. I went for a two-mile walk with the Vorlon Wife this morning and then again before supper. Mind you, it wasn’t a terribly fast walk, but I completed the whole distance.

About midday today, I started to feel pretty bad. My knees hurt, my ankles hurt and my feet hurt. But I regained some composure as the day wore one. I really think one of the helps was coffee. I had a cup of coffee and I think the really helped.

I managed to stave off any nap. I actually even did a smidgeon of work for a client.

I think the Neulasta is the primary cause of my pain. It is supposed to boost my white blood cell count, but has the side effect of bone pain.

Right now my biggest complaint is the numbness in my fingers and toes. I’m going to contact the oncologist and make sure there is nothing going wrong with my toes. They almost feel like they’ve been frost-bitten. I think I’m going to sleep with socks on my feet tonight.

If they haven’t screwed up my appointment, I plan to see another oncologist for a second opinion tomorrow. Then I’m off to see a neurologist to see if those things in my brain are a serious worry or not.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/23/05 7:38 PM | Link

10/23 Morning Update

I feel better this morning than last night. Mornings seem to be best and then I fade as the day wears on. I walked two miles with the Vorlon Wife and didn’t do too badly. My index fingers feel slightly numb. I understand that’s part of the chemo side effects. My feet and toes are experiencing the same sort of sensations.

Some good news is I feel hungry. I take a good appetite is good.

Although I'm suffering, I have read much of Lance Armstrong's travails with his cancer treatment. I’m experiencing a walk in the park compared to what he went through.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/23/05 9:03 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

10/22 Final Update

It’s been a tough chemo day. It rather hurts to move. But I managed to go out and walk two very slow miles. As I expected, after the first quarter mile, I started to improve. I continued to feel better for about an hour after I returned. Now I feel 105 years old again.

The queasiness I felt in my stomach seems at least to have gone and I have a good appetite. An email from a doctor friend advised me that all this increases my basal metabolism. He recommends I eat lots.

I’m hanging it up for the night.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/22/05 8:34 PM | Link

10/22 Noon Update

It seems the chemo is really getting to me again today. Most movement entails some pain and my energy level is pretty low. I’ve tried some Ibuprofen, but that only helps a little.

I’m wondering if some coffee would help.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/22/05 1:33 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

10/22 Morning Update

I feel a little better this morning than yesterday. I’m starting to get some of the expect chemo side effects. I’m experiencing a bit of numbness in my extremities. Not a lot, but some. My tongue feels numb this morning so I expect breakfast to be rather tasteless. However, when I woke up I felt hungry.

My scalp feels somewhat numb too. I guess there should be no surprise there.

I feel like I’ve aged about 30 years in the last 24 hours.

I’m going to the barber this morning for what will likely be my last visit to him for some time. In another week or two, I expect to start losing my hair. I’m going to have him cut it very short. That should reduce the amount of shedding I do.

The Vorlon Wife is still suffering with her shingles. She’s usually feeling pretty well until the medication wears off, then she starts to hurt again.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/22/05 8:13 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Friday, October 21, 2005

The End of the Day

I’m afraid the chemo really got to me today. I thought yesterday would have been bad, but yesterday was a walk in the park by comparison. I am hoping for a better tomorrow.

When I started my treatment, I told my oncologist, that when I go to war I want to go with the biggest weapons at my disposal. I asked him if we were being aggressive enough. He assured me we were being plenty aggressive.

Perhaps I asked for more than I wanted.

When I read about the chemicals they’ve dripped into me, it says if the nurse spills it on her skin she is to wash it off immediately. But for me, they inject it right into my veins. That’s certainly reassuring.

I’ll catch you on the flip side.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/21/05 9:14 PM | Link

An Argument Over Barbecue

Glenn Reynolds over at the Instapundit seems to be having an argument with his readers over what constitutes true barbecue. I recommend you read it through so you can make up your own mind of whether barbecue should be beef or pork or some other meat.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/21/05 1:07 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

This Will be a Down Day

I'm playing hooky today and staying home. All of a sudden I'm feeling really wiped out. I can do much work from home, but I think I'm going to lie down for a while.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/21/05 9:35 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Change of Plans

I am unimpressed with the girl doing the scheduling for the doctor for my second opinion. I called this morning to be sure I had the directions to his office. She informed me it was good I called. The doctor was out sick yesterday and today. She opined that she should have called me – duh. My appointment has now been moved back to 11:00 am Monday morning. At 2:10 pm on Monday, I’m seeing a neurologist.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/21/05 9:09 AM | Link

10/21 Morning Update

I just returned from my two-mile jog. There is no improvement over yesterday. If anything, I felt a smidgeon slower. When I started out, I could feel the fluid between my lung and rib cage squishing around.

However, my rib cage doesn’t have the soreness it once had. Instead, it has a different pain. I had the same pain when they originally drained the fluid, when I was in the hospital. At the end, I thought I could feel my lung rubbing against the rib cage. My doctor had warned me to expect it. It’s not a nasty pain, more of a dull ache.

I will say I feel quite a bit better this morning than I did last night. Last night I was pretty wiped. The Benadryl seems to have finally purged from my system. I no longer have any dizziness.

My energy level is OK. Using the Star Trek scale, I have full impulse power. However, if I need warp drive I might be able to achieve warp 1, but it wouldn’t last long.

One thing I’m having difficulty with in concentration. I’m finding it somewhat difficult to concentrate at work.

Later this morning I’m scheduled to see another oncologist for a second opinion.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/21/05 6:24 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

What They're Feeding Me

I did some looking on the web about the two chemotherapy drugs they're feeding me. They are Taxol and Carboplatin. I found some info on them and here's the side effects of the Taxol. Taxol originally came from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree.

Here's the side effects of the Carboplatin.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/20/05 8:13 PM | Link

The End of Day 1 or is it Day 2?

I felt not too badly most of today. Towards the end of the day, I started to fade and my stomach became a bit queasy. I took one of my Kytrils and that seems to have helped.

I think I’m starting to loose sensitivity in my taste buds, as food doesn’t seem so flavorful. I have been expecting that and will just tuff it out to maintain my nutrition.

The bed is looking pretty good to me tonight. I think I’ll turn in early. Tomorrow I’m scheduled to visit an oncologist from the University of Pennsylvania for a second opinion.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/20/05 7:32 PM | Link

One More Injection

I just returned from the oncologist. I received a 5mg shot of Neulasta (pegfilgrastim). Since the chemo will reduce my white cell count, this is supposed to raise my white cell count. One of the side effects is bone pain. Some 30% of people that take this drug experience bone pain.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/20/05 11:33 AM | Link

A Little Better?

I was pretty wiped yesterday, although towards the end I started to recover. This morning I feel quite a bit better. I still have a bit of dizziness, which I think is left over from the Benadryl. I also have some dry mouth, which I also attribute to the Benadryl. 100mg of Benadryl though an IV is a pretty strong dose.

When I awoke, the morning I had the feeling the fluid on my left lung was reduced. My left rib cage seemed not as sore as before. I approached my jog with some trepidation. Jogging is my test of how I’m doing.

I immediately noticed less discomfort in the left lung when I stated jogging. The last few weeks I have felt like I could feel the fluid moving around as I breathed in and out. This feeling was greatly reduced this morning.

I also noticed that my aerobic capacity seemed a bit better. Experienced joggers will get into a comfortable rhythm of pace and breathing and this morning I got into that. At the end of my two-mile run, I felt like I could have done another mile. I haven’t felt like that in a few weeks.

I feel like there’s an argument going on in my stomach, but I feel hungry. I still have no nausea.

Although this could just be a head fake by the disease, overall I feel better.

UPDATE: I wonder if the apparent reduce fluid could be do the the Benadryl.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/20/05 6:14 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (5)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Vitamin C

A recent article in my Science News indicates that Vitamin C can help cure cancer. But this is only effective if the Vitamin C is taken intravenously. Apparently, the body knocks down the Vitamin C if taken orally.

I’ll ask my oncologist about this.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/19/05 7:47 PM | Link

A Vorlon Wife Update

I have been remiss in not giving an update for the Vorlon Wife’s condition. The rash from her shingles is slowly fading. However the pain persists. She has some medication that helps, but she starts to feel pain again, when it becomes time to refresh her dosage.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/19/05 7:43 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Chemo Update II

I took a nap this afternoon. I slept pretty well. My current condition is, I don't really hurt anywhere, but I do feel wiped. Sitting isn't too bad, but I move at a VERY slow speed. I'll see how I do, when I go jogging tomorrow morning.

So far I am experiencing no nausea.

It’s going to be a very early to bed tonight.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/19/05 7:40 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Chemo Update

If I sit, I feel pretty good. But when I walk, it is VERY slowly. I'm feeling tired. I think I'll take a nap.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/19/05 3:40 PM | Link


I have finished my first chemotherapy session for today. It went pretty well, but I still feel a smidgeon dizzy and rather tired. They gave me a prescription for Kytril – 1mg tablets. This is in case I become nausea. I will need to take them before I start throwing up.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/19/05 2:56 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Good to the Last Drop

The Taxol is done and they just started me on a follow-up chemo drug called Carboplatin. I will be getting 555mg of Carboplatin on this part. It should take about half an hour and I’m done.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/19/05 1:37 PM | Link

Still Dripping

I’m a little over half way through my bag of Taxol. The Benadryl is still affecting me. I still feel somewhat dizzy. I get up slowly and move slowly. But so far, I’m experiencing no nausea.

Time for lunch

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/19/05 12:37 PM | Link

Intravenous Benadryl

I have to stop for a while. The 100mg of intravenous Benadriyl hit me hard. I felt like I just drank a six-pack of beer. I wasn’t sleepy, just dizzy and light headed. That feeling is starting to pass. They have completed the Kytril and Decadron IVs. Now I’m into the main event. They dripping 370mg of the Taxol into my veins. All the rest has been prelude. This is the main event and this is the heavy artillery to go after the cancer cells.

From what I have read, the Taxol fights the cancer.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/19/05 10:54 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Drip, Drip, Drip

They just hooked me up to an IV of 100mg of Tagamet and 50mg of Benadryl. This will take about 10 minutes.

Ahead they have scheduled me for 2mg of Kytril and 10mg of Decadron. This will take about 15 minutes.

After than comes the 370mg of Taxol. The Taxol drip will take place over three hours.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/19/05 9:55 AM | Link

Saddam is About to Get His Comeuppance

I was watching Fox News the morning and they were covering the opening arguments for the Saddam Hussein and his cronies trial. I think this have the potential be as much if not more of a watershed event as recent election. If this trial is seen by most outside observers as fair I think it will have two effects. The world will realize this is a serious Iraqi affair. Broadcasting the trial nearly live on TV is a great move. It add truthfulness to the whole proceedings. The whole world can judge if this is a fair trail or not.

I also suspect they are several Arab leaders dictators are watching very closely. I suspect they are wondering if they are next.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/19/05 9:55 AM | Link

The Battle is at Hand

I have just checked in. They have put an IV in my left arm and drawn blood. This will be sent out to a lab for more thorough analysis.

I spoke briefly with the oncologist. He is puzzled by the items in my brain that show up on the MRI but not on the PET scan. He is going to refer me to a neurologist. It turns out I know the neurologist. He and I used to run together – well sort of. He has natural running ability and I don’t. He could not train for six weeks and still blow my doors off.

I asked the oncologist if he is hitting me hard enough. I told him, that when I go to war, I want to use the biggest nastiest weapons at my disposal. I’m reminded of a military analogy.

When a remote firebase is being attacked and it looks like the enemy is going to overrun the base, then call in artillery fire directly on their own position. The thinking is, the troops are in foxholes and the enemy is standing up. When artillery fire comes it, it will kill the enemy troops at a higher rate than the friendlies. But it is a desperate last ditch tactic.

I sort of feel that’s where I stand.

I’m reading Lance Armstrong’s book, “It’s Not About the Bike.” If you want to read his cancer story, it is intense. I wound up skipping chapters two and three, as they were flashbacks to his childhood days.

Lance went through hell, but he never gave up.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/19/05 9:36 AM | Link

Chemo Day

Today is to be my first day of chemotherapy. I am scheduled to be there at 9:00 am and I am told it will take five hours. But I expect it will take longer. I find the medical profession does not work on a tight schedule.

I set my Palm to wake me up at midnight last night to take 20mg of Dexamethasone. After my jog this morning, I took another 20mg of Dexamethasone. This is supposed to help reduce the side effects of the chemo.

I’ve got my laptop ready to go – although I don’t know if I’ll have access to the internet. I’m also taking a copy of Lance Armstrong’s book and, of course, I’ll have my Palm. I don’t know if I’ll be able to locate myself close to an electrical outlet.

Tomorrow I am scheduled to see another oncologist. This one is from the University of Pennsylvania. He has an office Cherry Hill, which is a lot closer.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/19/05 6:15 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (4)

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Nature of my Problem

X-Ray.jpgAt my last testing place, they foolishly gave me a CD with both my MRI and chest X-ray. It turns out the graphics are stored in some proprietary format. However, they put a viewer on the CD as well as the data. It took me just a couple of minutes to figure out how to run the viewer.

It turns out this viewer is browser based and runs inside my IE. When I was in the hospital and looked over my doctor’s shoulder at my CAT scans, I remember the software there was also browser based.

I don’t have the skill to read the MRI, but the chest X-ray is obvious to even to me.

You can see that my right lung looks great, but my left one looks half gone. My understanding is this is fluid between the lung and my rib cage. Looking at this photo, you can see why my aerobic capacity is restricted.

If you look closely, you may notice I accidentally also captured my cursor in the picture.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/17/05 7:37 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

A Good News Update

Last Friday I went for both an MRI and a PET scan. The PET scan is like a bone scan except it picks up high metabolism (usually tumors) in soft tissues. I had to refrain from any carbohydrates, alcohol or caffeine for 24 hours preceding the test.

Then they injected me with some radioactive glucose about an hour and a half before the scan.

A week ago I had a CAT scan were they saw something in my brain – much to my wife’s surprise. She has always insisted there was never anything there.

However, CAT scans do not show soft tissues well. That why they sent me for the MRI. As soon as the doctor saw the MRI, he immediately scheduled me for the radiation treatment and chemotherapy.

Today I went to the radiation doctor where she laid out the expected side effects and how long the treatment would be. They expect to zap me every day for 14 days – skipping weekends. I scheduled to start on Thursday.

Later, at home, she called and said she just got the results from the PET scan. The brain tumors did not show up on the PET scan. That means they are dormant. They may have been there for years. I have no dizziness or headaches. She cancelled my radiation treatment and said she wants another MRI in three months.

I’m still on for the chemo on Wednesday. Now I may see a little light at the end of the tunnel and it may not be another train.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/17/05 4:49 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Condition Update

I find myself envying people that are obviously healthy. This is particularly true watching TV. TV promotes only healthy people, but I don’t think I’d want to watch a bunch of unhealthy one either.

I find myself still in a bit of disbelief. In the back of my mind, I wonder if they’re going to discover they’ve made a mistake. I expect that’s a normal reaction to my circumstances. But I have seen my chest X-ray and the lower half of the left lung is obscured by the fluid.

In church this morning, I announced my recent diagnosis. It’s a very small church, but to their credit, they are extremely supportive.

This is all a bit of a disappointment.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/16/05 7:46 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Backyard Photoblogging

Here is my back yard. It finally stopped raining and the sun came out. I went out; cut the grass and the hedge. I thought I’d record the results for posterity. As you can see, the leaves are just starting to turn color.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/16/05 6:57 PM | Link

Friday, October 14, 2005

Return to Base

I have returned from my trip to North Jersey. I accumulated quite a few of billable hours, which was the goal in the first place. Unfortunately I had to cut the mission short. This morning I showed up for a PET scan and then an MRI.

This afternoon the doctor called as asked me to come into his office. It seems the MRI found a few tumors in my brain. Sigh. He has immediately scheduled me for radiation therapy on Monday and I will start Chemotherapy on Wednesday.

I ordered a laptop from Dell - a Latitude D610. I'm typing on it now. I lit it up and it found a wireless network. someone in the neighborhood is running an unsecured network. That's a no-no, but I'll take advantage of it until I get my wireless router connected.

The Chemo takes five hours and I will go every three weeks. At least with the laptop I will have something to keep me occupied. I plan on subscribing to Verizon's wireless internet service.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/14/05 7:47 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (4)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Away Mission

I'm on a weeklong away mission. Dasher-1 is fueled with tire pressures checked and ready to go. I'm packed and ready.

My only fly in the ointment is, medical. I need to co-ordinate with physicians. I’m not sure how all this is going to work out, but I’ll figure it out somehow.

I did speak briefly with the oncologist and he said the cytology report came back and said it is a non-small cell adeno carcinoma. From what I am able to assemble, small cell is worse that non-small cell.

Shoot, it should be all downhill from hear. I'll catch you on the flip side.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/10/05 3:02 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Saturday, October 8, 2005

I'm Back

I have been out of action since Tuesday October 4. For about two months, I have been experiencing soreness in my left rib cage as if someone had beaten me up. In addition, I have experience a reduced aerobic capacity on my daily morning jogs. On Tuesday, I was experiencing some chest pain and reluctantly drove to the local emergency room.

They did there thing, but thought my cardiac function looked good. However, their X-rays showed there was a good bit of fluid between my left lung and the rib cage. The admitted me for additional tests. Since that time I have been X-Rayed multiple times, had nearly a quart of fluid removed from the space between my lung and the rib cage, been CAT scanned three times, had a bone scan and a pulmonary test.

Their diagnosis is that I have a tumor in my left lung. It is inoperable, but not all the tests are completed. The fluid that was removed from my lung area has gone to a special lab for detail testing. In addition, the want to do a PED scan and that has yet to be scheduled.

I just returned from the hospital this afternoon. It’s been all a bit surreal.

I’ll update as I get more data to relate.

This should make for some good blogging material.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/08/05 3:34 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

How to Spend the Afternoon

This is the way to spend an afternoon. Lying in the grass looking up at the canopy of leaves overhead. In this case, I was just walking around my back yard, looking for some viewpoint from which to shoot. I’m frequently of the mindset that there are plenty of things to photograph in one’s own back yard. I’m just not sure I’m proving it.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/04/05 8:29 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Monday, October 3, 2005

Bush's Pick - Harriet Miers

President Bush has just nominated Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the SCOTUS. Many conservatives are VERY unhappy.

For my take, I just don’t know. Fred Barnes on Fox News tonight made a good point. All of Bush’s prior appointments to the bench have been solid conservatives. Bush has long said he wants a solid conservative on SCOTUS. He has known this woman for some 20 years.

I don’t know if she is a solid conservative, but Bush should certainly know. On that, I base my opinion that she is OK until proven otherwise.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/03/05 8:12 PM | Link

The Summer is Over

This is a close-up of the Vorlon Wife’s Dogwoods. As you can see, the “berries” are turning red. The squirrels have not yet devoured them. You can also see the leaves are starting to turn color. I’m pretty sure the white buds you can see are buds for next spring’s flowers.

Alas, I fear the summer is about over.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/03/05 8:22 AM | Link

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Is a Hybrid Car Worth Buying

Here's an interesting post that confirms my own suspicion. Buying a hybrid car is NOT a good investment.

White first looked at trading in his Subaru for a Prius, and found that at roughly $3 per gallon for gas, he wouldn’t recover his financing costs. Joe figured that at his annual mileage, he’d save about $746 a year in fuel costs, but it would take too long to recover the premium he’d pay for the hybrid.

Next he looked at the hypothetical situation of someone without a car looking to buy either a Honda Civic or the Prius. In this case, the fuel savings were roughly $506 per year, versus a purchase price difference of about $8,000. Without even considering cost-of-money issues, it would take nearly 16 years just to break even.

With the current tax deduction of $2,000 converting to a $2,000 tax credit January 1, which decreases every year thereafter, the government subsidies don’t make the switch economically feasible, either.

The bottom line? Unless gas prices go a lot higher, or the government increases hybrid subsidies, or both, buying a hybrid probably won’t save you money.

Posted by The Vorlon on 10/02/05 6:46 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)