I find that I go through good and low points throughout the day. I was rather dragging earlier today, but now Iâ€™m feeling better. Part of the chemo seems to be some back pain, which is now manifesting itself. Itâ€™s an irritant, but I donâ€™t think it will interrupt my sleep. If it does, Iâ€™m ready with the ibuprophen.
The Vorlon Wife and I rented Batman Begins tonight. Good movie. I particularly like the Batmobile. Iâ€™d really like to have one of those. It appears to be more powerful than an Abrams M1A2 tank.
Intermittently Iâ€™ve been having a debate the Deanâ€™s World blog about changing the definition of marriage. So far, I think Iâ€™m ahead on points, but weâ€™ll see if they can stump me. Iâ€™ll know Iâ€™ve won if they start calling me names. I rather expect that not to happen. Most of the people that read this blog are pretty well behaved.
Iâ€™m heading off to bed. Iâ€™m not getting any prettier and I need all beauty sleep I can get. The New Year will come in with me, hopefully, in a deep slumber.
Iâ€™ll see you tomorrow.
I slept quite well last night and Iâ€™m doing quite well this morning. My weight is back at 157 Lbs â€“ right where it was as I entered this chemo cycle.
Iâ€™m a little frustrated in that I seemed to have plateaued at six pushups. No matter, each day I will continue to try.
The weather this morning is 33 degrees with an overcast sky.
Iâ€™m feeling pretty good tonight. I plan to get to bed early and get a good nightâ€™s sleep.
I just returned from my CBC test this afternoon. They mainly look at my white and red cell counts. They were both within normal operating parameters.
The nurse, his name is Eric, that took my blood had a little trouble. I warned him that I have small veins and he was going to have some difficulty getting a good shot. He expressed confidence it would be no problem.
Well, he went into my right arm in the usual place inside my elbow. He missed. He was most puzzled by this. He taped up that spot and went for a vein on the back of my hand. He said it would hurt more. Itâ€™s didnâ€™t hurt much at all. But I waited about five seconds after he stuck the needle in and then bellowed in protest.
I took it with good nature and responded, â€œA delayed reaction.â€
I consider part of my job, as a patient to keep the medical professionals on their toes.
One problem with going to the oncologist is all the sick people one sees. It certainly doesnâ€™t do much for oneâ€™s outlook. While in the waiting room today, I saw a lady that was bald. She looked extremely tired and way too skinny. She looked like she felt like crap. On my worst day, I donâ€™t think I have felt as badly as she looked. I felt sorry for her.
I find Iâ€™m doing better today. The coffee this morning was a big help. My energy level is good. Iâ€™m scheduled to stop by the oncologist this afternoon for them take a blood sample. They do this about 10 days after my chemo treatment to make sure certain blood counts are within acceptable limits. In the past these have always come out fine and I see no reason why this one should be any different.
During my five minute barbecuing last night I come up with a new image in my mind. Skin is translucent. Since the parasite has penetrated the surface of the lung I figure the parasite can â€œseeâ€ the light from the tanning bulbs.
In my mind I liken the parasite to a vampire that finds himself outdoors in the open as the sun comes up. In most movies, the vampire fries and evaporated. Thatâ€™s what my mind sees going on with the parasite in my lung I picture the rays burning the parasite until it vaporizes from my body.
Hey, you live in your reality and Iâ€™ll live in mine.
There is nothing much to report his morning. Iâ€™m feeling OK. I still feel tired with some residual back pain. Other than that, Iâ€™m fine.
I went for a five-minute barbecuing last night and Iâ€™m starting to see some cosmetic effects. The top of my head has lost its alabaster tones and now more closely resembles my face in color.
I weighed in at 156 Lbs this morning so my weight is in good shape. I plan to get some extra sleep this weekend. I think that will help a lot.
Iâ€™m feeling tired tonight. I finally found a decent cup of coffee at the local WaWa this morning. It was a big help. WaWa is a chain of convenience stores in the Philadelphia area.
I may stop there again tomorrow.
Iâ€™m feeling OK although I still feel tired. I have no particular pain â€“ which is good. The only discomfort is the numbness in my feet. I just need some energy.
Iâ€™m feeling pretty well at the moment. Most of today I was very tired however. I just wanted to lie down and take a nap. Iâ€™m a little disappointed that I did not have more energy. However, I am experiencing very little pain. I hope that tomorrow will be better.
Every once in a while I come across a story like this and think to myself, "What am I? An idiot?" Perhaps that's not just a rhoterical question.
Here's the site they reference.
Iâ€™m at a bit of a quandary. Iâ€™m trying to find some way to make a single cup of coffee. I have been buying what they call coffee singles. They are basically tea bags with coffee in them. But I find they donâ€™t make a very good cup of coffee.
A coffee maker would make several cups and all I need is one. Perhaps I should just buy instant coffee.
Iâ€™m feeling a little better this morning. I slept well. I only woke up two times last night. Once to take some more ibuprophen and again 20 minutes before the alarm went off. I hate waking up just before the alarm goes off.
I was tired all day yesterday.
The pain pulses are much reduced with a much greater interval between them.
As I like to say, each day the lid gets lifted a little higher. Today the lid is higher than it was yesterday.
Hereâ€™s a video of a dog dancing with his master. I have watched it again and again. I never cease to be amazed. It must have taken hours and hours for the dog to train his master. There is a scene in which the dog backs away from his master. I have viewed this scene carefully, with other people, and we agree, the dog then does a flip and backs his way back to his master. I just wish the resolution were better. For a slightly better view, click it to full screen.
Hat Tip Rebâ€™s Blog.
Here's another article on what vitamin D can do for you.
A daily dose of vitamin D could cut the risk of cancers of the breast, colon and ovary by up to a half, a 40-year review of research has found. The evidence for the protective effect of the "sunshine vitamin" is so overwhelming that urgent action must be taken by public health authorities to boost blood levels, say cancer specialists.
A growing body of evidence in recent years has shown that lack of vitamin D may have lethal effects. Heart disease, lung disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis are among the conditions in which it is believed to play a vital role. The vitamin is also essential for bone health and protects against rickets in children and osteoporosis in the elderly.
Vitamin D is made by the action of sunlight on the skin, which accounts for 90 per cent of the body's supply. But the increasing use of sunscreens and the reduced time spent outdoors, especially by children, has contributed to what many scientists believe is an increasing problem of vitamin D deficiency.
All of a sudden, these articles are coming out of the woodwork. I'll bet it's driving the dermatologists crazy.
In the article, they suggest 1,000 units a day for a supplement. Yet half an hour in the summer sun can generate 10,000 units in the skin. The disparity between the two numbers puzzles me.
I was a bit disappointed to find myself not quite ready for prime time today. I was at the office, but not very productive. Although Iâ€™m not huffing and puffing as badly as yesterday, Iâ€™m still very tired and Iâ€™m still getting random pain pulses in various body parts. Many of those pain pulses happen in my lower back. Since I was feeling pretty good at the end of my last cycle, I had forgotten about the back pain.
Iâ€™m debating about taking ibuprophen again tonight, but I may find it necessary to get any sleep. Have I mentioned how I try NOT to take any pain medication?
Itâ€™s hard to be productive in this state as I find it difficult to concentrate.
I came across the blog entry by military blogger. He relates Zen with golf and combat. Hereâ€™s an excerpt.
There was a time when I had been training Hostage Rescue teams for over a year and all my team did was teach and practice Close Quarters Battle CQB. At that time we could clear a multi-room, multi-story building and just flow through each room like fine wine, every step smooth and purposeful, no unnecessary jibber jabber, puttin' bullets in bad guys (or usually bad guy targets) and nobody had to stop and think about any of it.
The pre-shot routine went like this
"I have control. I have control. Stand By. 5,4,3,2 1" and the snipers fire, "execute, execute execute" and the demo blows and in we go. The conscious mind is active in classifying threats but once the decision to engage is made there is no thought. The weapon comes up, the front site or optics are acquired and two rounds ventilate the bad guy. Adding doubt, indecision, or any other factor into this could be fatal. It may sound strange but there is Zen in battle too.
I recommend reading his whole post â€“ particularly if you also golf â€“ which I donâ€™t.
I wonder if there is such a thing as Zen and cancer treatment. Maybe it's something I should develop.
I have had a couple of readers question my tanning salon therapy. Let me link to this about Vitamin D and cancer and lung function. Hereâ€™s an excerpt.
Vitamin D may play a role in keeping our lungs healthy, with greater concentrations of vitamin D resulting in greater lung health benefits. A study in the December issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), shows that patients with higher concentrations of vitamin D had significantly better lung function, compared with patients with lower concentrations of vitamin D.
"The difference in lung function between the highest and lowest quintiles of vitamin D is substantial and greater than the difference between former and nonsmokers," said Dr. Black. "Although there is a definite relationship between lung function and vitamin D, it is unclear if increases in vitamin D through supplements or dietary intake will actually improve lung function in patients with chronic respiratory diseases."
[. . .]
"The difference in lung function between the highest and lowest quintiles of vitamin D is substantial and greater than the difference between former and nonsmokers," said Dr. Black. "Although there is a definite relationship between lung function and vitamin D, it is unclear if increases in vitamin D through supplements or dietary intake will actually improve lung function in patients with chronic respiratory diseases."
So vitamin D seems to have a greater effect than smoking. Although I could take vitamin D supplements, I donâ€™t think I can get nearly as great of vitamin D dosage through supplementation that through light on skin.
Although I didnâ€™t sleep too well last night, I think Iâ€™m improved since yesterday. Last night the ibuprophen proved insufficient to stop the pain pulses completely. Sometimes they would wake me up.
Although Iâ€™m still getting pain pulses and I still fell tired, I donâ€™t feel exhausted like I did last night. My weight was back up to 155 this morning. It should have bumped up; I ate like a pig yesterday.
After two days of no pushups, I did six pushups this morning with 12 sit-ups. I expect today to be a somewhat down day, but tomorrow I think will show much improvement. After that, each day should get better until my next cycle begins.
Iâ€™m afraid the chemo is kicking my butt today. Even minor exertions set me to huffing and puffing. Iâ€™ve taken 600 mg of ibuprophen in hopes of getting a good nightâ€™s sleep.
Iâ€™ve been through this before and it will pass. Itâ€™s just a bad patch that will come out the other side.
Iâ€™ll catch you tomorrow.
Iâ€™m feeling rather tired this morning. I had a Neulasta relapse last night. I woke up with pain pulses through my legs, knees and ankles. I resorted back to my ibuprophen and the pain subsided and I was able to sleep.
This morning Iâ€™m getting pain pulses in my knees, ankles, wrists, elbows and back. Itâ€™s more an irritant than anything else. On the two-mile walk with the Vorlon Wife the pain pulses would cause me to hobble for a bit until they subsided. The good news is they will eventually pass.
I have dropped three pounds in the last couple of days ago. I weighed in at 154 Lbs this morning. This too was expected. In previous cycles I have dropped weight. Thatâ€™s why I monitor it carefully to make sure I go into each new cycle at a good weight.
I will be going for my four-minute barbecuing this morning and then on to visiting with the Vorlon Wifeâ€™s aunt and her family today. Itâ€™s about 44 degrees and dreary this morning. Itâ€™s not raining, but it looks like it could start at any time.
Itâ€™s mild this Christmas day. I have already been out with the Vorlon Wife for a modest two-mile walk. I am on the road to recovery from the Neulasta. I have not taken any ibuprophen since last night. The body pain is subsiding â€“ although Iâ€™m still getting shooting pains in my legs, knee and ankle joints.
The pot roast is in the oven. I have the oven set at about 250 degrees. I will play with the temperature to give me a long slow cooking time. About 1:00 pm, Iâ€™ll put the vegetables in. Iâ€™ll be adding potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, and mushrooms. When itâ€™s done, Iâ€™ll take out the veggies and the roast and make gravy.
In the past the beef becomes so tender you can cut it with your fork. Iâ€™m really looking forward to the meal. We will be hosting members of the Vorlon Wifeâ€™s family.
UPDATE: A reader Emails,
"I was OK until you mentioned the mushrooms.
I would point out that they are Portabella mushrooms. Also, consider the environmental ramifications of eating mushrooms. If it werenâ€™t for mushrooms, what would we do with all the left over horse manure?
At this point, the whole house is filled with the smell of beef slowly roasting in the oven. It's always a bit of a guess, but I hope I have the right temperature so that everything is cooked, when the guests arrive.
The weather is 44 degrees and drizzling. We have opened the back door to let in the cool air so the oven doesnâ€™t bake us out of the house.
UPDATE II: Christmas is over. I'm fading fast and am going to bed. I'll catch you on the flip side.
The Vorlon Wife and I just returned from the Christmas Eve church service. It was nice.
Iâ€™m feeling a little bit better tonight, but Iâ€™m still looking forward to bed. Iâ€™m experiencing pain in my shoulders and legs. But this will pass, I just need to tough it out.
As a parting thought let me offer one of the songs we sang in church tonight.
O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie;
above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary,
and gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together,
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the king,
and peace to all on earth!
How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given;
so God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin, and enter in,
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
o come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel!
Iâ€™m still under the influence of the Neulasta. Mostly Iâ€™m just tired and I hurt. It feels a little bit like someone beat me up with a rubber hose.
My weight is still at 157 Lbs. Looking back on my records from the last cycle, I can see that my weight stayed up until several days had gone by. Thatâ€™s when my weight took a dip.
Although my stomach occasionally feels a little upset, I havenâ€™t had to resort to any medication to settle it back down. Mostly Iâ€™m going to try to not move around very much.
We have already gone to the grocery store to get supplies for tomorrowâ€™s Christmas Dinner. The Vorlon Wife and I are hosting the dinner. Weâ€™re having pot roast. Iâ€™m looking forward to tasting that pot roast.
Overall, I didnâ€™t do too badly today. The ibuprophen is definitely more effective than Tylenol for my pain â€“ although it does not completely extinguish it.
I took no anti-nausea medication, as I didnâ€™t need it today. My stomach is doing quite well, even if my taste buds are still somewhat off. I seem to be doing a tiny bit better on this cycle than the last one.
I was able to get out briefly and get my semi-weekly four-minute barbecuing. I think it makes me feel a little better.
Thereâ€™s not much else to report. Iâ€™m going to bed early tonight and am looking forward to the lid rising a bit tomorrow.
Here's a video tribute to our troops. Give it time to load. I think it is well worth viewing.
Hat Tip to Dean's World
Iâ€™m not sure how to report this morning. I slept well last night â€“ which surprised me. Although Iâ€™m in some pain from the Neulasta, itâ€™s not too bad. I think the ibuprophen is working better than the Tylenol did on my last cycle.
The Neulasta is supposed to give you bone pain. But for me itâ€™s muscle and skin pain. My muscle hurt and my skin doesnâ€™t like being touched.
In my two-mile walk/jog, I jogged about 25% of the first mile and about 40% of the second mile. Jogging was tough and I had to push some. My legs felt tired. I think itâ€™s partly just getting used to jogging as well as some chemo effects. When you're tired and you transition from jogging to walking, if feels like you're coasting downhill.
I weighed in at 157 Lbs this morning. That surprised me, as I didnâ€™t think I ate that much yesterday as food just didnâ€™t taste good. I expect a similar gustatory experience today.
Iâ€™m going to continue with the ibuprophen throughout the day and fortify myself with some coffee. I am finding coffee a tremendous aid to my feeling better. Today will be a good test.
I had my Neulasta shot at 2:30 this afternoon and itâ€™s staring to hit me. I call this time going into the pressure cooker. Right now my neck muscles are sore right where they attach to the base of my skull. Iâ€™m also getting some muscle spasm in my calves.
I took 600 mg of ibuprophen in an attempt to head off the anticipated pain. I also took one of my Kytrils in case the ibuprophen upsets my already uneasy stomach. Actually my stomach wasnâ€™t doing to badly tonight.
The taste of food is still reducing my calorie consumption. The Vorlon Wife cooked up some asparagus and reheated some Bob Evans mashed potatoes we bought other day. The mashed potatoes tasted OK and so did the asparagus. We also had some left over chicken. The chicken wasnâ€™t too bad, but I thought it would be better with some barbecue sauce on it. Bad move. After I put barbecue sauce on it, I found it inedible.
I will be going to bed early tonight.
Although Iâ€™m feeling well, my taste buds are really on the fritz. Nothing tastes good. My stomach isnâ€™t doing too badly.
On the last cycle I went in at 155 Lbs and came out at 151 Lbs. This time Iâ€™m going in at 157 Lbs. Iâ€™m pretty comfortable that Iâ€™m in good shape to weather this little squall.
I slept OK last night. My face feels flushed this morning, but I donâ€™t have a temperature. I wonder if it could be from the B6 or ginger pills, I took last night.
My stomach feels a bit uneasy. Iâ€™ll take one of my Kytrils and hopefully it will settle down. From my previous experience, I expect to have an uneasy stomach for the next couple of days.
My two-mile walk/jog went well. The first mile I jogged about 40% of the way and I jogged about 60% of the way on the second mile. My aerobic capacity felt good, but my legs felt a bit heaving. I think the heaviness in the legs is to be expected. Every exercise is muscle specific. Believe it or not, the muscles used for jogging are not the exact same ones used for walking. Itâ€™ll take a bit to bring those muscles up to speed. However, they will get there.
I weighed in at 157 Lbs this morning. Thatâ€™s a new high. Iâ€™m not going to worry about not eating enough over the next couple of days.
I could only do four pushups this morning. I got halfway up on the fifth one and couldnâ€™t make it any higher â€“ Argh. I did a corresponding eight sit-ups to match.
I guess the chemo is affecting me in some ways. One thing about exercising is it gives me a test as to how Iâ€™m doing. I like regular feedback.
Iâ€™ve been looking for an exercise program that didnâ€™t need any equipment. I wanted something I could do in a hotel room as easily as at home.
As you might conclude, I believe you can find anything on the net. I think Iâ€™ve found what I am looking for. Here is the site. Itâ€™s called Getting Fit. They have programs that can take you from zero to very fit.
For now, I am walking/jogging and doing pushups and sit-ups. I want to expand on that and I think this site will help me. This morning I was able to do six pushups and 12 sit-ups. I do twice as many sit-ups as pushup. Ten days ago, I could only do two pushups.
I asked the oncologist this morning if my apparent loss of muscle mass was due the chemo or just the fact that I was sitting around doing nothing. He thought it was inactivity not the chemo that was to blame. That means I need to get to work.
Iâ€™m feeling rather wiped tonight and will go to bed early. I donâ€™t have any pain, Iâ€™m just tired and my stomach is a little uneasy.
I had some thoughts about prayer. God is perfect in every way and he is also holy. My understanding of Christian theology is that God cannot be in the presence of sinful man. To those that Christ saves Christ washes us of our sins. We are now clean of our sins and can then enter into heaven.
However, while we live we are still in our sins. The picture I have in my mind, when we pray, is a beggar before God dressed in filthy rags. Those filthy rags are our sins. Since we are still in our sins we have no claim on God for help. Anything God does for us strictly out of His mercy. Mercy, by definition is not required. If itâ€™s required, itâ€™s not mercy.
My thought is when a beggar comes to me dressed in filthy rags. How can I ask God for help in prayer and not help the beggar. Before God I am not better than the beggar.
For me, this was a minor epiphany. I have thought about it ever since. If you think Iâ€™m barking up the wrong tree, I would be interested in how you interpret this concept.
Iâ€™m back home from the chemo therapy. Iâ€™m feeling tired. The Benadryl has knocked me down, but I was able to tough it out enough to not fall asleep â€“ small victory there.
I spoke with the nurse about using ginger tablets. She said they have been tested and found to work to prevent nausea. I asked why they are not recommended, she did not know why.
I asked the oncologist about the numbness in my feet (neural necropathy). He suggested I take some vitamin B6.
After my chemo the Vorlon Wife and I went to a health food store and got some ginger capsules and vitamin B6. Weâ€™ll see if that helps.
Iâ€™m sitting in the oncologist office waiting for them to start the chemo treatment. I have met with the oncologist and he answered my questions.
For the moment I have access so someoneâ€™s wireless network. But the signal strength is week and I donâ€™t know how long it will last.
They are now hitting me with the Benadryl and I expect to lose much of my brain power in the next few minutes.
For many weeks now, when Iâ€™ve discussed exercising, Iâ€™ve had people including the medical professionals tell me to â€œlisten to my body.â€ I thought Iâ€™d done that. I stopped jogging and went to walking my two-miles every day.
Well the listening part is over. If we all listened to our bodies, all most of us would do is sleep and sit in front of the TV eating snack food.
From now on, the conversation with my body will be a dialogue. I will listen, but with a critical ear.
I started jogging again this morning during my two-mile â€œwalkâ€. The first mile I only jogged about 15 percent of the way. I found I was dressed too warmly for jogging. I was OK for walking but jogging need fewer clothes.
Since my exercise route is two one-mile loops that go right past my house, I stopped at the house after the first mile, shed my overcoat, put on my jogging jacket, and hit the road again. On my second lap, I jogged about 50% of the distance.
As Iâ€™m jogging, Iâ€™m listening to how my body is responding and Iâ€™m talking back. I said to my body, â€œYou lied to me! You told me you didnâ€™t think you could jog. This is easy. Iâ€™m barely breathing hard.â€
Indeed the jogging was much easier than it had been two months ago. I didnâ€™t go into oxygen debt as I used to. One of the things I missed by NOT jogging is, I never tested my aerobic capacity. Each time I go out and jog, Iâ€™m testing my body to see how it responds to aerobic stress.
From now one, Iâ€™m giving the orders. Iâ€™ve had enough of passivity. Mind you, I understand how one can overdue exercise. Many winters ago, I jogged regularly and usually totaled 40 miles a week.
I have run 5K, 5 mile, 10K, 10 mile, half marathon and marathon races. There are many lessons to learn in long distance aerobic competition. One learns preparation, and concentration. During a race, concentration is paramount. During competition, oneâ€™s body is in a lot of pain. However, the athlete has to re-interpret that pain. The pain becomes an indicator of how close to the max one in performing.
Lance Armstrong has written about the pain of training and competition. If people could experience the pain he felt in training and in competition, they would recoil in horror. But we have a saying when one experiences that pain in competition and one does well athletically. We way it â€œhurt so fine.â€
I guess this is a long-winded way to say, Iâ€™m back in command. From now on jogging is back in the routine and Iâ€™ll see how it goes.
Although I was a little tired today, a cup of coffee in the morning and a cup in the afternoon kept me going.
I stopped by the radiology center tonight and got a copy of the CAT scan report. I think itâ€™s a little encouraging, although itâ€™s a bit of a mixed bag. The tumor in my left lung has shrunk from 4.2 cm to 3.4 cm â€“ when measured across it widest part. Thatâ€™s about a 20 percent decrease and 3.4 cm is about 1 3/8â€. The downside is the fluid on my left lung has increased from when they last drained it in early October. The report also says a portion of my left lung; down near the bottom is blocked.
Iâ€™m wondering if I should go back to jogging a bit. When I look up on the web about blockage in the lung, one of the causes can be from shallow breathing. A little jogging should help that.
When I see the oncologist tomorrow, Iâ€™ll quiz him on the results and see what he says.
I went for my four minute barbecuing tonight and Iâ€™m feeling good. But itâ€™s late and Iâ€™m scheduled to see not only the oncologist, but to get my five-hour chemotherapy treatment.
I happened to be watching Myth Busters on the Discovery Channel tonight. They were testing non-drug motion sickness remedies. The found that ginger tablets were very effective. If made me wonder if ginger tablets would also be effective against chemotherapy nausea side effects. I think Iâ€™ll have the Vorlon Wife stop by the health food store and try them out.
It was 20 degrees for my two-mile walk this morning. I slept well last night, except for my Palm Pilot going off.
I had set my Palm to awake me at midnight. I was running a process on a clientâ€™s station and thought the step I was on would be completed by midnight. I arose, turned on the monitor and connected to their station. The task was complete and I started the last step in the process. I disconnected, stumbled back to bed and zonked out again.
I checked this morning and the whole process is done. Iâ€™ll call them when I get in the office to let them know. Iâ€™m almost amazed that I could summon enough intellectual power, in the middle of the night, to do what I did. I was very groggy when I connected to their station.
I suspect I may have a minor ear infection. My balance seems to be a little off and my left ear aches from time to time. Iâ€™ve had them before. Iâ€™ll have the oncologist look at my ears tomorrow, when I see him. Presumably, he can detect ear infections too.
I was tired this morning until I had my coffee. One cup kept me going for the rest of the day. It was a rather frustrating day in that I ran into two situations I just could not resolve.
I have a chance for one more productive day this week before I go back into the pressure cooker.
The temperature was 30 degrees for my two-mile walk this morning. Iâ€™m feeling pretty good and my weight is stable. A cup of coffee a little later will wake me up and give me the energy I need to get some work done.
I feel like Iâ€™m loosing some muscle mass and have started doing some pushups. Last week I could only do two. The last two days Iâ€™ve been able to do four. I know Iâ€™ve still got a long ways to go. But you know what they say about the journey of 1,000 miles.
I just finished watching Bushâ€™s speech on the Iraqi war tonight. As a Toastmaster I thought it was a good speech. It was mercifully short and I think he highlighted the points I think he should have. I think the best part of it was itâ€™s frankness on how the war is going and the problems we have experienced during the war.
Iâ€™m sure his critics will find much to criticize. I never ceased to be amazed at how one politician can criticize another and make it sound reasonable. I wonder how much training it takes to learn how to do that on the fly. Iâ€™ll bet they would all make good con men.
Readers of this blog should know I support what we are doing in Iraq and I welcome Bushâ€™s attempt to rebuild support for the war. If we can build some kind of democracy in Iraq (not a sure thing), it will be the ONLY democracy in the Arab world. Our invasion of Iraq has already born fruit. Syria has retreated from Lebanon and Libya has avowed all support for WMD and invited the west into inspect its WMD efforts. Also women are voting in Saudi Arabia and there are groups in Egypt that werenâ€™t there before.
If one just listens to the mainstream media all one gets is how badly things are going. The mainstream media doesnâ€™t want Bush to look good and they will do what they can to make him look bad.
UPDATE: Glen Reynolds over at Instapundit says of Bush's speech.
BUSH DOUBLES DOWN: I just watched Bush's speech. Nothing new there for anyone who's been paying attention to the speeches he's been giving over the past couple of weeks. But one big thing struck me: In this national televised speech, Bush went out of his way to take responsibility for the war. He repeatedly talked about "my decision to invade Iraq," even though, of course, it was also Congress's decision. He made very clear that, ultimately, this was his war, and the decisions were his.
Why did he do that? Because he thinks we're winning, and he wants credit. By November 2006, and especially November 2008, he thinks that'll be obvious, and he wants to lay down his marker now on what he believed -- and what the other side did. That's my guess, anyway.
Aside from being a little tired, Iâ€™m doing well tonight. I find I go in spurts. Sometimes I feel quite good. Other times I feel tired. Coffee is proving to be a great help. Not that I drink a lot. At most I sometimes drink two cups a day. I drink one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I think I will try it more when Iâ€™m suffering from the side effects of Neulasta.
Iâ€™m still doing my tanning salon therapy. My goal is to go twice a week. I asked the manager how much sunshine Iâ€™m getting. She said it is hard to say, but one minute in the tanning booth is the equivalent of six minutes in the sun. Since I do four minutes each time I go, that gives me the equivalent of 24 minutes of sunshine each time.
From one source I have come across that should give me 10,000 to 12,000 units of vitamin D. Most over the counter vitamin D supplements are about 400 units. Thatâ€™s quite a difference. Since Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, Iâ€™m guessing that twice a week is sufficient.
I slept well last night â€“ some nine plus hourâ€™s worth. I was rather tired and the sleep felt good. The Vorlon wife and I went for a two-mile walk this morning.
A chunk of today was spent working on a clientâ€™s system. They are doing a physical count of their inventory on Monday and I need to prep the system for them. Iâ€™m not done yet, but Iâ€™ve got enough done that they can start their counting. They will be counting some 12,000 items to make sure the item counts are correct.
The afternoon the Vorlon Wife and I put up some of the Christmas lights on the house. Suddenly Christmas is upon us and Iâ€™m behind. Next weekend I wonâ€™t me much good at putting up lights so we did what we could today.
The Vorlon Wife is proving hard to buy gifts for. Our CD player died and she wanted a new one. On one of my trips past the mall I bought one and hid it in the house â€“ apparently I hid it very well. I bought it about 10 days ago.
Yesterday she comes home from the mall with â€“ a CD player. I decided to give her the CD player early.
One Iraqi comments on their election.
Yesterday Iraqis successfully passed another chapter of the democratic transformation of their country. Weâ€™re not sure if we put the right choice on the ballot paper put Iâ€™m 100% sure that Iraqis made the right choice by resorting to the ballot boxes to the solve their problems.
A dear friend of mine sent me a few words to express his happiness and hope and I think his words reflect what millions of Iraqis felt about yesterdayâ€™s historic event.
He asked me to share his words with you, and I am:Like eyelashes close in delight upon the sight of one's lover, the boxes closed their lips on Iraqisâ€™ ballots. The tyrants forced us to remain silent for decades but yesterday our fingers spoke out loud in purple. The fingers wore their purple wedding dress while the enemies wore the black of hatred and evil. Elections have become the new tradition of Iraqis, those new democrats who proudly want to show the world their new experiment but on the other side there are our â€œcousinsâ€ who still want us to go back to the sheep barn.
We marched to vote and we respected our differences while Saddam is creeping in his cage chewing on his hatred.
From 59 to 64 to 70%...in one year our people have proven that the future belongs to them and not those whose claws scarred Iraqâ€™s neck.
A few bombs and some bullets, thatâ€™s all what the terrorists could do to interrupt the carnival in Baghdad. The people heard the explosions but those werenâ€™t loud enough to distract the marching hearts from their destination. I saw our policemen yesterday showing their hearts too when they refused to wear their armors, maybe because they didnâ€™t want to let anything stand between our hearts from theirs.
I asked an election official about the problems they faced. He answered laughing:
â€œIraqis are like sweet fruit, and their sweetness lies in their big hearts and meeting them at the voting station yesterday was enjoyable like eating a good plate of sweets! They cast their ballots while I enjoyed the Iraqi symphony of patriotismâ€.
It was a day of happiness for Iraqis and a day of loss for the strangers who thought their camels brought them to a land void of patriots.
It is a day we will await to come again for four long yearsâ€¦to do the right thing again or to correct the mistake if we did one yesterday.
Anyway, I believe we left a mark on the face of history, a purple mark that will not be forgotten easily.
God bless Iraq and Iraqâ€™s friends throughout this world. It wasnâ€™t our day alone; it was your day too.
Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent column on Iraq and what it portends.
For some time, a large number of Americans have lived in an alternate universe where everything is supposedly going to hell. If you get up in the morning to read the New York Times or Washington Post, watch John Murtha or Howard Dean on the morning talk shows, listen to National Public Radio at noon, and go to bed reading Newsweek it surely seems that the administration is incommunicado (cf. â€œthe bubbleâ€), the war is lost (â€œunwinnableâ€), the Great Depression is back (â€œjobless recoveryâ€), and America about as popular as Nazi Germany abroad (â€œalone and isolatedâ€). But in the real adult world, the economy is red-hot, not mired in joblessness or relegating millions to poverty. Unemployment is low, so are interest rates. Growth is high, as is consumer spending and confidence. Our Katrina was hardly as lethal as the Tsunami or Pakistani earthquake. Thousands of Arabs are not rioting in Dearborn. American elderly donâ€™t roast and die in the thousands in their apartments as was true in France. Nor do American cities, like some in Chinese, lose their entire water supply to a toxic spill. Americans did not just vote to reject their own Constitution as in some European countries.
The military isnâ€™t broken. Unlike after Vietnam when the Russians, Iranians, Cambodians, and Nicaraguans all soon tried to press their luck at our expense, most of our adversaries donâ€™t believe the U.S. military is losing in Iraq, much less that it is wise now to take it on. Instead, the general impression is that our veteran and battle-hardened forces are even more lethal than was true of the 1990s â€” and engaging successfully in an almost impossible war.
Nor are we creating new hordes of terrorists in Iraq â€” as if a young male Middle Eastern fundamentalist first hates the United States only on news that it is in Iraq crafting a new Marshall Plan of $87 billion and offering a long-oppressed people democracy after taking out Saddam Hussein. Even al Jazeera cannot turn truth into untruth forever.
I recommend reading his whole column.
StrategyPage has a great take on the disconnect between what the medai reports about Iraq and what is REALLY going on.
A story slowly creeping into the news is the disconnect between what American troops experience in Iraq, and what is reported back in the United States, and the rest of the world. For U.S. troops, who are reenlisting in record numbers, even after multiple tours in Iraq, they are fighting a war they are winning, and they see the evidence of this all around them. Youâ€™d think that this would make a good story, but it doesnâ€™t. The war on terror, and especially the war in Iraq, have got caught in the middle of other political conflicts. In the United States, the Democrat Party, out of power after nearly half a century, are eager to get control of the government once more, and agreeing about victory in Iraq is not seen as helping their cause. The American mainstream media, needing bad news to keep their ratings up, opt for the Democratic Party view of things.
[. . .]
What the troops see is the majority of Iraqis glad to have them there, and Saddam gone. But the troops also see that Saddams thousands of thugs, and the Sunni Arabs in general, are still free, and fighting to regain the power that Saddam lost for them. While the American media and the rest of the world rabbit on about â€œthe Iraqi resistance,â€ the troops note that the Iraqis who are still killing, are the same ones who did so for decades while working for Saddam. American troops are killing bad people, not Iraqi â€œfreedom fighters.â€ Future histories will wonder at how the media was able to carry off their charade for so long. But so far they have, although itâ€™s becoming more difficult as more people get their news from the Internet, where the troops have more of a voice. Not just with blogs and email, but with the different attitudes of web based news organizations. Less burdened with old habits (the only good news is bad news), they also have demographic advantages. Younger people are more often getting their news from the web, rather than TV or paper. At least people the same age as the soldiers know whatâ€™s really going on.
As a practical matter, the military canâ€™t do much to get the true story out. Actually, the mass media is already backing off from their Iraq coverage, because of a combination of too much good news, and too much alternative coverage from the troops, and Iraqis themselves. Good news is no news. Moreover, the large number of people who have bought into the idea that Iraq was a mistake, evil, and a defeat, that there will long be an audience for revisionist historians, who will invent alternate realities of what really happened in Iraq.
What the history books will report will be how the battle for Iraq brought democracy (which al Qaeda outright condemns) to the Middle East, and forced Islamic terrorists to show their true colors (fanatic butchers, who donâ€™t much care who they kill.) This led to a sharp decline in al Qaedaâ€™s popularity, and a renewed enthusiasm for democracy throughout what al Qaeda considered their home base. Militarily, itâ€™s known as â€œtaking the war to the enemy.â€ Itâ€™s an ancient strategy that still works. But that was rarely reported, for now. You'll just have to wait.
I slept well last night and, aside from wishing I could sleep longer, feel well.
At 10:30 this morning, Iâ€™ll get my CAT scan and my day will return to normal. I wonâ€™t know the results for a couple of days.
I was concerned that I eat enough, while I was out of town. I weighed in at 156 Lbs the morning! Thatâ€™s quite heavy for me. I guess I can scale back a bit on the eating. Still itâ€™s good to have a little surplus as I go into my chemo treatment this Wednesday. I find I peel off a few pounds the first few days after my treatment.
There is not much to report this morning. Itâ€™s 40 degrees outside and, since it was raining, abandoned my walk. Now I just have to catch up on all this calls I missed in the last four days.
Iâ€™m back in Vineland, NJ. Iâ€™m feeling good but a bit tired. I logged about 45 billable hours in the last four days. Thatâ€™s not too bad.
I didnâ€™t even try to post an entry this morning. The Holiday Inn in Rahway has terrible internet service. It is an easy wireless connection, but they must be sharing out a 1K baud rate. When I checked out this morning, the clerk asked if everything was OK. I told it was fine except for the internet service. I told him it was terrible.
I did not walk this morning, as I wanted to give my right foot a chance to heal. At 5:20 this morning that proved to be an easy decision to make.
The Vorlon Wife picked up a copy of the CAT scan they did of me in early October. I had them put it on a CD. Iâ€™m going to get another CAT scan tomorrow morning and they need the original one to compare to. Iâ€™ve copied it on to my PC but havenâ€™t figured out how to flip through all the frames.
When I get my CAT scan tomorrow, Iâ€™ll ask them for a CD of that too. Then I can look and see what I can see.
Iâ€™m now sitting in the Holiday Inn in Rahway. Its internet service stinks. If I have to stay up here again I need to find a better hotel. Itâ€™s very frustrating.
I will say this about my room. It is huge. It is so big I had to get a map and a compass from the front desk to find my way around. Then I went back and asked for a golf cart to I wouldnâ€™t have to walk the whole distance.
Except for my foot Iâ€™m feeling very well. Iâ€™m developed a slight limp. Iâ€™m not sure if I will walk on the treadmill tomorrow morning or not. I may need to give my foot some time to heal. Itâ€™s a little frustrating.
Itâ€™s supposed to snow/rain/sleet tomorrow night. I hope I get out of here before the storm strikes.
I slept very well last night. My only complaint is I wish I was still cutting some Zâ€™s. I think week is starting to wear on me a bit. I did two very long boring miles on the hotelâ€™s treadmill this morning.
Iâ€™m experiencing some pain in the ball of my right foot. I donâ€™t know if it is related to the chemo therapy or Iâ€™ve banged it up a bit. I personally think the treadmill is harder on the feet than walking in the great outdoors.
Tonight Iâ€™m traveling from where I am now to slightly more south to be at another client site tomorrow morning. I just have to pack and load Dasher-1.
All in all Iâ€™m doing well.
It is pretty cold here. I just came in from the client site and it seems really cold tonight.
Iâ€™m feeling strong tonight although I also feel some fatigue. I just wish the numbness in my feet would go away, but I expect to have that for some considerable time in the future.
The work with the client is going well. Iâ€™m on the run from when I hit his office until I leave. Iâ€™m pleased Iâ€™m holding up well.
I just donâ€™t have much to report tonight as working from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM rather consumes oneâ€™s time.
The recent execution of Stanley Williams is all in the news this morning. There are a couple of issues as I think about this. There is a strange dichotomy between proponents of the death penalty and abortion. In many cases those against abortion are for the death penalty and many pro abortion are against the death penalty.
For me the death penalty is executing someone that is guilty of killing a person. The Bible specifically calls for the death penalty in cases where someone kills another person. Abortion is taking the life of an INNOCENT person. A baby in its motherâ€™s womb has committed no crime. Its only crime is its existence.
The news also indicated that Williams did not want a pastor at the end. He indicated that he felt his good deeds would outweigh the bad things he had done.
Many people make this mistaken assumption. In Christian theology you can never perform enough good deeds to get into heaven. A single sin will deny you access to heaven.
Itâ€™s sort of like driving and stopping at stop signs. Letâ€™s pretend youâ€™re asleep at the switch and you accidentally run a stop sign and a cop happens to be sitting at the intersection. He will immediately stop you and give you a ticket. You can argue all your want about the thousands of stop signs where you did indeed stop. You will still get a ticket for running this stop sign.
In Christian theology all the good deeds in the world cannot make up for our sins. That is the whole point of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I slept well last night. My biggest detriment is the numbness in my feet - itâ€™s an aggravation. I did my full two miles on the hotel treadmill this morning. It was a boring two miles, but I got the whole thing done. I was able to go at a faster pace than yesterday. I noticed that my ring slides off my finger easily this morning whereas yesterday I couldnâ€™t get my ring off at all. Perhaps my body wasnâ€™t quite so swelled up and I as able to perform better. My pace seemed about 0.5 a mile per hour faster than yesterday.
I initially experienced some pain in my back but that faded as the endomorphins kicked in. I had a little hip pain throughout the whole workout. I just hope my energetic, for me, workout doesnâ€™t come back to haunt me later in the day.
The TV says itâ€™s cold out there this morning. Yesterday I had to scrap frost off the windows. I will likely repeat that little exercise this morning.
Itâ€™s been a busy and productive day. A cup of coffee at breakfast and another at lunch kept me going well all day. Even now, I feel good. But I can feel the fatigue ready to claim my body when I hit the sack.
My only complaint is I got back to my hotel room about 8:30 PM. I had stopped at the local supermarket to pick up something to eat. They had some pre-assembled meals and the one I picked was very tasty. It had mashed potatoes and I really like mashed potatoes. Itâ€™s just that I dislike eating and then going right to bed. But I need to be at the client site early again tomorrow so Iâ€™m stretching the hours in a day.
Iâ€™m somewhat surprised as just how good I feel. It almost worries me. Of course, if I felt poorly, that would worry me too.
Iâ€™m feeling well this morning. The only irregularity is I seem to be swelled up. I could not slide my wedding ring off my finger when I first got up. Normally I can easily slide it off. The effect seems to be wearing off as I can now slide it off. Perhaps my joints swelled up during the night.
I slept well last night â€“ which is saying something for sleeping in a different bed than normal. I only walked 1.5 miles this morning as I ran out of time. I used the hotelâ€™s treadmill and it is pretty boring.
I am still pleased with the hotelâ€™s internet service. It is excellent.
Iâ€™m sitting in my hotel room typing this on my laptop. Iâ€™m staying at an AmeriSuites hotel and their internet service is excellent. My laptop shows five different networks I can connect to. I just picked the one with the highest signal strength and its working great. It is a very reliable connection.
The trip up was made in nearly record time. I was able to maintain about 3,000 RPM in Dasher-1 almost the whole way. Iâ€™m feeling good tonight, but starting to fade.
Something Iâ€™ve started giving thought to is an MP3 player for Dasher-1. Most MP3 players are quite small to make them very portable. But I want something that has a large display so I can easily select tracks as I drive down the road â€“ much like I might select a radio station on the radio.
Iâ€™m scheduled to be at a client site Monday morning. Iâ€™m in the process of packing and preparing for the trip north. The hotel is supposed to have internet access so Iâ€™ll update once I get there.
There is not much to report this morning. Iâ€™m feeling good with a little residual back pain. Iâ€™m headed out for my two-mile walk.
The Vorlon Wife and I went to see â€œChronicles of Narniaâ€ today. We had a great time. All the creatures in the movie see real â€“ even though most of them are not. Aslan the lion is an impressive character. He is a huge lion and is extremely believable.
I found only one technical flaw in the file. When the characters are in the snow, you cannot see their breath. Also, when the snow landed on the characters, it just looked like fake snow.
Supposedly, C. S. Lewis, the author of the book from which the film is made sent a letter saying that Aslan is an allegory for Christ. All I can say is, duh, it doesnâ€™t take a brain surgeon to figure that out. Anyone with more than a passing knowledge of Christian theology can figure that out. C. S. Lewis almost beats you over the head with the parallels. There is betrayal, forgiveness and substitutionary atonement. I think it could be used as a starting point to explain Christian theology.
It is still a great story with a final battle between good and evil. Iâ€™m not sure if itâ€™s on the same level as â€œThe Lord of the Ringsâ€ but we found it very enjoyable. It may be worth a second viewing to pick up some of the more subtle details.
We recommend the film.
The word on the battery is itâ€™s time for a new one. They also tell me I need front brakes. The battery Iâ€™m getting this morning as Iâ€™m going to North Jersey tomorrow and will be up there through Thursday. I want Dasher-1 to light when I hit the switch. Iâ€™ll be here a bit longer.
Iâ€™m sitting here waiting for them to change the oil in Dasher-1 and check the battery to make sure itâ€™ll get me through another winter.
Although the Honda place has a WiFi, they have it security enabled. Iâ€™m connecting to an unsecured wireless network nearby, but the signal strength is low. But it still works.
Thursday afternoon the Vorlon Wife and I saddled up Blue Velvet and headed for the Big Apple. Out mission was to meet with an oncologist at Sloan-Kettering. They are a renowned cancer center.
Sloan-Kettering told me I had to be there at 3:30 PM meeting to register for my 4:00 PM with the oncologist. We left the barn about 12:30 PM. I wanted some spare time.
Traffic was good on the way up and we made good time through the Lincoln Tunnel. Once in New York is it almost gridlock. I was a little unnerving, but we slowly wandered our way to Sloan-Kettering.
We handed the keys to Blue Velvet to the parking attendant in exchange for a ticket. Then we headed into Sloan-Kettering.
We did the registration and then waited. The appointment was at 4:00 PM, but I figured they would really get to us by 5:00 PM. That late in the day I expect doctors to run late and I figured an hour late was a good estimate. I took the time to return a few calls to some clients.
About 5:15 PM, they called for us. I had under-estimated the delay by 15 minutes. The oncologist read the reports I had faxed to him, did a cursory physical exam, looked at my films and then we sat down and discussed things and asked questions. While he was reading the reports, I was wondering why he hadnâ€™t read them before I arrived.
Iâ€™ve had some time to mull over our conversation. The more I think about it the more Iâ€™m pleased I have my current oncologist instead of the one I met with.
He was probably over 60 and was German. He retained just a bit of an accent. When I asked questions of what I considered a creative nature I got the feeling, he was boxing me in.
I did pick up a couple of salient points. He said the Neulasta allows them to treatment more aggressive that otherwise. He also said I as being treated very aggressively. He also said I was getting the same treatment that I would at S-K.
He said what they normally see is that the chemo does not kill off all the cancer cells. If things go well, however, they see the cancer go dormant. How long it stays dormant is completely variable and they donâ€™t have a clue as to why or how.
At some point, in most cases, it wakes up again. Then they treat it with another chemo regime. For most people this cycle continues until they run out of different chemo treatments to use. New treatments are in the pipeline, however, and things may be different in the future. The past does not necessarily predict the future.
He also said there are no blood markers for lung cancer and their only tool for measuring success is a CAT scan â€“ which I am scheduled to get next Friday. This little piece of data, which I knew, continues to frustrate me. To my mind, itâ€™s like driving from New York to California. You drive for 300 miles and then stop, get out and take a position reading. Then you get back in the car and drive some more. I will continue to search to see if there isnâ€™t a better diagnostic tool.
After meeting with him, we decided to have something to eat and give the traffic time to clear out. We found a restaurant half a block away and for $50 had the equivalent of a fancy hamburger. It was tasty, but not THAT tasty. However, it was New York and not unexpected.
We then went back to the parking garage, for $40 ransomed back Blue Velvet from the attendant, and headed home.
I was now about 7:30 PM and I was surprised to find the traffic in New York just as heavy as when we came in. We eventually found out way to the Lincoln tunnel, missed it, made a big loop and entered it on our second try. Once on the New Jersey Turnpike we made good time getting home.
Between tolls, meal and parking I dropped about $100 and spent about 10 hours of my time. In the final analysis, I guess it was worth it.
I have long thought that the chemicals are the chemicals and every oncologist has access to them. The skill to mix and injected them takes a nurse. My local radiology lab, two miles from my house, has all the CAT, PET, MRI and other diagnostic tools you will find anywhere.
I am pleased with all the tools and skills I have access to in Vineland.
I slept pretty well last night and feel pretty good this morning. Aside from the usual low energy level, I have the numbness in the toes and three fingers on my right hand. I have heard this may last for a very long time.
Itâ€™s 22 degrees outside with a clear cloudless sky.
I held up well today. Iâ€™m getting stronger day-by-day, until the next cycle starts. I revisited the tanning salon tonight. This time I knew better what to expect. I also only did four minutes instead of five.
Iâ€™ll probably go again on Sunday as I plan to be out of town most of next week.
I slept well last night. In fact, I donâ€™t remember waking up except just before the alarm went off â€“ a pet peeve of mine. If I had my druthers, Iâ€™d still be sleeping still. Perhaps the long trip wore me out and my body was trying to recover.
Everything else is status quo. Iâ€™m starting to use one or two cups of coffer throughout the day to give me the extra energy I need to keep going.
Iâ€™ll have more on my meeting at Sloan-Kettering when I get more time.
Iâ€™m back from Sloan-Kettering. It was a long day and wandering around New York looking for a way out is not my idea of a great time.
The short story is, there was very little new learned at Sloan-Kettering. My contact said I am getting the exact same treatment I would get if I were going to S-K.
Iâ€™ll have a longer update later. Right now, Iâ€™m hitting the hay.
I feel like I was pressed down by a giant weight when I got my Neulasta shot. Ever since then the weight has been slowly lifted. Iâ€™m feeling quite good today and I slept not too badly. It was cold for my two-mile walk â€“ 20 degrees.
I almost considered jogging, but Iâ€™m driving to and from Sloan-Kettering today and that will consume over five hours of driving. I didnâ€™t want to knock myself down so much I could barely make the trip.
I am so not looking forward to this escapade. I am anticipating a logistics mess. Itâ€™s going to be a long day.
Iâ€™m back from Rahway. I was VERY tired in the drive up. I donâ€™t know why I felt so tired, but I felt really beat. Upon arrival I got a cup of coffee. They make good coffee and it really helped to boost my energy level.
My theory on coffee is that when God kicked humans out of the Garden of Eden, he knew we couldnâ€™t make it by ourselves. So he gave us coffee. I know tea has coffee too and so do many sodas, but for me coffee is a bigger pick-me-up and any other drink.
The time on site with the client went well. Since I had recently migrated them from a very old system they had used for many years to a new system. There was a lot of frustration and thatâ€™s not unusual. But I have a very calm demeanor and never get rattled. I think that builds confidence in the people. I answered most of their questions with promised follow-up for those issues I could not resolve on site.
On the way up and back I chatted with the Vorlon Parents on the cell phone. I would imagine they were likely tired of such a long conversation.
I feel pretty good tonight with some intermittent back pain. Iâ€™m hoping for a good nightâ€™s sleep. Tomorrow I have an appointment to go to Sloan-Kettering in NYC for another opinion. I am NOT looking forward to it. It is two and half hour drive each way. The appointment is at 4:00 PM. Since almost all medical establishments run late, it means they wonâ€™t really see me until 5:00 PM. Then itâ€™ll likely be 30 minutes and then the drive home. That means leaving NYC about 6:00 PM, through the Lincoln Tunnel and home.
I really expect no new information, but one never knows. Perhaps I should take my laptop and live blog it â€“ then again maybe not.
I slept a little better last night. Iâ€™m experiencing some non-specific back pain this morning. Perhaps it is from using the rowing machine. The numbness in my feet is an irritant. I find that sitting I feel pretty good. But when I get up to move, my movements are lethargic. I think the Neulasta whacks my joints.
Iâ€™m saddling up Dasher-1 this morning and heading for a day of billable hours at Rahway. Thatâ€™s going to be a two-hour drive each way. Iâ€™ll catch you on the flip side.
World Magazine has a post on the origin of Christmas. I turns out Christmas was NOT originally a pagan holiday.
According to conventional wisdom, Christmas had its origin in a pagan winter solstice festival, which the church co-opted to promote the new religion. In doing so, many of the old pagan customs crept into the Christian celebration. But this view is apparently a historical mythâ€”like the stories of a church council debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, or that medieval folks believed the earth is flatâ€”often repeated, even in classrooms, but not true.
William J. Tighe, a history professor at Muhlenberg College, gives a different account in his article "Calculating Christmas," published in the December 2003 Touchstone Magazine. He points out that the ancient Roman religions had no winter solstice festival.
True, the Emperor Aurelian, in the five short years of his reign, tried to start one, "The Birth of the Unconquered Sun," on Dec. 25, 274. This festival, marking the time of year when the length of daylight began to increase, was designed to breathe new life into a declining paganism. But Aurelian's new festival was instituted after Christians had already been associating that day with the birth of Christ. According to Mr. Tighe, the Birth of the Unconquered Sun "was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians." Christians were not imitating the pagans. The pagans were imitating the Christians.
The early church tried to ascertain the actual time of Christ's birth. It was all tied up with the second-century controversies over setting the date of Easter, the commemoration of Christ's death and resurrection. That date should have been an easy one. Though Easter is also charged with having its origins in pagan equinox festivals, we know from Scripture that Christ's death was at the time of the Jewish Passover. That time of year is known with precision.
But differences in the Jewish, Greek, and Latin calendars and the inconsistency between lunar and solar date-keeping caused intense debate over when to observe Easter. Another question was whether to fix one date for the Feast of the Resurrection no matter what day it fell on or to ensure that it always fell on Sunday, "the first day of the week," as in the Gospels.
This discussion also had a bearing on fixing the day of Christ's birth. Mr. Tighe, drawing on the in-depth research of Thomas J. Talley's The Origins of the Liturgical Year, cites the ancient Jewish belief (not supported in Scripture) that God appointed for the great prophets an "integral age," meaning that they died on the same day as either their birth or their conception.
Jesus was certainly considered a great prophet, so those church fathers who wanted a Christmas holiday reasoned that He must have been either born or conceived on the same date as the first Easter. There are hints that some Christians originally celebrated the birth of Christ in March or April. But then a consensus arose to celebrate Christ's conception on March 25, as the Feast of the Annunciation, marking when the angel first appeared to Mary.
Note the pro-life point: According to both the ancient Jews and the early Christians, life begins at conception. So if Christ was conceived on March 25, nine months later, he would have been born on Dec. 25.
This celebrates Christ's birth in the darkest time of the year. The Celtic and Germanic tribes, who would be evangelized later, did mark this time in their "Yule" festivals, a frightening season when only the light from the Yule log kept the darkness at bay. Christianity swallowed up that season of depression with the opposite message of joy: "The light [Jesus] shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5).
Regardless of whether this was Christ's actual birthday, the symbolism works. And Christ's birth is inextricably linked to His resurrection.
Iâ€™m feeling better tonight. When I think back how I felt on this day of my last cycle I am light-years better than then. I think the difference is, I went jogging in my previous cycle and this morning I walked the two-miles instead of jogging them. Itâ€™s very frustrating, but Iâ€™m figuring out how much energy to expend during my treatments.
Last week my weight was 155 Lbs. This morning it was 152 Lbs â€“ the same as yesterday. Iâ€™m not too concerned as I felt 155 was a bit on the high side for me. I also think Iâ€™m higher than I was at the same point in the last cycle. Iâ€™m going to have to tabulate my numbers on a three week cycle to compare results.
Iâ€™m been a bit concerned in that even though my weight may not be high, I may still be getting fat. My lower energy level means Iâ€™m not moving around as much and I will loose muscle mass. As a start in a compensation for this, I pulled out the Vorlon Wifeâ€™s rowing machine and rowed for about eight minutes. I left it on her settings and found I still got a bit winded. I view that as both good and bad. Good that I got some exercise, but bad that so little effort made me puff a bit.
On another front I dug through some ancient stuff on my bookshelf and found my skin fold calipers. I had the Vorlon Wife measure the four spots the manual recommends and then referenced the table. It tells me Iâ€™m at 19% body fat. Thatâ€™s not too bad, but itâ€™s not super either. Ideally Iâ€™d like to see 15% body fat and maybe weigh 160 Lbs. Clearly there is work to be done on the physical front. With the chemo degrading my energy it will take some planning to get there.
I have been intrigued with the BowFlex Extreme 2 commercials I see on TV. Iâ€™ve done a little investigating and they go for about $1,200 and thereâ€™s $200 shipping on top of that. In addition, I would have to figure out where to put it. Thatâ€™s a lot of money and aggravation for something I donâ€™t know if I would even be happy with until Iâ€™d had it for a few weeks.
My body pain seems pretty much gone, but sometimes it reasserts itself during the night. Iâ€™m hoping for a good nights sleep. Tomorrow morning Iâ€™m saddling up Dasher-1 and head to Rahway where I will spend the day at a client site.
The Belmont Club has a great post about the war on terror. I'm a rather large fan of The Belmont Club as I always find is posts thoughtful and thought provoking.
It's common to regard the story of the war on terror as a single narrative. But in reality it consists of multiple streams, which is why, despite the efforts of Representative Murtha, it will be hard to shut down. In Kazakhstan, North Waziristan, Southeast Asia, the banlieus of France, the Horn of Africa and in the Middle East, history is on the move. The only choice America really had on September 11 was to either hold itself aloof from events shaking the world or engage them.
In retrospect, there was tremendous resistance to the idea that the certainties of the 1990s had finally come to an end. Many secretly hoped that the War on Terror would be a temporary excursion into Afghanistan after which we could go back to sequestering carbon, expanding the European Union and spreading the mantle of transnationalism over the whole world. Very few were prepared for the possibility that everthing had changed; and like the generation of 1914 we would never be 'home before the leaves fall'.
That those expectations went unmet had to be someone's fault; and what better scapegoat than President George W. Bush. Had national intelligence been better, the War in Iraq more carefully planned, more troops deployed, Europe consulted more thoroughly, we could have all come back to the world as it was on September 10, 2001. What Congressman Murtha really wanted was not a withdrawal in space, but a withdrawal in time. But even tactical perfection in the military and diplomatic spheres could not have held back events. Following the climate conference in Montreal last week I was struck by the impression that despite its rhetoric Kyoto was not about the future; it was about the past.
At some point the political discourse will change from its obsession with the past -- the 911 commission, the Valerie Plame affair -- and start being about the present. It will be interesting to see which of the major Presidential candidates explicitly does this. Maybe at around the time the Twin Towers are rebuilt.
I spoke with my radio oncologist about my MRI and future for radiation therapy. She said she wanted to start the radiation therapy after my chemo is done. I asked how we know when the chemo will be over. She said at some point the just stop giving it to you. I told her I may push my oncologist on that issue.
After a little discussion she said she wants another MRI after my sixth chemo treatment and then we will schedule the radiation treatments. That will be some two months down the road.
Iâ€™m finding an interesting phenomenon. As I talk to and question my â€œmedical teamâ€ I find the more questions I ask and the less passive I am in my discussions with them, I get different and more elaborate answers to my questions. I donâ€™t know if theyâ€™re telling things that would happen anyway or theyâ€™re changing options as I ask questions.
I consider my job and that of the medical people I deal with very similar. We both diagnose and solve problems for our customers. One difference is I am paid by my customers whereas they are paid by a third party. But in most cases my clients have no clue as to how I do what I do. Many people, including me, have the same idea about the medical profession.
I am becoming of the opinion that when they declare my tumors dead that I have some kind of maintenance program, not just a monitoring program. Hereâ€™s my philosophy, which I got from â€œThe Patient from Hell.â€
The probability they will successfully kill every cancer cell in my body is somewhere between slim and none. Left to their own resources, in a couple of years Iâ€™ll be right back where I started from. I want to cut those suckers off at the pass.
I donâ€™t like to lose and failure is not an option.
I keep reminding myself the three questions to ask the medical people.
1) What can happen?
2) What are the odds of that happening?
3) How do we know what can happen and how can we verify the odds of that happening?
Part of the problem I find is itâ€™s hard to get enough time with a doctor of any kind to have a serious discussion. One is lucky to get more than 10 minutes with any medical person. Perhaps I just need to ask the doctor what his hourly rate is and then pay him his hourly rate out of pocket as the insurance will only pay him a fixed fee.
If you want extra service, you need to be ready to pay for it.
I stopped by the radiology lab and got a copy of the MRI report my radio oncologist discussed with me. For the most part it says there is little if any change from the last MRI. They did mention a little swelling around one tumor that I donâ€™t remember reading about in the first MRI report. They called it mild edema.
They summarize with â€œMinimal overall improvement in the brain metastases but no significant change in the largest metastasis within the left frontal lobe. There is certainly no progression of the disease or new metastases.â€
I guess this is sort of no news is no news.
I stopped by the tanning salon tonight and asked if I should get another treatment or wait. I told them I was still a little pink. She said to wait. One thing impressed me was, when I checked in and gave them my name they immediately asked me how I responded to the first session. The most impressive part was the girl behind the desk was different that when I went in yesterday. That means the girl yesterday typed a note into the computer about my first session.
Thatâ€™s good organization. My thoughts were why donâ€™t Doctorâ€™s offices have the same kind of software and systems in place?
Iâ€™ll go back to the salon when my current glow fades a bit.
It looks like we got three to four inches of snow last night. The temperature was such, however, that the streets only wound up with one to two inches. Driving should be good.
Iâ€™m slowly improving. I went for my two-mile walk this morning and maybe increased the pace a tiny bit. Iâ€™m still not sleeping all that well. When I go to bed, I fall asleep almost immediately. Then I wake up a couple of hours later and wake up and sleep the rest of the night. Last night I experienced some continuous back pain. I took 600 mg of Ibuprofen and seemed to sleep better after that.
I still have some residual pain from the Neulasta, but it is getting less and less everyday.
Iâ€™m preparing for bed. The shooting pains seem to be subsiding. Now Iâ€™m just left with a gnawing fatigue. I can hardly wait to hit the sack. Iâ€™m guessing thatâ€™s because I didnâ€™t sleep all that well last night. Hopefully tonight will be more productive â€“ from a sleep standpoint.
My feet are getting pretty numb again. Itâ€™s irritating but not incapacitating. I catch you on the flip side.
Iâ€™m trying something a little different. I went to a tanning salon today. I read in my Science News that all forms of cancer except skin cancer are reduced the closer a person lives to the equator. It is thought this is due to the increased amount of vitamin D one gets from being exposed to the sun. There are several studies that indicate that vitamin D can help prevent cancer.
Although one can take vitamin D supplements, my feeling the body probably does best making it from sunshine. A half hour of exposure to the sun can generate 10,000 to 12,000 IU of vitamin D. The government recommends a minimum of 400 IU per day. Thatâ€™s a large difference.
I thought I would try a tanning salon to boost my vitamin D intake. There is one only about two miles from my house. I went in and told the manager what I was trying to do. I told her I was fair skinned and that my chemo treatments may make me for sensitive to sunburn.
She set me up for a five minute session. She explained it in detail and I went in and turned on the machine.
It was HOT â€“ brutally hot! Now I like warm but this was much hotter than I anticipated. It felt like 150 degrees in the booth â€“ even with the high volume fan they have to keep you cool. For a minute or so I didnâ€™t know if I could last the whole five minutes. But I toughed it out and the machine shut itself down after five minutes.
I donâ€™t know if itâ€™ll help or not, but at least I should LOOK healthy.
I had a voice mail on my cell phone late this afternoon. It was from my radio oncologist. She was relaying the results of the MRI on my head to me. She said the tumors in my brain were unchanged from the previous MRI and may have shrunk just a smidgeon. She said she had spoken with my oncologist and they had agreed that I should have the radiation therapy after my chemo is done. Iâ€™ll call her tomorrow and try to get a more extended report. I will also contact the lab and get a copy of the report for my own records.
Itâ€™s starting to snow. Supposedly weâ€™re going to get quite a bit. I hope itâ€™s not too much. I donâ€™t know how much snow I can shovel tomorrow.
Iâ€™m dragging a bit this morning. I didnâ€™t sleep all that well last night. I think the chemo messes up my sleep patterns. I DID go for my two-mile walk. It was rather slow and I occasionally limped, as I would get pain in an ankle or knee.
Iâ€™m going into the office this morning, but may not stay all day. Iâ€™m just feeling rather wiped right now.
I am very slowly recuperating from the Neulasta shot. Iâ€™m still feeling very tired and sharp pains occur at random through my body. Mostly they occur in my back, but I also get them in my knee and ankle and various other locations. They donâ€™t seem to matter what my position is. They hit, last for a few seconds and then fade. Although they frequently reappear within a few more seconds, then I may go 30 minutes to an hour before another attack occurs.
I have been down this path before, however. It will eventually pass. I just need to tough it out.
Iâ€™m slowly recovering from the Neulasta shot. Iâ€™m feeling somewhat better, but still get pain shots. Itâ€™s strange. Suddenly my back will get a sharp pain that lasts for maybe a minute and then fades away. Then Iâ€™ll get a shot in my knee. Later Iâ€™ll get a shot in my ankle. Last night the big toe on my right foot hurt badly for about a minute. Iâ€™ve come to expect this from the Neulasta. Itâ€™s like some critter is running around inside my body and every once in a while he stabs me some place. I have also learned that it will pass. I just have to tough it out for a while.
It looks like we got some snow last night that changed to rain. There is a dusting of snow on the roofs and on the grass, but everything is wet. Earlier it was lightly raining.
I was fairly formant for the day. As I prepare for bed, I feel Iâ€™m starting to improve a smidgeon. I hope that with a good nightâ€™s sleep, tomorrow will be better.
StrategyPage.com has a post on what the troops think of the media coverage of Iraq.
American troops are developing a hate-hate relation with journalists. The basic problem is that soldiers and marines in Iraq have access, usually via the Internet, to what the mass media is saying about what they think is happening in Iraq. These news reports, all too often, do not reflect what the troops experience. It gets uglier when the troops realize that reporters are spending most of their time in the Green Zone or some well guarded hotel, leaving it to local Iraqi stringers to collect information and photos for the reporters stories. Relations are a bit better with the few embedded journalists who still travel with the troops out in field. But even the embeds are often mistrusted and disliked, because some of them are blatantly out for dirt, not an accurate story.
Few of the troops understand that the news business is driven by dramatic events, not the tedious kind of process the troops go through every day to defeat the terrorists. To the troops, the war is being won. They see bad guys killed in large numbers, and few Americans getting hurt (itâ€™s fairly common for their to be about twenty enemy dead for each American loss). The troops see tangible evidence, every day, of Iraqis having a better life. The troops cannot understand why that is not news, and why journalists always seem to be looking for a negative angle. To the average G.I., the attitude is, â€œwhat are these reporters looking for?â€ They are looking for a story, and bad news is a story. Good news is not. As a result of this clash of cultures, reporters are increasingly seen as a potentially dangerous enemy. For the troops, this is already accepted as true for many Arab journalists. Some of those have been arrested for hostile activity, or later revealed as al Qaeda agents. European journalists are seen as particularly clueless, so wrapped up in their anti-American fantasies, that communication is nearly impossible. But after watching a CNN clip on the net, or viewing an online story from the New York Times or Washington Post, itâ€™s hard to view U.S. journalists as fellow Americans.
I slept pretty well last night, but I donâ€™t know if I feel better or not. In spite of 12 hours in bed Iâ€™m moving very slowly. My stomach if feeling better this morning and my taste buds are starting to return to normal. I dropped a pound yesterday, but Iâ€™ve got some room to spare in that category. Iâ€™m going out for a walk with the Vorlon Wife to get some exercise. It will likely be a slow day for me today. The Neulasta is not done with me yet.
The Neulasta has me hammered pretty good. Iâ€™m packing it in for the night.
Hereâ€™s a suggestion. Send the ACLU a Christmas card. This link gives the address. Kill them with kindness.
The ants seem to be gone. The Vorlon Wife sprinkled powdered cocoa where the ants were coming in and we donâ€™t see any in the house. She had also set out ant traps so Iâ€™m not sure which did the job. Iâ€™m beginning to suspect the cocoa. She put the ant traps in place the other day and they were still crawling all over the kitchen counter. Now I donâ€™t see a single one.
Here's a thought provoking article by a Tom Bethell in which he discusses evolution versus creationism. I think he makes some interesting points.
The other day I was writing from a Benadryl induced haze, today it is a Neulasta induced haze. So far, the ache is not too bad, but it will probably get a little worse before it gets better.
Having been through two chemo cycles before, Iâ€™m starting to know what to expect. I just take Tylenol and sit around until it passes. I went out for my two-mile walk this morning and it was slower than yesterday morning.
I slept well last night. I woke up once about 13:30 to drain the plumbing and take some more Tylenol and then again about 20 minutes before the alarm went off. I really hate waking up just before the alarm goes off. I slept half the night on my left side for the first time in three or more months.
If it wasnâ€™t for the drugs they are pumping through me, I would feel quite good. Of course, if it wasnâ€™t for the drugs they are pumping through me, I would likely feel worse â€“ if you get my drift.
The Neulasta is supposed to give you bone pain. For me itâ€™s muscle pain. It seems most pronounced in my neck and shoulders. However, as the day wears on, it is likely to expand. Last time I went through this cycle I hurt from my hips to my ears.
My weight continues to rise. Iâ€™m up a pound from yesterday. I think itâ€™s time to back off on the caloric intake a bit. That shouldnâ€™t be too hard as my taste buds are also under the weather. In addition, my stomach is still a bit queasy. That should be settled down by tomorrow.
Here's a book for the Democrats. Perhaps it'll help them to understand Bush's Iraq War strategy.
Hat Tip Instapundit
I had an MRI this morning on my head and this afternoon I had my Neulasta shot. Iâ€™ll get the results of the MRI in a couple of days. Iâ€™m starting feel the effects of the Neulasta and expect tomorrow to be less than perfect.
My appetite isnâ€™t too bad, but food just doesnâ€™t have any flavor right now. I think Iâ€™ll go to bed early tonight.
Iâ€™m having some problem with my Dell laptop. If I run on just the battery everything is fine. If, however, I run the laptop plugged into the wall, it will randomly drops its wireless internet connection. If I repair the network connection it works fine for a period of time. But sooner or later, it will drop the connection again. But if Iâ€™m not connected to power and am just using the battery, the wireless network connection never drops.
My signal strength is always excellent.
Iâ€™m feeling well today and I slept well last night. What was a little startling was yesterday my scale showed I weighed 151 Lbs. Today itâ€™s reading 154 Lbs. Now I drank almost two quarts of OJ yesterday so maybe it is water. My desire for OJ seems to continue unabated.
This morning Iâ€™m going for an MRI of my head to see what going on with the tumors in my brain. This afternoon Iâ€™m going for my Neulasta shot. The shot itself is a non-event, but later I will suffer.
My stomach isnâ€™t too bad this morning, but I took a Kytril to make sure it stays stable.