Saturday, September 30, 2006

September 30 Final Update

I guess I did OK today. I did some shopping with the Vorlon wife and returned home exhausted.

I’m scheduled for another poisoning this Friday. I hope I make quick physical progress. In my current treatment regime I feel like I never get a chance to fully recover.

Now I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/30/06 9:21 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Friday, September 29, 2006

September 29 Final Update

I’m doing pretty well tonight. I even went out for a 2-block walk with the Vorlon Wife.

My appetite and taste buds are good, but I still cannot eat a lot at one sitting. I’m working hard to put on some weight.

I got an email from Reb. His father, Reb Orrell Jr, is staying in the hospital so that if something serious happens he’ll have ready medical care. He is going through some very tough times. Your prayers for him would be welcome.

Now I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/29/06 8:58 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

A Parent's Wish

The Vorlon Parents sent me this link. I thought I’d share it with you. You’ll need your speakers to get the full effect.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/29/06 8:34 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

September 28 Final Update

I seem to have plateaued. This afternoon I was feeling pretty tired, so I took a nap. That seemed to help.

This morning as I was struggling to put on my compression hose, the Vorlon Wife commented that I was doing it all wrong. She said to roll it up and then sort of unroll it over my foot and leg.

I looked at her, handed her a hose and said, “Try it on your foot.”

After much grunting and struggling, she got it halfway up her foot and finally gave up. Then she couldn’t get if off her foot. After more grunting and struggling, she finally got the sock off her foot.

She then handed me the sock and walked out of the room.

I then proceeded to, with much effort, put them one. I find it’s almost as much work to take them off as to put then on.

I just got off the phone with the Vorlon Brother.

Now I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/28/06 9:56 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

A New Development

The Vorlon Brother sends this:

I thought you might find the following message interesting. It is from a friend who has advanced breast cancer. She mentions a new drug called "Tykerb." Since she sent this message it has been found be be quite effective against her brain tumors that they were not able to treat with radiation. I don't believe it is scheduled to be released until the end of the year. Apparently the clinical trails wer so effective that they stoped the trial and gave it to the controls as well as the cases.

I'll definitely ask my oncologist.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/28/06 7:00 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

September 27 Final Update

I did OK today, but faded late in the afternoon. I went home early and took a nap.

The lady that runs our office complex has crocheted an “Arm Warmer” for me. When I get my chemo treatments, the IV gets cold and becomes uncomfortable. I try to wrap something around it to keep it warm. Although that helps, I don’t have anything that fits that area.

What she did was to crochet what looks like a small scarf. It’s about six inches wide and about 2 feet long. I have tested it and it wraps around my arm nicely. I’ll see how it works out during me next treatment.

Thank you, Ann!

My weight is at 153 Lbs and I am trying to gain more weight. I just cannot eat a lot at one sitting – but I continue to try.

I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/27/06 8:42 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

September 26 Final Update

Today was much better. Although I felt tired, I did pretty well and did not have to take a nap. I hope tomorrow will continue to show some improvement.

I finally responded to a query from the insurance company. Apparently, they have a representative to help people. I spoke with her for a bit, but she didn’t really have much to offer. She did, however, give me a web site to do research on clinical trials. That may come in handy in the future.

From time-to-time, readers send me articles on possible solutions to my situation. Those submissions are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

It appears I’m losing a toenail. I asked the nurse and she thought it might be from the chemo. While that’s a possibility, it could also be that it was pinched in my shoe and I couldn’t feel it. I don’t see any infection so I’ll just monitor it.

I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/26/06 9:09 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

More on Mustard Seeds

I have come up with some more references to mustard seeds.

Matthew 13:31

He put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."

Mark 4:30

And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."

Luke 13:18

He said therefore, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches."

I think I'm still confused. Can anyone help?

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/26/06 9:06 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Gasoline Prices

Last night I filled Dasher-1 and paid $1.959. This morning, the same station was selling gasoline at $1.939.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/26/06 9:32 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Monday, September 25, 2006

September 25 Final Update

Today was a bit better. I went to the office, but was really tired. I laid down on my chase lounge with my blankey and took a nap. That seem an improvement and I ran pretty strong the rest of the day.

I think I may have to go back to my compression hose. My ankles are looking pretty puffy tonight.

I bought some Tastykake cream-filled chocolate cupcakes and they seem to go down very well indeed. I suppose they’re on the fatty side of life, but I need to get my weight up. A good chunk of fat, when you’re working on keeping ON pounds, can’t hurt.

The numbness in my fingertips and feet is really irritating. My right hand seems a little worse than my left – go figure.

My feet are really numb. I don’t notice it until I stand up to walk. Weirdly, although they are numb and they are also very sensitive to bruising. Any little irritant really makes itself known.

I slept pretty well last night and I’m hoping for a better night tonight.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/25/06 8:49 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Faith Like a Mustard Seed

I’m puzzled by Jesus’ statement on faith. In Luke 17:5, he says:

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

Then in Matthew 17:19

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you."

In both cases, he indicates their faith was inadequate, yet in the same breath, he says they need the faith like a grain of mustard seed. But a mustard seed is very tiny.

Perhaps someone with a better theological background than mine can tell me how this all works out.

I’m confused.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/25/06 8:38 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Gasoline Price Update

I passed a Wawa selling gasoline at $1.959 this morning. I guess I should fill up Dasher-1. It’s running on fumes.

UPDATE: I filled up tonight at that price.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/25/06 1:36 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

September 24 Final Update

When I first woke up, I thought I was going to have a good day. Two hours later, I felt ready for bed.

I find that seems to happen a lot. Shortly after I wake up, I feel quite good. Then I fade fast. At least my taste buds seem to be doing quite well.

My fingertips and feet still feel quite numb. Although there is medication they prescribe to diabetics to help, I know someone that takes it, on occasion. She’s a diabetic. She said the medication makes you very tired. That’s not something I need right now.

I have found one positive effect of the chemo. My teeth used to be very sensitive to cold. Now cold seems not to bother them at all. In fact, I now like my cold drinks as cold as I can get them.

Although my feet, ankles and calves swell a little bit, it’s not as bad as it was. However, I think it will get more pronounced in a week or so – if previous patterns prevail.

Several months ago, a friend sent me two foam wedges when I was suffering a lot of back pain. I haven’t used them for quite a while. We have a 3-inch foam pad on our bed. The Vorlon Wife put one of the foam wedges under the foam pad at the foot of the bed to elevate my feet. That has worked out quite well.

Thank you Reb and Nora.

Now, you guessed, I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/24/06 8:38 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Pig Love

I thought you'd enjoy this photo. It's both cute and ugly at the same time. You know what they say about how kids put everything in their mouths.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/24/06 7:50 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

September 23 Final Update

I had my Neulasta shot this morning. While there, I asked if I should get a flu shot and he said yes. I called my GP and they said they wouldn’t get flu shots in until October. I found that strange as my oncologist, who is on duty this weekend, said he had his supply. However, he said to get it from your doctor as he supposed to be the supply of last resort.

The chemo messes up my sleep patterns and although I went to sleep quickly, I woke up about 1:30, then tossed, and turned the rest of the night. I took a nap this afternoon, but I’m still looking forward to bed.

Although I’m tired, I do not have the bone numbing exhaustion – yet.

My taste buds are a little off. I made French toast this morning. It was OK, but not as tasty as I had anticipated. The Vorlon Wife assured me the French toast was very good.

If this session mirrors the same session as last time, my taste buds should recover more quickly. We bought a lot of fruit in the grocery store today in anticipation I will be able to eat it. I found apples very expensive for some reason. I’m going to make an apple pie using the Vorlon Mother’s recipe.

The good news for New Jersey farmers is they have traced the contaminated spinach to a single county in California. A lot of New Jersey farmers are starting to harvest their spinach. Although even with the all clear for New Jersey farmers, they will probably not get a good price.

One of my problems is when I go to bed and say my prayers; I fall asleep before they are finished. The girl who works with us in our office said that the nun at the Catholic school where she takes her son said, “Don’t worry about falling asleep before you finish. The angels finish your prayers for you.” I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I thought it was a cute statement.

Now, when I cannot sleep and I just start over and usually have no trouble finishing – although I seem to have trouble keeping my mind focused.

Woops, it’s past my bedtime.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/23/06 9:03 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Pet Peeves

I have two pet peeves – probably more but this is what comes to mind at the moment.

Spam Blockers
I was reminded of this when I attempted to email someone and got a bounce-back. The autoresponder said that to reduce spam it only accepts emails from people that are registered to send emails to the recipient. It then gave me a link in which I could register myself.

I didn’t bother. In my opinion, there are plenty of good spam blockers out there that don’t require your friends to jump through hoops. I use something called SpamBayes. It is a free download, but it only works with Outlook. If you’re using Outlook Express or something else, there are solutions for them too.

Call Waiting
Have you ever been talking so someone on the phone and they say, “Hang on a minute, I have another call.” Then they disappear from the line for a couple of minutes.

I think that is rude. I think what they are really saying is, “I have another call that may be more important that talking to you.”

Now, when I have that done, I just hang up. If they call me back, I say, “Gee, I guess we got disconnected.”

If you really must not miss a single phone call, get a voice mail system with your phone company that automatically routes a second call to voice mail.

I guess that’s enough rant for one night.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/23/06 8:11 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (6)

Friday, September 22, 2006

September 22 Final Update

Today was not too bad, but I was pretty tired most of the day and took a nap about 11:30 this morning.

I had my treatment today. The good news was that my white cell count was nice and healthy. I go in tomorrow for my Neulasta shot and then I’m out of jail for two weeks!

My red cell count and hemoglobin counts were on the low side, so they also gave me an Aranesp shot.

So far the swelling my feet, ankles and calves is very little. If this goes as before, I expect much swelling about a week before my next treatment.

Oh and on the financial front, it seems my co-pays ($20) have reached a max and now I can walk in, get treated and not pay anything. Of course, I’m shelling out some $13,000 in insurance premiums each year.

I hear word from a friend whose father is in the hospital and not doing well at all. My prayers are with your father, Reb.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/22/06 8:51 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (5)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

September 21 Final Update

I woke up feeling pretty good. The swelling in my feet, ankles and calves, for now at least, is about gone. I expect it to return in a couple of weeks.

My taste buds are pretty well recovered. My experience from former treatments leads me to believe my treatment tomorrow afternoon should not affect my taste buds too badly.

Late in the afternoon, I started to feel pretty tired and came home.

I’m ready for bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/21/06 8:23 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Gasoline Update

I stopped at the Wawa for coffee and a Tastykake french apple pie this morning. They were selling gasoline at $2.039.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/21/06 10:11 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (5)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

September 20 Final Update

I’m getting a little better tonight, although the chemo is really numbing my finger-tips and feet. My taste buds continue to improve and that’s a help.

While I was getting my Neupogen shot this morning, one of the nurses said at my last blood test, my serum creatinine had moved from 1.2 to 1.5. They gave me a half-gallon plastic bucket to collect 24 hours of urine and give to the lab. I will do my best to fill it.

They think it’s due to the chemo effects.

I’m a little concerned that they didn’t tell me that sooner. I will beat on them tomorrow.

One more day of Neupogen and then I get another treatment Friday afternoon. Then I’m out of jail for two weeks!

I mentioned to the nurse yesterday that I am scheduled for my treatment at 3:00 pm Friday. That means my Neulasta shot would come at 8:30 Saturday and that is less that the 24-hours they have always told me should elapse between treatment and Neulasta shot.

Their response was, “Well they’re finding that 24 hours is not sacrosanct. They’re finding that treatment can vary.”

Although I didn’t comment, I was rather nonplussed.

The Vorlon Parents emailed me the following story:

Your mother was talking with a lady. She began telling her story about cancer she had years ago and the chemo treatments she endured. She was taking chemo for a tumor on her kidney. After several months of treatments, the tumor never changed. The tumor is still there but the cancer has been in remission for 10 years now.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/20/06 8:29 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Gasoline Prices

I passed a station selling gasoline at $2.079 this morning. Can anyone beat that?

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/20/06 1:54 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (5)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

September 19 Final Update

I stayed home today and did a lot of sleeping. I’m feeling a little better than yesterday. I still have some body pain but it isn’t as severe as last night.

I had the Doppler test on my carotid artery this evening and the tech told me it all looked good.

The swelling in my feet, ankles and calves seems quite reduced tonight.

There’s not much else to report. I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/19/06 8:30 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Monday, September 18, 2006

September 18 Final Update

I’ve got my computer back with the new backup program. That should give me the backup in case my C drive dies.

I’m really hurting tonight. I’m very tired and my back and neck have a lot of muscular pain. I’ve taken 600 mg of ibuprofen. Hopefully that should take the edge off.

The chemo is really nailing my feet. When I walk, I can barely feel the floor. My fingertips are numbing up too.

I’m just going to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/18/06 8:40 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

September 17 Final Update

The chemo is really hammering me tonight. I’m just tired and exhausted. My stomach is still uneasy and the thought of food is not appetizing. I’m not really nauseas, I just feel yuck. I am surviving on Boost Plus.

The pain in my legs is subsiding. I don’t know if it’s from the compression hose or it’s just going away on its own. The swelling in my calves seems reduced, but my feet and ankles are still very puffy.

I’m off to bed. I’m too tired to write anything more.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/17/06 8:21 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

September 16 Final Update

I was pretty inactive all day today. I didn’t really sleep too well last night. The chemo seems to mess up my sleep patterns. So I had a nice nap this morning and a nice nap this afternoon.

I’m not sure what to say about the compression hose. They're a bit of a struggle to put on. I think they reduce the swelling in my calves a bit, but my ankles still look like softballs and my feet are still puffy. And my calves are really sore so that when I walk, I hobble.

I have not suffered from nausea hardly at all. My taste buds, however, are screwed. Even water tastes bad. Hopefully this will soon abate.

Now I’m back to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/16/06 9:00 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Friday, September 15, 2006


I know I haven’t said anything about 9/11. I don’t have anything to add to what’s already been said.

I would just direct you to these to links.

This is a slide show of photos in New York set to music. It takes some time to load, but I think it is worth the wait. It makes me sad and angry all at the same time.

This is a column by Peggy Noonan. I think she hits the right tone.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/15/06 10:44 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

September 15 Final Update

I had my chemo this morning and it took about five hours. It was a hour after I got there that they finally starting poisoning me. All my blood counts looked good.

While I was being poisoned I showed the nurses the following data.

Week 1, on Thursday, WBC = 4,900, received treatment
Week 2, received Neupogen Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday; On Thursday WBC = 20,900, received treatment, Friday received Neulasta shot
Week 3, Rest
Week 4, on Thursday, WBC = 14,000, received treatment
Week 5, received Neupogen Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday; On Thursday WBC = 1,800, treatment denied due to low WBC, got Neupogen Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Week 6, Received Neupoen on Monday, on Tuesday WBC = 11,500, received treatment, Wednesday received Neulasta shot.
Week 7, Rest, check WBC = 11,400
Week 8, on Friday (Today), WBC = 8,500, received treatment.

WBC is White Blood Cell count
Neupogen is given multiple days and supposedly only stimulates the white cells for 24 hours
Neulasta is given less frequently and supposedly stimulate the white cell for two weeks.

We discussed it. It took them a few minutes to digest what I have pondered for some time. They went back and reviewed their charts to confirm my numbers.

They said the didn’t want to OVER stimulate me and I understand that to a point. We agreed that next week I‘d get Neupogen Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursdays and then come in on Friday for treatment.

Asked if the could give me a money back guarantee. They declined. I reminded them how I really dislike changing the schedule and they assured me they were well aware of my dislike to failure.

I find the data puzzling as you’ll notice that on Week 4 I had a much higher WBC count than week 1, yet my WBC on Week 5 was much lower than Week 2. In both cases my treatment schedule was identical.

In retrospect I wonder how many people would have done what I did to ensure I got the treatment I wanted.

As I like to say, one has to stay on top of medical people. I consider myself the manager of a bunch of techies. Just because I don’t have their knowledge doesn’t mean I can manage them. I just need to ask tough enough questions that I can be confident they’re doing as close to the right thing as possible. I say as close as possible because no one knows the EXACT right thing to do. As I like to say, they throw things against the wall and see what sticks.

My analysis this morning was easy as it simply involved numbers and I just had to present them is such a way that they understood my concerns and could respond to them.

While I was in the treatment room, one of the customers started getting a very bad reaction to the poison they were dripping through him. The quickly called 911 and the EMT’s arrived and carted him off.

I notice he had a mediport. I spoke to one of the nurses and mentioned that he obviously had been poison before and I was surprised he had a bad reaction. She said it was the first time on this particular chemical.

The nurse said he called later in the day. He was home and doing well.

In Schneider’s book, one of his nurses said that a bad reaction to the chemo could indicate it would be more effective against the parasite.

That’s about it for today; I guess it’s been a long post. But now I’m ready for bed. I get to sleep in tomorrow and struggle a bit with mild nausea.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/15/06 10:16 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Computer Update

As I stated my computer is running, but I don’t dare trying to reboot it. I have spoken to my computer guy and Monday, I will take it to him for upgrade. I’m doing to have him install a backup program that will allow me to restore the complete hard drive and will be like I never had a problem. He is also going to examine it and if the hard drive is flaky, replace it. Why wait for it to fail?

I asked if I could upgrade to a RAID 1 configuration and he said I’d have to re-install everything. OK so I’m not going to do that.

As long as I don’t have to reboot over the weekend, I should be good to go.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/15/06 10:15 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Whew! That was close.

Last night after upgrading my iTunes software, my computer failed to boot. It looked like the boot sector had died. That’s why there was no post last night.

I had resigned myself to taking it to Computers and Networks Unlimited to get it fixed and it would likely take more than a day. The only good news is I back it up every night. Just to double check, I turned in it on this morning and, voila, it booted.

I’m not going get it fixed yet, but I know I’m living on borrowed time. I will call them and see what I can do early next week.

Last night I received a pair of support hose from the Vorlon Parents. I GUESS they fit OK, as I’ve never worn support hose before. They were a bit of a struggle to put on. I’m going to have to get several more pairs as I don’t want to wear the same pair everyday – Yuk!

I’m scheduled for a poisoning at 9:15 this morning.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/15/06 7:09 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

September 13 Final Update

I was sitting at my desk this morning when I received a call from the Vorlon Parents. They were in a medical supply store buying a pair of support hose from me.

It turns out buying support hose is more complicated than buying a pair of socks. The quickly put the manager on the line and asked questions about how tight I wanted I wanted them. I told him I didn’t have a clue.

He asked me to give the circumference of my calf and ankle. We rummaged around the office until we found a tape measure. I put my leg up on the desk, pulled up my pant leg and my sock down and had the Vorlon Assistant measure the salient points and transferred data points to the guy on the phone.

So now, I have a pair in the mail to me.

I thank the Vorlon Parents.

I did my 1-mile hobble with the Vorlon Wife tonight. It hurts to walk and I don’t walk very well.

I’m just not looking forward to another treatment on Friday. But I think it’s something I need to do.

I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/13/06 8:54 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Protect Your Politician

The first amendment to the constitution says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

From now until Election Day it is illegal to criticize an incumbent politician by name in any political advertisement.

Thank you John McCain – a dubious defender of the 1st amendment.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/13/06 9:14 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Gasoline Price Update

I passed two stations selling gasoline at $2.199 this morning. And in New Jersey the attendant is the one that pumps your gas. I'm a little low, but holding off for a better price.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/13/06 9:02 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (3)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

September 12 Final Update

I think today was about the same as yesterday. I went to the eye doctor today and he quickly pronounced my condition as Lattice Degeneration. He said is likely NOT due to my chemo. He has customers with the problem and they are perfectly healthy. He said if it has happened three times in the last 10 days don’t worry about it. He said if I experience it 24 x 7, then call him immediately and he will send me to someone that will zap it with a laser.

I asked him if I should cancel the Doppler test on my carotid artery. He said it is probably still a good thing to do.

I feel like I"m falling apart piece by piece.

My legs are still swollen. I have stopped at a couple of drug stores for some kind of support hose and when I ask for them, I get blank stares.

I went out with the Vorlon Wife for my 1-mile walk. It took me about 25 minutes to cover the one mile. Time was the Vorlon Wife had to struggle to keep up with me, now I cannot keep up with her.

Alas, it’s past time for bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/12/06 8:48 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11 Final Update

I think I’m making very slow improvement. My calves are still quite swollen and sore. But I still went out with the Vorlon Wife for a 1-mile walk. It was a very slow walk, but I made it all the way around.

My weight seems to have stabilized at 152 Lbs. I’m still trying to put more weight on, but although I feel hungry, I seem to get filled up quickly.

We replaced our answering machine tonight. The old one gave up the ghost. I still need to set the outgoing message, but is anyone calls, they can leave a message.

On gasoline, the Vorlon Wife filled up today for $2.239. Can you better that?

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/11/06 9:19 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

September 10 Final Update

Although I didn’t do a lot, today I seem somewhat improved. At church, I could actually stand and sing at the same time. Mind you, I did really want to stand for very long.

Tonight the Vorlon Wife and I went for a 1-mile walk. I was rather slow, but I made it all the way around.

The good news is that my calves seem much improved. When I first start walking, they hurt, but quickly ease. After a dozen steps or so, there is very little pain at all – although they still show quite a bit of swelling.

I’m still working on getting my weight up and it’s a bit of a struggle.

I seem to be sleeping better, but I’m ready for bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/10/06 8:46 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Saturday, September 9, 2006

September 9 Final Update

I was a little better today – although I generally just sat around for most of the day. Late this afternoon the Vorlon Wife and went down to the shore – as you can see in the photo. I walked maybe a mile total. I find I don’t have a lot of strength in my knees. Stepping up on a steep step takes quite a bit of effort and my knee feels almost like it going to collapse. I’m hoping that is just a temporary effect of the chemo.

Even so, it was nice t get out for a bit.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/09/06 8:14 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)

Friday, September 8, 2006

September 8 Final Update

I did a little better today. I still don’t have a lot of strength or stamina, but I was able to stave off having to take a nap.

I’m trying hard to put on some weight, but it’s hard, as I can’t eat a lot at any one time.

I got the reading from the radiology lab. You can view it by clicking here. Basically, it says I’m pretty much unchanged from last time. My oncologist is keeping me on the same chemical mix.

The good news is, I can sleep in tomorrow.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/08/06 8:51 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Thursday, September 7, 2006

September 7 Final Update

151_5174.jpgI met with my oncologist today. I told him all my symptoms and he listened and wrote. Then I told him that I had experienced a visual deformity and sort of sketched a diagram of what I was experiencing. I has happened twice about a week apart and lasts for a few minutes. The photo you see here pretty well illustrates what I experience.

I told him I was concerned it might be weeds from my parasite. He said that was VERY unlikely. He said if that were the case, I wouldn’t experience this condition on a temporary basis.

He gave me a prescription to get some sort of Doppler test on my carotid artery. He listened with his stethoscope, but said it sounds OK. But he felt the test would be a better diagnostic tool.

I am still very tired. It just doesn’t go away. But I don’t have any treatment until Friday of next week – Yea!

I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/07/06 8:38 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (1)

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

September 6 Final Update

Today was an up and down day. I still hobble when I walk, but the back spasms seem to have gone away. My calves are still tight, but they seem to be getting better.

I had my CT scan this afternoon. It is always an uneventful event and takes only about 15 minutes. I’ll probably be able to get the report on Friday. Tomorrow I see my oncologist for a cursory physical exam. A week from Friday I get another treatment.

I’m still plagued by the tiredness. I can go for a few hours and then I just feel like I need a nap.

And now I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/06/06 8:52 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Gasoline Cheaper

I see the price of gasoline continues to drop. For those that are interested I have a link on the right hand side that will give you a graph of crude oil and unleaded gasoline futures. Both have been dropping like a lead balloon.

I should have been selling short on both markets. If I had, I’d have made a very pretty penny by now.

I passed a station today selling gasoline at $2.41. So why is the price dropping now?

Who knows? When it comes to commodities, they fluctuate in price for no apparent reason.

I think I’ll blame George Bush. He gets blamed for everything else, why not this?

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/06/06 8:39 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

September 5 Final Update

I afraid I’m still a broken record. I’m still very tired with the back spasms. It feels like the muscles in my back just go into spasm for a few seconds and then they relax. It really smarts, when that happens, and then I huff and puff during the recovery.

I finally took some ibuprofen at lunch and my afternoon was much better.

Tonight I’m still getting the spasms but they are much reduced. I’m going to take some more ibuprofen and hit the hay. If this follows the same course as last time, I should be out of this condition in a day or so.

My calves are tight too, but if this works the same as before, they should go away in a few more days. I guess the good news is it’s transitory. Would that my treatment had a definite ending.

I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/05/06 8:53 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Monday, September 4, 2006

September 4 Final Update

Today was a just hang around the house day. I didn’t really feel exhausted, but I sure didn’t have much energy. I just sort of stayed in one spot. My calves are very tight and sore and walking is a hobble. My feet, ankles and calves are still puffy – but not quite as bad as a couple of days ago.

I did a little bit of work today. I did a report for a client. He will probably want to tweak it a bit, but it gives him something to look at and give me some feedback.

I’ve picked up some back pain in my lower back. I suspect it’s from the chemo as I got this same back pain about the same part in the chemo cycle a few weeks ago.

I’ve picked a back pain that’s a bit more worrisome. It is a sharp pain about half way between my hip and rib cage on the left side. The worrisome part is, I had the same pain back in August of 2005, and then it gradually went away. Now it’s back again.

I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/04/06 8:18 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (4)

Sunday, September 3, 2006

September 3 Final Update

I was pretty tired all day today. I even sat down through most of church. I just didn’t have the energy to stand and sing at the same time.

My feet, ankles and calves are still a little puffy, but not quite as bad as before. My calves are feeling really tight and walking is painful. I hobble a lot.

My appetite seems improved and that’s a plus. I can stand to put on a few pounds.

I am scheduled for a CT scan this Wednesday. It usually takes them two days to read the scans, so I probably won’t have a report before Friday. I see my oncologist for his cursory physical exam on Thursday. I gotta tell you, I’m getting a little weary of visiting his office.

For now, I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/03/06 8:13 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Sometimes We Don't Have as Bad as We Think

Yesterday I was reminded of the saying, “I used to complain because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet.”

Yesterday we made a trip to BJ’s for some Puffs Plus tissues. If you don’t have them in your area, they are like a Sam’s Club. A box of Puffs Plus tissue cost $2.49 in the grocery store. In BJ’s I buy eight for $11.97. That’s a considerable savings. I seem to have a congenital runny nose and go through tissue like crazy.

On the way, back we stopped at a roadside farmer’s market to buy some fresh fruit and sweet corn. While we were there, I noticed a pretty young girl, maybe 18 years old that was in a motorized wheel chair. The striking thing about her was she had no arms or legs. I have not idea how she controlled the wheel chair, but she seemed to have no problem with it.

My heart really went out to her. My guess is that she was born that way. I can’t think of any accident that would result in the severing of all of one’s limbs.

Someone loves her, in spite of her handicap, as she can probably do nothing for herself. She is completely dependent on other people.

It really saddened me.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/03/06 8:04 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

I Know this is a Repeat

My Science News has a take on my recent post about using the body's immune system to fight cancer. I know this is a repeat of a previous post, but Science News has a less sensationalistic take on the report.

By inserting a gene into normal immune cells isolated from melanoma patients, scientists have turned the cells into cancer fighters. This new technique represents the first use of gene therapy to treat cancer, the researchers say.

In the past several years, scientists have been modestly successful in treating a few cancers using a method called adoptive cell transfer. This technique relies on the natural ability of certain immune cells called T cells or lymphocytes to recognize and kill cancer cells in some patients.

In this method, researchers first isolate a patient's most aggressive tumor-killing T cells and multiply them in the lab. Doctors destroy the patient's remaining T cells and replace them with the anticancer versions. If all goes well, these cells home in on tumors and kill them.

However, adoptive cell transfer isn't a viable treatment for the majority of people with cancer, explains Steven A. Rosenberg of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md. For example, only half of melanoma patients seem to have these specialized tumor-killing T cells, and the cells that target other types of cancers such as breast, lung, and liver cancer are "very difficult to find" in people with those diseases, he says.

Seeking to broaden the technique's reach to more cancer patients, Rosenberg and his colleagues combined it with a type of gene therapy. The researchers worked with 17 people with advanced melanoma that other treatments had failed to control.

Rosenberg's team removed some T cells from each person's blood. Then, instead of looking for cells that specifically target melanoma, the scientists infected the cells with a virus that caused them to express a protein called MART-1 on their surfaces. This protein is known to make T cells recognize and kill melanoma tumors.

The researchers infused the modified cells back into their original owners. Over the next several months, two of the patients had dramatic regressions of their tumors and are now considered diseasefree. Although tumors didn't regress in the remaining 15 patients, the scientists found that at least 10 percent of the cancer-fighting cells survived and continued to circulate in these patients' bloodstreams.

Rosenberg says that he and his team aren't sure why the anticancer responses differed among the patients. However, he says that the fact that the cancer-fighting cells persisted in all the patients is "very encouraging."

"It's a proof of principle that you can take normal cells, engineer them, and make them recognize and destroy cancer. Once you know it's possible, you have the potential to improve upon it," Rosenberg says.

He and his team are currently working on inserting genes into T cells that prompt more-aggressive anti-melanoma responses or responses to other common types of cancer.

The findings, published in an upcoming Science, could eventually make adoptive cell transfer part of the standard therapy for many types of cancer, says New York University cancer immunologist Michelle Krogsgaard.

"The problem with adoptive cell transfer is it's a really good idea but it hasn't been that successful," she says. The new paper "opens up a lot of possibilities ... to manipulate T cells for transfers that you couldn't do before."

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/03/06 3:53 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Saturday, September 2, 2006

September 2 Final Update

The storm passed through last night. As you can see in the attached photo, all we got was a lot of small branches from the trees and a lot of leaves. We got about 2 ½ inches of rain from the storm. Last weekend we got 7 ½ inches of rain. I have turned off all my automatic watering for the Vorlon Wife’s flowers. But I will probably need to start again in a week or so, unless we get more rain.

I have wanted to have the yard de-thatched and then over seeded. When I DO get it done, I will probably get no rain at all.

We passed one property where a large tree had been uprooted. Fortunately for the homeowner, it came down in the middle of their yard and not their house.

In our tulip tree we’ve had a large piece of deadwood that had broken off and was just hanging in the branches. At over 25 feet in the air, I had now way to get it down. To my delight, the wind last night brought it to the ground. Now I don’t have to worry about it falling on my head.

The Vorlon Sister called tonight and we had a long conversation with her, one of the Vorlon nieces and the Vorlon Brother-in-Law. We haven’t spoken in a long time and we had a nice conversation. The Vorlon niece is doing some PhotoShop CS work.

I was pretty tired most of today and I am really ready for bed. My feet, ankles and calves are still puffy, but not worse. In fact, in the morning they seem a little more normal. I still hobble a lot when I walk.

Finally, I’m off to bed.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/02/06 9:03 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Friday, September 1, 2006

September 1 Final Update

I was pretty tired today. I went home early today – about 3:30 pm.

A friend emails to suggest getting some support hose for the swelling in my legs and ankles. That may well be a good suggestion. I think I’ll stop by CVS tomorrow and see what is available.

The swelling in my calves gives me some soreness and makes walking not fun. My feet and ankles look really puffy.

I’m really looking forward to the bed tonight.

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/01/06 8:27 PM | Link | Enter your comments here (0)

Encouraging Cancer Research

This sounds encouraging.

Cancer results from cells gone wild. Proliferating out of control, the cells spawn malignant growths that can travel throughout the human body, spreading the disease. Some patients' immune systems are able to recognize such tumors and begin to attack them, and research has shown that boosting the patients' levels of such tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes can help defeat deadly cancer. Now scientists have transformed immune cells into cancer fighters outside the body--and prompted complete remission in two subjects when those cells were reintroduced.

Immune cells such as lymphocytes, also known as T cells, recognize health threats via special receptors on the cell surface. Steven Rosenberg of the National Cancer Institute and his colleagues first cloned the genes governing the cancer-recognizing receptor in immune cells from a patient who had successfully beaten back melanoma. The researchers introduced this genetic information into regular T cells from 17 melanoma patients via retrovirus.

After chemotherapy, these patients had severely weakened immune systems, with few actively circulating lymphocytes. The scientists infused the engineered lymphocytes back into their weakened systems and discovered that such cells could persist, making up between 9 percent and 56 percent of the T cell population one month after treatment in 15 of the 17 patients.

Two patients out of the 17 experienced profound benefits from this infusion. The engineered lymphocytes of a 52-year-old man with melanoma destroyed a tumor in his armpit and shrank a liver growth by 89 percent, allowing it to be removed. And the cancer-fighting T cells of a 30-year-old man dissipated a mass in his lung. Both remain disease-free 18 months after treatment and continue to exhibit high levels of the engineered immune cells in their blood. The study "represents the first time that gene manipulations have been shown to cause tumor regression in humans," Rosenberg notes. "We can take normal lymphocytes from patients and convert them to tumor-reactive cells."

The work--published online today by Science--shows considerable promise for cancers other than melanoma as well, including breast and lung cancers. Rosenberg and his team will now work to determine what sustains such engineered populations over the long-term. They will also explore whether treatments that showed benefits in mice when paired with the engineered lymphocytes will deliver in humans. "It's a lot of sophisticated molecular biology," Rosenberg notes, "and most of our work is going into designing retroviruses, putting genes into cells efficiently and getting them expressed."

Posted by The Vorlon on 09/01/06 9:47 AM | Link | Enter your comments here (2)