Feb 21

‘Nudder COP

Thursday, 2-21-02. Another day in paradise…

Betcha thought I forgot about ya, huh? Not a chance! I’ve just been really, really busy lately. First of all, I’ve been getting a lot of rest. On top of that, I’ve been practicing my snoring habits extensively. Also, I’ve been checking my eyelids for holes a lot. OK, I admit it, I’ve been asleep. But not without good, medical reasons.

I got my third chemo treatment on Tuesday, 2-19-02. It went really well. No problems at all. Pretty much the same as the other two. I didn’t get sick during it, but the day after, like last time, I had a little episode when I first woke up. Yep, spewed into the bucket next to the bed. This time was more intense than the last time, and had me heaving for about 5 minutes straight. It didn’t reach down into my toes, but that might have been because of the blood clot in my leg stopping it from getting that far. 😛

The rest of the day, after the sickness, I felt a little nauseated and really not very hungry, though I forced down a few small things. And I slept. A LOT.  zzzzzzz

sleeping smiley

The next day though, I woke feeling much better and hungry as two bulls in an eating contest. I started scarfing down everything in sight. Within an hour of waking, I’d eaten 2 nuked Sloppy Joes left over from supper the day before, along with a handful and a half of chips, 2 pieces of pie, a giant bagel with cream cheese, an apple and 2 bowls of cereal. I washed it all down with a diet Pepsi and then fired up the coffee pot. (Hey, I SAID I was hungry!)  :)

Anyway, at the doc’s office the day of the chemo treatment, I got my blood drawn as usual, then went in to see the doc. First thing I wanted to know about was the results of the CAT Scan. He said it was very good: The scan showed no lumps, bumps, swelled nodes, obstructions or anything else bad. YIPPEE!!! He examined me then, and announced that all the lymph nodes he regularly checks were undetectable – aka: Not swollen either. My blood work showed that everything’s looking really good, including the Coumadin levels. My weight went up 5 pounds to 181, which is just about a pound over my regular weight, so that was good too. I still haven’t experienced any hair loss yet, so my beard is still growing and getting wilder looking by the day!

bearded smileyHehehe… We had a “Scary-Face” photo thread on my favorite forum the other day. Click the bearded smiley I made above to see my entry. LOL!! Pretty scary, huh?!  😛

The doc said that he suspects that the clot in my leg has damaged the vein somewhat, and that’s why the clot itself is not dissolving as quickly as we’d like it to. But it will dissolve. He asked me if I still have pain in that leg, and I smiled and said, “No. But then, I’m all doped up on Morphine! I’ve got a feeling if I weren’t, it’d hurt like hell!!” Hehehe… He got the humor in it, and suggested we try to wean me off the Morphine and see what happens. So, as of yesterday, I started taking only one Morphine a day instead of two. I’ll try that for a week and see if I get any pain. If not, I’ll drop the Morphine altogether for another week and see what happens. With luck, the clot has dissolved enough to allow some blood flow, and the pain will be gone or at least tolerable.

Meanwhile, I’m out of the wheelchair completely and walking around pretty well on my own again, though with a slight limp and a little imbalance. I’m not complaining though! I love being out of the chair! It shouldn’t be too long before I get full strength and balance again, and then I’ll be ready for some serious excursions out into the world again. You know, movies, mall and stuff like that with Casey and mom.  :)

I guess this is gonna be one of my shorter updates, but that makes up for the long ones that have been the norm the last couple of times. You gotta achieve some kind of balance in life, ya know. “Everything in moderation” is a pretty good thing to keep in mind.

I feel great, other than really tired from the chemo and the drugs, but that’s no big deal. The treatments and drugs seem to be working really well towards a remission that I hope will last for a long time before it all comes back and I need to treat it again. That last part is a given and there’s no sense trying to fool ourselves here.

Unless a cure is found, this is an incurable disease I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life. I’ll have to get some kind of treatment like chemotherapy or the latest antigen every time it rears its ugly head, which is typically every 18 months to 2 years after achieving remission. I’ll continue to do that till my options for treatment finally run out.

Here’s why those various treatment options will eventually run out unless a real cure is found that eradicates NHL completely: Cancer is a cell mutation at the DNA level. Cancer tends to continue to mutate into forms resistant to the treatments one uses, till those treatments are no longer effective. So, you try different things till there’s nothing left to try.

In the case of NHL, there’s no way to figure out where the actual tumor is, so you can’t just cut it out completely with an operation the way you can with many other types of cancer. Instead, it stays in the body, hidden in one of 600 or so teeny little lymph nodes, and you just keep cleaning up the cancerous cells it creates and throws into the blood and immune system over and over till nothing works anymore to clean them up. Once you’re finally out of ways to clean them up, it takes over the immune system completely, you get sick, say your goodbyes and that’s pretty much the end of it all.

It’s sad to think about sometimes, but that’s the way life and death works, no matter what gets ya in the end. Some things just take longer to get ya than others, that’s all. We rarely get to pick what actually does us in or when, and it’s usually unexpected. Me, I know what to expect, so I have the opportunity to make better plans for it. I figure that’s a good thing. So, I’m not really bothered by it and besides, I figure I’ve got a few remissions left in me to enjoy life yet, so that’s what I’m gonna do – ENJOY LIFE – Not sit around worrying that I’m gonna die someday. I mean, what the hell? That was a given from the very morning I was born anyway! No sense trying to fight it now, ya know?! I’m just gonna chill out and enjoy the rest of the ride, man!  😉

cartoon image of driver by Buck Cash

The good news is that new treatment options are coming out every other day it seems. Zevalin has just been approved for use by the FDA, and advancements are being made towards a cure with increased progress at exponential rates. Hundreds of projects are underway at any given time that study the effectiveness of different drugs, chemicals and regimens. The Human Genome Project is proving to be invaluable, as is Stem Cell Research, so there’s lot’s of things going on that could really be beneficial to me and those like me in the same boat. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that an actual cure will come from those many, many projects.

For now, I’d have to say:

Things are going great, and they’re only gettin’ better!
I’m doin’ alright, gettin’ good grades,
The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades!

smiley wearing sunglasses