March 26, 2013 (Tues) – Blue 32! Blue 32! Down. Set. HUT! HUT!

Football

For those of you familiar with football lingo (my sports-fan daughter being one of them), the title of today’s blog is what’s known as an audible. Or in another use, you could say my son’s rock band is barely audible. But in football, it’s basically changing the play at the line of scrimmage at the last minute. That’s what happened today. So after 11 straight plays (days) of a fullback blast up the middle (lung radiation therapy) that gained no yardage, we are now going into a spread offense (Tarceva). OK, now I’ve even confused myself. Essentially the intent behind the radiation therapy was to shrink the mass in my upper lung that has a vise grip on my esophagus or some other piece of my anatomy down there. No, not that far down. Unfortunately after 11 days, it does not appear the radiation has worked its magic and the partial lung collapse is still fully in place as is the mass.

So, the 1st audible plan was to immediately add the oral medication (Tarceva) to the radiation therapy which was to continue through next Monday. After talking with my doc today, a 2nd audible was called as he felt that discontinuing the radiation was ultimately the best plan of attack since it hasn’t shown any benefit yet and there was some slight concern about having radiation and taking Tarceva at the same time. Plus there was a fear about potentially damaging my lung further with additional radiation that wasn’t benefiting me.

So, essentially, while I graduated from brain radiation school magna cum zappa last week, I flunked out of lung radiation school today and have been kicked off campus. So much for my second diploma. Starting tomorrow I’ll just be a druggie. Speaking of drugs, here is a picture of what a $200 pill looks like.

Tarceva

Amazing. Let’s hope it works like a $200 pill. As you all are aware, I really had very few side effects of the radiation other than a squashed face from the brain radiation birdcage, along with just a little tiredness. But Tarceva comes with its own set of potential side effects. If you unrolled the list of them it would cover the length of your arm. Of course the last possible side effect is that it could kill me. But so could an aspirin. I guess they have to CYA. The most common side effect (30%+ of the patients) is a rash with what may appear like acne if it reaches the face. Apparently this is most often a good sign since it it usually indicates the medicine is working. So the next picture you see of me will hopefully look like my high school sophomore picture, looking a bit like the surface of Mars. The number 2 most common side effect (excuse that pun…not), is diarrhea. I will not be sharing any photos, thank you. Hard to believe that little tiny pill can do all of that and more. You’d think I would have to swallow a pill the size of a suppository. OK Craig, now you are over the line. But I think some of the radiation may have removed what was left of my filters.

So today is really Rx day. Kim’s mom is in the hospital as I type this recovering from hip surgery to replace one of the two that were already replaced some time ago. Apparently she received one of those hips sockets that caused problems from the metal on metal rubbing that created cobalt poisoning in her blood. She’ll have the second one done sometime in the near future. She’s one tough lady.

And Kim was just diagnosed today with a case of shingles (as opposed to cement tiles). So far a light case (so I say), but I’m not the one dealing with it. It can be brought about by additional stress in your life. Stress, what stress? We haven’t had any stress in our household lately.

Beep beep, back up the truck. So back when I was diagnosed with lung cancer as a pretty healthy, non-smoking, 60 year old, the first question out of my mouth was “how the hell did that happen?” Google, my friend and enemy, says that the most common source of lung cancer in non-smokers is from radon poisoning. Radon is a natural occurring gas (other than what our dog produces) that leeches out of the ground. So I bought one of those radon testing kits on-line, set it in our house over the weekend, and just mailed it back for testing. San Diego in general is supposed to be a fairly low-risk area as far as that is concerned. And I certainly hope it comes back in that category. I’d hate to think my whole family has been exposed to that over the years. Just wanna be sure.

Well, tomorrow brings a new phase into this battle. Let’s hope the pill is mightier than the zap.

Business as usual. Day at a time.

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10 thoughts on “March 26, 2013 (Tues) – Blue 32! Blue 32! Down. Set. HUT! HUT!

  1. Hey Craig…now you have become sort of a pioneer for us all…I just did some Radon googling and may buy a test kit too. My non smoker dad had lung cancer….makes me wonder even more now. Please let us know the outcome of the radon labs. As for Kim….oh my!!!!!! I feel so sorry for her. Note to self…get a shingle shot. Perhaps Kim just wants a sympathy rash to match the one you may get…..yeah, probably not. As I keep saying, you have an amazing attitude Craig and are a daily inspiration…..and I know that has got to count for something. May your pill popping be the success you so deserve. Xoxo

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  2. Tarceva can now report for duty and get in there to smash some Fuzzies. It’s unfair that you are supposed to look forward to an acne-like rash which shows Tarceva is doing its job. Fortunately, you know that Kim loves you for more than your pretty face. I hope you get all the treatment successes and sidestep all the side effects except a little temporary rash. All the best to you for a quick recovery from any temporary rash, for a quick recovery to Kim from shingles, and for a quick recovery to Kim’s mother from surgery.

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  3. Hi Craig,

    I do not even know how to respond to the latest update as my words feel useless and silly. The triad of your fuzzies, Kim’s shingles and her mom the hipster is nothing less than (I hate this word and forbid the use of it in my homes) fucked. I am thrilled to hear you are popping those pills and will triple down on sending good vibrations to you three.

    Shingles was a big topic in our home yesterday. Rick and I went to get the vaccine. When we got to the pharmacy the clerk informed us it cost $295.00. But since Rick is medicare age and has the insurance supp his cost $95.00. He got his shot and then I told him I would not get mine because the cost was ridiculous. I had promised him if he got the shingles vaccine I would too. I had tricked him into going first and then did not do as promised. But now that Kim has the shingles….I am taking this as a sign to go back and fulfill my promise to Rick.

    As to the radon test, we did one before we purchased this house I am sitting in as it is in a higher radon area. The house checked ok but the test contractor told us not to replace the counter tops in this home with granite as that often raises radon levels. Every time we have dinner or visit friends with granite counter tops I get the creeps but keep my mouth shut. You once again come out the better person. The contractor also informed us the health risks continue if any of our homes from childhood on had dangerous radon levels. But at least we know our grandchildren are safe from radon here.

    No worries on Tarceva side effects from the pharmacology capital of the world (Rick’s world)…most rarely occur. Since bad things happen in 3’s so you are due for some goodness after fuzzies, shingles, hip replacement.

    Well wishes to all, Nel

    On Tue, Mar 26, 2013 at 9:29 PM, Craig Blower update – Get Fuzzy! (now

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  4. Oh my! It’s Thursday and I’m hoping you are getting your first patch of zits!!! I want
    you to get your moneys worth out of those pills! My best to Kim’s Mom and poor Kim with her shingles! Love your way, Liz

    Reply
  5. Craig – Zeke called to tell me about your situation. In staying with your football metaphor, I hope and pray that the pills provide the winning score. Please know that I am among your many fans who are cheering you on to VOC (Victory Over Cancer). My love and sympathy to Kim also. You are both in my prayers. David

    Reply
  6. Craig – Jeff and Joy told me about your saga and gave me the link to your incredible, witty and positive-in-the-face-of-adveristy blog. Your way of handling this nightmare provides a real lesson to the rest of us wimps – even those who have played a sport or two in their day. All the best, Jonathan

    Reply

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