Yes, I know. I’ve been remiss. A whopping 5 days has passed since my last blogitation. But that could be a good thing since I’m kinda in a status-quo pattern at the moment.
We saw our almost-always-gives-us-bad-news pulmonary specialist last Wednesday. Well, what do you want from someone who specializes in upscale train cars? Gotta think about that one. OK, that was a bit of a stretch but I couldn’t think of anything else that would work. And in all fairness to my doc, she was the one that let us know that my particular cancer tested positive for that mutation that allows me to be taking the oral medication. Otherwise I would be on chemo right now and not feeling nearly as well as I do.
As I was her last appointment of the day, she spent a lot of time with us. This was also the first time I saw side by side comparisons of my lung X-rays from Feb 13th (day 1) to one taken about mid-March. Not a pretty picture as you can tell that there had been a pretty big change (not a good one) in such a short time. She also explained more about the “collapsed” portion of my lung. It’s not really collapsed in the way most of us would interpret but apparently docs use “collapse” to describe a variety of situations. In essence, it really is just taking up breathing space and not causing a true collapse. So the risk about my whole lung taking a hitchhike really isn’t a concern. I also asked her about the aggressive descriptor when used to describe my cancer and she said that now that I am on Tarceva, it’s almost a good thing that my cancer is aggressive as it would tend to gobble up more of the medication and react more quickly than a slower growing version. We shall see.
So, why am I wearing a towel you might ask. Could it be that I am getting ready for the big reveal of my new bald head? Nah. That is not a side effect that I expect to see for a long, long time. If ever. But the Tarceva is definitely having an effect. At least externally. Still pretty rashy on my upper chest and back with outliers here and there. And I am more closely approximating my high school picture. But this is where the title of today’s blog comes in. The 80-page disclaimer on the Tarceva 4-point printout says to avoid sunlight as it could exacerbate some of the symptoms. Thus in the past week and a half I have mostly avoided anything outdoors. But my face looks a bit like, and especially feels like, I’ve been lying out in the sun for 10 hours straight. Very dry, somewhat red, and getting more pimply. But the side effect I didn’t read about was the one where my head feels like an army of ants is crawling through and all around it. I keep checking my pillow to see if I’ve dragged in an anthill or something. So Kim read on-line about a home scalp treatment consisting of diluted apple vinegar. So the towel above is drying out my salad-head.
Rated R warning: Skip this paragraph if you desire. OK, you were warned. Oops. Rejected by household censors. You’ll have to ask me in person.
As for the Tarceva, I may be imagining things, and I can be the half-empty glass guy occasionally, but I think the Tarceva is having a positive effect. That poodle that was sitting on my chest up until about 3 days ago got up and wandered off. Hopefully it has no GPS capability for I would prefer it doesn’t find its way back. And right now I think I’m feeling as well as I have in a long time. In fact, this morning I made the mistake of saying out loud that I was feeling “pretty damn good.” The next thing you know, I am working on one of my honey-do items. In our house it’s called “Craig’s List.” Heck, I coulda made a fortune back when. But Kim offered to let me pull the get-out-of-jail card if I wasn’t up to it, but heck, it’s business as usual, right? So no pulling the “C” card. So I repaired a sprinkler valve that was causing a leak. The one-hour job that took 3 hours (including a trip into Poway for a part) this time. Much more typical.
So, dinner with friends tonight, brunch with an old college roommate and his wife tomorrow, and Kim’s mom’s birthday celebration tomorrow afternoon. No moss gonna grow under this rock.
Business as usual. Day at a time.