July 28, 2013 (Sun) – I’m a Kleptomaniac

Fell for the ‘ol grab ’em with a bizarre headline again, eh? Gotcha.

Boys and girls, today’s blog is brought to you by the letters S and A. You can spell lots of things with S and A. Like Sucky, as in my golf game. Or Abuser, as in our illustrious mayor. But no, we are not here to discuss my handicap(s), of which I have many, or our mayor’s headlocks on women. Today’s letters stand for the words scan and anxiety. Otherwise known (from other cancer sites I “borrowed” it from) as “scanxiety.” And the Sesame Street theme was stolen from a recent Rotary luncheon I participated in; and they in turn stole it from Sesame Street itself. So all sorts of klepto activity going on.

But yes, as my 90-day scans approach, your (OK my) head is going through all sorts of gyrations. Was that the third time I coughed today? How many times did I cough yesterday? Is that tightness that has been coming on just another side effect of the drugs I’m treating my body to? Or is it something more sinister? When I stumbled over my flip-flops playing ping pong with my wife, was that because I’m just occasionally clumsy? Am I just using that as an excuse because I lost?  Or could that brain tumor be coming back and affecting my motor skills? So those in the cancer world have come up with the term scanxiety to describe the feeling that those of us facing those kinds of tests feel. It’s kinda a hyper-heart fluttering-internally itchy-butterfly inducing-cranky feeling. Sorta like how I felt when I waited for my draft number to be pulled in ’71 (it was 263). Or waiting for the results of your bio final in high school. But times ten bazillion. Flunking bio is one thing. Flunking these tests is a bit different.

So, since you all were soooo effective with your thoughts and good wishes the last time around (interestingly 90 days ago – yes I’m good at math), I will request a repeat performance for this set coming up. Hope you’re up to it since I certainly am. This Friday the 2nd is my infamous Geiger counter PET scan with approximately the radiation level of 50 x-rays. I’ll have to be careful because that much radiation could give me cancer. Sorry, poor joke. But ya know I gots to keep the humor up, right? And then on Monday the 12th I have my brain MRI. So to make it easier for you to remember, here is the calendar, a la my last time around:

August Cal

As for the recent Zometa treatment, I know you’ve been waiting on pins and needles (who came up with that?) to hear about which side effects hit me. I guess I retro’d back to my first go-round as I developed flu-like symptoms again. Luckily it hit me the night before I had 6 meetings at work. Felt just good enough to go to work the next day and slowly improved over the course of the day. I guess I just have to plan on 1 day down from some side effect each month.

Just returned today from San Jose where my daughter’s friends threw her (and her future hubby) an engagement party. Met the future in-laws for the first time. Real good people. But then again that is no surprise since they are Monte’s (our future son-in-law) parents. And he’s a good one. My daughter scored on both counts. Not really related to this blog but the trip was wonderful and relieved the scanxiety for the time being.

And another thing, as you know from prior posts, that takes my mind off my situation is the kitchen remodel we are going through. Kind of a trade off – it takes my mind off things but stresses me out. Whatcha gonna do? Here’s a photo of the gutted space and our jammed-with-cabinets garage. Didn’t want to eat anything anyway as the refrigerator is blocked.

Kitchen panaroma 1   IMG_5621

So this week will go very slowly. Hope to see some good progress on the kitchen and then some really nice empty scans. Well maybe not “empty” since they are doing one of my head. But you know what I mean. So probably the next time you’ll hear from me is in about a week after the results of the PET scan are known. Stay tuned.

Business as usual. Day at a time.

July 22, 2013 (Mon) – Life’s a Glitch

No, not the other word that rhymes with glitch. That would come across as a whine, which is definitely not my intent. No, this blog is about dealing with things that happen to you, whether it be a flat tire, a kitchen remodel gone astray (more on that later) or being diagnosed with cancer. They are all glitches. Granted, some are a bit more “glitchy” than others, but a glitch nonetheless.

So I realize that this editorial is competing with the royal baby news today. But hey, that kid doesn’t even have a name yet. C’mon! Besides, you haven’t been subjected to one of my bloganations in several weeks. So who you gonna pay attention too anyway? OK, maybe I don’t want an answer to that question. But the fact that you are reading this (you are, aren’t you?) tells me you have already gotten the royal treatment out of your system for the time-being.

So, glitches. They abound in daily life. You forgot trash night and your cans are overflowing. Your wife finally beats you at ping pong. Yes, it actually happened. You go out to pick up the morning paper (yes, some of us dinosaurs still read a printed version) and walk right through a major spider web. OK, that particular glitch WOULD drive me up the wall. Or your doctor says you have lung cancer. I know you are saying “yeah right, Craig, getting cancer is a glitch. What are you smoking?” Well, you know I’m a non-smoker so that ain’t it. But I have come to realize that it isn’t the challenge you are facing at the moment, be it worrying that a spider is crawling through your hair (eech) or whether your next cancer scans will come back clean. No, it’s the way you respond to those glitches that tells the tale.

So I’ve made a big point about considering everything other than my illness being small stuff. And, of course, every other challenge does pale by comparison. Yet, I’ve had a tough time following my own set of guidelines now that my wife and I decided to move forward with our kitchen remodel. Those of you that have had some remodeling done can attest to the fact that it is a very calming and stress-free endeavor. OK, now I must be smoking something. Well, everything was on track after day one. In fact here are some before pictures and a couple during demo and after the old kitchen was sent packing:


Well, on day two it was discovered that there had been an error in one of the wall measurements and the cabinetry and counter tops that had been designed for that wall would no longer work. I have to say I went a little ballistic when my wife told me that night. The doc-onc says to avoid stress but I wasn’t doing a very good job at following doc’s orders. So I went to bed early while my wife called the contractor and he and the cabinet guy worked into the night to come up with an alternative plan. To their credit they are making everything right and we will enjoy the new re-design. But I was (OK, still am) sweating this less-than-life-altering glitch. My wife, the extreme overseer of this project, keeps telling me to not worry, that everything will work out just fine. She is doing her best to keep the stress away from me. I’m just not quite letting that happen. But she has absorbed so much that she told me the other day that she had forgotten I had cancer. As did I.

But it’s a glitch. And there will be more to come during the course of this project, as all of you former re-modelers know. Breaks of the game. And there may very well be glitches down the road as far as my health is concerned. As good as I am feeling right now, that is hard to imagine, but I also know I’m still in for a battle.

So today was my scheduled monthly appointment with my doc-onc. Of course he was pleased that I continued to maintain my weight since our last meeting. Glad he was happy. Must be those carne asada burritos. Everything on track for the moment. He also is setting up another light-my-body-up PET scan in the near future. Remember the Geiger counter story? And since we are still missing our cat, it will include a cat scan. That will pair up with the brain MRI scheduled for August 12th.

Following my doc meeting I walked over for my monthly infusion dose of Zometa, that drug to help strengthen bones potentially weakened by cancer. Of course they didn’t have a record of my appointment. Just another glitch. We worked it out. This time the tech got the IV started on the first try. Last time I think I had a rookie as it took three tries and a subsequent black and blue arm. And that was a glitch. So what side effect will hit me this time? A roll of the dice. Stay tuned as I know you are just dying to find out.

So life is full of glitches. Don’t let ’em get to you. Deal with it and move on. ‘Cuz you know another is just around the corner. Even if it’s a permanent glitch. You can melt away like the Wicked Witch of the West, or deal with it and move forward. And keep moving forward.

Now, about that spider…

Business as usual. Day at a time.