August 13, 2013 (Tues) – Finding NED Devine

OK, as usual I am taking liberties (no, not with my wife) with titles so that they better suit my purpose. This title is a play off the movie Waking Ned Devine. I hesitated using this as my title because, if you know the film, Ned Devine is a dead guy. Not really appropriate under the circumstances. But it is a quirky and fun film with a happy ending. And that is appropriate. But as usual, I postpone getting to the point while digressing.

Squeeze fuzzy

So look close. This is me choking the crap out of my fuzzy. For those of you “in the know,” the term N.E.D. stands for No Evidence of Disease. To be specific, “The previously noted cerebellar vermis enhancement has essentially resolved. There is no associated vasogenic edema. No abnormal focus of enhancement is identified. The ventricles and sulci are normal in size and configuration for patient’s stated age. There is no mass effect or midline shift.”

Craigspeak: Upstairs fuzzy is history. This is the report I got today on the upstairs brain scan from yesterday. Not 13mm. Not 3mm. Zero. Nada. Zilch. In other words, toast. So yes, I am finding NED divine.

OK, I slightly exaggerate with the term NED since there still is evidence of a shrunken fuzzy in my lung. But that means, of the 4 areas of concern originally identified, only one shows anything left. You know what that means don’t you? If you were observant, you’d see that the title of my overall blog now reads back in the singular tense. In fact it should probably read “fuzzette” to be more accurate. And fuzzy no longer deserves to be capitalized.

So today was a pretty damn good day. Got the results from my onc-doc this morning. Later today my radio-doc called, and thinking he was bringing me good news that I hadn’t heard, was audibly upset that I had already gotten the news. He wanted the glory since I guess he was the one that originally ordered the MRI. Sorry. Hey, you snooze, you lose.

It is a bit weird living your life in 90-day increments. Again, not a complaint. Just a new reality. Hey, as long as the tests keep coming back like this, I’m good. Really more like 85 day increments because scanxiety (remember that?) will kick in about day 85. I can deal with that.

I just got another solicitation from the Trident Society. Remember them? The outside of the envelope has the very enticing teaser: “Free Pre-paid Cremation.” Man, I just tore into that envelope in breathless anticipation. I guess they must not have gotten the results of my test before they did the mailing. Sorry Trident Society, I’m a lost cause.

Got permission from my onc-doc to begin taking some potassium supplements. Hopefully that will help with the jump-out-of-bed-in-the-middle-of-the-night leg/foot cramps. I can only eat so many bananas. Who ha ha ha…

And I finally got around to editing down the Rotary Inspirational Moment I gave shortly after I was diagnosed. For technical reasons this appears as a video but there is only audio:

Lots of good things happening in my life right now. My wife (almost) and son beating me at golf is not one of them. But my health is good, our kitchen is coming along, and my daughter is engaged to a great guy. I had the best Mai Tai in history (OK, maybe more than one – hey, I was celebrating) along with an awesome dinner with the Knights tonight. And Kim and I just celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. Nothing but net. 🙂

Business as usual. Day at a time.

August 5, 2013 (Mon) – Clean as a whistle – almost

Of course when I went to remind my onc-doc today to check on the results of my PET scan Friday, I was told he was gone for the week. Of course. Oops, just a glitch, remember?

I was able to have his assistant fax me (apparently they cannot e-mail it) the clinical (aka: impossible-to-understand-unless-you-have-an-MD-after-your-name) report. Here are the latest findings as compared to the PET scan I had before I began treatment with Tarceva:

“A large mass lesion of the upper right hemithorax is markedly decreased in size with interval significantly decreased abnormal FDG activity. Current SUV Max is 3.2, previously 8.9.”

Craigspeak: The tumor in my lung has shrunk by 64%.

The last test I had back in April after 5 weeks of Tarceva was a lung X-ray that indicated: “The cardiac silhouette is unremarkable. There has been interval resolution of right upper lobe collapse. The pleural-based masses in the right hemithorax are also not well seen suggesting interval decrease in size.”

Craigspeak: The tumor in my lung had visibly shrunk.

Yeah, I know the X-ray looked pretty clear, and it was. But my fuzzy was and still is there, apparently held in check, and its neck is under my foot which I have firmly planted.

Stomp fuzzy

So, bottom line, you really can’t compare an X-ray to a PET scan but I’ll take the -64%. 🙂

As for the two buggers that the original PET scan found in my lower quadrant, they “no longer demonstrate malignant level FDG activity.”

Craigspeak: They are no longer evident baby. Yeah!

Thus, two out of 4 cannot be found, one more is squished by 2/3, and the last one in the noggin will be MIA next week if I have anything to say about it.

So, outstanding news today no matter how you slice it. Next Monday will seal the deal when I come up clean with my brain MRI, right?

Thank you all for the positive thoughts, wishes and prayers. Still working apparently, and hell, they make me feel better! One more request for another batch next Monday and I won’t bug you for another 90 days.

Plus some more good news: I beat my wife in ping pong today in two straight games, the first being a 7-0 skunk. And if you know Kim, no only does she not let me win, she is not a happy camper when she loses. All the more tasty…:)

And the kitchen remodel continues. Today the inspector discovered that apparently our main electrical panel had no ground connected to a metal stake in the earth. Been that way for 40 years. Hmmm. So tomorrow the electrician will be here to accomplish that task (say “cha-ching” with me now) so the inspector can sign off on the whole deal. Drywall should be going up shortly thereafter. Hope to see some obvious progress later this week. Stay tuned.

Business as usual. Day at a time.