October 20, 2014 (Mon) – Lovely Blog Award Nomination

lovely-blogI was recently nominated for a “Lovely Blog Award” by a fellow blogger, somekernelsoftruth. Thank you!

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it as I had never heard of this award. Initially it looked like one of those chain blogs where you feel obligated to forward on to 15 friends and so on. Kinda the Amway methodology. Apologies to any of you selling Amway. It’s sorta like the ice bucket challenge yet with no obligation or pressure to donate dollars to anything or risk pneumonia.

But the more I looked into it, the more I realized that it was more of just a method of acknowledging fellow bloggers who you read and respect and to share those links so others who read your blog can expand their horizons. I feel little risk of losing my readership as I know you will still like my blog best, right? Uh, I said right. This is where you jump in and say RIGHT!

OK, now I heard you.

There are a few simple rules to follow to accept this nomination:

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
  • Share 7 facts/or things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog.

OK, #1 and 2 are done. That was the easy part. As for 7 facts, preferably things you may not know, that is a bit more difficult. Since I have been a very open book for the past 20 months, I’m not sure there is anything you don’t already know, but here goes:

  1. I actually did try my hand at Amway about 20 years ago. I was totally fed up with my job at the time and considered anything that would get me out of that place. However, I stunk and just could not get into the program and bailed pretty quickly. Most do. But I consider everything a memory, good or bad.
  2. Coca Cola truckI drove a Coca Cola delivery truck right after graduating with my BA in Economics from UCSB. Didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life so I decided to just take it easy for a while and just make some money. My mom was not a happy camper though. 😦
  3. Those of you that have read my entire blog will recognize this but I moved to Utah about a year after graduating college and lived with three girls in a 4-bedroom apartment. BTW, and perhaps hard to believe, but girls are more lewd and crude than guys. Oh yeah…
  4. Family FeudMy family was on Family Feud back in 1979 and we actually did very well winning over $13K (big bucks back then) and playing for 4 days. You can catch a sample of one of the episodes here.
  5. I carried a picture of my wife around in my pocket a year before we ever met. How can that be you ask? My wife and I are both skiers. At least I used to be. 😦 But skiing back in 1977 up at Alta, Utah, I, of course, carried a trail map around in my pocket. Well, my wife had lived at that ski resort the year before and had posed for one of the pictures that was used in the ski guide. Imagine someone coming up to me and pointing out her picture in the trail map and saying “you are going to marry that girl.” Would have been very freaky. Cue Twilight Zone music.boy_with_broken_arm
  6. I have 3 brothers and a sister. Back when I was in 8th or 9th grade, there was a time when all 5 of us had something broken or torn in our bodies at the same time. Sometimes hard to believe our parents survived it all. In fact the HS school newspaper did a little story on our multiple-casted family. Not that we were all klutzes or anything, just active. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
  7. ElfEvery Christmas, at our holiday Rotary luncheon, I dress up like an elf and help entertain about 400 people, most of which are the movers and shakers in San Diego. Don’t ask me how I have the blanks to do that. I really don’t know. But it has now become tradition and people would be disappointed if I didn’t show up that way.

As for the 15 bloggers I am nominating, that is tough as well since before starting to blog myself, I rarely read blogs. And now most of the ones I read are from, or about, cancer survivors. But each is very inspirational in their own way. So I nominate the following bloggers. Please do not feel obligated to accept the nomination as again, I’m not doing this to put pressure on anyone. But I’m a rule follower by nature so here goes.

  1. http://dannscancerchronicles.blogspot.com/ (you’ll recognize Dann from my recent blogs)
  2. http://makemomentum.com/blog/  (a fellow Rotarian who hits home with every post)
  3. http://lil-lytnin.blogspot.com/
  4. http://celpeggy.wordpress.com/
  5. http://likeadogblog.wordpress.com/
  6. http://livinglydying.com/
  7. http://thrivingwithlungcancer.com/
  8. http://ruthrainwater.wordpress.com/
  9. http://embenkickscancer.wordpress.com/
  10. http://grayconnections.wordpress.com/
  11. http://lisa.ericgoldman.org/
  12. http://aquariusvscancer.com/
  13. http://outlivinglungcancer.com/
  14. http://sometimesthefall.blogspot.com/
  15. http://lunaoblog.blogspot.com/

I have no idea which of these blogs may have already been nominated for this award. Check them out. They won’t bite. But you may just get some nuggets, or perhaps even somekernelsoftruth out of them. 🙂

Day at a time. Business as usual.

 

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October 17, 2014 (Fri) – Business as Usual…Not

How dare I ruin the sign-off I use for every post by changing it? Remember from my last post: sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t…stay tuned.

But first, since my Marketing Director convinced me I am no marketeer (actually it didn’t take any convincing), I will shoot Microscopemy wad (not sure I want to know where that expression came from) by getting to the good stuff right up front. To quote my lung-onc after reviewing my CT scans of my lungs from the tubular zapping I had a week ago: “the tumors are barely visible.” And she has good eyes. If I was Life Insurereviewing the images with my eyesight, I would have declared myself cured. Good thing I’m not a doc either. I talked with my wife via phone from here in Raleigh and in response to the good news she said: “I guess I’m going to have you around for a little longer, eh?” Someone else I might have suspected a note of disappointment because my life insurance policy was not going to be collected on any time soon. But this statement, coming from my wife instead, was her way of expressing her relief and gratefulness for the results. I love being able to have a little off-beat humor banter between us.

And the reason I have not updated my posts earlier was that there was some difference in opinion as to what my brain MRI showed. The lab report writeup says “an interval development of an ill-defined nodular enhancement,” whatever the hell Pointingthat means. A second opinion from a neuro-onc-doc at UCSD says they can see no difference between this MRI and the last one I had at UCSD which was normal. I’ll take that opinion over the other, thank-you-very-much. But I have another more finely sliced (higher resolution) MRI scheduled when I return to town late next week. By the way, why does the term “sliced” not engender positive thoughts with Halloween coming up? Hmmm.

Remember my recent post about my visit to Epic Sciences where I spoke in front of their whole company? Not too long afterwards one of the employees there sent me a note that I will cut and paste here:

Thank you so much for coming to speak at Epic. I enjoyed your presentation and it was very informative and I didn’t know at the time how important it would be to my own life just merely days later. Your attitude spirit was inspirational and I was very touched by your story. In a strange turn of events, my non smoking healthy mom was just diagnosed with stage 3b adenocarcinoma lung cancer. It gave me a lot of strength knowing your story and how you have experienced things and helped me know what to expect when waiting for all the tests for the last two weeks. We just saw an oncologist for the first time today at City of hope in LA and I am looking forward to my mom starting treatment soon! Please keep in touch! Thank you again for sharing your story!

Now that is why I blog. OK, not the only reason but it sure feels good when I realize that some of you are getting some positive benefit out of my rantings.

So, why would business not be usual? For my Facebook friends, you know why. A week ago I got a call from my wife while I House floodwas at Home Depot (my favorite hangout) telling me to get my rear home. The reason? A major flood in our house that left 3 inches of water in our bathroom and into my office and master bedroom. The plastic connection on the end of the hose connecting the water supply valve to the toilet just snapped with nobody in the room. Luckily my wife was outside so this only went on for 20-30 minutes before she discovered it. Imagine if we had been out of town? I don’t want to imagine that.

But of course the water seeped under the drywall into the living room where we have (I should say had) a 3/4″ solid wood floor. No longer. warped floorIt totally warped out and has since been torn up and hauled off. We now have a very nice concrete living room floor. Of course our carpet was only 6 weeks old. Of course. Why couldn’t that have Carpet fanshappened 8 weeks ago? We could have gotten our new carpet paid for. My wife jumped on the phone and called ServPro to come out and suck up the mess and leave behind a dozen very loud fans that ran 24/7 for two days straight. Had to sleep in the den the first night and our guest room the 2nd (once my wife bought a bed to be delivered the same day).

I’d say, “eh, small stuff,” but I’d be lying this time. This is pretty big stuff. But my wife is handling everything including dealing with the insurance issues, carpet and wood floor replacement etc. Gotta hand it to her, she jumped right in and just took care of business. Today she had the guy who remodeled out kitchen come over to give her a quote on the flooring. I suspect she was also working on a quote to completely remodel our master bath and office area, taking advantage while her hubby is out of town. Gotta work those frequent flyer miles back up, eh? Who knows what I’ll be coming back to.Cup

While at our friend’s home outside of Boston, in addition to the multiple bottles of Rombauer we were treated to, I was also given the gift that I model here. Very cool.

Toasting DannSo my buddy Dann, as you know, was admitted to the trial here in San Diego. He and his wife flew down last Monday and we had dinner together. Originally my wife was going to cook but since our house was a bit discombobulated, we went to the restaurant where my son is the chef. But before we left for dinner, we knocked off a bottle of Rombauer that Dann had brought in celebration. We brought our own BA-BA to the restaurant so we ended up polishing off two bottles in total. Now that’s a celebration. On Tuesday he popped his first A-team pill, duplicating the selfie holding the first pill I posted back in July when it was my turn. So happy he got in.

So it has been 20 months since my first diagnosis. Yes, I have had to deal with constant needle pokes, radiation, multiple Lyle LovettMRI’s, CT and PET Scans, twice a day injections of Lovenox into my rapidly black and bluing stomach, a fat leg and foot, daily pill popping, and worst of all, Lyle Lovett hair. But I will take all of that, and then some, because it means I’m still around to take all of that. And then some. I think I might throw a huge party in February when I hit my two-year mark. Anyone care to join me?

Business as (not) usual. Day at a time.

October 9, 2014 (Thursday) – Just a Little Testy This Week

Testy2So why, pray tell, am I tweaked (not twerked – that would look completely different) this week more than others of recent times, some of which might have offered plenty of opportunities to unload?

Actually, I’m not.

But you know me. Use the title to suck you in, and then you feel obligated to finish it out. Heck, I should have been in marketing. Right now my Marketing Director is going, “uh, no.” She’d be right.

Taking testSo the testy nature of this week that I am referring to is the the number of tests I’ve been (or will be) subjected to. Started off with an EKG Monday morning along with another blood draw (two tries of course). Heck that beats 3 from the Blood draw 2last time. The clinical trial tech dropped the comment “hmm, that looks different” when viewing the EKG strips. Didn’t get a chance to have her clarify that but since there were still squiggles on the graph, and I haven’t fallen over or received a phone call, I guess it was hunky dory.  Then yet another blood draw later in the day, because, as you know, the two medical organizations cannot share data. Don’t go there. Yesterday I had my every-six-week (I think) echocardiogram, aka, a knuckle noogie. I opted to have this done at UCSD instead of the Hillcrest site in order to avoid the technician I had last time that left bruises. Or at least it felt like he did. Lo and behold, who walks in? Of course. Apparently he occasionally works up at the UCSD site and I was lucky enough to get him once again. For whatever reason this time around he was not nearly as sadistic. And now tomorrow (Friday) comes the biggies: my six week CT (aka BodyScanCollagecat) scan and the brain MRI which now must be done at the same time every time. At least both are at the same location and I just walk 20 feet away for the cat-scan after the MRI. Two and a half months into the trial, I think we finally have the schedule down. That’s what happens when you are el numero uno in the trial. Should have the results early next week. Could use some more of your mojo to help ensure positive, or actually in this case, negative results.

Of course the number of tests this week pales in comparison to the week when I started the trial back in mid July. Hard to believe it’s been that long. And my buddy Dann would scoff, and probably say pshaw, at the number of tests I am whining about. And why would that be? Because he GOT IN THE TRIAL! Yup, he apparently is a mutant. Or least his cancer cells are. So this week he went through the whole shebang, Rombauereven more time-compressed because he flew down from Portland and they crammed everything into two days. Thanks to those of you who clicked on his blog and offered some encouragement. Obviously didn’t hurt. He and his wife are flying down and are coming over for dinner on Monday to celebrate his first pill popping on Tuesday. Of course we will have a bottle of Rombauer chilled for the occasion. I understand that alcohol kills germs.

Last week my wife and I were able to take that trip to our friend’s house outside of Boston. It was the first trip my lung-onc authorized. Handled it fine with a combination of a bulkhead seat, an aisle seat, and getting up and down and walking the length of the plane, much to the eyebrow raising of the passengers as I just walked back and forth. That and wearing these new very stylish compression stockings that seemed to help quite a bit. In fact, right now my leg and ankle are much improved. Reduced in size from ginormous to just fat. But all of that was forgotten when we arrived at their lakeside house that required the last mile traveling on a rutty, dirt road. Here is a view from their small boat dock. I think my BP dropped 30 points. Of course the several bottles of Rombauer they had waiting upon our arrival did not hurt. Ahhhh:

Brooks Pond

Next week I have another trip, this time to Raleigh for business. Looking forward to hooking up (lets be very clear for my wife’s sake: not that kind of hook-up) with some science center industry peers. Trying to figure out the logistics of how I will manage my Lovenox injectiontwice-a-day Lovenox injections, since, with the time change, my schedule will be 10am and 10pm instead of 7 and 7. That could get a bit problematic, especially since this 61-year-old is not quite the man-purse carrying kind of guy and I need a place to stash the syringes. And with that schedule, most likely I will be in the middle of something when my very calming alarm song goes off on my phone. Eh, I’ll figure it out. Small stuff.

So I realize this blog is not up to the level as my more philosophical rantings of late. But hey, sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you don’t. Fifty points if you know where that came from. But I wanted to get an update out, even if it was something less than noteworthy. My next blog will provide the results of my scans from tomorrow. Let’s hope I don’t get the results while sitting on a tarmac in a far-off city like last year. However, I have no reason to suspect anything other than more awesome comments from my lung-onc. I want to maintain my status as her poster boy that she brags about to her colleagues regarding the results from AZD9291 (the A-Team).

Business as usual. Day at a time.