If that is not the worst pickup line ever uttered, I’m not sure what is. OK, maybe “I forgot my phone number, can I have yours?” might come close. But tonight’s post is not about how to pick up girls in a bar. However, if you want to know how to pick up someone at the beach, just ask my wife. She did a damn good job of it 36 years ago. And you won’t hear me complaining since I was the pickup-ee.
In an earlier post, I compared my journey to various amusement park offerings. Roller coaster ride? You betcha. Wheel of Chance? Oh yeah. But in thinking about it some more, there are also lots of connections between everyday traffic signs and the directions my travels have taken me in the past 20 months. Each of the signs below will refer back to one or more of my earlier blogs, so feel free to click on the sign graphic to refresh, or if you are a recent reader, fresh, your memory. Thusly:
Exactly. Little did I know when my fam-doc called me back in the afternoon on that fateful day that this would epitomize my journey. His diagnosis bombshell caught everyone by surprise and it has been nothing if not a wild ride ever since. And you know me, I always wear my seat-belt. Good thing too; otherwise I might have been thrown off this roller coaster with results I don’t want to think about. I must admit, it does feel like it’s been at least a half million miles.
Initially I had to yield to the truth that my life would be permanently altered by this surprise diagnosis. I also had to yield to the radiation zapping to my lungs and brain. And later my hip. Lots of yieldin’ going on. Kinda like the Charger’s defense…
No lookin’ back. Fergitaboutit. Only one way to go and that is forward. Longing for the days BC (before cancer) does not help me cope as I wind my way around this crazy journey. Sure, I’d love to have never heard of Tarceva or AZD9291. But I know more about those two life saving/extending drugs than most. And I’m very glad to have made their acquaintance. Very glad indeed. El gusto es mio.
Initially, with the success of Tarceva, it was full steam ahead. Max out on the speed limit. For 9 months it was a pretty straight line, zig-zagging only to deal with side effects that cropped up. Zits, big-D, dry skin, ants crawling in my scalp, and all of the other little presents that Tarceva donated, were but potholes on the freeway. Enough to make my head go up and down like a bobble-head doll in the car’s rear window, but not enough to flatten any tires.
But a little less than a year ago, I ran out of road. And I did not see the “freeway ends in 1/2 mile” sign like you would normally get. My initially diagnosed “arthritic” hip turned out to be a resurgence of fuzzies in that locale, along with, careful now, my sacrum. As you know, not to be confused with scrotum. Fuzzies in a scrotum brings to mind a whole different image. OK, now I know I have you chuckling.
So yes, I had to slow down my speed and make a detour and pull over into a rest stop. While there, I gave up the last remaining vestiges of my modesty with the hip radiation. But my treatment ended on New Year’s Eve so I was starting 2014 off fresh, yet knowing that Tarceva was a tire that was slowly losing air.
Don’t these drive you crazy? Moving along at a nice little clip and whoop, you bottom out on one of those speed bumps they forgot to mark. I was rolling along, maybe not at 70mph like before, but more cautiously, while looking over my shoulder for potential obstacles and looking ahead for any additional detours. Well, looky here, a Tarceva dead end was approaching. Getting the phone call that multiple mets (no, not the New York sad variety) had reared up was pretty hard to swallow. Kinda like that whack-a-mole game I described earlier. Only this time multiple heads popped up at the same time making it difficult to nail them.
For a long time the course to take was not very clear. Not clear at all. Maybe this clinical trail up in L.A. Maybe the one in Irvine. Maybe none at all, instead diving right into some chemo cocktail. All the while the road grime was eating into my undercarriage. OK, maybe that was not the best, or most appropriate, analogy. But it was very difficult knowing Tarceva was no longer my hero and I was doing nothing else to stem the fuzzy tide.
In the meantime, my wife was a rock. Maybe not on the inside but she never really let on. So this was one highway sign that provided some comfort. I needed all the soft shoulders I could get. While she provided the real one, all of you provided a virtual electronic one with your constant words of encouragement. Thank you.
So, as you know, things have worked out and I am back on track with the A-team (AZD9291) doing its thing. And a good thing it is I might add. So the speedometer has crept back up. But I am also watching for potholes, detour signs, debris in the road, etc. To aid in that endeavor, I will be having my next set of combo (brain MRI and below the neck CT) scans on the 19th. Hopefully they will see a nicely paved road with no fuzzy rocks strewn about. It will be good to get clarity after that last MRI that maybe, perhaps, possibly, per chance, showed something. Or maybe it didn’t. We shall see.
Business as usual. Day at a time.