Two Down, Ten To Go

Just got disconnected from the pump! Two chemo treatments down, ten more to go.

So far it’s going pretty well. No nausea yet, so I’m liking that. My labs are looking good, so plenty of white blood cells to stave off infections as we near the holiday season. The only issue this go around is the cold sensitivity…it kicked in early, and it kicked in hard. I literally can’t hold on to anything cold without my hands developing painful pins and needles. And there’s no chance of drinking anything cold. Last time this dissipated by around Sunday or so, and I’m hoping for the same this time. As long as it eventually goes away for good, its a a small price to pay for killing all those nasty cancer cells that might be running rogue in my body!

Many thanks to Arizona Oncology for another awesome treatment! The staff there is super excellent!

Verse Of The Day

Alex led us in a devotional this evening, and after jumping around a bit, he ended up reading 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, which states:

13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

For King and Country did a song based on this scripture, and I like it a lot. The video is a bit interesting, but the message is super important. Love.

Chemo Numero Deux

Alrighty! Time to start my second chemotherapy treatment. Here’s the blow-by-blow for anybody who is interested.

Many thanks to Joshua Penrod for hanging out with me for the day, and introducing me to a new series on Netflix. And to Meta and Hannah for bringing us shakes…that was a ‘sweet’ surprise!

11:50PMish : Well I’ve gotta admit, the side effects are a bit more intense this go around. I started developing the cold sensitivity during my time at the facility, which was a few hours earlier than before. I grabbed some lunch with Joshua at around 3PM, and couldn’t swallow my iced drink because it simply hurt too much…even my lips! That’s a new one. Then, later in the evening, I went on a walk with Alex, and my hands reacted to the 57 degrees it was outside with some serious pins and needles. Fortunately, the hand and feet stuff subsides by getting warm, and the throat thing is tolerable with room temperature liquids. But, still, I’d much prefer to not have to deal with it! On the flip side, if it goes away like it did last time, it’s a small price to pay. Oh yeah…I also have this thing that I’ve read about called “first bite pain.” Basically, the first few bites of anything really hurts my jaw. But then it goes away. Go figure.

2:30PMish : Got the 5-Fu hooked up to my pump and hooked up to me! Then got sprung from the facility, ready to impress the world with my insanely fashionable fanny pack. The cold sensitivity has kicked in big time this go around, and faster than it did last time. Even my lips are sensitive to cold now. Hopefully it’ll last no longer than it did last time. My labs looked super good at the start of the day…white cells were way up there, along with everything else. It’ll be interesting to see where they land on Wednesday when I get my pump disconnected. All in all…a fairly uneventful day!

1:50PM : Done with the Oxaliplatin, moving on to the Magnesium and Calcium chaser. Then I get hooked up to the pump for 46 hours. So far, all is well. I can tell the cold sensitivity in my throat is coming back, but that’s to be expected! No nausea…the drugs they have here are GOOD!

12:00PM: Things getting real again! Starting my 120 minute course of Oxaliplatin. This is the stuff that tends to product the most side effects…like the cold sensitivity from last time. I can deal with it if it only last a few days like last time. So far, today’s experience has been much like last time! Lots of waiting, dripping and talking with people!

11:35AM : Drip…drip…drip….

11:00AM : All hooked up to my pre-meds. Just sitting here on a slow drip for an hour or so.

10:40AM : Got hooked up to some saline, so we’re off and running! Enjoying my time here today with Joshua Penrod! And Meta Mason brought us milk shakes, because her daughter Hannah passed her drivers test today! Yesterday we spent the afternoon learning how to parallel park. She did an amazing job!

10:00AM : Met with the nurse practitioner to discuss…well, everything. Blood work looks outstanding (lots of white and red blood cells), and all is well to proceed with the prescribed chemo treatment.

9:20AM : Checked in, got my blood drawn.

[Not bald below due to hair loss...just got my haircut yesterday!]

A Great Week At Work

This week was my first week back at the IBM Houston office since before my surgery. It was great to see everybody again, and to meet with my team and get my hands on the equipment again. Got lots of stuff done, and made plans for even more!

So many milestones this trip : window seats on the plane, shakes in the airport, pizza in Galveston. To top it off, I even WALKED to work every morning from my hotel! Yeah, it was only a mile, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do many times before, but was impossible with my Ulcerative Colitis (mornings were my worst time). Just more instances of how God has insanely blessed my life through the surgery!

Looking forward to getting out to Houston again in the very near future (like a little over a week from now). It’s a bit more challenging given that I can only go every other week because of chemo, but we’ll make it work!

I hope everybody has had an amazing week, and that you have a great Halloween and an awesome weekend!

Window Seat, Please!

I’ve done a lot of traveling over the years, and have always liked a window seat when flying. But when my Ulcerative Colitis started getting bad, and having immediate access to a bathroom was necessary, I had to transition to an isle seat. While it was good for the added legroom and bathroom access, it was bad for my wanting to see what we were flying over. I truly enjoy seeing what’s going on below me as we’re flying.

Today, on my flight to Dallas and then Houston, I sat in a window seat! And I didn’t even think about having to use the bathroom the whole flight! IT WAS AWESOME! Thank you, God, for the uphill swing in my life that’s letting me see the sights again!

When you get down to it, Arizona has some beautiful topography! Makes me want to get in the Jeep and do some exploring!

Flying over this farmland gives me pause to think about the hard work farmers put into providing us with food and textiles. The stuff you see below goes on for miles and miles in all directions. It’s a super hard life, for sure! If you’re on Facebook, and you’d like to honor the brother of Andy Hill, a close friend of mine, as the potential Face of Farming and Ranching, please click the link!

Finally, Houston, despite being flat as a pancake during the day, is very beautiful at night. In all the times I’ve flown into Houston, and all of them have been at night, this has been the first time I’ve seen this. Very nice!

Thank you again, Jesus, for the new lease on life, an uphill swing, and a new view from above!

Another Milestone!

While Monday was my first day back at work, today was my first day going back to the IBM site in Tucson! It was great to see all my peeps that I haven’t seen for some time. I’m still feeling good, and the cold sensitivity that I had been experiencing seems to be diminishing a bit. Still no nausea, which is super good!

We went to a Jeremy Camp concert after work today, and had a great time. He has a song called “Overcame” with the lyric “Every victory is Yours.” That’s exactly how I feel about my recovery so far…every victory in the process is a victory for Jesus!

If all goes well, next week I’ll be in Houston! Rock on!

One Down, Eleven To Go

Got my chemo pump disconnected today and my Neulasta shot, thus completing my first round of chemo! Only eleven more to go.

So far I’m doing OK. I am absolutely having the cold sensitivity issue, where it hurts to swallow anything cold (like really hurts), with a nasty after taste, and my fingers are also more sensitive to cold when I get ice from the fridge. So far no nausea, which is super good, but I am a bit more tired than usual, which I don’t like. I had tons of energy before we started the chemo, and I’m kinda missing that. But, there could be worse things! I started back at work this week, which is super nice, and I’ll actually be going into the site tomorrow. My plan is to go to Houston next week as well, and I’m very excited about that.

I’m hoping all is well with everybody who is reading this blog! Thank you for your continued support and prayers…they mean more to me than I can probably communicate. You guys rock!

Disabling Site Registration

I’ve disabled allowing people to register as users of this site. I get nothing but bogus registrations all day long. It won’t prevent you from adding a comment to a post, which I moderate, or from registering for updates to the site, which you can do in the upper right-hand corner of the home page. If you do run into issues, just let me know!

First Day Of Chemotherapy

Well, the first day of chemotherapy has arrived! While I’m certainly not looking forward to it, I am looking forward to being done with it (March 2015), and being cancer free forever! Here’s how my day is going:

Many thanks to my beautiful wife Michelle for hanging with me all day at the chemo place. I love you very much!!

10:15PM : So, one of the side effects I was hoping to avoid kicked in during the Operations Team meeting at church tonight. Got there around 6:30PM with my ice cold bottle of Powerade, took a nice gulp, and immediately felt a pain in my throat accompanied by a not so nice after taste. That’s all due to the Oxaliplatin, and will likely resolve itself at some point. But, it may also stick around for a while, so I may have to curb my milk shake habit for a bit! I am very grateful that I’m not experiencing any nausea, because we all know how fun that is! All in all, I’m feeling well…even went out for my nightly walk. I’ll chalk this day up as a success and give all the glory to God!

2:45PM : Done! Off the IV tree, and hooked up to the pump. Gotta run with that for 46 hours, and then have it disconnected on Wednesday. Then I check back with the doctor on Friday to get my blood work done, and then I’m good until the next treatment. So far no side effects except some mild tongue numbing, and what appears to be an increased sensitivity to cold on my tongue. I do hear from Meta that it might be a few days before some of  the other stuff kicks in, so we’ll wait an see. But, for the moment, I’m doing super good!

Many thanks to everybody for their kind words, thoughts and prayers! As the saying goes, another milestone #inthebag!

2:00PM : Our good friends the Masons just brought me a super tasty mint Boba Tea! Thanks!

1:30PM : Apparently, along with the Oxaliplatin, I’ve been getting Folinic Acid…who knew! Next up, in thirty minutes, is another round of Magnesium and Calcium, for about 30 minutes, followed by Fluorouracil on a pump, which I’ll have for 48 hours.

1:20PM : Almost 90 minutes into my Oxaliplatin, and no side effects to speak of. No nausea, which is good. I seem to have a tiny bit of numbness in my tongue, but nothing big. So far so good!

12:00PM : Started my 120 minute (2 hour) course of Oxaliplatin. Hopefully no side effects! We did get to watch a little video about the chemo pump I’m headed home with. Bottom line…any issues with it, call the InfuSystem hotline!

11:22AM : Moving on to the Calcium and Magnesium drips. These are aimed at reducing the side effects of the other more vicious medicines. This will run for 30 minutes.

11:15AM : Stuff dripping through the IV…it’s all real now!

11:00AM : Blood tests came back normal…everything in the good range. Now it’s time for my pre-meds…anti nausea and some other stuff to help reduce the effects of the bad stuff. Who hoo!

10:45AM : After some waiting and the previous meeting, made it back to the chemo area. Got the IV hooked up to my portacath (PowerPort), got my blood drawn, and am waiting for the results (checking white/red cell levels). While not super painful, it did smart a bit when she (Jeanne) put the needle into my port. But, all things considered, it’s a super cool invention and a neat way to do an IV. It’s obvious that I’m going to be here today longer than I thought!

9:40AM : Met with Dr. Rosenberg to discuss a few things, and make sure everything was in order. Met with the financial person…wow, this stuff is expensive!

9:30AM : Arrived at Arizona Oncology