Skip to main content

Chemo 5, 6 & 7

   In December 2018, I started the second part of my chemo treatment, "T' known as Paclitaxel or Taxol.  The big change from the "AC" treatment was it is a weekly infusion for a total of 12 treatments.  As I imagined, the month of December flew by as my mind was excited about Christmas and by the day after Christmas I have completed chemo 1, 2 3 & 4.
   While it's not not been smooth sailing, I do feel like it's been gentler on my system than the AC treatment.  I have Neuropathy just about every day in my fingers, a numbness where sometimes I can't even feel keyboard while typing.  But I haven't had the Nausea like I did on the AC treatment and that has led to me eating more, cooking which I enjoy, and going grocery shopping, as I didn't shop for 3 months.  Physically I've dropped another 10 pounds, peach fuzz has started sprouting in my scalp and some whiskers have returned, as I haven't shaven in 3 months.  Mentally I've continued to work through counseling about how much energy it takes for my mind and body to achieve something.  My counselor doesn't lie, chemo is like having the flue all the time, being within arm's reach of the water bottle, but continuing to look at the water bottle because you can't move to get it.  I certainly miss my energy, I am tired and fatigued all the time.
   So is the life of a Cancer patient, I've only been at the Hospital for 25 appointments in a 3 month span, each one takes allot of energy and focus to give a perspective.  In the new year, after Christmas I thought I would start to have a little fun a infusion treatments.  Look, I have a pattern Over and Over, blood tests, meeting with doctors, infusion and so on, so I thought I could just have a little fun.  It's made me laugh, smile, cry and maybe because I'm probably breaking some rule in the Hospital, quite funny that I would attempt it.  I have hooked my a Nintendo Classic up to the TV in my room.  I'm playing Super Mario Brothers here.
   First of all, these Hospital TVs are secured to wall, and the TVs don't have any visible buttons like channel, volume or input buttons, so it's not as simple as plug it into an open HDMI and change the input.  So the steps are disconnect the incoming HDMI feed from the hospital, replace it with the Nintendo HDMI and then turn the TV on from the Nurse/TV call button.  Now the first time we turned it on, we didn't know that the Nurse/TV call button reverts back to the highest volume (and no you can't turn it down, tried) we had 5 nurses in your room pronto from all the loud Nintendo beeps and jingles.  It was a quite funny site, and my first nurse who did my first AC treatment said, well that has never been attempted here, tampering with the TV, I love it.  Our nurse helped us to wrap pillows around the Nurse/TV call button to muffle the sound, works quite well.
 
Nurse/TV Call Button
Nurse/TV Call Button Muffled in Pillow

"Galaga" on Taxol 54,000 points
"Dr. Mario"
   Since Chemo 5, it has been hilarious, it's made me smile, laugh, cry you name it, took the edge right off.  I had nurses scrubbing in to watch me play, ask if Zelda, Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers was on it, and of course, yes to all.  I like to play "Dr. Mario" it's like Tetris, but you have to kill viruses by popping pills into a bottle, so fitting in a hospital setting, ha!  I play as soon as I arrive even challenging my score with pre-meds vs infusion of Taxol, so far higher scores on the chemo.  Nurses like to hear the Super Mario Brothers jingle when they are getting meds together.  Look if you ever in your lifetime have to go through this, think out of the box as I have, HammerOn and know Chemo can be fun.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thumbs Up!

The day had come, Feb 6, 2019 - 5.48pm, my first breast MRI scan since I began my treatment in October 2018 for Stage 3 male breast cancer.  This is what they call the "scan" it's pretty huge for cancer patients as it shows how the cancer is.  I had had trouble with the first scan, getting overly hot as I lay face down wrapped in blankets in an MRI that I didn't lay on my back for.  So I knew going in, I would just be wearing a gown and try to get as much airflow around my head to make me more comfortable.   I had just finished my 14th cumulative chemo about 1 hour before, armed with another IV stuck in my hand right hand for the MRI contrast, I had the technician snap this photo of me standing beside my machine, with my cell phone on the safe zone as no metal is allowed in the room.  I gave the "Thumbs Up" with my left hand. 
   The scan, went great well sort-of, I was definitely cool and had good airflow around my head, so I didn't have to stop the…

HammerOn - The Story

I wrote back in November 2018 about my battle slogan, "HammerOn."  I was actually in the process of repairing my fence in Arlington in late summer of 2018 when I was diagnosed with cancer.  Working on the fence helped me take my mind off the diagnosis, combined with my childhood memories of rebuilding fences with my Dad, really got the idea into my head from beyond board and nails to a work ethic instilled in me to keep getting up and hammering on.  The symbolism of the HammerOn logo was cemented when one month into chemotherapy my cousin Andrew brought me two hammers, a ball peen hammer belonging to our grandfather and a framing hammer belonging to his dad which were used to hammer on metal and wood.  I instantly felt connected to the hammers, through the spirt of my Dad and Andrew's Dad whom both died of cancer. 
     My cancer experience while positive was emotionally difficult, in fact I didn't think I would still be alive post surgery so I didn't pursue b…

Radiation

Radiation, Part 3 of my treatment has arrived - April 30, 2019.  Can't believe I have already had 7 months of treatment, all healed up from surgery, and now ready to Hammer On with the next thing up.  I feel pretty good, sure I have the pain of two 10" plus scares across my chest and I've been attending physical therapy to regain motion of my left arm, but my mind is focused. 
   I've met with my Radiation Oncologist and another round of people added to my cancer team.  First up is "Simulation" in which they get me into the position I will be in with arms over my head, form an air cast around my body and make a series of 3D scans and CT like slices through my body to be able to plan the radiation.   I'm also introduced to the "ABC" technique in which I take a deep breath, this allows my diaphragm to pull down my heart away from the chest wall and while I hold my breath for 30 seconds, the radiation beams hit my chest wall.  O'h I also got t…