Archive | October 2011

Radiation Graduation

Today was my final day of radiation. I also have a one month reprieve from chemotherapy. I feel very good in all respects. This is all good news. I’ve graduated from Radiation-101.

green and orange juice

Veg/fruit juice with wheat grass juice, poured Black-and-Tan style

On a light note, it’s very appropriate that today is Halloween. The spooky part of my story is that I feel myself going through a transformation not unlike someone who is bitten by a werewolf or vampire. Internal, external and mental changes are happening.

For instance, I broke my rules and ate a bit of beef — a juicy t-bone steak. My taste buds recognized the familiar flavor of tasty fat. The rest of my system however let me know that it didn’t appreciate this unauthorized activity. I could only eat three bites. I had Brussels sprouts sauteed with some delicious apple wood smoked bacon, dry rubbed with maple and molasses. I found myself pushing the greasy bits of meat to the side.

steak

Beef course from the chef's table dinner at No. 246 in Decatur, GA. The fish and veggie courses were incredible.

I used to LOVE eating meat! Now I can discern the difference between first and second cuttings of wheat grass juice. What is happening to me!?

I guess I’m getting healthy. I don’t even crave a cold beer. And, the love handles I’ve been working on for years are quickly disappearing.

The next episode

We leave for Chicago tomorrow (Nov. 1) to begin the ICT-107 clinical trial.  While medications and radiation seem to have done me no harm so far, I continue to question whether experimenting with drugs is the right path. Could the answer to this cancer simply be nutrition and lifestyle. There are many people who think so. But they don’t have the money, power and influence that pharmaceutical companies have. Guess I’ll just continue to do it all for now.

My first MRI will be on November 21st. My suspense is starting to build.

Happy Halloween.

Week 6 – Nearing a Milestone

I am in my final week of irradiation and chemotherapy. My last treatment is on Halloween. Then we head to Chicago to start the next part of the journey. I still feel good. Medically, there is nothing interesting or new to report. I have some hair loss, minor fatigue, minimal weight loss and weakness in my knees, probably from deconditioning.

Change of Plans

I was a little premature announcing that we would be working with Angel Flight for travel to Chicago. Volunteer pilots flying small planes have restrictions and complexities that prevent it from being a viable option for us. Too many pieces would have to fall into place for each leg of the trip.

They did suggest another option for us – Corporate Angel Network (CAN). CAN is an organization that helps arrange transport via corporations who use larger, private jets. Atlanta to Chicago is a pretty common route for companies to make business trips so we have pretty good chances of being able to tag along from time to time. It should save a little money and help avoid exposure to a cabin full of germ-carriers. We’ll see what happens.

Thank you

Friends and family continue to reach out to me for all kinds of support. I appreciate it.

The Photo

The photo for this post is of me lying with my head on my cat, Mila. It looks like my radiation has lit up her eyes.

Redesigned

Radiation

First of all, I’ve tweaked the blog site a bit. The goal is to make it easier for people to get to the info they are after, whether it’s to hear my personal rantings or see what the progress of treatments is. There’s a home page to help new users understand why I am doing a blog. It’s still a work in progress so will probably change a lot in the coming weeks. With some luck, I’ll be fiddling with it still in 20 years 🙂

Week four

I’m finishing up week four of radiation and chemo. Everything is still going well so this update will be short. New side effects include hair loss, just on the right side near my ear where they are zapping me. Fatigue has actually improved – maybe the result of my revised diet. My attitude is pretty good. This might be because I’m continually amazed at the kindness and helpfulness of my large support network.

Flying with Angels

My last day of radiation and chemo is Halloween. My first appointment in Chicago is November 2. I have to go there one day a week for five weeks straight. Thanks to the suggestions of a couple people, some of the burden of expenses has been alleviated. I’ve been approved to be transported by the amazing volunteers of Angel Flight. Angel Flight provides free air transportation for people that have a medical need that can’t be filled in their local area. Not only does this save us air fare, we will not have to pay for a hotel because we fly back the same day. So food costs are lowered also. But most importantly… no Atlanta Harsfield-Jackson airport security checks or cabins full of other passengers and their germs!

Since these are small airplanes, inclement weather could delay our flights. This is a concern because to remain qualified for the trial, I must attend all of my scheduled appointments. The injections must be administered within limited windows of time. But there are lots of flights from ATL to CHI via other carriers so we could probably make it on a last-minute, stand-by.