The following was written by Jan concerning one of her many contributions to my lymphoma recovery.
The origin of these cheerful socks was Spokane, WA. When visiting my sister, Edith, I saw these socks in one of the gift stores which specialized in “homemade” items made locally and I exclaimed how cool I thought they were. Guess what came wrapped in my Christmas stocking that year? Santa must of been following me around.
When it was determined Tom had lymphoma, we had a visit scheduled with the doctor to discuss how serious it was and what treatment would be the best. Both of us were quite worried about the outcome of this meeting so I decided we needed some brightness to cheer us up so I put on what I called my “happy socks” and told Tom that, no matter what the outcome would be, he should look at my bright socks, think happy thoughts, and smile. And they have worked throughout his treatment process, including his brief hospitalization. Just looking at them brings a smile to our faces. Sometimes it is the little things that matter most.
They really work!
Yesterday, (02/16/09), I (and Jan) got the results of my PET scan done on Friday (the 13th). No numerological gremlins interfered. In short, the results were all we hoped for. It showed my lymph nodes essentially normal without “hypermetabolic foci” which I take to mean nothing is rapidly growing there.
Unfortunately, my normal oncologist was out of town and the doctor I saw had not been continuously involved with my case. Still, he was competent and thorough and said I am doing well. The only negative was that my red cell count has dropped from what it was two weeks ago. This accounts for my tiredness and occasional vertigo. Still, with only one treatment to go, I am sure I can muddle through.
After getting the report, I had my 5th and (hopefully) penultimate chemo treatment. The treatment went smoothly and without a problem – it’s really getting to be routine. Next (and last) treatment will be March 2 and after that I hope to get back to what passes for normal.
More as it happens.
Our cat, ItBitKit, was a stray and consequently is an indoor-outdoor cat. The cold winters are hard on her as she must stay inside more than she would like. Recently we had a couple of days of relative warmth where some melting occurred.
The cat loved it and spent as much time outside as we would allow. One afternoon we looked out a window on our second story that overlooks our garage. There she was, perched on one of the few snow free parts of the garage roof, just soaking up the rays.
I’m ready for spring too.
Sorry this is late but real life gets in the way.
I had my third chemo treatment on Monday. Nothing unusual happened but since some readers may be curious, I thought I’d add a brief post.
The process of these chemo treatments is rather interesting. They take place in a large room with 20 or more chairs for patients. A number of nurses scurry around attending to several patients each. People sit there while the medication slowly drips into their veins, or some just get a single injection. While waiting, snacks and various drinks (no alcohol 🙁 ) are available. I usually listen to podcasts on my iPod.
My treatments are about two hours long, others people’s can be three or more. I get three different chemo drugs plus an anti-nausea drug and saline drip. All-in-all it’s a rather dull, uninteresting process but I am fascinated by the range of people who are all there for the same reason. It is surprising that, with all these people suffering from cancer, they are, with few exceptions, all cheerful and smiling. I think it is because we feel we are actually doing something to help in our cure. Plus a positive attitude has been shown to increase the chances of a cure.
My next treatment will be two weeks after this one.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here – a whole month in fact. This has been due to a medical situation that has been stressful and time consuming.Briefly the details are like this.
Last summer I noticed a lump on my face, just in front of my right ear. I wasn’t sure what it was and since there was no pain associated with it I didn’t follow up on it immediately. Finally in early fall I mentioned it to my doctor and he referred me to an ENT surgeon with the intention of having it removed and analyzed.
First I had a MRI of the region and it was called a probable lymphoma which was involved with other lymph glands. In early December I had surgery on my right parotid gland to remove the lump and get samples for analysis. Tests confirmed it as non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at stage III and I was referred to a oncologist.
After more tests and exams I started chemotherapy on Dec. 18. My treatments will repeat every two weeks for six cycles total. With luck that will be the end of it. I just had my second session on January 5th and all went smoothly.
So far the side effects have been minimal. The most apparent one being the loss of my hair but I’m also more tired than usual and, curiously, also having problems sleeping. Before my second chemo session my white cell count went very low so I needed injections to get it up to a safe range. Things seem to be back on track now.
If untreated, this disease would be life threatening but with treatment my odds are very good for complete remission. Even without complete remission it can be reduced to a less dangerous form which can be controlled. I am very confident that I’ll be back to my old self within a few months.
For the curious, here are before and after pictures of me.
I’ll post more info in the future and I’ll try to get back to more regular blog posting.
Everyone, if not directly affected themselves, has been hearing about the financial crisis. Layoffs, downsizing, increased medical costs, high energy costs, and dwindling social services are worrying millions. It’s a dark time and there are few rays of sunshine to cheer those caught in this downturn. But sometime trouble brings out the best in people.
My friend, author Vera Nazarian, has been struggling with a number of hardships including facing foreclosure on her house. You can read all about her situation here. Last Friday a few of her friends decided to try to help. They organized an online fund-raiser to try to come up with the $11,229.72 needed so she could keep her house.
By Friday evening 192 people had contributed nearly $3800. By Saturday, word was spreading through the Science Fiction community and by 7pm Saturday the total raised was over $7000. Sunday night, sometime after 10pm, the goal was reached. In three short days, hundreds of contributors had turned a bleak, miserable situation into a Holiday miracle. I thought happy endings like this only happened in the movies!
Money continues to pour in and Vera will not only keep her home but she will be able to deal with other problems that have been haunting her. I’ve never seen anything like this before but I hope it will happen many more times for others in need. People working together really can make a difference.
Total of $25,438.37 in 655 contributions as of 12/17/08. Talk about a miracle. Vera’s house will be saved and many of her other problems will be taken care of too.
Since the first of the month (December) this blog has been oit of commission due to a problem with the cache configuration. I believe it is fixed now but if anyone notices other problems or weird behavior please reply to this post or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We now return you to your irregularly unscheduled blog.