Monday, September 27, 2004

Thoughts for the evening

I never realised how important eyelashes were until I started loosing them. All this crud falls into your eyes and makes them all watery and itchy. Well, first all the eyelashes get fall into your eyes. Blech! This is annoying! I'm not quite sure how my contacts will react. :(

I've been, for lake of a better word, woozy all day. The chemo is definitely taking more of a toll on my tummy now.

I've come to the conclution that blogging about cancer gets boring. Mostly b/c I've been progressing through treatment with relitivley few bumps. Overall, thats a good thing. But thats why you are seeing less about me and the evil stuff inside me and more about the rest of life. 'Cause in the end, its the rest of life that matters :) Plus, in the grand scheme of chemo things, I doing "great."

But I am getting very, very close to bald.

Don't read this if your name is Cel

Chemo #7 is over with. Blech! Nothing new, just the usual annoyance. I did make it out for a few hours Saturday night for Kyle's birthday and Anne's DINK party.

And now that we finally told his parents, I'll put up the rest of the story about our trip. :)

But the icing on the cake (and the part of the story that half of you are waiting for), was Sunday night. As a birthday gift for Kyle, his parent’s sent us out to Little Palm Island for dinner. It is a private island that is only accessed by boat. They run a shuttle from Little Torch Key, about 25 miles north of Key West. The island is one of the 3 or 4 keys that have Key Deer. Key Deer are a relative of the good old Whitetail Rat we have native to Virginia and Tennessee, but they are the size of a medium to large dog. We only saw one deer, but he was a 6 point buck the size of a Lab. Anyway, we get out to the resort for dinner, and Kyle had made a reservation on the beach, but unfortunately due to it being slow, the beach was closed, so we ate on the deck overlooking the beach (you can see our table on the web page, its directly above the 3rd umbrella from the right). We split a small bottle of wine (had I know what I was in for, I would have gotten a larger bottle, but I only wanted one glass). I had smoked salmon with a potato cake and goat cheese (yummy!). Kyle had a seared mahi-mahi. After dinner, Kyle came back to the table and we were chatting about how perfect the trip was so far, and how this “thing” I have has really drawn us closer and made him realize how much I mean to him. It was so sweet and I was cheesing. Then he said “I have something else to ask you” and started digging in his backpack. I could tell from the look on his face (something between excitement, nervousness, and terror) what was about to happen, and let out a small “Oh my god! Are you about to….” And that when he got up from his chair, down on one knee, and asked me to marry him! My first reaction was “Are you serious?” Probably because of all the times we have gone back and forth about it, with him always insisting he was not the marrying type. But of course I said yes! I think we both said a few more things, but honestly, its all a happy blur.

So there you have it! Here are some pictures from the trip, including the ring.

Quick answers:

1. No, I didn’t cry. I think it was a bit of feeling self conscious b/c we were way out classed at the restaurant and there were people around. Or something. I don’t know. Not the reaction I would have expected out of me either.

2. Most likely sometime next fall. Give us a few weeks to enjoy it before we get to the details.

3. Yes, he did very good. 1/3 caret with good C’s, in a platinum setting that is a knockoff of Tiffany’s Lucida setting. Just what I wanted!! I guess dropping hints did pay off.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Back from the Keys with good news and bad

We spent the past 6 days enjoying the cool ocean breezes and huge mosquitoes of the Florida Keys. We spent some time at Key Largo, where we went on a glass bottom boat tour and an afternoon fishing trip. I caught a strawberry grouper, a mangrove snapper, and something very large that preferred to stay at the bottom. But it felt like a Chesapeake Bay Striper during trophy season. Kyle caught a couple of yellow tail snapper and some grunts. We also spent some time chilling by the pool. The hotel did have a beach, but it was half gone from the storms. The hotel in Key Largo was very nice, Kyle and I have apparently moved up in class from the Red Roof and Days Inn of our past. We stayed at a Sheraton. And they upgraded us to a bay view room, with a wonderful view of sunset right on our balcony. Our rental car was also a free upgrade from a Taurus to a Mustang. Kyle enjoyed flooring it and pretending we were 19 again.

Sunday we drove from Key Largo to Key West. It was a nice drive, although not quite as picturesque as we had envisioned. We made a quick stop to swim at Bahia Honda state park, which has the largest natural beach in the keys. The water was crystal clear and bright blue. We stayed at the Sheraton in Key West also, but it wasn’t as nice. No free upgraded room, and the cleaning people were not nearly as good. I called the office at 2pm on Monday because our neighbor’s room service tray was still by their door. It was there when we checked in at 2pm on Sunday. Ewww! But they gave us a coupon for 2 free drinks for our inconvenience. The Key West Sheraton is directly across the street from Smather’s Beach, which is Key West’s largest beach (man made).

As a birthday gift for Kyle, his parent’s sent us out to Little Palm Island (http://www.littlepalmisland.com/) for dinner. It is a private island that is only accessed by boat. They run a shuttle from Little Torch Key, about 25 miles north of Key West. The island is one of the 3 or 4 keys that have Key Deer. Key Deer are a relative of the good old Whitetail Rat we have native to Virginia and Tennessee, but they are the size of a medium to large dog. We only saw one deer, but he was a 6 point buck the size of a Lab. Anyway, we get out to the resort for dinner, and Kyle had made a reservation on the beach, but unfortunately due to it being slow, the beach was closed, so we ate on the deck overlooking the beach (you can see our table on the web page, its directly above the 3rd umbrella from the right).

Monday in Key West we spent the morning on a snorkeling trip out to Sand Key Reef and Rock Key Reef. That was the neatest thing ever! It helped that we had been on the glass bottom boat tour because we knew what we were looking at, including the parrot fish, yellow tail snapper, grouper, sea fan, and most importantly – fire coral. I can’t wait to get those pictures back! Monday evening we went to downtown Key West, took our obligatory picture at Southernmost Point, made our way up Duval Street, and watched the sunset from Mallory Square. All and all, it was the perfect vacation.

**************************************************
Now the bad news.

I was feeling so lucky after such a perfect vacation.

The doctor called today and my PET did not come back clean. My neck masses are gone, but the medialsteinal mass is still there. There was too much activity for it to be considered a false positive. This means I'm having 6 cycles of chemo no matter what. *grumble* The 3 or 4 was only if I acheived remission during them, and apparently I haven't. So, I'm pretty bummed right now. I wanted so bad for it to be all gone and this all to be over. But oh well. So I think this puts my last chemo on December 2nd. I should be done for Christmas. YAY!! Not sure if they will do rads after that or not. But, it does look like I will have a full month of recovery before heading to Costa Rica. Wish it could have been more.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Well we are off!

We are heading to the Florida Keys tommorow! After some freaking out last weekend, Ivan turned north and avoided the keys. WOO HOO!! We leave tommorow morning and will be back fairly late Tuesday night. YAY!!!

Wednesday morning after we get back, I have blood work for chemo #7. BOO!!!! Long story there, but the quick version is I'm having at least 4 cycles, so I have at least 2 more chemos. BOO!!!!!! I had a PET scan yesterday and a CT scan today, and based on those results I'll meet with both my medical oncologist and radiology oncologist to plan the rest of treatment.

The PET scan went fine, although I don't have the results yet. Its a boring process where you have to sit still and can't read or talk for 45 minutes while the radioactive stuff metabolizes. Then you lay on a bed and get run through a tube for about 15 minutes, again, not moving. I have a head/chest cold right now, so I had to ignore the tickling in my throat to not cough, else they would have had to start over. But I survived.

The CT scan today was more annoying. I dislike CT scans. Luckily, this time I didn't have to drink any barium b/c they weren't doing my abdomen. That stuff is enough to make you ill. But I did have to have the contrast injection. That stuff sucks! It makes you nausous. Luckily, no puking for me, but for a moment it felt like it was close. I'm still a bit queasy from it. They have another contrast solution that doesn't cause such a bad reaction in people, but it costs $30 more, so they don't give it unless you have had a "bad reaction." Apparently, feeling like you are going to puke isn't a "bad reaction." It amazes me that stupid insurance companies won't pay an extra $30 for a $1500 test to make people more comfy. I think I might lie next time and claim I yacked everywhere just to get the better stuff.

Well thats my update for now. See ya on the flip side!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Chemo #6

Well its the Sunday after my 6th and hopefully last chemo. Its 6:30 pm and I've been awake for about 5 hours total today. Completely unrelated to all the cancer crap, I have a sinus infection or a bad case of allergies or something. Hasn't been helping me feel better. So overall, its a very blech kind of weekend.

But the good news is it looks like Ivan is heading more west, so maybe the Keys will still be around when we go next week.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Update

So, I've been a slacker. Things have been trucking along, with nothing much to update. Chemo sucks, the week off is usually pretty good, hurricanes suck, no change in anything for me, etc.

I had my blood work today. Once again, the numbers are way good. White count is over 14 (2 is the min), so I'll be having chemo #6 on Thursay. #6 = cycle 3 treatment 2. This is a good thing. This could be my last chemo. But, I won't know for sure until Sept 24rd (when I go in for chemo #7).

Here is my schedule for the next week or so:
9/9: chemo #6
9/10-9/12: lay around, feel like crap, be whiney, and watch the weather channel non-stop for hurrican Ivan coverage.
9/13 9am: Check-up appointment with my oncologist
9/14 7am: PET scan (for restaging - see if the nasty is all gone)
9/15 10am: CT scan (also for restaging)
9/16 8am: Fly to Ft. Lauderdale from Dulles
9/16-9/19: Enjoy Key Largo - if there are any keys left after Ivan. I'm currently debating if its rude to be a tourist in Florida when all the residents are cleaning up from a hurricane.
9/19-9/21: Enjoy Key West and possibly the Dry Tortugas
9/21: Return to Dulles
9/22: Blood work for chemo #7
9/23: Back to work
9/24: Chemo #7 (cycle 4, treatment 1), or I show up for chemo #7 and either get it, or get promounced in remission and sent home. This is based on the results of the scans

Now, if they stop chemo after #6 I will have radition. I have no idea how much, because that depends on the scans on the 15th and 16th. But I'm guessing about 3 to 4 weeks (15 to 20 treaments).

They could stop chemo after 3 cycles (6 treatments), or after 4 cycles (8 treatments), or they could continue on to 6 cycles (12 treatments). 3 or 4 mean radiation, 6 means no radiation.

So thats the update. And you now know everything except my flights and hotels. :)