Sunday, April 29, 2012

15. Cancer Update

Not This Chemo
So this week was a week of doctor's appointments. I got a PET scan (not when they run your dog through a scanner and ask him what's wrong), a visit with my radiologist (not a DJ, someone who uses radiation) and my oncologist (I don't have a joke here). My oncologist, who is a funny and friendly guy, laid down the "master plan" he and the radiologist have come up with for treating the cancer.

It's a combination of radiation, chemo and surgery. It's gonna take a total of about nine months, at which point we hope to move me into the "cured, but keep an eye out for remission" stage for, uh, well, the rest of my life.

I've got "chemo training" on Monday, a meeting with my surgeon on Tuesday to make sure all the hospital stuff from a couple weeks is healing OK so we can go ahead with the treatment, then Free Comic Book Day and a wedding on the weekend while I have a brief respite from everything.

Then on the next Monday (probably) it's surgery to put in a port. Which is a thing they stick in your shoulder-ish area where they can hook up chemo drugs, inject stuff, etc. The radiation is going to be five times a week, probably in the afternoon, and the chemo is a "radio-enhancer" that gets into me by hooking up a pump to my port. I then wear the pump on a "fanny pack" (doctor's words, I'm looking for a name that's cooler, like "The Omega Pack") with a tube going up underneath my shirt to the port. It'll pump the chemo drug at regular dosages into me all week until Friday, when it's time to get it removed.

In other words, I get to be a cyborg for 4-6 weeks.

After that, it's rest and recovery for a few weeks, surgery to remove the (hopefully much smaller, maybe even if we're lucky gone entirely) tumor, and then twice-a-week preventative chemo to get any little bits of cancer that are sticking around. Or as I like to call it, evicting the dick-ish cancer cells that didn't get the message when we blasted the hell out of them with radiation and chemicals. Seriously, if your landlord started pouring chemical waste and irradiating your apartment, wouldn't you leave?

At any rate, cybernetics, weird chemicals, cancer, radiation... there's no way I'm getting out of this without some kind of super-powers.

Friday, April 27, 2012

14. The Birthday Bragging Post

The worst birthday present I got this year was cancer. But I got a lot of really good presents, too, and mostly for my own purposes, I'm gonna recount what they were. This is a self-indulgent "I got cool stuff post" mostly for me.

Birthday Money:
I got some birthday money from my in-laws and my parents, and although at first I was going to plow it all into paying for the cancer, after consulting insurance and being told by all of them that it was birthday money, and that I was to spend it on birthday stuff, I went on a little shopping spree at Best Buy. And I got:

1. PS3 320 GB bundle (Uncharted 3 Edition) - I was gonna get the 160 GB version, but for $50 more I got a bigger hard drive and a copy of Uncharted 3, a game I was certain I was going to buy anyway. I bought this for two main reasons, to get a better Blu-ray player (success... I love it more than my clunky old Samsung) and Amazon Video streaming (moderate success, although it's been uneven, perhaps due to my Internet connection). I also bought the Bluray remote, which I love.

2. Disneyland Adventures for Kinect - The kids loved the demo, so I figured they'd like the game. Mostly they found it frustrating. *sigh*

3. Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions - Rented this from Redbox a while back, liked it enough to pick it up now that it had gotten cheaper. But I forgot it was a bit on the glitchy side, so I've been playing it somewhat unevenly.

4. Beard trimmer - My son broke the last one, this one was about $50 and better quality than the one I had, and can also be used to cut hair, so it's gonna more than pay for itself.

Amazon Money:
Two of my friends gave me very generous gift cards to Amazon, largely to help fill up my new Kindle Fire (which I love). It's kind of amazing how fast you can spend a bunch of money on mostly digital stuff. But here's what I got:

1. X-Box 360 Mounting Clip - $6, holds the Kinect on really nicely. Should have bought this *months* ago.

2. Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Seasons 1-2 - Bought on a whim, because I wanted some Treehouse of Horror episodes, and I can watch them on my computer, my Kindle or my TV (through the PS3).

3. Sky Full of Holes by Fountains of Wayne, Immigrant Song by Trent Reznor & Karen O, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol soundtrack, Game of Thrones soundtrack, Treme Season 2 soundtrack - I've got a lot of music on my MP3 wishlist, this put a bit of a dent into it.

4. Across the Universe - $5 for a Beatles-inspired musical that I really dig and Netflix doesn't have on Instant anymore.

5. 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill and Beyond Outrage by Robert Reich - A couple digital books for the Kindle.

6. An episode of The New Girl that my DVR missed. Streamed it onto my PS3 and watched it as if I had it on the DVR, it was a perfect experience. Which makes me think the problems I've been having watching Simpsons are glitchiness on Amazon or PSN's part, not my network.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

13. The Cancer Post

Huh. Weirdly appropriate that this would be post #13 of 2012.

I sometimes forget everybody doesn't have Facebook, where I talked about this last week. So for some of you, this will come as news.

On my 41st birthday, Tuesday, April 17th, I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. It's stage 3, but it's contained, and the doctors are very optimistic that we caught it in time to eliminate it with nine months of radiation, chemo and a surgery.

Minutes after making the announcement on Facebook, I posted this:

Top 5 Good Things About My Birthday Cancer Diagnosis
1. Colonoscopy no longer the worst birthday present I got2, Losing my hair to chemo really a pretty small change for me.3, I have cancer = best universal excuse ever4, TV in my hospital room actually bigger than the one at home5.Morphine

Just wanted you guys to know I've still got my sense of humor.

So that's how I'm handling it. With an admittedly dark sense of humor and a lot of optimism. I'll try to update on the blog for those who aren't following me on Facebook (or who just don't do Facebook), but I can't promise that I'll actually update all that often.

But the upshot is this: I have cancer, I'm very confident I'm gonna beat it, and until then I intend to make the most of the comedic potential of butt cancer. Which I think we can all admit is pretty damned high.