Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Almost at NO CHEMO day!!

Bob's computer is still in the shop. We are not sure where it stands... It may not be good news...
I am SO thankful that these words are about a computer and not my beloved sweetie!!! Bob is doing pretty well in the recovery week of the chemo cycle. I was away this weekend so we haven't seen much of each other since Wed.
We are both excited that this Thursday there is no trip to New Liskeard hospital. Bob will instead be getting up early and going to his last day of 4 day shifts... I will hopefully be sleeping in!
I am very curious to see what Bobs body does with not being poisoned this week!
It is so good to be done that cycle. I am so thankful that these drugs exist and can do the wonderful things they do and that Bob is DONE CHEMO!! Now the 5 year wait begins....

Friday, April 25, 2008

Computer troubles

My computer's been acting up and I've not been able to post here recently. I'll put this post out quickly, in case the laptop bonks again. I'm well, starting to feel normal. Doing some yardwork, taking it easy, watching the lake ice go out. You know, blackflies are coming so I'm trying to enjoy the sunny bug-free weather. No dreams of giants recently.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Someone hand me a sling and some stones

For those who still don't believe in dream interpretation, I had a crazy one last night....

(Some background, it is now 10 days since my last chemo session, and 5 since my last prednisone pill. I'm still using sleeping pills, but I didn't last night until after this dream. I've had night sweats for a couple of nights in a row--that's a sign of lymphoma, but one my oncologist is unconcerned about. Went to bed at 10, woke up with this dream at 1, took a pill and slept until 6, then slept again until 8. Yesterday I finished three days of very physically demanding training at work. My daytime energy levels are completely dependent on how I slept the night before--I've had some good nights recently, and some bad nights.)

I was a child, maybe 10 years old (though I'd just got off a shift at the fire station, you know how that somehow works in dreamland). I was leaving a large building when I saw a giant, nine feet tall. The giant saw me and started to chase me. He said, "I'm going to get you, I will never stop!" I ran. I had to leave my car behind, my wallet, all my baggage, I only had the clothes on my back. I ran into the fields, and for every step the giant took, I took three. I was ahead, but he kept yelling that he would get me no matter what. I ran into a mall and found a Swedish sauna/bathhouse. They had numerous saunas to sign out. I climbed into one of them, it was very small. I turned the heat off because I thought I'd be in there for awhile. There were cupboards in the wall of the sauna, but they were too small for me, even as a child, to hide in. I felt safer in there, but kept wondering, "Will the giant get bored, not finding me? Or will he methodically search every closet, every field, every room in the mall until he finds me in this sauna?" Eventually I could no longer hear the giant, and some people were telling me it was safe to come out. I had to go to the bathroom and get something to eat. Some nice people took me to the bathroom. Then I went outside, looked around a bit, and came back into the mall. No sign of the giant. There were some people watching a movie, and in the movie there was a huge gratuitous shot of a Wendy's hamburger and a Coca-cola. I shuddered and thought, "There's no way I can eat that, if I do the giant will surely find me." Then I walked through a MacDonald's restaurant, and I thought I saw the giant sitting there, but he did not see me and I didn't get a clear look. On the way back to the sauna, I was feeling better and better, like I might not have to live my life in hiding. There were some people I work with there (Claude and Steve, flying a helicopter of all things--they don't know how to fly, and they didn't in the dream either!). There were some old women sweeping the halls, and some young women complaining that the old women take too many breaks. I got back to the bathhouse, but someone had taken my sauna. She was drying out her cross country ski clothes. All the others were taken. Where would I hide! There were beautiful women there, but I could only catch fleeting glimpses.... But I knew the giant was still looking for me.

Then I woke up. I hope this doesn't turn into a recurrent nightmare. If it does, I hope to have the presence of mind to go looking for the giant, confront him, defeat him.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

355 lbs.

That's one Suzuki Freewind

Or 24-hours of ice from an Ice-o-matic 0320

Or one near record-breaking tuna from Vista, California.

Or 355 lbs. is how much iron I lifted from the floor to my waist (five times) earlier today. That's a new record for me. Sorry for tooting my own horn.

Instead, why not read this article about how much mail two pilots flew 430 miles in 1919. (Hint: 355 lbs.)

Cancer schmancer.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Uppers and downers

Prednisone in the morning.... Gets my mind racing, makes me irritable, tires me out. Then I can't get to sleep when the time comes. So I take my sleeping pills. Last night I got 3 hours of sleep without them before I woke up staring at the ceiling. Half a pill wouldn't put me down. The second half didn't do it either. So at 4 am I took a full pill (now with 2 full doses inside me). That did it. But I woke up at 10 feeling like crap. Did some yoga and some meditation. By the time breakfast came around it was noon. I'm supposed to take my prednisone with breakfast, at 6 am. So now I'm 6 hours behind. And the cycle continues. I'll be lucky if I'm tired by 2 am. Oh well, I know a little blue pill that will help with that. And the cycle continues. I don't like the sleeping pills. And I don't like the prednisone. I feel like I'm in the middle of a tug-of-war.

Yesterday's workout:

backsquat 3x5 205 lbs
shoulder press 3x5 105 lbs
power clean 3x5 115 lbs

Call me lame, but I took Nikita for a walk down the Red Squirrel Road. I let her out at the pipeline and let her run while I followed in the car. I used to make fun of people who do that. I guess if they have cancer then they have a good excuse.

Spring left us and winter returned, with 3" of snow yesterday.

I have so much to be happy for, so much to be grateful for, but I can't find that today.

Friday, April 11, 2008

All done!

Yesterday was my last chemotherapy session. Good bye to my friends Rituximab, Cyclophosphamide, Vincristine, Doxorubicin, and Prednisone (well, I still have 4 days of oral prednisone to go). Of course, being done chemo doesn't mean I feel great. I did get pumped full of toxins yesterday! So I feel like crap! But today I feel better than last night. And tomorrow I'll feel better than today. And so on and so forth. Anna and I are planning a party for sometime in the next month or two to celebrate. We'll keep you up to date. Right now I've still got the white blood cell rollercoaster to get through. Still have to give myself the Neulasta injection tonight.

I'd better get going. I'm off to New Liskeard for a little weightlifting and a sauna. I'll go light today, no records to be broken. Just want to get moving. It's starting to snow and we're supposed to get 10 cm tonight, so I'd better go now and beat the blizzard.

Patricia, congratulations on your last chemo as well! And remember, even if you are fatigued, studies show that physical activity (walk around the block, yoga, whatever you can do) actually reduces fatigue.

Thanks to all who have sent in their positive thoughts over the last few days! Anna and I are truly blessed.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tomorrow is my last chemo (ever) ! ! !

I'm usually of the 'never-say-never' philosophy, but in this case I'm okay with saying that tomorrow, #8, will be my final chemotherapy session. No qualifications. I'm of mixed emotions - not that I will miss the nausea, diarrhea, sleeplessness, hair loss, fatigue, and crabbiness. On one hand, I will not miss those things at all. I will not miss having lymphoma at all. But on the other, I'm not looking forward to the next week. The doctors say that the effects of chemotherapy are not cumulative, but they are in me. The day after my first chemo I deadlifted a personal record (at the time) of 335 lbs. I won't be attempting the same on Friday. One thing about cancer, no two are the same, no two people have the same cancer experience. So I expect the next week to be rough. Hopefully this isn't a self-fulfilling prophesy. But each morning when I wake up feeling better than the day before, I'll know that I'm on the mend. And then the long five year wait begins. I don't like to think of it as a wait, though. Wait implies that something will happen. Nothing will happen. Let's call it five years of confirming continued good health.

Monday, April 7, 2008

New strengths

I'm in the middle of a string of nights at the 'ol NBFD right now. We've been unusually busy, with training and calls (particularly those nasty 2 am calls, followed by 3 am calls...). But I'm holding up well. I'm tired, of course, and I'm cognizant that I must take time in the day to rest, but I'll be at work again tonight.

My workouts are going well. Yesterday I did backsquats, benchpresses, and deadlifts, 3 rounds of 5 lifts (1x5 for the DL). My BS was 225#, close to my 1 rep. maximum. BP was 135, 10# higher than my previous 1 RM, and DL was 345, tied with my previous 1 RM. All that is a weightlifter's way of saying that I now lift for 15 repetitions (5 for the DL) what previously I could only lift once. In other words, I'm stronger. Much. And my weight is only up a few pounds. Some of that increase might be due to improved technique, of course.

I keep track of all my appointments with a computerized calendar which synchronizes with my cell phone. I ditched the paper daybook last year. Anyway, one of the categories in my calendar, the category I use for all my medical appointments, is called BEATING CANCER. Yes, in capital letters. 'Cause that's what I'm up to. New strength.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sleep, glorious sleep

Three nights sleep, all without the sedatives. I didn't think it possible. I hope this trend can continue. Also, I'm going to bed at a more normal time (10:30 last night) and waking up at a more normal time (7 this morning). The pills, while necessary some nights, definitely have major drawbacks. They made me anxious about sleep (can I fall asleep without them? it's 3 am and I'm awake, should I take another 1/2 pill? I'm fatigued in the middle of the day, is that because of the pills? will I get addicted and end up forging prescriptions just to get my fix? will I be waking up at 4:30 am for the rest of my life?).

One week to go before my final chemo! Today, I'm excited about that.

Yesterday's workout:

3x5 backsquat 210 lbs
3x5 benchpress 130 lbs (working toward bodyweight!)
1x5 deadlift 315 lbs (closing in on my previous 1 rep max of 345!)
2x8 stability ball pushups
40 stability ball crunches

With the tremendous amount of food I've been eating over the last 2 weeks while on Starting Strength, I've gained 7 lbs. The goal is to get bigger muscles for the calendar shoot. For now, the basic theory is, "eat, sleep, lift heavy things." Then will come a time to 'cut' fat (eating this much not only builds muscle, but makes you pudgy). I'm careful to not overtax myself during workouts and to get lots of rest between workouts. Right now I'll take 1-2 days off between. I do wonder what the effect of my chemo drugs on muscle development is. If my hair is all falling out (my thighs are almost bare) due to the fast-growing hair follicles having been killed, how is it that new muscle cells can be created? I don't know, but it seems to be working.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Never thought this would happen

Hmmm, this is a bit embarrassing, but something from which I cannot hide. I made the Ontario government's "Sunshine List" of public servants who earned over $100,000 last year. Just goes to show that a hundred-K doesn't count for what it used to. They really need to revise that number upward to reflect the new reality.

And it looks like I'm going to have to postpone the May canoe trip I've been so looking forward to. The latest long term forecast from Environment Canada is calling for an unseasonably cold spring. So much for global warming. One trapper I talked to said he doesn't think the ice will be out until early June. He gets this information by studying beaver entrails.

Finally, here's something I found while surfing the web. A new study from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center indicates that cancer causes a decrease in a person's sense of humour. Ha ha ha.

"Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused." Anonymous.