Today, Day 9 after the start of chemotherapy, sucked. I felt lousy all day. My stomach has been upset and my head isn’t feeling right. I spent the morning on the couch, then went upstairs and napped for two hours. Back downstairs I didn’t feel any better unless I was snacking, which wasn’t often because my stomach was upset.
One good thing was that all of the radiology staff at the hospital were dressed up in team costumes: the team in my usual room was working with a Flintstones theme, while the next one over were the characters from Grease.
Finn and Mama went to trick-or-treat at Gramma Cindy’s house again this year, which has been our tradition since 2013. I wish I could have been there with them.
Hey! Look at that. I’m not a complete moron and I can still fuck around in code and CSS and make it work, usually. Years ago, when I set up the Scout blog on my other domain, I found a way to syndicate it over to this blog so that posts there would show up here. Partially because this weblog is the running history of my life, and partially because I wanted to see if I could do it. That was years ago and I’ve always been annoyed with how the syndicated posts show up in the feed. A while ago I hacked at it a little bit and got WordPress to spit out the category name as a class so I could restyle the header and link colors (that’s why they show up as blue) but there was never any real context for what those posts were. I fooled around with conditional statements this afternoon and now there’s something that explains what these are and why they’re there.
The doctors told me that coming down off the steroids I’m on would cause emotional issues this week; I’m going to blame them for the following. SPOILER ALERT.
Watching the end of the first episode of Stranger Things this evening, when Hopper came home to his cabin with two meals set at the table, and Eleven sat down with him, I cried in happiness.
I follow a bunch of Scout people on Instagram, some of whom are prolific posters and use it to their advantage. Others are quieter but show off some good stuff. I’ve been aware of GRC Fabrication from the Binder Planet but haven’t really done much investigation of their products until I saw a post with their Scout II rollbar. It looks pretty good from the few pictures I can see, but I’d like to know how it mounts to the floor and where. If the front legs mount the same way the factory bar does (folding down the front of the step) and use the same bolt holes, I’d consider buying this to replace my rollbar–and adding rear seatbelt hookups for Finn. The price is right; I just want to know about the mounts and how strong the bars are.
I woke up this morning feeling pretty good, all things considered. We were able to get up and out the door to radiation with minimal fuss, and everything went smooth. We had a quick consult with my radiation doc, who seems to think things are going really well. Then we headed back home where my appetite kicked in hard.
Overnights have been OK, and I was sleeping better on the weekend knowing I could stay in bed late, but last night after getting up to use the bathroom it took about an hour to go back to sleep. This is in part due to the anti-nausea meds I’m on and also because I couldn’t talk myself down from feeling angry about everything. I decided I’d try to focus on the things I want to do in the future after I get past this, and that seemed to help me calm down. That and having Trixie curled up next to my hip.
Sunday was spent mostly on the couch. I went through all of my camera bags and attempted to organize their contents by system and then by category. I got most of the way done before getting tired and watching football. I took it as a good sign when I saw ads for cheeseburgers and beer and my mouth watered, even though I’ve had a funny taste in it since Thursday.
Overnight was pretty good. I’ve been taking a strong anti-nausea medication first thing every morning so my appetite, while not at full strength, is still present and accounted for. I’ve been eating smaller meals more often through the day which seems to hold me over. And the mail is still being delivered regularly.
This morning I slept well and woke to my mouth feeling funny for the first time through this whole process. I ate a bowl of cereal with milk and realized my gums were tender. My whole body is weak so I’m walking around like a 90-year-old-man but there aren’t any aches or pains which is a blessing.
Yesterday I spent most of the time on the couch watching insipid TV: stupid car shows and boring college football games–so by 4PM my head was hurting. I’ve found I have absolutely no tolerance for modern TV programs anymore. When did that happen?
At the end of the day yesterday, Mario got all five windows installed and covered over one of the two that will become the closet. All the debris is gone and it looks like a completely different room in there now. I’m going to be sad to see the two corner windows go, but having an eight-foot walkin closet in a house with minimal storage space is going to be a huge improvement. He’s coming back this week to finish studding out all the walls to full thickness, remove the last window, finish leveling the floor, and prepare for drywall. I have to have my neighbor the electrician come back out and finish the wiring as well as add a circuit for a heater this week.
One day in 2000 when I was at work, one of the local news teams came to my leafy, paved street (the only one in our neighborhood), blocked off traffic, and shot a promo in front of my house. The blurry shape in the upper left corner is Chewbacca, who had her 15 seconds of fame throughout Baltimore. Parked in front of her is my neighbor Bertha’s 1973 Dodge Dart. Mixed among the crowd are my neighbors and some paid stand-ins. This blurry 251x189px video is a video capture I took of a VHS recording from TV; the VHS tape is long gone and I doubt I’d ever be able to find a copy online anywhere.
So I’ve got cancer, which sucks. But what doesn’t suck today? WINDOWS. Our new friend Mario stopped by at 9AM this morning and got right to work on the new bathroom windows. By 1 he had the front three out and replaced with new framing, keeping the old outer casings intact and clean. Of all the things that have happened over the last two weeks, this makes me the happiest. I can’t describe how good this makes me feel today, and I needed that.
Chemo was tough. I felt like shit during the infusion and for the rest of the day afterwards. We were sprung from the hospital at 2 and made it all the way home just for the nurse to call me and tell me she’d forgotten to give me my Neulasta, so we had to get in the fucking car and drive all the way back to the hospital for a 5-minute procedure. Thanks, asshole. The Neulasta is going to be administered via a robot needle glued to the back of my arm sometime around 6:15 this evening, and will hopefully increase my white blood cell count.
I made it back home and got right into bed and napped for the rest of the afternoon. One of our friends left me Pho on the front doorstep and I had some of that for dinner before crashing out again.
Feeling so weak sucks. This is not normal for me and I don’t like it at all.
I’m at the halfway point on radiation treatments as of tomorrow. Chemo was different today. I lost much of my appetite after they hooked me up, and the anti-nausea meds knocked me out for another two hours on the bed. I ate a little bit of risotto there, and then proceeded to yank my needle out as I was shifting around after a bathroom break. OUCH. Exactly the thing I’ve been trying to avoid this whole time. Luckily there was only about 10cc. of chemo meds left to go, so they just cleaned me up and we headed for home.
This afternoon I’ve been weak and spacy. Not hungry, which is alarming for me.
The wonderful folks at WRI left a gigantic package on our front doorstep last night that we broke into this afternoon. They sent all kinds of things, like socks and cookies and funny books and a Pac-Man game and a hat and chaga tea and queasy drops. On top were three different cards with signatures. Man, I needed that today.
Today was an early morning, because they needed to draw blood to see where all my levels are. We got it scheduled for first thing before my radiation appointment, which meant an even earlier wakeup for the whole family. I explained to the phlebotomist that while sitting on the couch the previous afternoon, one of our cats freaked out about something, jumped on the arm of the couch, and launched herself to the other side over us, basically landing ON THE FUCKING PORT WITH THE NEEDLE IN IT. I felt like she’d stabbed it through to my back but there was no bleeding and I didn’t see anything leaking so I figured I’d be OK. The phlebotomist said that I didn’t have to worry; the port is attached to my rib (!?!) and built to withstand all kinds of abuse. Apparently there are people who have had ports installed for 10 years with no complications. She drew blood just fine, and everything seemed to be OK.
Radiation was normal; I let them keep classical music on today.
Chemo is progressing; today the anti-nausea medication hit me like a ton of bricks. Between that and the lousy night of sleep I got (due to the drugs), I laid down as they put the Etoposide drip in and crashed out snoring for two hours. My labs came back low on potassium so the nurse set up an extra drip of that, which kept us there a few hours longer. Side effects are mainly happening with the bottom system, which I won’t go into detail about here. But I’m not puking and I’m still hungry, which are good signs.