Saturday, February 21, 2009

Don't have much to say but thought I'd update as it's been a while...

Things are going ok for the most part. The weekend getaway last weekend was really nice. It was great to get away and see some good friends of mine. The only bad thing is my energy level is so low and I'm constantly sore (it's come back). It's the kind of soreness that you feel when you haven't worked out in months and go out one day and run 5 miles. The thing is, I haven't really worked out yet! It's extremely difficult to get out of bed in the morning too as I can't seem to get out of the rack before 11:00! It's almost day 60 since my transplant and quite frankly was hoping for more tangible evidence that I'm recovering. I guess the 15 straight months of therapy (including two stem cell transplants) have taken it's toll.

I have the biggest day of my life coming up this week on February 26th where they're going to give me a PET/CT scan to see if I'm in remission. I find out the results on March 2nd with a consult with my Oncologist and if everything looks good, I'm scheduled to have my line taken out March 3rd.

To protect myself from dissapointment, I'm expecting the worst and hoping for the best (good advice from my fellow relapse Hodge buddies). Whatever happens, life will go on...

Monday, February 9, 2009

I'm getting stronger...

(pic of Jimi scultpture on Broadway Ave. Capital Hill Seattle)

Slowly but surely, my body is getting stronger. Gone is the chronic soreness that has plagued me for the last 2+ weeks! My back is stil occasionally achy along with my lungs when I inhale suddenly but even that's getting better. I feel progress which is great!! I think I'm almost ready to get back into the gym but I've decided to wait until my Hickman line gets removed.

Had a pretty mellow weekend with the highlight being a suprise date night Saturday where Jackie and I went out to see Coraline, the new 3D movie. It was good but a little exhausting as the 10 o'clock was sold out and we had to wait until the midnight show. It was worth the wait as we went to the Cheesecake factory and had coffee and Tiramisu cheesecake! That stuff just melts in your mouth, what a treat! :-D It was interesting in the movie that Coraline's family moved from Pontiac Michigan to Oregon (and her father was wearing a Michigan State sweater in the movie). Even though I'm a U of M man, it was good to see a Michigan school represented... I have to say, seeing a movie in 3D is so much more enjoyable than a normal movie. You really feel like you're "in the movie" especially how detailed the computer animations are these days.

Took Chili over to her future weekend sitters last night and think everything will go smoothly (friends of ours kindly volunteered to watch her). It's going to be weird not having my dog around as it's been a year since I've gone anywhere... Come to think of it, it's going to be weird just going somewhere besides Seattle! I wish I had a little hair so I wouldn't look like a cancer patient but oh well... Every day, I notice the fine little fuzz that's gathering on my head becoming more pronounced. You really have to look closely at a certain angle towards the light -- but it is coming in! ;) I wish my head would come in as fast as my face... It looks like I'll be shaving by next week (although the hair is coming in light blond which is strange). Who knows, maybe my head hair will come in light blond and I'll be a toe head like I was when I was a kid. That'd be pretty cool I think ;) Some people have reported that after chemo, their hair comes in a different texture, thicker, curly, etc... Whatever way it comes in, I can't wait!

(Chili and a new buddy at fountain in Capital Hill park)

By the way, wanted to send out thoughts and prayers to a family of a fellow Hodge Warrior named Tyler ( who passed away this Saturday. Tyler had been through two stem cell transplants (Auto and Allo) and died suddenly with no explanation. I know he's in peace and wish his family strength to get through this tough time.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My body is beat up...

It became pretty clear today that I still have a ways to go until I'm back to normal. I went and hit 68 golf balls yesterday and I feel like I cracked 3 ribs! It's amazing what happens to your muscles when you don't use them, they get soft and tear easily. Can't wait till I get over this constant soreness and get my strength back. I know it will happen, I just need to lower my expectations as to how soon... So, I took it easy today doing pretty much nothing and will get back out tomorrow and continue my pursuit of living a rich full life...

Pleased to report my taste buds are almost back! Eating is so much more enjoyable these days and I've been making up for lost time ;) I've gained a couple more pounds and looking to add around 10 more to get up to 180. I'm doing it sensibly though; avoiding processed foods, sugar and fatty foods. I've learned to love some foods I would never give a sniff before I got sick. Apparently, shitake mushrooms are a great anti cancer food. I decided to try em about a month ago and I'm hooked! I saute them in a little olive oil and soy and they melt in your mouth... I'm also drinking a lot of green tea which is so amazingly good for you. To keep it interesting, I've stocked up on three different kinds, orange jasmine, pomegranite and lemon. Unfortunately, I still crave some things that aren't so good for you too -- I think I might splurge this weekend and go out and get a nice juicy steak! I haven't eaten beef for a while and now that my taste buds are coming back, I think I can enjoy it. Mmmmm, steak.....

By the way, while I'm thinking about it, please take the time to read one of the most thoughtful, inspirational and beautiful blog entry's you'll ever read from fellow Hodge survivor Bekah You don't have to have cancer to be inspired by her mindful view on life with refractory Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Less than two weeks till our long weekend trip, can't wait!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Up late waiting for my Ambien CR to kick in! Saw Dr. Shustov today and we set up February as far as tests go. I'll be going in weekly for blood checks and my big PET scan at the end of February.

I think I'm starting to get some hair back! If I look hard enough in the light, I can make out some facial hair coming in on my lip and cheeks! If I look even harder, I can see some really light peach fuzz starting to come out on my head ;) I haven't been this excited about hair growth since I was 12-13 years old and starting puberty! I watched a comedy special with Robert Schimmel the other night (who's also a Lymphoma survivor) and he has some hilarious bits regarding pubic hair. I guess he was in the hospital getting chemo and a sales rep knocks on his door... The guy identified the company he was with and Schimmel asked what he was selling. Turns out he was selling "dick wigs"!! I was rolling... He said the guy had all kinds of different styles, colors and application methods (i.e. velcro, glue, etc...). If you have a chance to see it, it's pretty funny and inspirational. One other thing about having hair (on your head) is it really keeps your head warm! I can't go anywhere without my skull cap these days and look forward to the insulation (not to mention filling the gaps between my head and my ears!).

It's supposed to be nice here tomorrow so I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do. I didn't have a chance to go to the gym today so it'll be on the list tomorrow. I think I may dust off my sticks and head to the golf range to shank a few. Can't forget about Chili as we'll go to her little park down the street and let her chase the tennis ball a bit.

Well, I think the Ambien is starting to work so time for bed.......

Sunday, February 1, 2009

So the party last night was a blast! It was at the Boeing Museum of Flight which is a really nice place. The food was ok, band decent, drinks good but the best part was the people watching. Seattle is a pretty eclectic place and the party was a pretty good reflection. I really got a kick out of the people who got decked out in their aviator gear. From dudes wearing flight suits, captains outfits, space suits... Chicks wearing stewardess outfits, etc. it was entertaining! They had a live band (didn't catch the name) who were pretty talented. They even had a separate floor with Karaoke which of course included 3 guys in their Top Gun outfits doing "You lost that loving Feeling" (just like the movie although their version pretty much sucked). It was great getting out again and had the chance to meet some really great people.

Other than watching the Super Bowl, today was get organized day. I've gone from having a large one bedroom apt., having all of my stuff at my fingertips to now trying to condense my most precious possesions into a 3' x 3' x 7' space. Challenging but a welcome distraction from my post SCT difficulties and of course my impending PET/CT scan. Which reminds me, I go in tomorrow to see my regular Oncologist Dr. Andrei Shustov. He's going to schedule the PET, advise me when he thinks I can get my Hickman line out (Dr. Hickman is retired by the way so he won't be taking it out this time!), check out the little bump under my arm, listen to my chest back and who knows what else.

So, it's February and time for me to get back into shape! I'm going to re-activate my 24 hour fitness membership tomorrow then look into yoga classes (probably with my girlfriend). I'm also thinking of taking Thai Chi and when I get strong enough taking some karate lessons. I still need to start my flamenco guitar lessons so I should be pretty busy these upcoming weeks! Can't forget about the golf range too!

Should be a fun week!