Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Radiation Therapy

I had my first radiation therapy appointment today. It went well. Today’s appointment was longer than the rest of them will be because they had to set up the treatment, which (for me) involved getting back into the CT-scan position they’d molded for me, and having them line me back up with LASERs along the points they’d marked on my body last time I was there.

They took new X-rays, drew a grid on my torso, and double-checked everything before finally having me get dressed again and go to wait in the actual radiation area. During the first part it was cold in the room and my tech guy was freezing, but I had comfy hand-knit socks to keep me warm. Thanks, Ra! I’ll have to alternate between warm socks for the next three weeks.

When I was ready for my actual radiation therapy (which will be the only part I’ll have to do from now on), they had me lay down in the same position again. Two cute nurses/radiation techs arranged me until I was lined up properly. Dr. Yeh came in to check on me and things, and told them to go ahead with the therapy.

The radiation therapy itself is indistinguishable from just getting an X-ray – they leave, the machine goes MMMM for a few seconds, and then they come back in. After they zapped me from above, the radiation machine rotated around the platform I was on until it was under me. The radiation techs made some measurements to make sure everything was good and then zapped me again.

I’d heard both that the first few days were the worse, and that the end will be the worst. Dr. Yeh said if I was going to feel nauseated I’d know immediately, but besides some no-food and stress-induced butterflies, I feel fine. I’m still taking today off just in case I feel sick later, but so far, so good. They’ve warned me I’ll feel fatigued, but I’m so lazy, how would I know? *grin*

"A secret message… from my teeth!" -- The Tick

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last Week

Last week was a difficult week for me emotionally. I was stressed about health and relationship issues, and it made me depressed and touchy. Luckily I was surrounded by good people who were very patient with me, and ultimately the week ended on a high note. I got to spend a lot of time with Mika last week, which was especially nice because I needed a chance to reconnect with her.

Last Sunday was a really pleasant day. Jero and I slept in ridiculously late and then we went out to Outback before meeting B!, Jobe, and Mars for a last-minute birthday Runebound game night. We still didn’t get to complete a game, but we did come a lot closer than the last time we played. I hadn’t expected to see Mars that weekend, so his unexpected freedom was an enjoyable surprise.

Last Monday I went to my first radiation oncologist appointment. The appointment went well – Dr. Leagre was very reassuring, and was happy to oblige my request to move my treatments to closer-to-home Methodist Hospital. It meant switching radiation oncologists, but I like Dr. Yeh just as much. After my appointment I headed to work. I had to work late since I traded with Napl so I could go to the doctor’s appt, so Monday night Jero and I skipped MUXing and went to bed relatively early.

Last Tuesday I went to another doctor’s appointment to meet Dr. Yeh, my new radiation oncologist. Ke picked me up at work and brought me to Methodist Hospital Radiation Therapy. I thought I’d just meet Dr. Yeh and he’d give me the same rundown Dr. Leagre did, but while I was there he had them CAT scan me as well in preparation for my radiation treatments. He answered more of the questions I’d had, and although the appointment lasted a lot longer than I’d planned, I felt like I got a lot accomplished in one visit.

After work I went over to Mika’s to spend the night with her for her birthday Wednesday. Mika and I had dinner at Texas Roadhouse and then stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up ingredients for breakfast. When we got back to Mika’s apartment we snuggled on the couch and watched Firefly until we were both ready for bed.

Wednesday I had the day off for Mika’s birthday, so we slept in and Mika made breakfast. I had to run up to my urologist’s so they could take more blood, and then when I returned Mika napped while I watched the History Channel’s specials on end of the world scenarios – happy birthday, Mika!

Wednesday night Mika and I met up with Tojo, and the three of us went to see Mudkids, Flobots, and Matisyahu at the Murat Egyptian Room for Mika's birthday. After the concert I headed off so Mika and Tojo could have the night alone, and went over to Ke’s to snuggle and fall asleep with her to The Colbert Report.

Thursday night Amsc drove in from Illinois to see me. She was worried about her new tattoo, but she stopped in on the way to Indy and her tattoo shop reassured her it was healing just fine. Amsc’s visit was a short one, but it was good to catch up with her since I didn’t get to see her for her important rites weekend. We snuggled and she spent the night, and I get to see her again for Halloween.

Friday night after work I got back together with Mika for her birthday weekend. We had dinner, and then started in on two days devoted to the Star Trek Roleplaying Game. I have to love a woman whose request for birthday weekend activities includes role-playing Star Trek. *^_^* I had a great time with her, not just for the role-playing, but also for the chance to hang out with in an unhurried, non-sleepy setting.

Saturday Mika and slept in again and then went out to Le Peep for breakfast. We hit the knit shop, so Mika could stock up on yarn. Coincidently they were having a clearance sale, so Mika spent way too much, and then we headed home to role-play more Star Trek. We ordered in Jimmy Johns so we didn’t have to venture out, and spent the evening role-playing and snuggling.

The weekend was just what I needed. Mika had backed off from me a bit since I’d gotten sick, mostly so she didn’t get in the way of everyone else who was wanting to take care of me (I have an abundance of good fortunes!). This coincided with some NRE on her part, which left me feeling a little insecure. A weekend of snuggling and catching up was perfect for making me feel better in a lot of ways.

Arthur: “Oh, would you look at this. How many times have I told you about the toothpaste?“
The Tick: “I know what toothpaste is.“
Arthur: “When you leave the cap off the toothpaste the toothpaste gets hard and you can't get it out.“
The Tick: “Doesn't do that for me.“
Arthur: “That's because by the time you get the toothpaste, I've already cleaned it and put the cap back on!“
The Tick: “Well, good gravy! We are a well-oiled machine!“
-- The Tick

Monday, October 20, 2008

Radiation Oncologist

Today I went to see Dr. Christopher Leagre, a radiation oncologist. He was recommended my Dr. Pike, my urologist. The purpose of the visit was to set up radiation treatments for me following my orchiectomy. Dr. Leagre said I had a “pure seminoma,” which was good, because that meant it was a very well-known, predictable type of cancer.

If I do nothing, there’s an 85% chance I will be just fine. However, with the kind of seminoma I had, its size, and the speed in which it developed, there is a 15% chance the cancer will spread to my abdominal lymph nodes. If I zap them with radiation, that chance drop down to 1-3% (and Dr. Leagre said in his 20 years of doctoring, he’s never actually personally seen it return post-radiation).

Dr. Leagre said that they use a much lower dose of radiation now than they used to, with much lower chance for bad side effects. Basically I’ll just have to deal with nausea, and they’ll give me anti-nausea medicine and Xanax to combat that. There’s going to scan me and make a 3D model of my abdomen so they can zap my lymph nodes without accidently zapping anything important like my kidneys.

The appointments will be every weekday for three weeks (15 zaps). They’ll take place at the end of the day, so I can leave work, get zapped, and go home if I feel sick. Everything else should be fine. Dr. Leagre offered to sign the paperwork if I wanted to take the three weeks off work, but I shouldn’t need to. Tempting, though!

Since I live and work downtown, I asked if I could get my treatments closer to my home and workplace. Dr. Leagre is a St. Vincent’s guy, but he said he knows a doctor at Methodist he could recommend to me. Methodist Hospital is four minutes from my house and even closer to my work, so that should be just fine. I have another radiation oncologist appt. with Dr. Yeh at Methodist tomorrow.

“Who can deny the snazzy of that?” To Arthur: “Are you denying the snazzy of that?”
-- The Tick

Last Week

Last week was my final week off work. I didn’t get as much done project-wise while I was off-work, but I did get to spend a lot of time with the very sweet people who went out of their way to take care of me, which was probably the higher-priority time-killer anyway. *grin* I was a little depressed and over-emotional towards the end of the week, but otherwise have been on a pretty even-keel.

Last Sunday I had to kick Ke out of bed early so she could go to work, and then I had most of the day to myself to email, journal, and enjoy some alone time. Around 8 I got a surprise call from Chwi and M31, who had just gotten back from BlizzCon 2008 and offered to swing by and pick me up for dinner. They regaled me with their travel and vacation exploits, and when I got home Jero was waiting to snuggle and sleep. Chwi and M31 returned for Jero’s bout Saturday. B^)

Last Monday Jero and I hung out at my apartment until venturing out to meet C# and Nivagi for a late lunch/early dinner. After dinner Jero and I headed back to her place and I got on the MUX. I got a chance to role-play with Major Bludd as Dr. Mindbender, which was fun, and to set up a rescue attempt for Jem and the Holograms as Flint. It was an entertaining evening of 80s RP geekery.

Tuesday I spent hanging out with Jero during her telework day, and then she took off early to take me to my appointment to get my CT scan and chest X-rays. Jero and I had planned to go to the Poly Meetup, but neither of us had gotten enough sleep, so we wound up napping instead. When we woke up we went out to a late dinner, and then Jero dropped me off at Ke’s with food for Ke to eat while she studied.

Wednesday I had my follow-up appointment with my urologist concerning my orchiectomy. The news wasn’t as great as I’d have liked. The doctor verified that I’d had a cancerous seminoma, but no other indicators of cancer. That implies it hadn’t yet spread, but the size and aggressiveness of the tumor led him to suggest I get radiation just to make sure. I had an appointment this Monday with a radiation oncologist to discuss how all this is going to work.

After my doctor’s appointment, Ke and I went back to her house to hang out until her class. I went with her since the subject was stress management, which I could always use. The lecture was interesting, and afterward Ke brought me to the City County Building so we could vote early. The evening was spent with me role-playing on the MUX while Ke studied, and I had a great time participating in a well-run TinyPlot run by Major Bludd.

Thursday morning Ke dropped me back home, where I did laundry, answered LJ comments, and prepared to run Mika’s Star Trek RPG that evening. Mika came over and we ordered Chinese food, catching up on what’s been going on in her life while we ate. After dinner we went to lie down and snuggle before role-playing. Mika immediately passed out. That was OK, however – I was really more in a mood to snuggle Mika than role-play, anyway.

Friday I returned to work. Apparently I was supposed to go in at 8 AM since they took me off the schedule (therefore reverting me to generic 8 - 4:30 PM hours), but since I arrived at my usual time (1:30 PM) they just had me work my regular shift. After work I went over to Ke’s and we hung out and watched The Colbert Report until Ke fell asleep. Once again I wound up snuggling a beautiful woman and reading until I got sleepy, which is not a bad way to wind down the day.

Saturday was Jero’s final derby bout of the season, and she and her team kicked ass! I drove her down to Bloomington for the game, and then helped set up the Sportsplex (well, hung signs, etc), while Jero got changed and warmed up. The face-off between the two Bleeding Heartland Roller Girls home teams was well-played and exciting to watch, and it was great to see Jero skate well and do her part to help the Slaughter Scouts emerge victorious!

This week I’m back at work. I switched with Napl (who got stuck with my shift) so I could go to my doctor’s appointment this morning, so tonight I’ll be here until 10. After work I might log onto the MUX if anyone is still on, or just hang out with Jero until she passes out. The rest of the week I’ll be working 8 to 4:30 PM, and then next week I get a new work schedule – prolly working Saturdays.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Week in Review

This week has been spent mostly recovering from my surgery last Thursday. I’ve been exceedingly lucky to have very sweet girlfriends who have been going out of their way to take care of me and to make things as easy for me as possible. I got an infection in my lungs that made part of this week rather uncomfortable, but otherwise things are going well overall.

Sunday I slept in and spent the morning with Jero. In the afternoon Ke and Mira came over and brought the four of us food. We all ate dinner, and then Jero headed home. Ke, Mira, and I hung out, watching episodes of Pushing Daisies and an episode of Star Trek Next Generation. Mira helped Ke study while I putzed on the computer.

Monday I hung out with Mira while Ke was in class. When Ke got back the three of us had lunch and snuggled until Mira had to head home. Ke took me to Jero’s, where I was looking forward to being able to get on the MUX before 10 PM for a change. However, by the time I got on I wasn’t feeling that great, so I idled watching Heroes, and then took a Vicodin and went to lie down.

Tuesday I hung out at Jero’s while she teleworked, and then she took me home so Mika could come over for a short visit. Mika brought me dinner. We ate, and were snuggled up to watch Firefly when Nivagi called to say she was downstairs. I had security let her in, and she joined Mika and me in my bed, with me in the middle. The three of us cuddled and watched “Bushwacked,” and when the disc was over we joked and teased while I enjoyed their company.

Wednesday Ra came to visit from St. Louis! Ke picked her up at the bus station and brought her over with lunch for the three of us. We ate and hung out until Ke had to head home to take a test online. Ra and I spent the rest of the night hanging out, catching up, and watching funny videos online. Ra eventually went to bed since she wasn’t feeling well, and I joined her soon after.

Ra and I spent most of Thursday in bed, until we had to get up and dressed for Jero to pick us up for dinner. Jero took us to Murphy's Steak House and treated us to an excellent dinner. After we got back Jero hung out with us for a while before heading home, whereby Ra and I returned to our previous sloth-like existence. Ra and I did take the time to have a long Relationship Talk, and discuss how labels were creating unrealistic expectations that I can’t hope to live up to. Here’s hoping she and I can work out a solution.

Friday morning I woke up coughing my head off, and after resisting Ra’s advice all week, finally called Dr. Moretto and got an appointment. The doc checked my lungs and said I had an infection, but also assured me that the prognosis for my testicular cancer was good or else I’d have heard back from my urologist already. I got medication and spend the day recovering with Ra.

Saturday Ra had to head back to St. Louis, so I took her to the bus station and we bid farewells. I spent most of the day alone, puttering around my apartment, reading, and attempting to get things done. When Ke got a break from work she brought me food, and we grabbed a nap (my second that day!) before she headed back out. She came back to sleep, and in time I joined her.

It’s been a week of sickliness, but also of seeing people I never get to see. It’s sad that I missed seeing Amsc this weekend since I was too sick to drive seven hours to the Grove. It was nice though to get unexpected time with Mira and Ra at the beginning and end of the week. I have my follow-up appointment with my urologist this Wednesday, and then back to work Friday.

"You know, I could run for governor but I'm basically a media creation. I've never done anything. I've worked for my dad. I worked in the oil business. But that's not the kind of profile you have to have to get elected to public office."
-- George W. Bush, 1989