Monday, October 29, 2007

I Survived Round Two!

I got through round two (of four) chemo treatments. Now, I can rest up for a month before facing the next round. It wasn't too bad for the first couple of days. In fact, as I remarked to a friend on Friday at Ryan's football practice, I was feeling probably better than I ever had (since the surgery).

But gradually, I started having trouble expressing myself verbally. Sunday was probably the worst day for me, when excessive fatigue pretty much overwhelmed me.

Fortunately, my boss has been very understanding! He hasn't pushed me to do more than I'm able.

I managed to squeeze in a visit to my friends, Stan and Sara Jo, on Friday. We had a great time! Then, despite my weariness, on Sunday after church, I dropped by my friend Casey's house. Casey underwent hip-replacement surgery just 3 weeks ago, and he's doing so well! He was sitting in his wheelchair when I got there. He retreated to his bed (which is right there in the living room) soon after I arrived, said he'd probably be able to attend church next week or the week afterwards.

Stan, Sara Jo, Casey and a handfull of others (including Bob and Sheila, Augie, and Bob and Pat) have really stepped up to give me a hand (or, rather, a "lift" - making their cars available, when I couldn't drive myself). Thanks to you all SO much!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's Back to Chemo Tomorrow

I'm going to undergo a second round of chemo treatments tomorrow. There are two more to go following that round. This round is 5 days on, 3-4 weeks off.

The chemo treatments consist of some pills that I take in the evening, plus one or two other pills to relieve the most obvious side-effect (nausea). As I mentioned in a previous blog, the dose will increase to a little more than double what it was during radiation.

Please continue to pray that I will be able to tolerate this new regimen without major complications.

On a brighter note, I'm progressing well with my work project. I plan to attend most or all of our staff meeting tomorrow, where perhaps I'll hear some additional assignments from my co-workers. It's actually kind of fun, working without any pressure!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Starting Back to Work (on a "no pressure" basis)

This week, I got clearance from my oncologist to return to work, whenever I feel up to it. I don't feel up to actually returning - at the moment - but I am eager to start doing SOMETHING, so I contacted Mark Van Holsbeck (my boss), and he jumped at the chance to give me some work I could do from home. Actually, Mark has been awesome - it was his idea that I talk to my doctor, for example - he didn't want me returning too soon.

So, I've already contacted some of you, and will be reaching out to others, as time goes on.

It feels good to be working again, even at this petty pace. It's also a bit more difficult than I imagined it would be. Kind of like blogging - it's taxing, having to focus on one thing for long periods of time (anything over an hour is a long period of time, right now).

Overall, I'm very happy with my progress. I gets frustrating, at times, but I try to let the frustrations go and move forward. With God's help, I finally am starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What the Radiologist and the Oncologist Had to Say

I saw two doctors yesterday: The Radiologist and the Oncologist. The Radiologist asked me where I'd gotten my most recent MRI. I told him at UCLA. "Fine," he said, "I want you to go back there in 4-6 weeks for another scan." So, it's back to Bruin-country! I don't have all the details worked out, yet, but I'm trying for the week of December 1. Dr. Liau will meet with me afterwards (probably on the same day) to review the scans. Please, PLEASE, pray that the scans don't show anything to be concerned about.

Then, it was over to the Oncologist. This is the doctor that's overseeing my treatments - both chemo and radiation. Radiation has been finished, now, for two weeks. I mentioned that, until the last couple days, I'd been suffering a lot of fatigue. "I'm surprised that it only came on after the treatments had stopped." "That's very common with brain radiation - and we don't really know why." He said I could hold off on resuming the chemo treatments for a couple more days.

"I want you 'clean' before going into the main chemo regimen. This will isolate the side-effects of the chemo and make it easier to adjust to them, if necessary."

So, as of this moment, I'm scheduled to resume 5 days of chemo next Wednesday. Again, if you would, please pray that I'll tolerate the treatments with minimal (or no!) side-effects.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rehab @ Home

I FINALLY feel up to blogging again! Praise God! Here's a brief update on my progress:

For the past 7 weeks or so, I've been rehab-ing at home. First, I had two folks come to the house, but after 2-3 weeks, I started going to an outpatient facility. About that time, I put away the walker, then the cane. Some further movement returned - especially in my right ankle. This motion is necessary for driving.

Speaking of which, I ventured out of the driveway and left the comfortable confines of my block just yesterday. I drove to the local store and bought a subway sandwich (which was fabulous, BTW). My driving is cautious, but I'm sure I can expect steady progress there, too.

Most importantly, I FEEL pretty good. I still get fatigued, but the fatigue is manageable, and I recover more quickly than before.

That improvement MAY be short-lived, though. I see my oncologist this afternoon, and will find out the details of my resumed chemo treatments. Please pray that I tolerate the treatments with little or no side-effects.

Monday, October 8, 2007


I completed radiation last Thursday, but have been really tired ever since. I'm not sure if the fatigue is the result of radiation being finished, or the cumulative effects of chemo. Fortunately, I get a two-week break from the chemo treatments, starting tonight. I'm hopeful I'll feel more like blogging in a few days.

When my chemo treatments resume, the dose will be more than doubled, but it's only 5 days per month! I don't really know what to expect with the increased dosage. If this is as bad as it gets, I can handle it!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Acute Rehab

They transferred me via ambulance to the Acute Rehab center that's closer to where I live. The first thing I noticed when I got there was that I had a private room. This room would be my 'home-away-from-home' for the better part of the next month.

Over the next few days, the staff came and introduced themselves. There was Mariane, Ngozie, and Sol who alternated days; Mary, Navon, and Regina at night. Physical Therapy was provided twice a day by Anne, Occupational Therapy twice a day by Julie. On weekends, they cut the sessions down to once a day, and these were provided by a mix of various folks.

Stacey handled speech, three times a week.

I have to continue to give "props" to my wife and kids - they were there day-in and day-out, cheering me on.

I made significant progress while there. The use of my right arm and leg returned - not all at once, but gradually. I'm still not 100%, but I'm a lot closer due to my time in rehab.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Regular Room

They finally let me out of the TCU and transferred me to a regular room for a few days. I was in a room with a man who was undergoing chemo. From the sound of it, he wasn't having a very pleasant experience. He was getting the medicine intraveneously, and he was pretty sick. I didn't get much of a chance to share with him, but I've been periodically praying for him.

It makes me glad that when they started my chemo regimen, it was in pill-form, and the side-effects (nausea) could be controlled with a wonderful drug called Zofran.

My family continued to be able to visit me, which meant so very much to me. I also began working with some therapists (again). After two days, they sent me off to acute rehab.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Busy Day Today!

I awoke this morning, afraid that it was going to be like the previous two: Little sleep, lots of fatigue. They told me there'd be days like these, but they usually don't happen on weekends, when I get a break from radiation.

But slowly, I gained strength. I ended up showering and shaving (yes, there are days I don't feel like doing one or both of those), going to radiation, then on to physical therapy, followed by some exercises at home, and I topped off the day by walking all the way around the block for the first time since the surgery!

I'm a little bit tired as I write this - but it's a good kind of tired!