July 3, Group Emailing.
Sorry I haven't been sending
updates. Things were getting a little convoluted here (surprise!)
so I just figured I'd wait and see what happened so I could
tell the whole story at once. Here it is:
Two weeks ago on a routine
doctors visit the doctor came in and said " your gallium scan
is clean, your free of detectable cancer, congratulations, but
on your CT scan there's new lesions all over both your lungs
which could potentially be fatal so were calling in a pulmonologist
and putting radiation on hold....."
I tell myself, "Okay, more
bad news with the good. No problem. I can handle it. I'm getting
used to this. And I can still leave the hospital after this
and get a steak and guacamole sandwich."
Then they said that they were
going to admit me back into the hospital to run some tests...
But eventually they decided not to. And a week later a new CT
scan showed 50% improvement. The Pulmonologist declared that
we'll never know what it was and that I should get on with the
End of that mini saga.
The target area displayed on my chest in marker
So today was my first day
beneath the radiation machine. It's funny how you can think
this stuff isn't going to bother you for months on end, then
when the time comes you start wondering what you were thinking!
"These people want to blast me!" I thought to myself. But worst
of all was seeing the hulking radiation machine for the first
I once worked at a ski factory.
They had an incredible, huge machine that took a slab of aluminum
into a slot in the middle. A button was pushed and Ka-blam!
The ground shook and out popped a brand new shovel blade. Just
As they slid me up to the
radiation machine I was pretty sure I wasn't going to come out
a shovel, but I had my concerns. "Will it hurt, How long does
it take, why does everyone run out of the room before the buzzing
starts?" I got my answers. It hurts about as much as an x-ray
does (it doesn't hurt), it takes about 15 seconds on each side
(over easy, please), and the techs run out of the room for blindingly
15 seconds doesn't seem like
a long time, but get lined up in the cross hairs beneath that
buzzing behemoth for the first time and you'll suddenly change
your mind. Especially when you're straining to see the invisible
rays tearing imperceptibly through your body, or you're trying
to feel what's happening within you with senses heightened by
adrenaline and fear. The accompanying buzz seems to ring on
incessantly as you wonder, "How much radiation am I getting.
When is it ever going to end?" Next thing you know it's "see
you later" and you're off in search of an iced coffee in the
blazing heat of Salt Lake City valley (105 today). What's the
Oh yeah, and I'm starting
to grow hair once again! I'm getting fuzzy all over the place.
Hopefully, soon you won't recognize me.
July 10. Let it rain
Well, I just finished my fifth
radiation session, so I'm a quarter of the way done. Feeling
good so far, and that's to be expected. Some days I feel a little
queasy beneath the blaster as it buzzes, other days I don't
really mind at all. With my life at times feeling back to normal,
I often come close to entirely forgetting the appointments.
Luckily, I haven't missed one yet. Every day I miss now just
adds another day on to the end. I just want to get this over
Something I forgot to mention
on the last update is my new exercise routine. Since there was
a lung scare and now radiation is adding a new risk, I have
cut out hiking and biking and being anywhere there is potential
exposure to dust. A pulmonologist convinced me with his "there
aren't enough words in the dictionary to describe what the bugs
that live in dust can do to you" speech. I got his point.
I've been limiting my adventures to city creek canyon, which
is paved and off limits to vehicles every other day. It's also
nice and cool next to the stream, an oasis in this oven-like
The other big change in my
life is that my parents have returned me to Christine's care
and have both gone home to Cincinnati. At least one of my parents,
often both, have been here consistently since the start of the
transplant in the middle of May. They, and my brothers and sisters,
have actually been coming on all the critical dates that have
occurred since this first started back in August. I've had the
But now things have really
slowed down. I can easily take care of myself now, I just need
a little bit of company in case I get a blood infection from
my catheter and conk out without warning. Still, I now have
a lot more space than I'm used to. Often I find my mind wandering
to places I haven't been in a long time. Places like "what
about school, what about work, what are you doing with your
life". I'm still not up to answering these questions (I
may never be!). Just let me get my eyebrows back first.
There's a weather alert out
right now as we're being hit by yet another afternoon thunder
storm. The coolness brought by these rains is a wonderful treat
on a hot summer day. Bring it on.
A friend just re-ruptured
a hernia and had an operation to fix it, so lately I've been
enjoying a reversal of roles. Feels good to be a care giver
for a change.
That's the news from chemoville,
where the men are emaciated, the women are bald, and the children
are all plugged into machines.
"It has recently
been discovered that research may cause cancer in laboratory
Just finished my first full
week of radiation. Doing fine. Thursday I started getting tired
feeling. Today I'm really lethargic, to the point that I'll
do odd things to avoid the grueling task of getting up out of
my chair. It's a bittersweet feeling, like ticklish pain. I
sometimes enjoy the ensuing sloth, and I often wonder how much
of the lazy handicap is just mental.
Despite the draggyness, I've
still been able to handle the adventures that confront me to
and from radiation therapy everyday. The noon appointments would
only take about 10 minutes, if only I didn't have to park. The
U Hospital parking lot is akin to a black hole: not even time
can escape it's wrath. This crammed dungeon of a facility induces
a sort of claustrophobia immediately upon entrance. Sagging
low ceilings and stale light decorate the long tunnel where
hardly an inch exists that isn't packed with bulging automobiles.
Around the first corner is when you suddenly realize that the
25 cars ahead of you aren't moving anywhere. Right as you decide
to nail it in reverse to get out of that carbon monoxide coffin,
a line of cars pull up behind you and seal you in. I'm not sure
what's so complicated about the parking in there that causes
the pileups, but now I know that if I'm running late then some
cosmic string of events will also insure a debilitating parking
lot traffic jam....
Now I just park in a galaxy
far, far away and take a nice leisurely stroll across the U
medical campus. The commute has me plunging through tunnels,
traversing multiple institutions of medicine, ascending or descending
7 flights of stairs, and heroically fording those germ infested
areas where my mask once again comes in handy. Thus my 10 minute
appointment turns into an epic of infinitesimal proportions.
But hey, if all I have to
complain about is the parking, then things must be pretty good!
Accepting the nose hairs that come back with the eyebrows!
July 23, Group Email. Subject:
Read all about it!
MAN VANISHES IN EXPLOSIVE
BURST OF BODY HAIR!
Christine Hasegawa, who witnessed
part of the incident, told reporters today "The skinny, bald
guy living here suddenly disappeared in a violent explosion
of human hair".
In his place was discovered
an estatic, dark, hairy beast.
The beast refused to comment
on the explosion, but when shown to a mirror did say, "There's
hair on my face! There's hair on my head! There's hair on my
cheekbones! There's hair coming out of my nose and ears! This
is amazing! Do you see the hairs! Do you? Do you?"
Since the explosion, which
alarmed neighbors earlier this week, the beast has been properly
confined and protected from exposure to dusts. Meanwhile, the
search goes on for the skinny, bald man we once lovingly called
bye and good luck, chemoboy, wherever you have gone.....