Saturday, April 23, 2011

Change to Cancer Really Sux

And to explain the new icons on the right (especially once I figure out how to make them more visible, and add photos) - I am designing some t-shirts to go along with this blog and our experiences, expressing our disdain for cancer. The shirts are kind of cool (but I am biased) and can be designed a few ways, for now. The front logo is the same as the new banner on this blog page, and the backs are variable. 50% of the proceeds will be donated to cancer research. I am not too webdesign savvy, but if you are interested in seeing them check out the details at my facebook page. And here are some of the new 'girlie' colors.

Back to us. We have had a nice week with my father and my niece visiting, and my aunt through Tuesday. I took the week off from work too, and spent time with them. Today we (minus Kel, who was at work) went to the Pima Air and Space museum, which the kids loved, and yesterday my niece Danelle joined me in a tour of my cancer research lab that I gave to 11 and 12 year old middle school kids. I think she liked it!

Kel is doing alright physically, but the not knowing what is coming is hard. B/W will happen in a week, and then we meet with the oncologist for results and the next step on 5/3. So only 1.5 weeks away.

It is after midnight and I teach in the morning, so onto the ReallySux section: :)

-Doesn't really suck is going to be a nice week with Dad and Danelle. Although Dad's cooking is too darned good and I need to eat less!! Darn him ... and this is pre-cooking school. Just wait until after?! Ugh. ;)

-Sux is the waiting. My dreams are permeated by fears and uncertainties. The other night I dreamt that I was awaiting surgery to biopsy bile duct masses as cancer or not. I haven't even heard of bile duct cancer?! Where does my subconscious come up with this stuff? I have been obsessed this week with designing t-shirts and logos, and getting stuff organized, etc. So I have had dreams about that too (i.e. no one wanting the shirts, and please don't feel obligated! We just think they are cool and hope others do too), but bile duct cancer? Geez ... must be a combination of teaching Anatomy and Physiology and all of this sucking cancer.

Speaking of which, I have to teach in the morning, so g'night for now!
Best wishes,

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's been a while ... and cancer sux more than ever

At first I was going to write commiseration, not celebration, but Kel requested the cancer sux more than ever.

He had his post-chemo CT scan on Wednesday, b/w on Thursday and meeting with the oncologist on Friday for the results. Kel has been feeling well since the chemo fatigue wore off and he mostly got rid of his cough, so he (and we) was (were) expecting good news - that all was shrunk, and all is done. Instead, this is what we learned:

The good
-The nodule in his lungs is gone.
-There is some scarring in his lungs from the treatment - probably why he is still coughing and having some irritation.
-The kidney swelling is gone, his kidneys are working well.

The bad
-The mass in his back has shrunk by ~65%, from ~10x10 cm to ~7x4 cm, the aim was less than 1x1 cm.
-The bloodwork did not progress as expected. His main marker (AFP) was down after the 3rd cycle as expected, going well, and did go down again, but not much (from 32 to 20-something ... if it had progressed as expected that # should have been 2). LDH (another marker) also did not progress.

The ugly
The end result is that he still gets to play the cancer card to keep me from beating him up for lame comments (like he did tonight), at least for a while. The doc is waiting 2 weeks and then retesting the b/w to see if those markers decrease. If they don't decrease, then the plan is two more rounds of different chemos (Taxol, Ifosfamide and more Cisplatin) that are not pleasant, followed by a major surgery.

If his biomarkers decrease, then Kel will wait 2 more weeks, have more b/w and another CT scan to make sure things have stabilized, and then it is just the surgery.

I say 'just the surgery', but that part is no picnic either. It is a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection: ~ a 6 hr procedure to remove that mass, anything they find it attached to (ignore the dangling participle), and all of the regional lymph nodes. Then he will be in the hospital for a week, with a month recovery to follow.

Yesterday was a bit full of anger, today is more full of concern about side effects, time off work, future works, etc. The end result is still CURE, this is just a lot harder of a road to get there, and we will deal the hand given. Many, many others have it worse, and within a year we will be beyond this and about to celebrate David's 5th birthday (his 4th is on Monday, btw), but for now we wallow, and get pissed and rage against the cancer.

F^#k cancer.

No insight to follow, nothing amazing to share, just pissed at f@%ing cancer ... AGAIN.

Cancer sux ... a lot.