Monthly Archives: September 2012

Day 65 – Status Update

My name is Rick and I have cancer

I continue to make steady physical progress.  I run or walk everyday for at least an hour.  I do my assigned PT exercises, increasing repetitions and adding other strengthening activities (e.g. sit ups, pushups, etc.) all the time.  I feel like I have full range of motion in my shoulder and neck with the only exception of looking upwards.  There is strong tightness and some pain under the left side of my jaw.  My scalp is improving but is still not closed.  It only opens up after a shower.  I am sleeping for the most part but still get pretty tired during the day.  I typically wake up on a tired side and then rally through it.  By the early evening, I am again pretty tired.  This feeling of being tired is something I cannot (and will not) get used to so I generally just ignore it.  I have been working hard at eating this past week as well.  No matter how I feel, I eat.  The result has been a gain of three pounds bringing me up to 125.  If I can maintain a minimum of 125 I might be able to curb some of the tiredness as well.  Who knows.

Next week is the third week of my second treatment.  During this upcoming week my doctors tell me I can expect to have side effects from the drug.  The rash, while technically gone, is still present in a very muted way on my skin.  I suspect that next week the rash will reemerge as the doctors suspect.  The question is what else will rear its ugly head?  I am not looking forward to it but am prepared to deal with it.

I have wanted to be fully checked out by a dermatologist ever since I received my diagnosis in July.  More than a month ago I asked my oncologist for a recommendation and setup an appointment for 10/24, the earliest they had. The doctor’s office invited me to call as often as I wish to see if there are any cancelations.  Every few days I do just that to no avail.  A few days ago, I noticed one of my many moles changed from steady state to red and painful.  It is in the middle of my lower back right where my waistband sits.  I doubt it is anything serious but it now is a constant reminder – as I need any more constant reminders – that I need to have my skin checked.  I really don’t want to be too pushy with any doctor’s office but I really want to have that and the rest of my skin checked soon.  It would be incredibly bad to have another undetected active melanoma lesion somewhere else on my body.  And the ONLY reason it is undetected for this long is because I cannot get in to see a qualified doctor.

I cannot believe how little time I get to pursue various “me” projects.  Queued up are a few CNC creations, an electric go kart, building raised beds for a vegetable garden, picking the guitar back up and various hikes.  I have spent NO TIME other than a few minutes here or there on any them in the past two months.  I thought that by not working I would have time to play around but alas I have not had a single moment.  I don’t watch TV or even read fiction or any other trivial pursuit that might take up time.  Last night was the first movie (In Bruges, thanks Jake!) I have seen since I was sick with the ipi side effects many weeks back.  I do not know where all the time is going…  Well, I think I do know where the time is going… to other more important priorities; family and surviving.  Is it bad to opine for some of these projects for myself?  It feels selfish with all the other things going on.

On Friday, I had what is a typical pre-diagnosis workday; I met with several prospective clients.  It felt awesome.  The good news is that both of these possible clients understand my medical situation.  The better news is that I like them and look forward to working with them.  The best news is that I know I can help.

On Friday evening, we had a havurah.  It was fantastic to see everyone.  The food was great as always and the conversation was even better.  What a great group.  I was told not to bring anything so I brought homemade challah and homemade vegetable sushi.  I guess I don’t follow directions too well.

Yesterday was an action packed day.  I finally got my car back from the body shop.  While I still love my Civic, that Prius was sweet in comparison.  I think I will miss the iPhone integration via Bluetooth the most although not having to fish your keys out of your pocket is pretty cool too.  An ignition key seems so quaint and antiquated now.  After picking up the car I shopped at the Italian Market for more high calorie goodies to keep the pounds on for me.  After that was a few hours of exercise and then dinner with my wife.  She is doing much better now that her parents are somewhat settled.  Once home, I started working on a vexing wireless problem in the house.  I was really tired but this problem has been bugging me for a while so I went at it.  A movie capped the day.  A nice seemingly “normal” day with little or no cancer talk.