Day 218 – Improving

My name is Rick and my cancer status is unknown.

I have seen steady improvement in my health since the past post.  The steroids I am taking – or their associated placebo effect – have definitely helped.  I feel more energetic and less sickly each day.  I will make this trend continue.

One feature of the situation I am not going to miss is being cold nearly all the time.  This has been basically true since December of last year.  Who knows why but I just couldn’t warm up.  My body temp is generally low – just below 98 degrees – but lately it would dip as low as 96.8.  Perhaps low body temp has something to do with the situation.  And perhaps low body temp is caused by my glands acting up.  Physical exertion definitely helps as I can build up a sweat, but my low energy level makes that a challenge.  And, you cannot run around all day just to feel warm.  The good news is that over the past two days I have felt considerably warmer.  When I seriously overdress (typically 4 layers) I now get warm and have to remove some of the layers.  This is a great sign.  I am currently in my cool, drafty office and do not need my space heater running.  Progress indeed.

Yesterday was a back to normal day as I spent much of the day working.  Granted most of this work was personal (e.g. supporting a home sale, woodshop demo) but it was nearly nonstop.  If this were last month, I wouldn’t have been able to sustain my concentration or energy for more than an hour or two without needing a break.  Yesterday I took no such breaks and cranked until about 9PM.  I was tired at the end but it was a full day.  Today I plan on a full day as well.

I am scheduled to volunteer at Penn’s advanced medicine department to help improve their cancer care.  Per my suggestion, a team of doctors and nurses are convening to discuss how patients can be better served by a document they hand out after each visit.  I will be the voice of the patient at this meeting.  The so-called “after visit summary” is given out each time a patient sees a doctor but it is of little value.  My assertion was that if they already give this out as part of their process, it should be something the patient would actually use.  Many cancer patients carry around notebooks to keep track of their paperwork.  I doubt these summary sheets help in their current form but I have lots of ideas on how they might be improved.

I cannot spend all day writing, there are things to be done!