Seeing a Difference

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The diet is holding strong and I am feeling better because of it. One of the most important parts of a diet, especially for someone like me, is controlling my portions. I am the kind of person that would typically eat unhealthy food, and to make it worse, I ate too much of it. This often ended with me having heartburn or acid re-flux, upset stomach, and all of the other fun stuff related with overeating.

This time I have been very mindful of my portion sizes, and only eat until I am starting to feel full, because I know that shortly my stomach and brain will catch up with each other and tell me that I am full. I am also eating less often and trying to stick to only three reasonable meals per day. Sure, I might have a low carb protein bar in between meals if I am hungry, but not that often. All of this has kept me heartburn and stomach ache free for the past week.

I am also drinking a ton of water every day. In fact, since about two months ago, I only drink water. Once in a while I may add a Crystal Light pack to my water, but that’s rare anymore. One thing that cancer did for me is to give me an excuse to quit drinking pop all the time. I used to go through an average of 5-6 bottles of Diet Mountain Dew per day. But since my diagnosis, and the surgery in November, I haven’t had a drop of pop. Once in a while I miss the flavor, but don’t have any desire to go back to it.

The best news is that, after only one week of dieting, I am down nine pounds! I am so excited to see the weight loss and it is keeping me even more focused on my healthy eating and I am excited to see how much I will be down when I weigh in at chemo on July 5th. So, while I have almost two weeks until my next weigh in, I am feeling stronger than ever in my fight for a healthy lifestyle, and will not falter in my course!

Categories: Cancer, Healthy Living

Yet Another Weekend

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Sometimes I’m really glad to have the weekend finally come, after a long week of work, and other times I’m just wishing it would be over. This was my six day work week, because I have Tuesday off for chemo, and it was a hectic week at work. One of those weeks in IT where chaos is the normal and you never stop jumping from one task to another.

Typically I would be excited for a day off, but I miss Tina tonight, and am having a real problem sleeping. Even after working about fifty hours this week, I’m still awake, more than 19 hours after I woke up Saturday morning. My brain is whirling about my disease, among other things, and I can’t talk with Tina because she’s working.

Hopefully later today I can wake up and hang with my kids for a little while, for Father’s Day, before they go about their typical daily rituals. Having older kids is great, but I never know what will happen, and this year I really want to see them all. I mean, let’s be honest and say it: who knows how many more Father’s Days I’ll be around for? This cancer thing is unpredictable and I have no idea what it has in store for me.

I know this all sounds negative, and I am not sure what’s going on with me tonight, but it is what it is. I guess I’ll try again to go to sleep, and hope that tomorrow brings me a good day, with more positive thoughts.

Categories: Cancer, Family Fun, Work

Time to Start Living Healthy

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It’s been a crazy eight months since I was diagnosed, and it’s been even longer since I took my health seriously. I’m very overweight and it’s causing a lot of problems for me. Mostly my back is affected, but surely bad food and being overweight isn’t good for me in my fight against cancer.

I have finally had enough and started eating better today. I also plan to start going to the gym, though that is going to be tough, since I’m working full time and still feeling really tired all of the time. I assume most of the fatigue is from the chemo, but I also don’t get as much sleep as I should on a day-to-day basis. Whatever it is, I’m going to do my best to meet my goal of two days in the gym per week.

The Atkins diet has always worked well for me in the past, which is why I decided to go that route again. Once I get closer to my goal weight, of 220 pounds, I’ll look for a diet that can help me maintain the weight loss. But for now, I’m going to stick to what I know, and what I know works for me.

It’s going to be a long and difficult journey, but one that will be well worth it in the end.

Categories: Cancer, Healthy Living

Clean and Clear!

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The colonoscopy went well yesterday. After a long wait for registration, I was taken back and quickly prepared for and taken into the exam room. As always, Versed and Fentanyl did their job and I don’t remember any of the procedure. If you have never had those two drugs, together they make it so that you are very relaxed and have temporary memory loss. Good stuff for a procedure like this.

The doctor came back while I was in recovery and told Tina and me that everything looked perfect; I have healed fully from the resection surgery last November (when they took the tumor and a section of my colon out) and there was no evidence of new disease. Woohoo! Finally, some good news. The doctor even went so far as to say that I didn’t need to come back for three years, unless something comes up on a future scan.

After getting only about three and a half hours of sleep the night before, and only a couple of 20-30 minute naps yesterday, I went to bed at a little after 8:00 pm. I slept great, but unfortunately woke up at 4:30 am today, so I got showered and headed into work to get the day started. Hopefully I will get a chance to sneak out of here a little early today, since I have to be in to work tomorrow for a full day, too.

Categories: Cancer, Work

Did Someone Call Roto-Rooter?

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Tonight I started the prep for tomorrow, when I have another colonoscopy, scheduled for 1:30. While all of the PET and CT scans have been clear of new disease, since my last colonoscopy in October, I have to admit that I’m still quite nervous about it. Not about the procedure itself (thank God for conscious sedation) as much as the results. After all, the last one didn’t exactly go great, as far as test results go.

It’s a different feeling than scanxiety, but it’s still a lot of anxiety all the same. I’m hoping and praying that they don’t find something else that is new or something that didn’t show up on the scans. I’m hoping and praying that they don’t find a problem with the surgery I had last November, where they removed the tumor and some of my colon.

I guess tonight and tomorrow morning all I’m going to be doing is hoping and praying. Something tells me that I t’s going to be a long night tonight and morning tomorrow.

Categories: Cancer

What a Weekend

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This weekend started off with me sleeping half of Friday evening and then being up past 2am Saturday morning. I didn’t mind it too much because I was tired and knew that I had to work Saturday evening on a phone system upgrade.

Saturday I woke up at 6:30am, picked up Tina from work, and then went back to sleep until after noon. Then I watched a little TV with Bree, dropped her off for a babysitting gig, then went home and took Tina and Ava to dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. It’s always a good time having Ava join us for some quality fun time, just the three of us.

Unfortunately, Bree was not feeling well when I picked her back up, after dropping Tina off to work. I slept a couple of hours early Saturday evening, went to work for about three and a half hours, and was again up way too late. While I was at work, Bree woke up and told me that she had a fever of 103.2 and didn’t feel good. That lead us to the local urgent care on Sunday, where we found out she has strep throat. The rest of Sunday was spent taking naps, running to the store, and staying away from Bree.

Then I was up until after 3am on Monday morning. My sleep schedule is totally messed up and I have to get it right by tomorrow for work. I’m still coughing up major junk, even after finishing the Z-pack, and feeling pretty poopy. Ill be calling the doctor again on Tuesday for another prescription and hope that I feel better soon.

Categories: Family Fun, Sick, Work

Ready for a Vacation

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I have been enjoying the two week break I got from chemo, but I have been working a lot and busy at home, too. With all that has been going on, I am in desperate need of a break. Some time alone with my beautiful wife Tina; some time to just decompress. Time where work isn’t part of my every day and it’s just me and my sweetheart. Fortunately, I don’t have too long to wait.

Thursday after I get off work I am running home to pick Tina up and we’re heading down to Columbus, Ohio and checking into a hotel. Then, after a good night’s sleep without distractions and a nice late start, we are heading to Mapfre Stadium for day one of Rock on the Range. It’s going to be a great night of good old grunge music with Bush, Live and Soundgarden. We saw all three of them a few years ago together and they all put on a great show.

On Saturday we are going to sleep in until we feel like getting up, because day two of Rock on the Range for us starts about 5:00 when we will watch Seether, Papa Roach, The Offspring and Korn. We’ve both seen Seether and Papa Roach in the past couple of years and enjoy their shows. We saw The Offspring together back in 1996 at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan, and they had a great show, too. I’ve never seen Korn perform live and Tina saw them a few years ago at Rock on the Range, but the soundboard mixing was really bad and she only stayed for a few songs before leaving. We are both really excited and hope they sound good this time.

Sunday is another lazy, sleep in kind of day for us, because the first band that we want to see on day three of Rock on the Range hits the stage at 4:25. The Pretty Reckless is first, followed by Primus and Volbeat. Then, for me, the best act of the weekend happens when my favorite band (since the late 80’s) hits the stage at 8:45: Metallica. I’ve seen them three other times through the years, first in 1988, then with Tina in 2009, then again with my oldest son Mark in 2012. Each show was better than the last and I am so excited about seeing them again.

The best part of seeing Metallica this time is that they have consistently played my favorite song on this tour at every concert, Fade to Black, and I’m so hopeful they play it on Sunday. To be honest, the other reason that I’m excited to see them this year is because, with my current health, who knows if I’ll be around if they come back again in a few years. I’m definitely trying to stay positive, but it’s also important to be a realist.

So, for this weekend, it’s Rock On!

Categories: Family Fun, Vacation

Chemo Break and No Break From Work

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I am so excited about my two week break from chemo! Every cycle I get to feeling almost human right before I go back to get another treatment. This time I might actually have enough time to feel “normal” again. And with no more of the oxaliplatin, I am hopeful that the cold sensititvy and neuropathy will eventually go away and not return!

Unfortunately, this weekend was filled with a lot of work, due to some issues with our VoIP at the office. Outgoing calls work fine but incoming calls are intermittently failing over to our secondary source (cell phone). It started Thursday night about 10:00 pm and has been going on since. I worked on it all day Friday, then again Friday night from 7:00 until almost midnight. I was back in the Saturday morning from 7:30 until about noon, and worked on it through the day Saturday and Sunday from home. To me it looks like an issue with our ISP’s upstream provider, but I can’t be certain (they surely won’t admit it). The whole situation has been very frustrating.

So tomorrow morning it’s back to the grind. I’ve got a couple more ideas to try, that I thought of tonight, and hopefully I can get it working quickly. While we aren’t missing any calls because of the failover, it isn’t ideal for our operations team, and it needs to get resolved.

I have to say though, even with all the work and frustration, I’m still very grateful that I am able to do it. So many cancer patients struggle with the treatments and have the side effects affect them much worse than I do. I know that it is due to God, and my faith, that I can get through this with so few problems.

Categories: Cancer, Work

Fatugue, Work and a New CT Scan

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Another Saturday is upon me, and I’m back in the office this morning to get some work done. Sometimes these long weeks wear me down and this week that has certainly been the case. I feel like I just can’t get enough sleep no matter how much I get. Every day this week has been difficult to get up and going and by the end of the work day, I am ready for bed. The fact is that the fatigue from the chemo treatments is hitting me a little harder and lasting a little longer each cycle. While I know the chemo is helping me fight the cancer, it is also starting to wear me down. In truth, that’s why I have not been updating this blog as often as I would like.

The last PET scan, in January, showed that the lesions on my liver were either gone or too small to see (less than 1 cm). It was also confirmed that no new cancer was found, though the lesions in my lungs were still there and about the same size. This morning I have a CT scan to see if my lungs are clearing up. The good news is that I already have an appointment on Tuesday morning to get the results of today’s scan, so I won’t have to wait 10 days, like the last time. Thank God I don’t have to go through scanxiety for so long like I did in January.

After the scan this morning I’ll be back in the office for the remainder of the day. The good news is that I will be plenty tired tonight and should be able to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. I plan to make Sunday a nice, quiet day of resting around the house, trying to do as little as possible. I am going to need it because I am working Monday and Tuesday I am back at the infusion center for round twelve of chemo.

Categories: Cancer, Work

Here we Go Again

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My chest has been feeling tight the past few days and my breathing has been getting progressively worse since Friday. Last night I actually had to use my home aerosol machine to do a breathing treatment, just to get my breathing settled down so that I could try to sleep.

Today it seems to be a little better, but that is most likely due to the fact that my wife wants me to go to urgent care and I don’t want to. True, I probably should and will end up doing it, but I sure don’t want to.

I never realized how compromised my immune system would be while undergoing chemo treatments. This will be my third or fourth time at urgent care for the same thing since I started chemo, back in November. That’s not even counting the two or three times that I went to the doctor and not urgent care.

It seems like I am getting sick every couple of weeks. Anytime I see someone at work sick I know it’s coming for me next. Not very fun. Especially considering that this is chemo week. The last thing that I want or need on chemo week when I already feel so drained.

Hopefully they can give me a prescription for antibiotics tonight at urgent care.

Categories: Cancer, Sick