New Medications

Last week I got prescribed two new medications, both of which I’m hoping will help me a great deal. When I met with Alicia, one of the nurse practitioners at the Toledo Clinic Cancer Center last week for my monthly checkup, I told her about the fact that almost eight weeks after they stopped the oxaliplatin, I still have very bad neuropathy (the feeling of pins and needles and often times a bad burning feeling) in both my feet. While she did remind me that the neuropathy may never go away, she did suggest that I try Gabenpentin, which sometimes provides relief.

I’ve been taking it three times per day since last Wednesday, however because it takes a while to build up the right levels in my system, I have no relief as of yet. I am hopeful that I do get some relief, because the feeling of pins and needles is constant in both my feet. Constant like all day, every day. It really does suck. But, even if I have it for the rest of my life with no relief, if the cancer keeps shrinking, I’ll take it.

While talking with Alicia last Wednesday, I also talked to her about Provigil, and the potential side effects with my chemo. I read an article about Provigil a couple of months ago where they said that it is kind of like the real life version of the “limitless” drug, from the movie Limitless. The article stated that about forty percent of the executives in Fortune 500 companies use this drug. I showed my wife Tina the article, and she did some research into it (and shortly after got a prescription for herself).

What the drug does is help people who are chronically tired, or get very little sleep, concentrate and focus better. Tina has been on it for about a month now and she says it helps her at work, over her twelve hour shifts. Since I am always tired and feeling drained from the chemo, I thought it was worth talking to Alicia about it. She said that it is not only okay to take while on chemo, but she knows of at least a few patients at the clinic that are using it.

With her blessing, I went to my primary care physician on Friday and got a prescription. I have to say, after starting it on Saturday and also taking it today, I see a difference. Both nights I only slept for about five hours each, and yet I was able to focus on quite a few things that normally I would have had difficulty with, such as reading documentation on JQuery and some development stuff I wanted to knock out for work.

We’ll see how both of these new medications help me over time, though I have to say that I am more than a little hopeful that the Gabenpentin provides some relief, and I’m also hopeful that the Provigil helps me to focus at work and get more done.

Weekend Update

It’s been a good weekend so far, and it’s winding down. The diet is still going well and I haven’t had any setbacks, so I’m still excited about weighing in at chemo in another nine days. Hey, at least it’s something to look forward to on chemo day!

I had to work a few hours on Saturday and about an hour today, but it all went pretty quick and easy. I did a little more than my back likes me to do, but that’s just the normal for me anymore. Hopefully losing some serious weight will help with my constant back pain.

I took my youngest son David to the pool hall today and we got some good games in. Well, by good I mean that we enjoyed playing, because I certainly wasn’t playing too well. I’d like to blame my back but to be honest I’m just out of practice, and yet I still feel like I should be breaking and running every table like I used to. Though it’s certainly been quite a long time since I played like that, so I’m not sure why I expect myself to play like I did way back then.

So to wrap up my weekend, I’m going to watch the UFC event tonight and try to get to bed early. I’ve got a doctor appointment in the morning and a long day of work tomorrow, and then hopefully some quiet time with my beautiful wife tomorrow evwning.

Seeing a Difference

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!

Time to Start Living Healthy

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.