Sunday, November 2, 2014

Nov. 2 Update

By popular demand I'm posting another update, even though in truth there's only more of the same to report. Well, I do still have my hair!

Last week I had further episodes of remarkable energy. For instance on Wednesday after getting up at 6, going in to teach my 9:30 class etc. I was the speaker in a small seminar 3:45-5:15 and gave one of the best, most energetic talks I've given in years. Lots of fun. Then I was up until after midnight working on math, so completely atypical for me. It's true that I have a couple of naps thrown in but it's still very surprising. Thursday I did a triple-hill walk in the park, working on math throughout as usual and it was exceptionally productive.

On Halloween I had my gemcitabine infusion, with the nurses dressed in elaborate costumes: wicked witch of the west, Glenda the witch, and my nurse Glen as a monk with sinister Da Vinci Code overtones.  The nurse practitioner Sara (not in costume) did ask the oncologist about my hyperenergy and said he has seen this before, although he doesn't buy my ondansetron theory. But what else would it be? It is very clearly drug-induced, and surely the cisplatin/gemcitabine itself doesn't have such an effect! Or maybe my shift in diet has had an effect, but it's not like I've changed that drastically.

Sara is great. She recently decided on her own to try opera, as a new experience in the arts, and is all excited about seeing her first opera, Tosca, in January. Has been reading the libretto, listening to recordings etc. and wants me to tell her "all about opera". I suggested that when Abby's here in a couple of weeks she should give a recital in the infusion ward. There are big elevators that an upright piano might fit in, to bring one up to the 8th floor!

Saturday was pretty typical, i.e. feeling lousy but still functional. The worst is this weird feeling in the stomach that I don't know how to describe. It's not quite nausea, not quite pain, just very uncomfortable. A "bloated" feeling is the best description I can think of. This morning (Sunday) I'm much better though, even rarin' to go.

This coming week I'll be at the Med Center three times: Tuesday for a catscan, Wednesday to discuss the results thereof with the oncologist (I will push my ondansetron theory; maybe we can write a joint paper on the subject), Friday for my "off-week" checkup at the urology clinic. They don't do another Petscan because the insurance won't cover it, although apparently it will be covered if the docs find the catscan insufficiently informative. After that I'm scheduled for two more three-week cycles, which I assume they will do regardless of the catscan results.  Anyway, I am so lucky that I can just walk to one of the best cancer centers in the world from work!

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