Thursday, July 28, 2016

Double off the left-field wall scores nine

That might seem impossible, but I'm playing by the Finley rules. There could be nine bases, for example, plus home. Or the bases could be loaded with three runners to a base. With the Finley rules, all things are possible. The final score was Stevie Boy 9, Chemo 0. The chemo had no chance of hitting my two out pitches: the quantum slider, which exploits wave-particle duality and splits into two balls halfway to the plate, and the Heisenberg knuckleball, which is unhittable as batters cannot determine the position of the ball and its velocity simultaneously. In short, I realized my plan of riding my bike ten and a half miles to the Med Center for chemo, then riding back. Yeah! Fist pump etc. understood here.

I've heard of a person on chemo running a marathon, compared with which my little bike ride is like a five-minute shuffleboard game played from lawn chairs. And I must confess there was no great triumph over adversity; I felt great and there was nothing to overcome. But you have to imagine what a psychological boost it is to carry this through. Exercise is good; pushing it harder is even better. It helps the entire system, in many ways. So I'm determined to to up the ante compared to the last round. It gets worse as you get to later cycles, due to the cumulative effect and vanishing blood cells. Still, my goal is to push the limits.

The only really bad effect so far is the Picc, which has left my skin looking like crazed wombats have gnawed on it. Today we
reached a consensus: The Picc must go, and it has. Hooray! The next two infusions will be done by direct intravenous injection, which as you might recall from earlier posts has its own problems, but the Picc is impossible. Then after returning from Italy, they will put in a ``chest port'', pretty much what it sounds like, that goes under the skin. The oncologist counseled against this option last time, but Susan the NP thinks it's the best for me. If he okays it (he's not around at the moment), that's what we'll do.

After they pulled the Picc and wrapped the arm in temporary bandages, both nurses were aghast at my plan to ride home in 85+ degree heat, because of sweating (it's a yeast infection and needs to be kept dry). I get it, but not completing the ride would be much worse. It's all a mind game, you know. ``Can you at least ride really slow?'' Oh yeah, I can do slow.

The pre-Italy plan has now been finalized, and it's not what I wanted but appears to be the only option. My CT-scan and oncologist consult will take place the day before we fly (for best scan results they like to wait two and a half weeks after the last infusion). They assure me this can be done with a ``stat read'' i.e. they will have the radiologist look at it immediately. So why not just do it when we get back? Well, if the cancer has progressed I could be advised to cancel the trip and continue chemo. At least I got a straight answer on this out of Susan. Canceling just before we, that would be grim. I'm going to assume this won't happen. But at the same time, I have to be psychologically prepared; if things really looked that bad I'd probably go with the doc's recommendation. The interesting data point is that is that if I go to Italy, it means just a one month gap in treatment. So they seem to be pretty serious about the aggressive nature of this kind of cancer. That said, I'll return to the optimist view: Andiamo in Italia!
In general the chemo has gone really well. The cisplatin week, week one, oscillated between feeling pretty good and feeling like merda. But in the down periods, at home, one can just lie down for a while and wait it out. Appetite has been very good, thanks to the exercise. I've been taking in more water than the Titanic. Shipped my two students off to a conference in Vancouver, so I've got a couple of weeks do hang out at home and work uninterrupted on math. Not a bad place to work!

Well, now I really have hit the wall. Neurons fading, synapses lapsing into dream mode...Buona notte a tutti!

No comments:

Post a Comment