Monday, July 26, 2010

Round 2. Ding! Ding!

Monday July 26th, 2010

We (dad, Cathy & I) went to see my oncologist today to get more labs and if they were fine, to get my 2nd round of chemo of the Gemzar & Cisplatin. After getting VS (= vital signs ie. heart rate, blood pressure, temp., weight, respirations and pain level) and labs drawn, I saw Dr. Mehta and he had his doctors examined me. My NP (nurse practioner) Vera also came to see me. They all noticed how SOB (short of breath) I was, not that I was a "son of a b*$#*!". My heart rate was also up, around 124 bpm (beats per minute). Just like a health care professional minimizing her complaints I said, "Well, I've been upright for quite some time, I ate right before I got here, and we had parked in the garage 2 buildings and a bridge away." People ask, "Why don't you get dropped off @ the front door?" As much as I lay on my back, it's good for me to get some exercise while I can. I take my time, huffing, puffing and waddling. I'm sure when I pass out that they'll take it as a sign to pull the car around for me. Just teasing. I do need to get up and move otherwise one has to worry about blood clots from being stagnant, bed sores, and a bunch of other infections. Hey God, can you change this cancer into a baby? My belly looks it, but not the "girls". Again, I'd rather have one than cancer any day.

Widdo Poopie, yes the runaway and gum infection dog, had swollen jaws so Marie was kind enough to get him to the vet for me, AGAIN! I'm getting her ready to have him full time, if and when the time comes. She's doing a great job. Now if only I can teach her to give him the medicine...yeah. She, my whole family, friends and the rest of you guys out there reading this blog too. You touch my life and give me the strength, love and laughter, hugs and kisses to get me through the rough patches. I have a box for all the "Well Wishes and Prayers" which I asked Marie to decorate as my "HOPE" box. I'll try to incorporate all the drawings I was given by the little ones onto it.

Back to the SOB. They had ordered a CxR (chest X-ray, you're all going to be up-to-date on hospital jargon when I'm through with you) to rule out any fluid in my lungs. I was told that if there was enough fluid that I'd have to be admitted today and will most likely get my lungs drained in IR (interventional radiology) to rule out cancer cells in the fluid. Again I was thinking, "I don't have any clean underwear for tomorrow & toiletries with me", "Does Marie have enough money for the vet?", and "I'm getting hungry again, the last time I ate was 9am, it's only 11am, but they'd have to keep me NPO (nothing by mouth) for several more hours. NOOOOO!" I teasingly rapped on the doctor with my flimsy papers and said, "When are you going to give me GOOD news?" Back in the day I'm sure I'd be in trouble for rapping a doc with flimsy papers like Ruth Buzzy, but after working with doctors over 17 years, if you can't joke with them, than they're stuffy. You need to break up the bad with the funny, it's what keep you in the field a long time. They already told me that I'm family there so maybe he's like my brother? Would that make it okay?

We got my orders, walked back to the first building via the bridge system to their X-ray dept. This is a cool clinic with on site labs, pharmacy and radiology, very convenient for the patient. You don't have to go back to the main hospital for this. They do need a cafeteria or vending machines though. Got my films done in 15 minutes, went back to the onc clinic to wait for the reading and the labs. Within a few more minutes I was back in the chemo infusion room with my family and I was told the "good" news. I did have a small amount of fluid in the L lung and an even smaller amount in my R lung. I need to get my butt off my back some more, take deep breaths and hopefully cough that crap out. In other words, I was good enough to get my chemo. Yeah! Let's break this baby up some more & make me feel better. I also learned that HEPARIN can cause a drop in platelets in some patients. I happen to be one of them which is good to know for future infusions, so just sterile saline flushes for me. Which will hopefully mean no abnormal labs and no missed chemo doses.

I had a roomate, reassuring that I'm not going through cancer alone. We were able to eat after receiving my anti-nausea meds. I did get the liter of saline followed by the Gemzar, then Cisplatin. We watched "Barbershop" again at the request of my fellow cancer warrior. I had to measure my urine output into the fancy collection chamber which isn't so bad, but my dance partner, the IV pole had 3 wheels on it and it kept wanting to fall this way or that. I'd prefer a more stable one with more wheels, like an octopus, no way is that baby going to tilt over. The Compazine was taking it's toll and I was getting sleepy but still needed to make my donations. We joked that the recliners should have a bucket underneath so we don't have to maneuver with the poles like those dream recliners of big sports fans, coolers in the armrests, etc.. I did get my dream dance partner later on. We were there til closing time, I didn't have to go home but I couldn't stay there, so my onc nurse, Ruth, was able to find me a good IV pole. (I was going to say just "pole" but some of you might have dirty minds.)

Before leaving, we bumped into another UIC doctor who worked with me in the ER. "Hi Ben!" I hate when the face is familiar and the name is on the tip of your tongue but it won't reach your brain until that person is gone. I remembered it by the time we got to the car. "Ya Big Dummy!" said in the true words of Fred Sanford. He told me that some of those studies were done on men in their 60's so I have a good chance with being 40 y/o on my side. We had just arrived home safely, with no urine emergenies. I had received 2 liters of fluids, a half liter of fluid, drank an iced tea, water out of my Team Jacob thermos and soup.

Our neighbor was visiting from Arizona to help out with her mom for a few days. Cathy & I went over to see her for a bit. Then Paul, our bro, brought me downtown to see more relatives visiting from California. Her two brothers from Illinois, husband and daughter joined us. They had sent me a gorgeous quilt with butterflies and an inspiring message to take to my therapies. We met @ Lou Malnati's on Wells St. For those of you who haven't been here & want to try a pizza that is favored by Chicagoans & visitors alike. That's one thing about Chi-town. There's so many uniquely flavored pizzarias, you can eat for a week or two from different places and not get sick of pizza. Well, maybe after the first week you will. I got my calls from Mother Hens One and Two while @ the restaurant, it was hard to hear from them & I called Two back. One wasn't feeling good, I'll try to reach her tomorrow.

We got back home & Widdo took his meds and ate. Yeah! Please God don't let him have a reaction to the meds overnight. We had already spent a shift @ the hospital and we didn't even get paid. Plus everyone was tired from the long day, I'd have to cab it to the ER vet.

I only hope that our brother, who's family really needs your prayers, gets uplifted and the strength to deal with the hardships they're going through. They say that God doesn't give you more than you can handle. I want him to know that I praise him for doing the best that he's already doing . I hope he feels that he can unload some of his burden with us.

Thank you God for getting us all through another day.


  1. Thank you, Jes for the update. I am learning so much from you and Jenny. Thank you for being an inspiration, too. You are a wonderful person!

  2. Well come on by & give me a hug and some good laughter, that's what keep my spirits up. :o)