Sunday, October 3, 2010

Time Off For Good Behavior

Been a long time since I last posted, which is mostly due to nothing new to add to the cancer updates.  But I thought it might help to put down some of what has happened in the last few months, and what will happen over the next few, in case I ever want to look back on this.

Late in August Julie & I finally got to take our summer vacation.  Two weeks at our condo in Ocean City, MD,with our dog.  It was a great time, sunny and hot almost the entire time.  We drank a lot of beer in the sun on our West (bay) facing balcony, watching people in the park and boats on the water.  We ate crabs, taco pizza (Julie's favorite), ate donuts (Fractured Prune, my favorite), took horseback riding lessons one day, laid by ocean everyday.

I bought a couple of kites, a regular one and then a stunt kite which uses two kite strings and allows you much greater control which you can use to make the kite do fun tricks.  It took me a few days to get the hang of it, but once I did I really enjoyed it.  By the second week of our vacation the winds were fairly consistent, and I was able to spend hours (really, hours) in northside park with my wife and dog, performing stunts with the kite.  Julie even managed to fly it a few times really well.

But all good things must come to an end, and eventually our vacation ended.  It was hard coming back to work after that much time off.  But both Julie & feel back into our daily routine of eating better and not drinking (weekdays), running 5 or so miles a day, and spending some weekends at the beach.

Now jogging has caused me some problems.  I assume that the chemo is to blame for this, but my legs/body do not recover from the runs like they used to.  It used to be that after running 5 or 6 miles a day four days in a row, I'd be tired but could still do well on Friday before taking weekend off.  Now I find I can only run 4.5 to 5.5 miles a day, and that by Wednesday my legs and body are already exhausted.  When Friday rolls around I am barely able to run, my body is just too tired.  But come Monday my legs feel fresh as ever.  I want to believe this is temporary and that eventually I'll get back to my earlier stamina, but even if this is my new running reality it's not that bad.  In some ways it is nicer than before, as now I also can't run very fast so I'm now only a little faster than Julie.  So now we run and talk more, whereas before we ran and I yelled (coach Tony) at Julie to run faster, harder, etc. 

I'd also been pushing myself harder in push-ups and pull-ups/chin-ups in the evenings.  3-4 days a week I would come home from work and walk Bica as normal, but then I would spend 20-30 minutes on push-ups and pull/chin-ups.  I used to do those exercises in the morning after running, but switching to the evenings was a much better way to do it.  I was stronger in the evenings, and it curbed my appetite (always hungry when I first get home) and enabled me to wait for dinner until Julie came home.

But all of that has been on hold for more than a week.  Last weekend Julie & I went to NYC, me for a long weekend with Julie staying longer for a conference.  We had a great time in the city but on Monday morning I woke up feeling rough.  I had an 8 am train back to DC so I said my goodbyes to my wife and walked to Penn Station.  It was a really nasty day, but the train wasn't crowded and I had a good book to keep me occupied.  But as the train rolled south I kept feeling worse and worse.  I'm pretty sure I had a fever and defintely had chills.  I still had to pick Bica up from her daycare so instead of walking her home so I reserved a zipcar while on the train.  When I got to DC I took the metro home feeling worse and worse.  I put on warmer, more comfortable clothes, took some tylenol, and then grabbed the zipcar and drove up to get Bica.  She was crazy excited to see me, and I her, but I was more and more out of it.  I got her home and she was exhausted from daycare so we both laid on the couch and snoozed for a few hours.

When I woke up it was around 4 pm.  I was shivering and felt horrible.  I took Bica for a walk, came back and heated up soup, and slept for another hour.  By 6 I took Bica out again (for her last walk of the day, I'm ashamed to say), took Nyquil, and slept until 1 am.  At 1 I got up and ate some soup, drank some juice, and emailed my office to say I wasn't going to be in on Tuesday. 

I didn't make it to work for the rest of the week.  The Nyquil helped me sleep, but I was almost delirious, and each time I woke up I was drenched in sweat.  I'm not kidding, I was soaking wet.  So much so that when I would wake up not only would I be soaked, but so would the sheets and the bed.  I'm used to sore throats that after a day or so turn into head colds, that a day or two later are gone.  This one did turn into a head and chest cold, but the sore throat never left.  In fact it still hasn't, I still don't feel good.  But I do feel better, and there is no way I'm staying home from work again this week.

I did go to a dr, who thought it was just a tough cold but still gave me a z-pack.  I always thought it was a virus and not bacterial, as the z-pack hasn't done anything yet I suspect that's the case.  Wednesday night Julie came back from NYC to take care of me and she was great, but of course she now has the cold so I'm taking care of her.  We went to Ocean City this weekend on Friday and made our homemade chicken noodle soup.  We ate that Friday and Saturday.  Took Bica to the beach on Saturday, it was a very pretty day and we all had a great time, even with the colds.  We just slept on the beach for hours, but it was great. 

Came back earlier this morning and made another batch of chicken noodle.  Julie's sleeping the day (and I hope her cold) away, I'm here taking care of her and the dog.  What I don't know is if my cold was so severe because of cancer/chemo (just like my legs don't recover from running as quickly as before), of if this was just a particularly nasty cold.  Is my immune system just in bad shape right now?  Will I now have to deal with more severe colds for the foreseeable future?

In my last update I talked about the inflamed vein in my groin/lower stomach called phlebitis.  I can still feel the vein, although it no longer hurts (I've also not been touching it).  I will have to make an appointment to have that looked at again, as the doctor thought it should already have gone away by now. 

At the end of this month I will also have to go back to the doctor to begin my follow up cancer treatment.  This will involve getting regular tests to see if my cancer shows signs of coming back.  While I want to believe the cancer is gone forever and there will be no further treatments needed, each test will certainly be stressful.

I'll write again when the tests are scheduled or have happened.

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