Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Belated Apology, or, The Post in Which Tony Shows What an Ass He Can Be

A long overdue update, which I'm not feeling very inspired to write so this one will probably be pretty mundane.  I'll start with my best story, if you don't like this one the rest of this post will only get worse.

Months ago, during treatment, I was a few days out of the hospital for the blood clots in my arms.  If you go back & read the posts from that period you'll see that I was in a great deal of pain, and we were all pretty worried.  There was so much confusion, some doctors calling this potentially life threatening (if the clot should break off and cause an aneurysm), others saying I probably didn't need to be on blood thinners.

So Julie and I were at home, I was laying on the couch (about all I ever did during the chemo months, it seems like) and Julie is sitting next to me.  I'm complaining about my arms hurting so much and then I (I feel like an ass all over again as I'm about to write this) I pretended to have a heart attack/aneurysm.  I know how that sounds, terrible, right?  It was over in a second.  A quick grabbing of my chest and pained look on my face, dramatically closing my eyes, a croaking sound from my voice, a second of pretending I wasn't breathing.

Then I opened my eyes and starting laughing.  Well for a half-second, anyway, until I noticed Julie's ashen white face.  I neglected to consider (a common complaint from those I love) how much stress she was under, and how worried she had been.  What I thought was an obvious prank had seemed all too real to her.  We've laughed about it (a little bit) since then, but she needed about 15 minutes alone after it happened; probably to stop herself from finishing the job.  So a public apology, Julie deserved (and probably continues to deserve) better.

In other recent news:  I had my follow up blood test related to the blood clots and the disease I had tested positive for (lupus inhibitor) while on blood thinners.  There was a good chance it was a false positive because of the blood thinners, and that ended up being the case.  I am lupus inhibitor free, that is, I have no permanent blood clot disorder.

Now that I'm several months post-chemo (almost six months, if you can believe it) things have pretty much stabilized.  I'm still dealing with the hands & feet issues (slightly swollen, so rings don't fit and shoes feel tight), morning fatigue, and off and on mild depression.  I've only mentioned the depression once or twice on this blog, but as the physical ills fade away, depression is more noticeable to me.  I don't think it is worse, maybe better, and it certainly isn't all the time.  But it is present more often than I'd like, and it is something that I haven't ever really had to deal with, at least not in any meaningful way.  We went on vacation in Montreal this year and I had a particularly tough time for a few of days there.  Actually the days were great, but at night I would shut down emotionally.  It's hard to describe, but it made for a few trying days in what should have been a relaxing time.  

Perhaps part of my depression (if that's the right word) is my continued itchiness.  The itchiness began more than a year ago during radiation treatment, and actually faded during chemo.  I had hoped chemo had cured that issue, but instead it slowly came back, and is now worse than ever.  I've seen the dermatologist several times, but I think it's time to get a new one.  I'm not sure she and I are connecting on this problem, and her solutions either are not doing enough, or are so debilitating (mostly through drugs causing severe fatigue) that the treatment is worse than the problem.

Julie kept pushing me to go to acupuncture, and I finally did a week ago.  I've been three times, and it is very relaxing, but no itch relief yet.  I have another appointment on Friday, and will have to decide if I want to continue with those sessions or not.

The day we came back from Montreal we bought a Jeep.  We'd been thinking about it for a few months, and just went to the dealership and bought one.  That makes it sound spur of the moment, and it really wasn't.  Part of the thinking about it included research on Jeeps, contacting dealers for quotes on their current inventory, etc.  So we knew this specific jeep could be the one if we liked the way it drove and if they'd come down to a certain price.  Both criteria were met, and we bought it and drove it out to the beach immediately.

We'd been car-free for more than 8 years, but the Jeep is fun to drive and has really opened up a lot of the surrounding area.  And of course we're not so much into making ourselves wait to have fun any-longer, within reason.  As I've mentioned several times on this blog Julie and I have had a great life together, the happiest 10 years of my life.  But we were also careful planners and rarely blew money on purchases without thinking about them for a while.  We haven't exactly gone the other way on this, but when we both want to do something we tend not to hold ourselves back any longer.  More of a slight shift than a major life change.

The jeep, while so much fun to drive, is gigantic.  It's a 4 door wrangler with a hard top and huge tires (at least to a guy who has only owned a 1974 VW bug and 1992 Mazda 323).  It looks like this one (I hope that link is still good for a while).  The hardtop was the only thing we didn't love, I really wanted a soft top so we could take it off more often.  Since we don't have any place to store the full hard top (it comes off in three pieces), we can only remove easily the panels from the front seat passengers, which we do all the time.  Those fit in the trunk.  We'll see how the winter goes, but I suspect we will eventually get a storage unit for the hardtop and use a soft top, or sell the hard top and buy a soft top.  But again, a cold winter might make us grateful to have the top that we have.

Not long after buying the jeep, I was invited to a food & wine dinner by my urologist.  You might recall he saved the day for me when I was headed it Indy to see Dr. Einhorn, the specialist who discovered/developed the chemo treatment I received.  My urologist is a member of a wine & food society and invited me to become a member.  The dinner was a lot of fun, got to meet some other friends of my urologist as well as several other members.  I need to attend a few more dinners before I can become a member, which I expect would happen at the start of 2013.

Things are going well otherwise, and I don't expect to have much in the way of updates for a while, but of course you never know.  My next scheduled drs appointment is for mid-January.