Archive for June, 2010

Fourth of sixth treatment.

June 28, 2010

omorrow is my fourth chemo treatment. I have done all I can to get myself ready for tomorrow. I ran, biked, did some weights, and yoga. I even did some baking. I also ate myself to recovery too (mostly home-made pizza and pasta), and have maintained the weigh I lost during chemo week.

With all this activity and exercise, I find myself getting stronger, but running-wise, I am no where near my previous running pace of 10:30 or 11:00. However, I try to maintain my weekly base mileage during recovery week. Last week I did 18.13 miles for the week, which is less than my previous recovery week run totals (see June 14 “It’s all in the mind” post) of 18.96 miles. I’ll take it.

You take what is given and make the most of it, no matter how bad you think it is. Sometimes the ego gets in the way. We have an image of ourselves and we try to live up to it. I am prone to this weakness too. I tend to push myself more by running longer or faster because…because I of my ego is getting the best of me. The result is aching knees and ITB (illiotibial band) problems. I got to slow down.

Slow just like the slow drips of my chemo meds. Drip…drip…drip. I wish I can describe how it feels, as it slowly takes away my energy. Drip…drip…drip. It is a totally different experience only other cancer patients can relate too. Drip…drip…drip. I don’t like myself when I have my treatments, but I got to do it. We go through a lot just to live another day.

There are lots of things happening around the world e.g. soccer, oil spill, jobs, etc but tomorrow it is just me and my chemo treatment. This chronic disease really anchors me on what is important in life. I am able to see what is important and find peace in simplicity. A breath, a hello, or a hug. Most people when they see me say I look good for somebody who has cancer. Perhaps it is in the inner peace I have nurtured to get through this challenge.

Whatever it is I hope I have given you peace as well as you follow my story.  I will be back.



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Chemo brain.

June 23, 2010

his is the first time I heard about the side-effect called “chemo brain” or mental cloudiness experienced during or after chemotherapy. I suppose there is no pill or medicine to counteract this side-effect, unlike nausea, diarrhea, or constipation. It makes me look back at my forgetfulness and clouding of my mind.

Hmm…. How do I remedy this thing?

So far, I don’t think I have severe episodes of chemo brain or maybe I just don’t remember them…dooh!  I think I don’t experience them because of yoga.  Omm…. namaste. Speaking of severe episodes, my last treatment (June 15), I had a severe case of nausea and vomits. It happened right after I finished my treatment.  As I was leaving the hospital, and while waiting for the car, I vomited. I barely made it to the nearest trash can.

Excuse me, but you might like to call housekeeping or cleaners to clean that trash can, I vomited there. Sorry.” I said to the reception desk.  He said it is ok, no problem.

Man, I was loaded with anti-nausea meds during my treatment and I still managed to puke right after.  Looking ahead, I thought it was going to a long week but I managed to minimize the vomits. Funny, how an episode or an experience reminds you of other similar experiences. Some dishes when eaten brings you back to your childhood (like in the 2007 movie Ratatouille) or it reminds you of a person. I have similar experiences when it comes to vomits.

Vomits to me equals the French/Italian alps, D’Aosta valley, and its winding roads on our way to Charmonix-Mont Blanc (summer of 2004). I got car sick going through the winding roads of the alps with a couple of friends, SharonR, MartinM, CK, and BrentT.  It did not help that my that my friend, Martin, was driving like a crazy Italian rally driver, and he is a Brit.

From left: CK, Brent, Sharon, and "Rally" Martin

Stop the car, Martin!” I said as I opened the car window.  Too late.

Vomit marks in the car. Yuck.

I wish they had taken a picture of me doubled over on the side of the road and marking the pristine snow of the Italian alps.  I don’t remember what I ate but I left it there.  I forget.  Must the chemo brain side-effect. Scusi.


PS:  Over the weekend was Father’s Day.  I received a bread making machine as a gift.  It was waiting for me when I got back from my run.  Excellent for making pizza dough.  Love it.

My breadman gift.

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It’s all in the mind.

June 14, 2010

received an email from my friend, AbbyW, updating me on her training towards running her first half-marathon. Abby was my nurse when I had my liver surgery (see related post ‘Right Liver Lobectomy (Part 1 of 2) – The morphine button‘). She said she is getting nervous about the race on August 1. I tried to assure her that she will be fine.  She already completed a 5K race which boosted her confidence.  Now the hard work comes, but…

It is all in the mind. Sometimes we expect too much of ourselves. We set goals so high that we set ourselves to fail. Setting high goals is normal because it is the way we perceive ourselves or want others to perceive us. The key is to set achievable goals and committing to it. It is also important not to over-analyze but “just do it.”

So, last week I had a very active week. Some colleagues of mine were in town so I had dinner with them. It was good to see them. I also had to squeeze in a CT scan of my sinuses and a doctor’s appointment (Dr. N). My sinuses have been bothering me again now I have started my chemo again. Then, there is the running. I pushed myself last week and my stats shows it.

  • Monday, June 7 = 3.85 miles@14.20 average pace
  • Tuesday, June 8 = 3.0 miles
  • Wednesday, June 9 = speedwork
  • Thursday, June 10 = 6.16 miles@14.04 average pace
  • Friday, June 11 = cross train
  • Saturday, June 12 = 5.95 miles@12.57 average pace and yoga

You might say I am in marathon mode now, trying to build my base miles when I can. Carpe Diem. Tomorrow is chemo Tuesday again, the start of my three-day ordeal so I lose one week of training. This will be my third of six treatments. Almost to the finish line.

Finally, my friend MikeE was so concerned about over doing my running until he came across this CNN health article. It seems more exercise is best way to recover from treatments and cope up with cancer.

I will be back.


PS:  I leave you in the company of Mr. Eric Clapton

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I will remember thee.

June 8, 2010

Monday, June 7, at Dr. A’s office (liver surgeon)

oc, why did you take out my gallbladder?” I asked upon seeing him for my follow-up consult.

It was in the way (of the liver).” He replied jokingly.

What a guy!  I love him and his sense of humor. This was my second follow-up visit after my liver resection last April 20, and maybe this last time I will see him. No offense to him but I only have one liver left now.

You look good and fully recovered. Let me see your scars.” I raise up my shirt to show him my wound.

I would have looked better if you had worked on my abs too.” I said and he laughed. He points to his belly and said.

Well, before you get it, I need one too.”

Dr. A and me

He said that my scars were healing well, except for one portion.  Pretty soon it will just fade, he adds (like memory).  He instructed nurse Lori to touch up the non-healing wound, then bids me good luck before seeing other patients.  And, just like that, we both move on.

I was happy to see Dr. A and Lori, but sad as well because I know I may not see them again.  Everyday, cases like mine come and go in their offices.  Perhaps some of them worst than mine.  While in the waiting room, I saw a patient with a bag full of medication–a transplant patient.  You see Gods work in their offices.

I am only one of the people passing through their office/clinic, and I am a grateful beneficiary of their outstanding medical skills and kindness. He may not remember me when I see him me in the streets of Chicago but I will definitely remember him, and those who have helped me along the way. Thanks, Dr. A and Lori.

Lori and me


PS: Recovery week is here and I am slowly getting my strength back.  Woohoo.

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