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Archive for October, 2014


Round 9:  Chained Six to Eight Weeks
October 26, 2013

Iam still saddened by the Jones fracture in my right foot.  It does not help that it came during my tapering period for the marathon and my movements restricted by a boot.

Athletes/runners taper or rest for a few weeks prior to competing to get maximum performance during competition.  It is normal to be restless during this period but to be restless and immobile does not help.  I have gone to the gym during the week and tried to work off a sweat on the hand-bike it is not the same.  You can’t do much when you are chained to a boot for several weeks.  No running, walking, cycling, or yoga.  I can’t wait to get back.

Last Wednesday, I went for my treatment.  My clinical trial doctor and nurse were surprise to see my foot in a boot.  I told them of my training accident (aka stupidity), and my missing the Chicago (October 12) and will miss out NYC (November 2) marathon.  That’s two for the price of one price of one penalty.  I showed them the X-ray of my foot, so now it is part of the study.  I wonder what will the clinical sponsor think of their guinea pig.  Tsk…tsk…number 5.   Fine mess you got yourself into.  Whatever.

So far I am doing fine.  I feel strong and I can shake of the side-effects faster.  I think it is due to my marathon training.  I totally believe that exercise or any physical activity and good diet can help in recovering from chemo or fight cancer.  I know it is not easy and it takes discipline.  What helps me is setting goals, like running a half or full marathon.  With a goal set, my behavior change and with it comes discipline.  I also think it is because of a curious mind: Can I do another marathon? Can I do an Ironman?  Can I do one mile more?  I want to know.

This year I may not have run any marathon but what I got is a fit body, stable cancer nodules, and a fresh outlook in life.  That is more than enough for me.  I am thankful.

With Speedy for my Round 9 treatment

With Speedy for my Round 9 treatment

Cheers.

P.S.  Round 10 coming up this week.  Oh…boy.

 

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Scans and Fractures
October 20, 2014

LLife is always two-sided.  Yin and yan.  Good news and bad news.  Scans and fractures.

I recently had my CT scan (October 15) to see how my nodules are responding to the trial drugs.  This was pre-scheduled as part of the clinical trial.  Previous to this , my last scan was September 3, so after a month of treatment the comparative result was good: Stable impression.  Whew.  LindaJ, the nurse specialist, called right away to give me the results.  “Stable”, she said.  I was trying to fish for more details but there was none.  Then I saw the full report, it was all stable, stable, stable.

I was so happy.  Woohoo.  Another milestone pass.

Now for the “other” news.  I fractured my foot.  This happened two weeks ago Sunday, October 5, during a 10-mile tapering run along the lakefront.  At mile 7, I stepped on an uneven pavement and rolled my right foot.  Next thing I know I was on the ground.  My wife was not around since I ran ahead.  I had that sinking feeling of stupidity as I felt some swelling in my ankle.  My wife caught up with me and we walked back to the car.  I limped and prayed that my foot was ok because NYC marathon was waiting for us this November 2.  I trained hard the whole summer and I was almost there.

After some icing and rehab sessions with Noreen and Jamie of Novacare, and a consultation with Dr. Reilly of the Running Institute, this “Humpty Dumpty” could not be put back together in time to race NYC.  Sucks.  Arghhh….  Gone.  Just like that.

There is an official name for my stupidity: Jones Fracture.  It is similar to the recent injury of Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunders but in my case I do not need surgery (Thank, God.  My clinical trial doctors would have flipped).  What I need is 6 to 8 weeks of foot immobility, then rehab.  I try not to look back and play the “what if” game because I can be hard on myself.  Cancer and running taught me just to take what is given.  It is time to move on.  Chalk this up as another colorful adventure I look back to.

All is not lost.  My scans are good and there is always next year to look forward too.  Rejoice Kenyans.

Cheers.
Jones Fracture

 

P.S.  Next treatment is this Wednesday, October 22.  Never stops.

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Round 8: Speedy Goes to Chemo.
Yesterday: October 8, 2014

R

“Road trip! Woohoo. We are going to UofC to see my “fefol” (other guinea pigs) and get treatment. Number 5 is in the house, fefol. “

It is the first time for Speedy to be taken out since arriving in his new home.  He was thankful to be rescued and join the other toys like Moo, the cow (more on Moo in coming post).  Speedy arrives at the hospital and takes a peek from the backpack and surveys the waiting room area.

“Psst….hey lady. What’s up with the crochet? Who is it for?”
“Hey, mister. Do I need a mask too?  That is a cool chair with electric wheel?”  It is totally new environment for Speedy and just takes it all in.

It is early and the waiting room is slowly filling up again with patients coming for their treatment. Just another normal day for us cancer patients.  I brought along my new toy, Speedy courtesy of Mary Ann, for some selfies.

I like an early start because I get to finish early too, hopefully.  I was called already for my vital sign, they have accessed my port, and I gave them a urine sample (don’t ask why this is included..).  I need to be screened to check if I am healthy for another round of chemo.  They are normally concern about my platelet count which was a problem before.

This my world once a week: The world of clinical trials.  The world of cancer.  The rest of the week is spent coping and making the most of what life has to offer.

While my blood was being drawn, I overheard a patient next to me saying that her anniversary date is coming up this October. 15 years, she says. Wow. I am on my 6th year fighting cancer and she has more than double the years of my diagnosis.  She wears a hat to hide her balding head but is so cheery in greeting all the nurses  who has been taking care of her.  She knows all of them.  She has an admiring personality and perspective all brought or enhanced by cancer.

This is one thing I noticed in others as well as myself.  Cancer transforms you.  How deep is the transformation would depend how cancer is accepted.

“In the meantime, inside the infusion room Speedy notices many things.

Hmmm…. fefol here are treated better.  They give you reclining chairs or bed in isolated rooms while us guinea pigs are kept in cages, carpeted by a bed of wood shaving to pee and take a crap, or sometimes croak on.  They even have individual TVs.  If lucky, we have spinning wheels to entertain us.  What’s up with that!  Talk about the have’s and the have-not’s.

Hello!  Class warfare.  Where is Reverend Al Sharpton?  I say we do a march for the oppressed guinea pigs.  Occupy UofC: We kick the ass of the human class!”

I bring out Speedy for a selfie and talk to him.  Listen Speedy: I am here receiving this trial drug because of your sacrifice.  You proved that this drug is safe enough to be tested on me, Number 5.  You have done your job and I will take it from here.  Thank you.

Speedy melts.  “Reverend who?”

Hello, fefol!  Speedy in the house.

Hello, fefol! Speedy in the house.

Cheers.

P.S.
This weekend is the Chicago marathon.  I found a bib to enter but had to pass.  Over the weekend I sprained my right ankle.   Depressed.  It would have been my test run for next month’s NYC marathon.  I am sure the Kenyans are rejoicing my absence.

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Round 7: A Guinea Pig Called Speedy
October 2, 2014

YYesterday I had chemo after a one week break.  Today I am sluggish, recovering, but still standing.  I thought I pass posting something this week but couldn’t.  Somebody came through for me.

Arriving from the hospital yesterday tired, I was welcomed by a “care package” sent by MaryAnnG, a work colleague of mine.  I just had to smile.  Inside was a Beanie Ballz guinea pig with an inscription of number 5 at the front, like a bib number, and a card.  I have known Mary Ann for several years now and she is the only who can throw an inside joke on me like this on me.  It made me forget the days event at the hospital.

Wait there’s more.  She mentions in the card to read the tag inscription hanging on the guinea pig appropriately named Speedy, it reads:

Speedy:  You’ll only see a blur as I race on by.  No one can catch me, so don’t even try!

The silent metaphor blew me and today I am still smiling.  Thanks, Mary Ann.

Hi, my name is Speedy.  I am a guinea pig and a runner.

Hi, my name is Speedy. I am a guinea pig and a runner.

Cheers.

P.S.  Yesterday, I joke my clinical trial doctor when he check to see me; I said I think I need an Ebola test since I went to Dallas, TX (Note: First US case of Ebola was identified in Dallas over the weekend).  He saw my fit condition and said no with a smile.

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