Posts Tagged ‘chemo pills’

Living in hope.
July 5, 2015

In the US it is the 4th of July weekend. There are parades, barbecues, fireworks, and holiday sale.

We celebrated our holiday by watching fireworks with Ethan, our grandson. It was his first fireworks so it was an experience for him, and for us. We thought he will be scared of the loud “booms” since we were close to feel them, but he enjoyed.

This weekend also marks one week since I have completed the first cycle of my chemo trials: The chemo come in pill form. I started last June 13, completed the two week cycle, and then two weeks off. I start the second cycle on July 13.

So far the side-effects have been limited to nausea, constipation, and tiredness. To keep active, I am limited to walking. Can’t run because I get tired easily.

With summertime here, I miss running at the lakefront. I equate summer to marathon training and it is such a beautiful feeling. You get to enjoy the cool lake breeze, the sun, and seeing other runners. I hope someday I will be able to do it again. Hope is what keeps me going.

With one cycle complete, I need to do another cycle (July 13), then a scan. It is during that time when faith and hope is going to be tested again. In the meantime, I will enjoy my summer and continue to live in hope.

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July


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Carrying the beast.

Carrying the beast.
August 25, 2013

Last week I was in Dallas, TX on business.  It gave me the opportunity to take this “beast” on a road trip.  The “beast” is the new chemo regiment I am on which is a combination of a full-day infusion at the hospital and a seven-day oral pill.  I started this regiment last August 13 and finished it while I was in Dallas.

Well, I would not say it was easy or hard.  My body is so use to the side-effects of chemo that it has become part of my routine.  Although I notice some tiredness, diarrhea, and nausea after finishing the pills, it was not bad.  I just move on.   What I like about taking the pill is it allows me to be more mobile and able to travel.  People at work did not notice I was on the pill…chemo pills that is.

So round 1 is done.  I have a week off then I do it again this Thursday, August 29.  I have to complete six cycles of this new regiment,  which will bring me to November.  My life now-a-days are in increments of chemo cycles.  I could not even plan what I will do next year or even the next five-years but I still go through the motion.  It helps me cope.  For now, the plan is  to get to November.  To get to November, it will be series of mile markers or chemo rounds.  Then I am sure there will another scan to see if my lung tumors are shrinking.  Increments.  A life of increments.

Two things happen when you plan for the short-term:

  1. You get impatient.  I notice that I have been direct with my thoughts and very impatient with long winded explanations.  The result is a tendency to be selfish and biased.  Big problems to others can come across as small problems when seen from a life or death perspective.  That’s when I stop myself and breathe.  I need to listen and be patient.  Omm……
  2. Clear appreciation of the present.  Since tomorrow is like a lifetime of wait, or sometimes  may never come, you get to appreciate what you have at the moment.  I enjoy the sun in face, the conversations I have with friends and colleagues, or even the traffic which allows me to be alone with my thoughts.  Then there is the running part when it becomes “quality time” with my wife.

Over the weekend, we completed six miles.  She prays when she runs while I set the pace.  I normally pick up the pace on the return as it has been my habit to empty out.  She tries to keep pace but eventually tires.  I felt good inspite of carrying the “beast”.  I am sure he enjoyed the run too.  The lakefront was extra busy with the  kids triathlon event and  their parents.  With the six-miles done, that completes round 1.  See you in round 2…..


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Reconciling two worlds.
August 12, 2013

Timeline:  Thursday, August 7, Doctor’s office.

IIt has been a while since I last saw Dr. M, my oncologist.  As promised he gave me a two-month break that started in June, now it is that time again: the reckoning.

“How do you feel?  You look great.”  He started.

“I feel good and strong.  My running miles are up.  I am training as if I have a marathon to run this fall but I am not entered into any race.  I am waiting for you.”  I let it hang.

“You are gong to make me sweat for this one, Bo.”  He sees that I have become strong and fit, and he will have to rein me back to the reality of cancer.

I live in an un-reconcilable world: the normal world where everybody lives and the cancer world where each day is borrowed.  I meet people who are amazed that I can do many things that pales in comparison to them, but I know what the reality is.  I have cancer and have been fighting it since 2008.  Normal activities, like running, yoga, work, even laughter, etc., gives the illusion I am well and cancer-free but that is not so.  They mask the real world I am forced to live in.  To my doctor, that reality means back to chemo treatments for me.

Here is the plan: we start my treatment again with a four chemo drugs combination delivered by infusion at the hospital, plus a seven-day chemo pill regiment at 1500 mg dose.   I was expecting the chemo pills part,  but I did not expect it to be combined with infusion.  He warned me about potential side-effects of this new combination and had asked that I level or taper off my running.  Now that hurts.

I also need a CT scan of the chest to establish a baseline before the start of the treatment.  We planned for six-cycles or chemo sessions every two weeks.  There you have it, a new beast that I have to carry on my back for the next three-months.  It also means the end of my marathon training but will be limited to short runs.

How do I feel?  Nothing.  I am already numb to all this.  I have heard all the bad news in many different ways, so what’s the point?  My world is different.  I just have to work harder to earn a day.

A new journey.
Timeline:  Present (August 12)
Over the weekend, I went to the hospital to get the results of my CT scan of the chest. I had one done last Friday, August 9, in preparation for my treatment.  It had confirmed the previous what my previous scan results showed last June 6: The pulmonary metastases have worsened since the previous study.  They have increased in size.

What is there to say?

Tomorrow, I will start my new three-month regiment.  It will be six-hours of infusion at the hospital then 7-days on chemo pills, then we repeat every other week until I have complete 12 sessions.  Like always, I kickoff my chemo day with a 5am spinning class at the gym before going to the hospital.  Nothing like oxygenated blood cells to accept chemo toxin, I always say.  Ha!

I have done everything to get rid of this cancer but it just keeps on coming back.  I have no problem in accepting the shackles of my world.  I am beyond rationalizing or asking “why”.  I have gone deeper in to my prayers and harder into my runs just to purge myself of this disease, and it still brings me back into full circle.

Last Saturday, my wife did 13 miles, a half-marathon.  I told my wife I am going to empty out on this ‘last’ run.  I want to feel all the pain, all of it.  I want the cleansing pain from running my heart out.  I didn’t care about injuries or worsening my plantar fasciitis problem.  There will be no fall marathon or 20-mile training for me anyway.  It was my last chance to feel completely alive, and I did.  I love it.  I am at peace.

I will be back.


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The Pill and Building Miles
July 31, 2013

II am going on the pill.  Woohoo!  Ok, let me qualify this: no, I did not have a sex change or plan to.  The pills I am referring to are chemo pills.  Whew! I am glad we got that sorted out.

My wife had paid a social visit to my oncologist to give him his favorite treat, Food for the Gods pastries, which my mom made.  During the visit, he happened to mentioned that he is thinking of giving me chemo pills for my treatment instead of infusions.  My two-month chemo vacation is almost done this August 12, so the plan now is for me to go on the pill.

I have been on chemo pills before when he prescribed it to me last year while I was in Switzerland and Germany.  Back then the deal was he lets me run the Berlin marathon (September 2012) but I have to take my chemo pills a day after the race.  I thought the pill will not allow me to recover fully but the side-effects were limited: some nausea but no vomits.

So I am ok with taking chemo pills.  It saves from staying at the hospital for long infusions, and I will have some mobility.  I am not tethered to a portable pump for three-days too.  It gives me a sense of normalcy and confidence in beating this thing because of the change in treatment plan.  I will take what is given and be thankful, as I always say.

Building miles.

So I am back to training now.  My wife and I did 9 miles (14 km) over the weekend and I am slowly building up my miles.  I am hoping to do double digit miles (nothing below 10 miles) next month but would have to balance this with my chemo pill treatments.  The irony of all this effort is I am not signed up to run any marathons this year.  There is the Chicago this coming October, where most of my running friends are entered, but I don’t have any entry.  However, it is not stopping me from training as if I was running the Chicago.

Running keeps me grounded.  The fatigue and pain I experience tells me I am alive or rather lucky to be alive.  The familiar leg cramps, the beaded sweats, the prickly plantar facia needle pains, the humid heat, and many others are all tolerable discomfort for a chance to live one more day.  Moreover, I am willing do it all over and over.  Call it an endorphin addiction, I call it high on Life.

Marathon running may not be your cup of tea, but in order to get something out of life you need to put something in…like building miles.  The ‘how’ always stumps people; how do I do it?  Simple, you put one foot in front of the other.  Kidding aside, in approaching a challenge you should not make it a big deal.  Just do it and see where it gets you.  Each of us are given the ability to achieve things, like two legs for running or walking.  It is just time to use it for our benefit first, not others.


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