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"Sing a song with a friend, change the shape that I'm in, and get back in the game"

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

(Blaze Foley reference)

Not sure this is the place to post this, since it is largely lung cancer-related, but it does have to do with the head/neck stuff as well, ultimately.

Today I visited Chemo Palace, where OncoMan resides along with his bevy of needle stabbers and chemo pushers. I was, for whatever reason, not worried. I honestly do not know why. There were moments of trepidation, to be sure, especially while waiting in the exam room, but nothing major like I've felt in the past.

I've tried to explain this to people in here, particularly in the CSN Chat Room. I don't know exactly why, but I'm going with the idea that I've been through quite a bit over the last five years such that I am ready for anything and, more important, I think, I know that worrying isn't going to make a damned bit of difference.

Still, again, the closer you get, the more intense it gets.

Honestly, I look at these experiences, these trips to the Chemo Palace, as lengthy periods of WAIT before receiving either good or bad news. Sort of like Christmas as a kid: you wait and you wait and you wait and you either get the latest video game or the awkwardly knitted sweater, or something like that.

The WAIT is the hard part, but surprisingly I got through this fairly rapidly. I arrived a few minutes early, because my wife called me from her location to suggest that I might want to get after it, even though I knew exactly how long it would take, barring complications like traffic, accidents, road work, that sort of thing.

Going to the counter to sign in, I was pleased that one of the young ladies recognized me, even though it has been eight months and she has seen probably thousands since last I passed through those doors, and she even smiled. I am sure they are glad to see the living, the survivors. Five years passing through those doors, and I'm still doing it.

Of course, she MAY have been laughing at my leather jacket and earring...that is a possibility. But she smiled, AND when the lady handling my stuff was fumbling, she took over and got me out of THAT line pronto. (Sigh!)

I found a place to sit and wasn't there long before my wife walked by on the way to somewhere or other. I shouted to her, but she didn't hear me, or needed to go really badly, or didn't recognize the stylish guy in the button-down shirt, knit sweater, and leather bomber jacket; make your own call, but people around me were smiling and shrugging, as in: "What can you do?"

I did not chase her, but bumped into her as I was headed to the lab for the blood work. She went out into the second lobby and I headed to the lab.

Turns out I am rather dehydrated, and it took a couple of 'sticks' to find veins that would pump that Virginia Tech maroon oil that the lab needs, that is, blood. She, the sticker, was apologetic, but it was really not her fault. I was clearly bone dry, and she did a great job of finding sources of at least minimal blood.

It turns out they have been taking samples for tumor markers from the beginning, but I never knew that until this time, when I finally asked what some of these acronyms mean. They, of course, check my white and red blood cell counts. And they check organ function, I guess liver and kidney specifically.

All of that is good news to me. I want to know ahead of time when my organs are failing. Maybe.

I left that room with a bunch of gauze on my right arm, along with that damned tape I do not look forward to removing. I DID talk to my fellow blood-letters, the ones on either side of me, and they talked back, and we had a jolly time.

I no longer put the legendary 'sheet' into OncoMan's basket than his nurse grabbed it and asked if I was ready for a weigh in. Oh, hell yeah! Fast food service moves to the Chemo Palace! She weighed me in, and I had lost, I guess, 18 pounds since April, when I last saw these wonderful folks.

This raised concern later with OncoMan, but the truth is, it was just about that time (April) that I lost my last tube and began the journey to eating.

In any event, wife and I were immediately ushered into an exam room, and you tend to be worried when you get the five-star treatment, but, inexplicably, I still wasn't worried. My wife was. I could tell. She tends to talk about other stuff. Today, it was about a party at work, and how the management had to serve the staff, and how funny that was.

Alrighty then!

I understand, I do. I suppose she is trying to misdirect one of us away from what might be a very bad diagnosis. So I listen and respond appropriately, asking who this is, who that is, that sort of thing.

The nurse gives me a thumbs up on all vital counts: I am probably healthier in that regard than most people in the country, and it is largely due, to be honest, to cancer reducing my weight and dropping my blood pressure. Not that I recommend that as the optimal choice for regaining your health.

And then OncoMan's PA (Physician's Assistant) knocked on the door (what? why?) so I shouted, "Wait, we're getting dressed!", but she came in anyway, so it is rather fortunate that my wife and I decided NOT to use the exam table for our personal, sea level version of the five-mile club, or whatever they call it. I really just wanted to see what they would do when they knocked and got that response. It was not good. Let that be a warning to you, unless you are exhibitionist by nature.

PA proceeded to ask me about my health in general, as she always does, and I went into my new theory about micro-aspiration (in case my scan was not so good :)), and she said would take that up with OncoMan, and she wondered where I had been and I sheepishly but brutally honestly replied, "I sort of gave it up for awhile there."

To make a long story even longer (and all of this time, although this has no significance, everyone whose hand I shake, or whose skin I touch, remarks on how cold my hands are), OncoMan comes in. I AM on the five-plan!

I ask him immediately: "Am I going to die?" (Why beat around the bush?) He chuckles (a good sign, a very good sign) and says, "No, your CT scan looks really good."

So all of my micro-aspiration stuff was unnecessary, and even cost me extra time with OncoMan, as he now was considering a new swallow test. I advised him that I was merely protecting myself against a bad scan result, and that the cough was not an annoyance, and that I had had probably five swallow tests in the past and they all came out good.

Here is what my copy of the report says: "Stable exam No evidence of malignancy in the chest."

As he reminded me, five years now for head/neck; a month away from three years for lung...Neither the wife nor I had realized that, since the surgery for lung was in Jan of 08... but yes, 2010 is ending, and less than two months from now, I will be three years out of lung cancer too.

Another six months.

Take care.

skipper85's picture
skipper85
Posts: 231
Joined: Sep 2010

Loved your post. Really could identify with your wife. My husband has to go for CT scan tomorrow for his abdominal area. His head & neck went to his lungs. So I'm on pins and needles wondering if it has traveled even farther giving him an even shorter time with me. He will start Erbitux on Monday to try and maintain and/or slow the cancer down. I really hate cancer. I also have a sister in hospice for breast cancer.

God bless and hope all your future scans and lab work are negative.

Have a happy holiday.

Skipper

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Sorry to hear of the metastasis, Skipper. Here's hoping that there is no further spread. And here's hoping that Erbitux does its job!

Have a most wonderful holiday season, Skipper, and be sure to take care of yourself while you take care of hubbie.

Take care,

Joe

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2194
Joined: Nov 2009

More yays. Wonderful to hear of a clean report. Man - too bad the assistants at the sign in counter couldn't have given you the "Stable exam No evidence of malignancy in the chest" report up front, before the blood-letting and anxious times. Wonder if I can convince my doc's office that it'll save valuable doctor time if they just hand me results when I walk in after tests - not thinking my chances are good. Kind of surprised you've apparently lapsed on the water intake regimen. Kind of pleased that you must feel much more normal to get to a point where you don't take in enough water to keep you well hydrated. Keep up the good checks.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Yeah, Pam, I've sort of fallen off the water wagon, apparently. I still need liquids when eating, but it used to be that I routinely mixed the Jevity with water (to thin it, so that it would go down the tube without need of the plunger) and then flushed the tube with an entire beaker of water, so I guess I've been missing some of that action without the tube.

I shall have to modify my water intake!

Thank you for the kind words, Pam. I will do my best to keep those positive results coming :).

Take care,

Joe

3Mana
Posts: 829
Joined: Aug 2010

HI,
Just love reading all your posts! You are such a good writer. Laughed about "NOT" using the table for your "sea level" version of the 5 mile club. You're a riot!! It's so good to see that with what you've all dealt with these past years that you still have such a sense of humor. But then again, hey, you're still here so what the heck, why not laugh, right?
Keep eating, so you gain that weight back! Maybe you should make that "yucky" oyster crap you made at thanksgiving. (Kidding, if ya like it, eat it!) Take care! "Carole"

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Great news! My evening happy dance has commenced.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I wonder if we were dancing at the same time and doing the same dance?

Thank you for the kind words, my friend.

Take care, and keep on dancing!

Joe

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Unless you were belly dancing, we weren't doing the same dance. :) And if you were belly dancing, that I would want to see.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Oh, well then, we were not doing the same dance. I was not belly dancing but instead bouncing up and down the street naked on a pogo stick with a peacock feather ...well, never mind the rest.

Take care, my friend,

Joe

ekdennie's picture
ekdennie
Posts: 231
Joined: Aug 2010

I can't stop laughing at the image of anyone with a pogo stick and feather! :) hehehehe thanks or making my day!

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Glad to oblige and frankly happy that I did so.

So, I am NOT the only perv in here! :)

Enjoy the weekend!

Take care,

Joe

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Dear Santy Claus,

I have been a good girl for the last year. Real good. I eat all my veggies, (so what if they are laden with butter, like half a stick). I listen to my parents. (mostly, except when the nag me) I would like the following, please:

1. A pogo stick.
2. A peacock feather....

...well, never mind the rest.

Oh and I already have the costumes and the syrup, so that's good.

Thanks, Santa-baby,

Kisses,

Sweet

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

All I want for Christmas is a video of Joe and his pogo stick :) Now that didn't sound good did it - lol. I mean the pogo stick he was jumping up and down on :)

PS - Joe can even edit the video and put peacock feathers in the appropriate places so it isn't an X-rated video that he could get arrested for. (Try explaining those charges to your lovely wife Joe)

Stay well Joe and keep us laughing with all of your antics.

Glenna

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

I've had that dang Lady Gaga song in my head for two days now. My head's starting to hurt. Lol

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Thank you Carole, for the kind words. From the beginning my motto has been Hope and Humor! You are right: 'what the heck, why not laugh?'.

I AM going to skip the oyster crap at Christmas and maybe go with clams :).

Take care,

Joe

3Mana
Posts: 829
Joined: Aug 2010

Joe,
I think with your sense of humor & hope you're going to beat this darn cancer!!! Someone like you is too good to have to deal with this. What the heck, write a book, or make a video of your dancing with the pogo stick & feather, it'll be a "BEST SELLER" for sure. Or how bout a cook book with your "oyster crap" (oops, sorry) or your clam recipe.
Is your appetite getting better?
I'm sure your wife is happy about your attitude. Attitude means alot when your dealing with cancer. I remember when my dad had his bladder removed he said "now if I'm in the boat fishing I won't have to worry about getting back to shore if I have to pee! And when he had lung cancer, he always had a good attitude too. We had home hospice for him and he had diabetes also, and when it was near the end and they were stopping his insulin, he said "bring on the donuts". He was 85 when he died. But I really do think if you have a good attitude rather than just give up, you'll live a long life!!
Take care Joe & tell your wife she's happy she has you. I miss my husband so much cause he also had a good sense of humor. "Carole"

D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1547
Joined: Jan 2010

Made my evening brighter. Doing a happy dance in your honor.

Still snotnosed Deb

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Maybe you, sweetblood and me were all dancing at the same time?

Thank you for the kind words, Deb. I hope you get better quickly so that you can change your signoff :). Well, not just for that reason, but that's one of them :)

Take care,

Joe

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5936
Joined: Apr 2009

Glad to hear the good news Joe keep on doing what you are doing

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Thanks for the encouragement, Hondo. Best wishes for your own upcoming visit to The Man.

Take care,

Joe

adventurebob's picture
adventurebob
Posts: 691
Joined: Jun 2010

Great to read about your results. Hilarious to read the whole story. I dig the response to the door knock. Gonna have to try something like that. It's quite fun messing with the staff isn't it? Keep on dancing.

Bob

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I try to help in any way I can, bob :)

Please let us know how it goes for you.

As for messing with the staff, it has been my mission, one of them anyway, to make them smile and even laugh from time to time. I note that the specialists tend to display the least amount of humor, but if you get 'em good, they will laugh like anyone else.

In any event, I honestly believe that if I can make them laugh or smile, they are going to treat me better and it turns out there is now some research to support that.

Hope and Humor!

Take care,

Joe

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

I tried to reply earlier but was blocked because of the spam filter :(

I started reading your post but caught myself skipping to the bottom first to see what your scan results were, sort of like reading the last chapter of a book first.

Happy to hear of the clean scan and hope you have many more.

Stay well,
Glenna

rozaroo
Posts: 667
Joined: Apr 2010

I so love reading your post's! Congratulation's on your clean bill of health!
God Bless
Roz

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Thank you for the kind words Roz. It is truly a great feeling to read that others are reading my stuff and enjoying it, more importantly that they are smiling, laughing, even.

Take care,

Joe

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

As for skipping to the good part, Glenna, I do tend to be rather verbose, eh? I hope you don't do that with real books? They would sort of lose the effect, don't you think?

Thank you for the kind words, my friend.

I am hopeful to read such a report from you in the near future.

Take care,

Joe

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

No, I do not do that when I'm reading a book, and I read a lot. I was just so anxious to find out the scan results that I had to read the ending and then go back and read it all because I knew I would enjoy it since it had a happy ending :)

I don't have another scan until February which seems like a life time away. I was so excited to hear that I was graduating to a 6 month schedule but am a little apprehensive about waiting that long between scans. I know I will be fine it's just that I'm anxious to hear him say "remission" again. At least it will start my new year off right when he does.

Stay well my friend and keeping writing these stories that makes all of us smile and forget our problems.

Stay well,
Glenna

micktissue's picture
micktissue
Posts: 432
Joined: Dec 2009

Keep going buddy. I'm so glad to know you.

Best,

Mick

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

The heading was humbling enough, Mick, but the sentence that followed was truly humbling.

The feeling is mutual.

Keep on truckin', my friend,

Joe

kingcole42005's picture
kingcole42005
Posts: 177
Joined: Oct 2010

Congrats! I am always inspired when I hear of others coming out on the otherside having beaten this monster. Have a great, happy and healthy holiday! Shelly

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

If I said that I beat it, I misspoke, Shelly. What I meant to say was that it isn't going to beat me, even if it kills me.

Hope and Humor!

Take care,

Joe

Greg53's picture
Greg53
Posts: 830
Joined: Apr 2010

Joe,

I have to admit I am in your fan club for your writing abilities and techniques ("too funny" as I believe someone may have described you). But I am more impressed with your ability to recall artists (muscians/songwriters). Do you remember all of these or do you have to look them up? If you remember these, cudos on that, as I can't recall what I had for breakfast this morning.

And congrats on the good results!

Positive thoughts!

Greg

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