Friday, January 30, 2009

Three Treatments Left!

I woke up this morning and thought to myself, "I have three treatments left." I am really beginning to see th light at the end of the tunnel. I feel relief and a excitement.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Toughing Out These Next Few Days

I began my 9th chemotherapy treatment yesterday. I felt pretty lousy but watched a movie with a portable DVD player which distracted me from how I was feeling. Once the treatment was over, I came home and slept as much as I could. Not too inspired too say much at this time. Just toughing out these next few days.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Rectum? Damn Near Killed Him!

I found this on the page of a Facebook group called Awareness/Prevention/Fight Against Colon Cancer. I think it's pretty great. When I was first diagnosed, I felt so awkward sharing about my diagnosis and talking about my rectum. Now I don't have to feel awkward talking about my rectum. In fact, the phrase "my rectum" need never cross my lips...because I no longer have one!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Feeling Better

The chemo side-effects seem to be about 90% gone for which I am thrilled. There is a cumulative effect with the chemo, so each additional treatment creates side-effects potentially a little worse than before. Thank goodness I only have four left...assuming I recall correctly - which I sure as heck ain't banking on!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Candidate for Inspiration

In addition to the regular side-effects I experience from chemo, this latest round has made me very sleepy. I slept throughout the day yesterday. Then at around 11 pm I went to bed only to lay there wide awake for about an hour. So, I went back downstairs and watched a couple movies until 5 am at which point I finally fell asleep.

Fortunately, I am well rested for the NFL Conference Championships which are on today. These should be some exciting games. And as I've said before, watching a great game inspires me. And I still consider myself a candidate for inspiration. Now if I could just get this lousy chemo-induced taste out of my mouth!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Honorable Mention

Whi-hew! Jim Catalano - staff writer at the Ithaca Journal - gave my CD Letters to the Prison City honorable mention in his annual Soundoff awards, nicknamed the "Jimmies," acknowledging the winners of his review of the top ten local CDs from 2008. Very cool.

To have a look, click here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pretty Close to the End

Whoops! It seems that this weeks treatment is actually my eighth thus leaving me with four more once this is complete. A bit disappointing, but I'm still pretty close to the end and that's a good thing.

The only change in side-effects in an increase in nausea. Maria Brown - a fellow survivor - recommended more than once that I request hydration as part of my treatment to reduce the nausea. I have been putting it off because it adds another hour to my already very long day at the hospital, but I think today I will speak to my Nurse Practitioner about it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just Ten More Weeks

The "fog" (aka chemo-brain) I referred to on December 29, 2008, seems to be getting a little thicker. I feel somewhat disconnected to the people around me as a result of the spaciness the chemotherapy creates. And I am becoming less and less motivated to accomplish the tasks I set out to accomplish and even less interested in even accomplishing them at all. I do complete the things I set out to do, but there's no saying when or how long it will take.

Throughout this experience I have committed myself to letting go of how I believe life should be or how life should look, yet this particular in one - having "my way" - as I've mentioned before, is not an easy one for me to let go of. Even though I am aware that my mind will eventually become clear once this is through with the chemotherapy, I am also aware that it will likely get worse before it gets better. And to be quite honest, it's a real drag to deal with.

Thursday night was quite a different experience. For about an hour or so I found myself filled with anxiety. Once I realized I was in the midst of it, I was able to stand back and objectively observe what I was thinking and feeling which kept me from being under the illusion that something was "wrong." However, observing my own anxiety objectively did not remove the emotional intensity that accompanied the passing thoughts of fear along with the thought that "all is wrong." The experience was still awfully unpleasant.

After I shared my experience with Daniela, she checked in with a friend who is also a chemo doctor and was informed that anxiety is a very common side effect of chemotherapy and should it continue, should be addressed with medication to avoid prolonged anxiety issues. Wouldn't that just be a treat!!! More pills! Whi-hew!!!

Anyway, I have to say I am truly blown away by all that has occurred thus far in my cancer experience. I could never have imagined it to be what it has been. From one aspect, I have experienced constant physical struggles and occasional mental anguish. Yet from another aspect - in the area of emotional growth - I have found my heart to be more "open" than it has ever been and my degree of compassion for others to be far greater (I suppose I should add that it's far greater when I'm not miserable and grumpy from the chemo side-effects!). Ten more weeks and this chemo treatment will be complete. Just ten more weeks...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Good Morning

I just woke up and I'm feeling great. Pretty funny how it goes. Heck mornings are usually when I'm feeling the least inspired! But I feel great and look forward to getting some things done today. The sun is staring to rise and it sure looks beautiful.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Emotionally Up & Down

I feel SO insecure right now. All day. About everything. I know it's the chemo effecting my emotional balance, but I go in and out of remembering that this is not me and it's just the chemo effecting my brain at another level. I find myself bummed out and sad, wandering around the internet hoping to find something interesting (and staying away from the television - the master of depression), only to realize this is temporary and I'll be back on top of my game in a matter of hours or days.

To tell you the truth, what I find most difficult about it is that it keeps happening - every other week following treatment - over and over and over. You know how it goes: I update you letting you know that I am emotionally down and then a week later I am telling you how inspired I am. Heck, you could use my blog entries as a sort of calendar. If I'm emotionally miserable, you know it's the first or third week of the month. If I'm inspired and telling you how I'm going to change the world, you know it must be the second or fourth week!!!

It cracks me up and always brings me around once I'm laughing about it. And right now it's pretty funny.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tuesday's Anomaly

On Tuesday December 30th - day two of my 7th chemotherapy treatment - I surprisingly, felt well. I got inspired and at 10 PM, I was at Castaway's - the club in Ithaca that generously hosted our October benefit - for Reggae Tuesday. Reggae Tuesday is a weekly event in which all are welcome to join the house band on stage and participate in an impromptu performance of the song(s) of their choice.

I had been an occasional participant at Reggae Tuesday for a number of years - singing harmonies with my friends who write reggae tunes or occasionally performing one of my own which they masterfully play reggae style. But as you can imagine, stage performance hasn't exactly been on my mind for the last year and a half.

Well, Tuesday December 30th was an anomaly in my chemo-filled world and I can say I had an absolutely amazing night. I was up on stage in a way that I have never been before. I didn't nail every harmony nor did I expect to, but I did some lyrical improvisation like I've never done before. Most importantly, I returned to the stage with two of my dearest friends - Rob & Kevin - which meant more to me than I can put into words. However, I can say with certainty, I felt like the life I had before cancer was returning to me.

I have no plans to get back on stage before my chemo treatments are over. I'm not saying it won't happen, because I never imagined I would have it in me to begin with. I simply consider it a gift that I accept with no expectation attached. Right now I will simply keep my shoulder to the wheel as I tolerate these bi-weekly infusions. They certainly don't get any easier. And as soon as I receive some photos of the evening, I'll definitely post them!