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COP Four

          Thursday, 3-14-02.  Another day, another chemo...  I got the 4th in a series yesterday, the 3rd of March, so this morning I'm doing the "sick to my stomach" routine.  Mom had a good idea though yesterday that I'm testing this morning.  I took a Torecan as soon as my eyes opened at about 3:40AM, but didn't sit up in bed till about 4:10AM, giving the pill a little time to try to do it's thing (calm nausea) before I rise and shine.

          So far, it seems to be working - sorta - kinda .  At least I haven't had to
I feel pretty sick to my stomach, but I haven't wretched the way I usually do as soon as I sit up first thing on the morning after I get a chemo... at least... not yet...  So that's good.  I've got a bit of a headache though, right behind my eyeballs, but the Vicodin I just took should fix that pretty well in short order.  My morning coffee tastes great!  

          I guess you just gotta have the right combination of drugs sometimes to get right.  Hehehe!  Let's see... this morning I'm on a combined cocktail of:

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Cytoxan

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Oncovin

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Prednisone

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Torecan

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Coumadin

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Neurontin

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Furosemide

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Vicodin

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Caffeine

            Cool!  At least I'm not on the Lovenox injections, Morphine Sulfate, Alobuterol,  Allopurinol, Ibuprofen and Docusate (I think that's everything else). So, here we are at 5:05AM, and I'm starting to feel better already, just thinking about it!

          Anyway, yesterday went well, like all my chemo days seem to.  We left the house a little after 9:AM for the ride out to Ann Arbor and got there just about 10:AM.  Mom and I yakked and yukked it up the whole way, as usual, and it was a really nice, sunny day to be out for a ride.

          I went in to get my blood drawn first, and found myself at the back of a line at the paperwork desk, with a few of people in front of me, so I had a seat to wait my turn.  It didn't take long, and I was on my way into the blood-sucker area a few minutes later to have another seat and wait my turn.  A couple of nurses were working the needles, so it wasn't long before I was in the special chair getting my arm tied off, making a fist, and filling 3 little vials full of warm, red Buck-juice.  The nurse looked around at the gathering crowd of patients, checked her watch and sighed, "Only 5 more hours to go..."  "Yeah, but who's counting, right?"  I quipped.  She snickered a bit, pulled the plug and sent me on my way.

          I checked in at the doctors office across the hall, announcing that their friendly, neighborhood Buckster was there, then had a seat to wait my turn again.  There were quite a few other people there in the waiting room, but I guess they were mostly there with patients, like mom was there with me, cause they got me called in pretty quick.

          The doc's office is under construction these days.  Parts of it are draped off with big sheets of plastic, there are workmen building walls and painting and doing electrical work and stuff like that.  I was lost, so one of the nurses led the way through the maze until I was in an area I was familiar with.  

          I got weighed and had an electronic thermometer stuck in my ear for a moment, and then moved on to the exam area for a blood pressure test and to check my pulse.  Everything was normal, and for some reason I recalled the nurse way back when saying that my pulse was fast (about a hundred), so I asked what it was this time to compare.  I think she said it was 78 (my memory sucks these days!), but in any case, it was a lot less than a hundred, so I was cool with that.  Apparently, I'm still alive, and calm again. 

          The doc came in a few minutes later and flipped open my chart, which is a now getting to be quite a thick folder full of compiled data and info.  Before we got started with that though, I presented him with printed out copies of the cancer 'toons I've been making lately.  He always seemed to have a pretty good sense of humor, since I showed him I have a rampant sense of humor myself and this time was no different.  I'm sure he deals with lots of patients that are pretty depressed, so his bedside manner would have to be more compassionate with them.  

          He got a good laugh over them and asked if they were for him.  I told him they were all his to do whatever he'd like, and he said he was looking forward to sharing them with everyone there in the office.  He asked if I'd made a copy for the folks over in the chemo clinic, because he knew they'd really enjoy them too, and I was sorry to say I hadn't even thought to make 2 copies and bring them, but that I'd be sure to get them a copy next time.

          Here they are again, in case you missed any.  As usual, just click the thumbnail for the full size version.

          I've got a few more cartoons in the works, so watch for them in future updates.  You can also see all my 'toons, including these and all the ones that have nothing to do with cancer, on my Toon Page.

          The doc and I then went over some of the issues, like how the pain is.  I was happy to report that I've no pain, even after coming down off the Morphine completely.  I've also started to cut back on the Neurontins from 5 per day down to 4 per day, and plan to keep cutting back by about a pill (300mg) per day each week, unless I experience pain in my toes (or somewhere else) again.  He said that sounded like a good plan and was glad to hear it.

          I told him that the numbness I reported to him some time ago in my left thumb and forefinger had slowly increased to now include all the digits on both hands, down to my palms.  It's not really a problem, they're just tingly all the time, and I don't have much of a sense of touch anymore, other than extremely hot or cold.  I can't really feel the difference between surfaces like cloth or wood anymore.  He said he suspects it's caused by the Oncovin in my chemo treatments and that he'd reduce it slightly to see if that helps.

          Next, I hopped up on the exam table and he checked the nodes in my neck, pits and groin, reporting that they seem to be holding steady, as he still can't feel them, just like 3 weeks ago.  He listened to my lungs and heart with the stethoscope and had no concerns pop up there either.  So far, so good!  Whip it good!!            cancer

          We went over my blood work then, and he said it was all looking very, very good and that one of the levels had hit an all-time high from the time he first met me in the hospital back in November.  We were both very pleased at that aspect, and I was really digging the news!  Lots of smiling in that room!

 

          He said he'd see me in 3 weeks and headed off to show everyone the 'toons, while I headed on over to the chemo bar for a round.  LOL!

          I dropped off the paperwork at the chemo check-in desk and wandered over to take a closer look at some art I'd been meaning to check out before.  Three large Plexiglas cases filled with colorful, folded, paper origami birds adorn one wall there, accompanied by a plaque.  I'd passed them many times and admired the colorful pieces of art, but hadn't stopped to find out what the story behind them was.  This time I took a couple of minutes to see what it was all about.

          The plaque explained that local schoolchildren had folded them for their teacher who was receiving treatment for cancer there at McAuley.  Here's where they got the idea:

          According to Oriental legend, it is said that if one is ill and folds a thousand cranes, the gods will grant the person's wish and cure their illness. This is what was told to Sadako Sasaki while she lay in a hospital suffering from leukemia as a result of radiation left over from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945. She died before reaching her goal at the age of 12. She was able to fold 644 cranes before she died of the cancer. Upon hearing of her death, Japanese school children folded the other 356 so that she would have a thousand. Since then, the folding of a thousand cranes has grown to symbolize a wish for peace and remission for cancer patients.

          Learn something new every day, huh?  Pretty cool.  Next week when I go for my blood test, I'll take a picture of them and post it so you can see them yourself.  Meanwhile, you can learn how to make your own paper origami crane HERE, and see the a cool picture of the World's Largest Paper Crane HERE.  It's 215 feet 8 inches wide (wing tip to wing tip), 120 feet tall and weighs approximately 1750 pounds (800 kilos).  Now, that's a BIG crane!!

          I was still taking it all in when a nurse called me for my turn in one of the big easy chairs to mainline some chemo drugs, and off I went to hang out with the bald chicks for an hour or so.  LOL!!  

          I parked my butt near one of the big windows and got comfortable while she went to get a hot towel for my arm to make the veins pop up so they're easier to get into with the IV.  Next, I downed a couple of the little pentagon shaped Decadron pills with some water and she got the IV installed and the saline drip going.

          All the people at McAuley are so pleasant and nice, I just have to tell you what a pleasure they make the whole experience.  We chatted about my cancer and how I found out and even about hair loss, which I haven't experienced (yet), which she was pretty surprised about, this being my fourth chemo treatment and all.  She said, "Surely it's thinned though, right?"  "Nope, not at all." I told her.  I explained that I never tried to grow a full beard before and that's why I thought I'd give it a try, figuring the chemo would end up giving me a clean shave anyway - it just hasn't worked out that way!  It gets longer and scragglier looking by the week!  LOL!  Check it out: 

          Next she put on her blue anti-chemo gown, purple rubber gloves and green mask with the clear plastic face shield (it's quite a sight!), and started up the actual chemo chemicals in the IV.   Mom and I yukked it up some more while it dripped in over the next hour or so, and I causally mentioned I was getting pretty hungry - about 10 times - hehehe!

          Afterwards, we stopped off at Ruby Tuesday for some lunch.  I was disappointed to discover that they've taken my favorite dish off the menu - steak fajitas.  The waitress said I should go to the Ruby Tuesday web site and email a complaint about it and a suggestion to bring it back on the menu, because they really do listen to customers about that stuff and work the menu around it.  (You KNOW I did!!)  Meanwhile, I had the chicken fajitas (not nearly as good as the steak, IMHO) and mom had the ribs.  We both had a serious salad bar, which was really good, I washed it all down with a root beer, and I finally stopped complaining that I was hungry!

          Speaking of eating, I guess I'll go put down some breakfast.  Then I've got some cartoons to work on, email to answer and I'm working on a secret project I'll tell you all about soon!  Hahaha!  Is the suspense killing you yet?!  LOL!

          Next: A New Baby!!
                                                            Buck