Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More appointments

Today it was just the lining up of the radiation. They basically did a CT scan, and marked a few X's on my body with a Sharpie so they can line up the machinery. First radiation treatment will be on Monday.

I found out today I will be in Group 2 of the study, 5-FU with oxaliplatin. On Friday I go in and get a port put in. It will be just under my skin, so they can pump the chemo into a vein. From wikipedia:

A port consists of a reservoir compartment (the portal) that has a silicone bubble for needle insertion (the septum), with an attached plastic tube (the catheter). The device is surgically inserted under the skin in the upper chest or in the arm and appears as a bump under the skin. It requires no special maintenance and is completely internal so swimming and bathing are not a problem. The catheter runs from the portal and is surgically inserted into a vein (usually the jugular vein, subclavian vein, or superior vena cava.)

My weekly schedule from now until Christmas:

Monday: Go to the oncologist and get a fanny pack full of chemo stuff hooked up to the PICC Line. Then I go to the radiologist and get zapped.
Tuesday: 8:30am get zapped
Wednesday: 8:30am get zapped
Thursday: 8:30am get zapped
Friday: 8:30am get zapped, then go to oncologist's office and give the fanny pack back.

I get weekends and Thanksgiving off.

Welcome to Amerika

Well, here we are. We've elected a man who has promised us the following:

  1. A Civilian National Security Force (KGB): "We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." (B.Hussein Obama - July 2, 2008)
  2. A Green Jobs Corps: Obama will create a program to directly engage disadvantaged youth in energy efficiency opportunities to strengthen their communities, while also providing them with practical skills in this important high-growth career field. (Maybe we can call them the Obama Youth) Obama's Blueprint for Change, posted on his website.
  3. Raise the Minimum Wage (a traditional job killer): Obama will raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation to make sure that full-time workers can earn a living wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs such as food, transportation, and housing. (Again from his own Blueprint for Change).
  4. Wealth Redistribution: You've all seen it, Joe the Plumber wants to know if his taxes are going to go up (duh), and the Obamassiah says, "My attitude is that if the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

We have given the far left of the Democrat party a blank check. Let's watch the fun. I'll be here in my corner, klinging to my guns and religion, fearful of those who aren't like me (socialists).

“When the people fear their government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Another day, Another appointment

Today it was the oncologist. Got signed up for the clinical trial. It's basically whether the oral version of 5-FU is more or less effective than the intravenous, and whether Oxaliplatin in addition to the 5-FU helps. If you are really interested, click this:

They'll let me know tomorrow which subgroup I've been randomized into, and whether I'll need a port put in or not. On the up side, if I get chosen for the oral version of 5-FU (Capecitabine), I won't need the port and the clinical trial will pay for all the meds. The most that will get charged to Anthem is just the 5-FU, which is the standard treatment for rectal cancer.

I had to get another blood draw and chest x-ray today. Part of the study I think. They want to make sure I'm healthy so that other conditions don't affect results of the study. I also had to fill out a 10-page questionnaire to start the trial.

I also found out today that the heavy chemo is going to start around the middle to end of February, and will last 4-6 months. So, I'm guessing the Carlisle car show is pretty much out of the question.

Another good thing, Ross Group has agreed to let me carry all my vacation from this year into next, which should give me about 5 additional weeks I can use for surgery/chemo. Hopefully I'll be able to work enough from home while on chemo that I won't have to do any short term disability. We'll see. I'm not too worried about it, though, as I've been with the company a long time, so I have a good bit of vacation, and our disability insurance is pretty good.

Today is the first time in my life (I think) that I have gotten flowers. Angela at AAA Mid Atlantic sent them. Pretty awesome, I have the absolute best customers... (to other customers that may be reading this, don't send flowers, if you really want to do something, donate to the American Cancer Society or the charity of your choice).

And finally, I really want to emphasize that everything I am being told leads me to believe that this cancer was caught pretty early. My doctors are not concerned that this is fatal, it's just a year out of my life and I'll be fine. At the end of this, my hair will grow back (if it falls out at all), I will be healthier than I started, and life will continue.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

First Oncology Appointments

On Thursday I had my first appointment with my oncologist, Dr Sabiers. He's the quarterback of the medical team, he determines the treatment strategy and coordinates the activities of the radiologist, surgeon, etc. The outcome of this meeting was a plan that includes:
  • 8 weeks of radiation treatment, followed by surgery, 4 weeks to recover, then 2 months of heavy chemo to clear things up
  • During the radiation treatment, starting on Nov 10, I'll be taking part in a clinical trial of a new chemo regimen that could help the radiation treatment be more effective in shrinking the tumor. This is not a blind trial, there is no downside to the trial, I'm either going to get the standard chemo, or the standard chemo plus another drug.
  • The surgery is going to be sometime around the first of the year.

On Friday I had my first appointment with the radiological oncologist, Dr Hughes. It was mostly to discuss the treatment. There will be 28 radiation treatments 5 days/week starting on Nov 10. Based on that, radiation will be complete on December 19th. Surgery will happen a week or so after that. It looks like the level of radiation and chemo drugs involved won't keep my from work or anything, it may just make me a little tired.

This Wednesday, I'll be spending the morning at Dr Hughes' office getting "simulated". That means a CT scan and a couple tatoos that will be used to align the radiation equipment for my daily doses starting on the 10th.