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[cancer|photos] Chemotherapy session 1, day 3 – FOLFIRI

A fairly quiet day yesterday. Several bouts of nausea, though nothing came up. Or went out the other end. I’m now over seventy-two hours without any lower GI production, and as a result have almost completely stopped eating. I’ve also lost ten pounds in three days without passing anything. (Yes, I have been medicating appropriately — this is not a call for advice.)

The pump ran out almost three hours earlier than expected. [info]mlerules, my Mom and [info]the_child worked together to unhook me. Mostly I sat around and vegetated.

We did work up a small ritual, burning a piece of paper that read 1/12 to symbolize the first of 12 chemotherapy sessions. This morning I feel nauseous again, but very much need to eat. However, I cannot eat until the lower GI moves.

A few photos, under cut for minor medical TMI: (more…)

[cancer] Chemotherapy session 1, day 2 – FOLFIRI

Relatively uneventful day yesterday. Several bout of nausea, but no GI activity at either end. (This is not ideal, but better than Friday.) I slept an enormous amount. [info]mlerules kept close track of me, along with visits from friends, and a bunch of time with [info]the_child. Just goofy, tired and surviving.

Today I am unexpectedly mentally alert, but managed to spill prune juice all over the place. Should be off the needle a little after 2 pm.

[cancer] Chemotherapy session 1, day 1 – FOLFIRI

Yesterday my parents picked me up at 8 am. We went over to the infusion center. There we met up with [info]tillyane, [info]mlerules and H—.

The usual intake procedures happened, my chest port was accessed, then we sat around an hour or so while they checked my bloodwork and prepped my chemo course. Finally they came around and did the de-accession training for Sunday’s at-home de-access. That was a little less organized than last time, and I had to prompt my nurse for several things such as the crucial printed checklist.

The drug infusions went as expected. Irinotecan (the core ingredient in FOLFIRI) doesn’t fry my brain quite the way Oxaliplatin (the core ingredient in FOLFOX) did. But ZOMG the fatigue.

Getting out of there took a while because my pharmaceutical exit counseling was delayed, and there was some confusion about which scrips had already been written, generating an unnecessary trip to my pharmacy on the way home. Not to mention which Friday afternoon traffic was unusually toxic.

Still we go back, to a Chinese meal procured by Mom and Dad. They went on home afterwards, while [info]mlerules stayed to be caregiver on duty this weekend.

It went okay at first.

Hidden for medical and body fluid TMI (more…)

[personal|cancer] Brief, miscellaneous updatery

I’d meant to post more about my hair this morning, and I owe some photoblogs on Hawaii, but yesterday pretty much ate my life. Left the house at 5:15 am for a 6:00 am check-in for my port implant surgery. The surgeon used the same entry wound as last time, and reported trimming the old scar tissue away in the process. The dressing won’t come off til Friday, so I don’t know yet. There was only minimal blood in my hair this go-round, and I was able to rinse it out myself yesterday afternoon.

I spent the day in a post-operative haze, though I avoided the Vicodin until bedtime. I don’t like having my head crowded out by medication when I can avoid it, and I have months of unavoidable head crowding starting this Friday.

Also, J&T came over yesterday evening and did yeoperson’s work rearranging my house to optimize my living space for infirmity. Everything I need and use is now on the same floor, except my laundry. We also established that I definitely need a new dryer. On top of the $925 in medical bills racked up in the last two days alone, after insurance, that’s an unwelcome hit. Ah, cancer.

Now, to Day Jobbery.

[conventions|awards] Hosting the Hugos

Now it can be told…

Yesterday afternoon, Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention, announced that Ken Scholes and I will be Masters of Ceremony for the Hugo awards.

I am beyond thrilled about this, and very excited to share the honor with my great good friend [info]kenscholes. It’ll be like Milk and Cheese go Hollywood!

If you’re already planning to be at Reno this August, be sure to put the Hugo Awards ceremony on your schedule. If you haven’t made plans yet, hopefully this will put you over the top.

I hope to see every one of you there.

For those wondering about my health, Renovation falls about four weeks after my liver surgery, and just before I resume my chemotherapy regimen. And yes, my oncologists and I planned it this way on purpose, for this very reason.

[travel|personal] Home in the dark

Had a very nice morning yesterday. We wrapped the Paradise Lost conference, went out to lunch at Mangia pizza where we were joined by my friend @JDHancock and his family. Then off to the airport. I got some revision and WRPA done on the way home, and have one more short fiction commitment to address before I can get back to Kalimpura. I also finished reading J.A. Pitts’ untitled third Sarah Beauhall book in manuscript, and read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows, which was stupidly charming and quite moving at the very same time. An thanks to some luck in making a standby flight, I got home at a decent hour instead of a horrid one last night. Still up a little later than ideal, but today will not be a disaster zone.

My luggage, however, did not make the standby flight, and remained at LAX when I flew home. I declined to accept a 1 am delivery, so I should see it sometime later this morning. Luckily I am home, so there’s nothing in the bags I need so badly it couldn’t wait overnight.

[info]tillyjane picked me up at the airport, and we talked about the death from cancer last week of our mutual friend as she drove me home. That was a moving conversation. Due to the vagaries of my travel schedule, I missed all of the memorial gatherings that took place over the weekend.

I still owe a post about last week’s ballooning attempt, and probably some kind of wrap-up on Paradise Lost. But I’m running tight for time this morning, so they shall have to wait for another day.

[cancer] The return of the Fear, and the Child steps up

So my next scan is in less than two weeks. The associated oncology consult is two weeks from tomorrow. That is where the hammer comes down, so to speak.

As it happens, my hindbrain fixates on the actual scanning process instead of the consultation. The scan itself is just a procedure. I show up at the imaging center, drink some fairly foul stuff, sit around for an hour, then spend about five minutes inside a nubbly beige donut having my personal bits unduly warmed by the tracer injection. Really, this is a trivial activity.

Tell that to my inner wibbler. Wow is that hard.

Then there’s three days of this, that and the other thing, waiting for the results to be presented to me. That’s where I find out whether I spend the next six months happy, healthy and busy; or I go back for another year-long tour of duty in Hell. Or, possibly, the ambiguous middle ground of “we think but we’re not sure…” Hell’s antechamber, with the usual gripping reading material of waiting rooms everywhere.

Given my odds of recurrent metastasis, this is like playing Russian roulette with three bullets in the chamber. And the pressure of that is starting to creep up on me. I haven’t had any crying jags yet, but they’re almost certainly coming. Likewise the episodic irruptions of the Fear, the grief and the depression.

And I will go on as I have. Life is very good right now. I am pretty damned happy. I just want it to stay this way for while.

On a related note, [info]the_child and I had lunch with my parents yesterday. After lunch, I was planning to again go visit my friend who’s been in the oncology ward for the past ten days. As of Friday, he’s been referred to hospice care, with no further treatment planned other than palliative care. I told [info]the_child I was planning to have Mom and Dad drop her back by the house so I could go straight over. She asked if she could come with me to the hospital instead.

This surprised me. She’s not been comfortable with doctors and hospitals for quite a while now. Too much medical chaos in her family, between her mom’s week-long stay in the ICU just about a year ago, her grandmother’s heart surgery, her other grandmother’s knee surgery, and my ongoing cancer struggles. Also, she’s not particularly close to our sick friend.

I asked her why she wanted to come. She said, “Well, if I don’t see him now, I might not get to see him again.”

This led to a long conversation about cancer and family life. The mother of one of her school friends is at about the same stage of cancer treatment as my friend. She asked me what he would do without his mom. We talked about children losing their parents, and how I’d spent a lot of time thinking about what she’d do without me if this got me.

The conversation wasn’t terribly long, but it was deep and serious. She was incredibly focused and mature and thoughtful. And when we finally did reach the hospital, [info]the_child spent an hour talking animatedly to my friend.

I am very, very proud of her today. Her focus and thoughtfulness is easing a portion of my Fear.

While I am still afraid, I am a little less afraid for the love in my life.

[travel] Seattle ho

Yesterday afternoon I ran a few too many errands, then helped a friend do something personal. After that I popped up to Seattle for visits with Asher and [info]scarlettina. Today, lunch with [info]markbourne and [info]e_bourne, then an afternoon with birthday boy [info]bravado111, including a celebratory dinner. Breakfast with [info]shelly_rae tomorrow, then back to Portland for the Rose City Steampunk Film Festival with [info]the_child.

Busy busy busy. Be well, play nice, and do something fun this weekend.