Cancer Chronicles 20: “Hi, I’m Five Weeks.”

© C. Ford, all rights reserved.

© C. Ford, all rights reserved.

Pictured above is the Linear Accelerator I’m in Monday – Friday, along with two of the fabulous techs who do all the work. Here, they are placing my cradle on the slab and getting it ready for me to insert myself. Once on the slab and in the correct position, it’s elevated quite a bit so that it slots in between the four arms of the accelerator. The slab stays still, it’s the arms of the accelerator which move around you. It’s all very interesting, and you can watch a green laser light pulse across one section of the ceiling. I don’t watch anymore, because I’ve found that the revolving arms set off nausea, which I most seriously do not need these days. The treatment itself goes extremely fast, it’s maybe around 10 minutes. You almost spend more time getting positioned into your cradle.

Oral chemo paperwork.

Oral chemo paperwork.

Radiation Calendar.

Radiation Calendar.

Okay, well I have to go back a bit here. Radiation started on June 27th. The day before, we had secured an apartment which is barely a two minute walk from the Bismarck Cancer Center. Sanford has blocks of apartments all clustered close to the area of downtown they have eaten alive; an apartment costs $400.00 a month, which is by far the cheapest option for most people, a great many of whom live well outside Bismarck. If you’re there for more than month, the cost is prorated for whatever length of time you spend. I was mostly moved in by the 27th, and the first scan is the one which takes the longest, everything has to be checked over several times, adjustments made and all that. You’ll be on the slab for around 30 minutes. After that, the treatments go very fast. You’ll spend more time in the waiting room than anything else. One thing which makes it all go quicker: clothing. Yep. If you wear something which has no buttons or zippers, and can be easily pushed down (or up, whichever direction you’re being zapped), you can just go straight in, kick off your shoes and get into your cradle. I find having to change into gowns annoying, so this works well for me. Hell, if you’re like me and you find yourself with a two minute walk to your scans, wear your pyjamas! I’ll be seeing my radiation oncologist every Tuesday, along with my regular oncologist over at the main hospital. You still have to have labs every week, and you’re given a lot of latitude as to when you want to do that. Radiation is great about giving you a set time of your choosing. As you can see, we prefer late afternoon. You also have meetings arranged with a nutritionist and a massage therapist. Free massage!

A couple of days after I was ensconced in my apartment, I heard Brandon moving some people in next door. We later met on the stairs: “Hi. Radiation? Yeah, me too, I’m five weeks.” “I’m nine weeks.” This is what your conversation comes down to with other cancer patients. In the waiting room: “How are you doing?” “Still here, not dead yet.” “Me too. Feels like dead some days.” “Yeah, a lot of days.” Cancerland has it’s own codes and lingo; doesn’t take long to become fluent, or to put the cancer first, either: “Hi. Colorectal cancer.” “Hi, pancreatic.”

Onto the purely miserable fucking stuff, and scary stuff (for me). I started taking the oral chemo (5FU, same as what was in the pump; the pills convert to 5FU), and the Veliparib (trial drug). The 5FuckYou is an agent well known to me, and I know which side effects can be laid at its door. As you can see on the chemo paperwork, there’s a ‘skipped’ on the Veliparib for Friday evening, and I have to record a skip for this weekend, too, as I’m supposed to take it 7 days a week, not 5 like the other. I was having a great deal of trouble the first week this all started. A profound nausea set in on Wednesday, and I wasn’t sure what was causing it. Until I see my oncologist on July 3rd, I’ve stuck with taking dramamine for nausea, as it’s worked well enough and I can’t take the Zofran. It stopped working well. I’ve had to take a great deal of it just to keep from puking my guts out constantly. Day by day, the nausea was getting worse. I did not have a single moment where I felt well. I’m supposed to take my chemo with food, and I could barely choke down 3 tablespoons of cereal before I took the meds. There was also an intense bitter taste in my mouth and throat, and it’s all I could taste. It got to a point on Friday that I could not even drink the required water, as trying to do so had me puking. (For my particular cancer, a full bladder is wanted for the scan, as it helps to push the intestines out of the way of the bits being targeted.) I still wanted to go grocery shopping for the apartment, and holy fuck is it ever hard to shop for food when the only thing on your mind is “can’t puke, can’t puke, can’t puke”.  I decided to skip the Friday evening Veliparib, just to see. As anticipated, the 5FU didn’t cause me any problems at all, and by the time 11pm rolled around, I was able to eat a little bit. Woke up this morning, and ate a pastry right away, no nausea, no problems.

Unfortunately, this means I’ll have to drop out of the trial, I simply cannot deal with such profound nausea. I’ve dropped to 92 pounds, and look every bit the starvation victim. My ribs and spine stand out in sharp relief, I don’t have an ounce of fat anywhere, and I’m simply too concerned about that to try and come to terms with the trial drug. I feel bad about dropping out at this point, but my overall health has to have priority. I’ll see my research person on Tuesday, along with everyone else. There’s a slim possibility that another anti-nausea drug might help me to cope, but I don’t know that I’ll want to try. The Velaparib was also causing a fair amount of swelling in my face, ankles and feet. We definitely don’t get along.

That’s about it for now. As usual, if I think of more, I’ll edit to add. ETA: There are a couple of videos linked in the comments which show how a linac works.

Harlan.

Rick finally got the obnoxious asshole truck that everyone else has in this state. At least he genuinely needs a truck for his business. I felt that Harlan was an appropriate name for the obnoxious asshole truck. Harlan got the immediate stamp of approval from Jayne, who thinks it’s a fine ride indeed, what with him getting a whole seat to  himself. Oh, for those who can’t resist the name thing, before Harlan, we had two Fords and two Chevys. Now it’s three Chevys and two Fords. :)

© C. Ford.

The Chains of Intolerance.

Andrew Ellis Johnson, “The ICEman Cometh” (2018, detail), ink, charcoal, wax, graphite.

Andrew Ellis Johnson, “The ICEman Cometh” (2018, detail), ink, charcoal, wax, graphite.

Art and artists most definitely have a place in answering wrongs, great or small, and everything in between. Andrew Ellis Johnson has a searing piece up at Hyperallergic. It’s well worth seeing and reading.

Kronos Day Mood.

Pain – A Wannabe. A Jayne-Approved™ sing along song.

Do you wanna crawl around in the dirt
Can’t get off your knees to get back to the herd?
You do the time while others do the crime
Your whole life is falling down

Do you wanna be the president?
Do you wanna be the judge?
Will you fight for the innocent
Or do you wanna be a wannabe or be the real deal?

Do you wanna be a hypocrite?
Do you wanna be a fraud?
Can you feel that you’re living it
Or do you wanna be a wannabe or be the real thing?

Don’t believe in everything that you see
On the net and on the news on TV
It pulls you left and right to make you live in fear
Systematic brain drain

Do you wanna be the president?
Do you wanna be the judge?
Will you fight for the innocent
Or do you wanna be a wannabe or be the real deal?

Do you wanna be a hypocrite?
Do you wanna be a fraud?
Can you feel that you’re living it
Or do you wanna be a wannabe or be the real thing?

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s been a hot day here and the upcoming Canada Day weekend promises to be even hotter with high humidity. Temps of 30 – 33° with humidex of around 40° are expected. That’s just too hot for Jack to be out anywhere for long so I think short walks around the neighbourhood may be as far as we venture for a few days. Sometimes adventure loses out to common sense.

Home.

I’m home until Monday morning, when I have to head back to town and the apartment. I’ve had an absolutely awful day, so I’m going to lay down with a book, and not set my clock. So, things will be late starting tomorrow (Saturday), but I’ll get things posted at some point, and try to answer neglected emails, too.

“In the nostrils of God, could it be worse than what we think?”

…“Could we be in worse days than we know?” Bakker asked on his television program yesterday. “In the nostrils of God, could it be worse than what we think? I think this may be the secret. This may be what God wanted me to see. God was vexed, upset, that he would kill everybody on earth. They were so wicked that he had to do it.”

After fellow guest Rabbi Zev Porat warned that while God had merely “pressed the reset button” with the flood, God will next time press “the delete button if we don’t wake up,” Gallups warned that “the spirit of Antichrist” is running wild across the globe, leaving God no choice but wipe out all of humanity.

It would be so nice, if just once, people would invent a god which was better then themselves, but no, it’s all the worst of humanity writ large. It never seems to occur to christians that an actual god would be able to hit a ‘reset button’ without killing most everyone. Of course, killing is the one thing Jehovah is good at (See Drunk With Blood).

As for a ‘delete button’, well, even if this idiot god existed, where would be the fun in this? You have all that juicy, surreal nonsense which is Revelation, and hitting that delete would spoil all that blood & guts fun. Makes more sense to just go with the whole second coming and all that.

…“What happened in the days of Noah? The whole world had gone down the spirit of Antichrist,” he added. “Satan was corrupting human flesh, he was corrupting animal flesh, he was corrupting minds, he was corrupting marriage, home, family, he was corrupting life itself and God pushed the reset button. We’re right back there again.”

If I wanted to invent a god, I’m pretty sure I’d want it to be able to learn from its mistakes. Stupid and vicious is a bad combination on any level.

RWW has the full story.