Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hooked on The Wire

I know the show The Wire had been recommended to me before. But just started watching it this week and I'm hooked. I watched all of season 1 in about 3 days, and now half way through season 2. Just about every waking minute is spent watching it.

Wrapped up the latest chemo cycle yesterday. Now, two weeks off. Meet with Berenson during that time and we'll discuss if it's maintenance time. Also still need to discuss a bone biopsy and body scan with Dr Phan. Give me a little piece of mind.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reason Number 332 Why I Never Want to do Dialysis

Authorities say the Kentucky-Louisville basketball rivalry boiled over at a Kentucky dialysis clinic when one patient punched another during an argument about the teams.
Georgetown police Lt. Robert Swanigan says the altercation began Monday with a verbal exchange between the 68-year-old Kentucky fan and 71-year-old Louisville fan. The men were arguing over who will win when the teams meet in the Final Four on Saturday.
Swanigan says the Kentucky fan, who was receiving treatment, flipped off the Louisville fan, and that the Cardinals fan punched him in the face.
Swanigan says police were called to the Georgetown clinic, but the Kentucky fan has declined to file charges.
He says police thought tensions would rise as Saturday’s game approaches, but the fight at the clinic was stranger than they expected.
Georgetown is about 13 miles north of Lexington, where the University of Kentucky is located.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Less Tired.....Ahhh

Chemo today. Lots of sleep yesterday. My latest labs numbers were good. Red and white blood cell counts are up, so no shots today. Creatinin hanging around 5.5. Still needs to go down further, but good that it is hanging steady. With chemo today, I got a big dose of steroids, so that in combination with the sleep yesterday has me back to feeling good. I bounced back....energywise. I'm sure there is a lesson for me from the past couple of days. Afterall, if I'm not learning lessons, what's the point?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tired .....Argh!

Not really much to report. In the middle of chemo cycle 8. Felt good ths weekend. Saw a friend, hung out and did normal stuff. Worked out saturday and sunday. Even rode the stationary bike for an hour. All good. But today is Monday and I am fricking tired. I think the chemo from last week caught up with me. And then the problem is, when I go from feeling so good to feeling so tired, I get pissed off. I am so tired of being tired. It's been almost a year now. I've been busting my ass to keep working, to take care of myself, to recover. That ass busting can get exhausting. And that's where I am at today. Tired and irritable. And lately I've been seriously craving chocolate. I love chocolate but it's not on the kidney diet. But damn it sounds good!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's Time

It was back to chemo today. Talked a little bit with Dr Phan about potentially moving to maintenance. He isn't against it but we'll get in to details Friday. We also discussed doing a bone marrow biopsy and perhaps a bone scan. Neiher is really necessary, but I am kind of curious about how I am looking. Chemo was fine. I got a heavy dose of benadryl, so I napped most of the afternoon....been a while since I had a multi hour nap. But now it's 11 pm and the benadryl has worn off and I'm impacted by the heavy steroids I get....i.e. I can't sleep.

I also talked to Phan about his new ipad 3. He loves it, he's a bit of a technogeek and is a big fan of apple. He's a funny guy and an amazing doctor. I can't say enough about how lucky I was to get him as my oncologist. It was totally random, he just happened to be the doctor on duty when I was first hospitalized before my diagnosis. His whole office and nurses are fantastic, and I view them almost as family now.

I am feeling really good and super happy with life & my progress. Which is why it's time. It's time to get back to the gym. It's time to ride to work again. It's alway time to keep doing all the things that have helped me get so much better. Minimal artifical sugar (equal you know who you are), continue with acupuncture, continue positive thinking, continue eating right.

This myeloma might always be with me, but we are regaining control and I can live with that.

My brother, Seth, is in town tomorrow for work and I'll have dinner with him tomorrow night.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Success, I did it. Took my first plane trip in a year. I was real paranoid about the security process; I have liquid meds and a port a cath that I thought might set off securtiy.  So I had a doctor's note, copies of prescriptions and information on the port a cath. I was prepared. But I didn't need any of it. At LA, they simply asked about the liquid and I said it was medicine. On the way home from Tucson,  it was the same thing, but in that case they wanded the medicine to see if it might be explosive.  And there were no issues with the port a cath, I walked right through security.  It was great getting out of town and seeing friends. I felt like it was a big step in working towards leading a normal life again.  And now I know I can do it.

One little side note, driving home from the airport I got a flat on the 405 freeway.  I managed to get off the freeway and called AAA, but that tire was shredded. I know I need new tires, but to have one blow right on the freeway....not expected. But even that was ok, I dealt with it and got home. Another step in leading a somewhat normal life.

Back to chemo this week....Tuesday and Friday. Feeling good.

A peek into Berenson's office

I don't do my chemo at Berenson, but here's a short look at his facility. I didn't do this video, his office did.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Huh? That was our reaction today at Berenson. He mentioned that after the upcoming cycle of chemo we'll talk about moving to the maintenance phase. Good news for sure, but also a little scary. Several months ago, we had abandoned our 3rd different mix of drugs and I was thinking I might not see 2012. Nothing was working. Then we changed to Treanda (along with some other drugs). Treanda isn't a myeloma drug and as Berenson said today, I might be the only person in the world on this Treanda mix. But it works, and I feel great and my numbers reflect my improvement. I don't feel 100%....not where I was before having cancer. And my numbers aren't saying I am in complete remission. But we're almost at a point where we have this thing under control. What is maintenance you may ask. Well it means I take a few drugs at home, do regular labs and keep our eye on this. It essentially means myeloma is more of a chronic disease. That is a million times better than where I was a few months back.

Typically 8 cycles of chemo is the max for myeloma. More than that takes a toll on the body. After all poisons are being pumped into the body. I've been real lucky, I haven't had any huge adverse side effects from chemo. But given my improvement and that unseen physical toll that the chemo drugs can have, Dr B is thinking with my next visit, after this upcoming cycle, we might want to discuss moving to maintenance.

This is awesome news, but also scary, as I said. It took so long to get this shit under control, that I don't want to give it any chance to come back. I'm used to chemo, I'm in a routine, and it works. So the thought of stopping is a bit anxiety inducing. But I am jumping the gun a bit, I need to get through this next cycle and then we'll have the conversation with Berenson.

Doc Berenson was also pleased and surprised with my kidney improvement.He hasn't seen a lot of kidneys come back from how bad mine were. But like everything else with this disease, I'm an oddball and an outlier.

Lastly, I think Dr Berenson deserves some real kudos. I made sure to thank him today. He's put together a treatment program that works and I feel good. So forward we go.


Day one of March Madness is done. Lots of basketball. Long Beach State and UNLV losing hurts my bracket, but I'm still doing ok.

Berenson today. I would think he'll be happy with how I am doing and will keep me on the same program I've been on. Creatinin is hanging around 5.5. That's good, but we want it lower. Also, my bad protein count is down as well.  I am feeling good. I've worked 9 days a row, typically till 2 or 3.  Not full days, but getting close. Tomorrow I go to first trip. Should be good. I'm a little paranoid about security, what with my meds and port a cath. But I have a doctors note and various information about the port a cath and  a copy of the prescription for the liquid medicine I take. So I think I am over prepared.

And I continue to get fat. I had a bad dream the other night that I was super huge. I got to get on a regular exercise routine.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Selection Sunday

Yes, March Madness is here. UCLA.....not in the mix. Long Beach State (just a few blocks from me) the mix. I love March Madness, the brackets, the games, the excitement. Too bad I don't have a bookie or I'm not in Vegas.

Anyhow, I'm feeling good. Worked all week. Friday I stayed till 2:30 and actually could have worked the whole day, but I still can't push it too much. Yesterday wentfor bike ride and today is a family lunch.

Friday is Berenson and we'll have the latest update on how I am doing.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


5.46. That's my creatinin today. Lowest in fricking ages. Continued improvement! We saw Doc Zoller, shot caller, today. Typically she doesn't get real thrilled with my results and sometimes can be a real downer. But today she was all smiles and real happy with my progress. Nonetheless, I stay on the same program...kidney meds and blah diet. Although she did say I can add some beans to the mix. Good source of protein, but I gotta watch the phosphorus. Baby steps!

Also had acupuncture today. Super relaxing and I believe it's helping.

1 more week of no chemo, then trip to Arizona, then back to chemo.

My mom is back in Long Beach this week. She got an apartment down here when I was diagnosed, but has been up north the past couple of months given I'm kind of on cruise control. It'll be real nice to see her, been a while.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

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Friday, March 2, 2012


10 months. Today is the 10th month anniversary of my diagnosis. But right now is also about a year ago that I started to feel bad. Fatigue, fevers, cold sweats, etc, etc. I thought of this today, because I met Matt and Fred for lunch at a newish specialty hot dog place.  Hot dogs=yum.  It was also about a year and a half ago that I actually gave up eating meat. I ate fish, but no beef, pork or chicken for about 5 months.  A year ago, when I started to feel fatigued, I thought it might be because I wasn't getting enough protein. I was eating beans and nuts trying to get enough protein into my system. I was riding my bike to work every day...about 10 miles each way....and thought I might be depriving myself of needed fuel i.e. protein.  I was getting winded, tired and super slow...which told me something was not right with me.

Then I got my diagnosis and was told to eat lots of protein, that protein was an important aspect of fighting cancer. However with my jacked up kidneys, I couldn't and still can't eat beans, nuts, dairy...all protein sources. So I had to add meat back to my diet. And now after having a couple of massive hot dogs for lunch, I've clearly made my way all the way back to carnivorism. My reasons for cutting out meat had to do with what I saw as a cruel process in the farming and killing of animals.  So while enjoying hot dogs and steaks and the like, I do feel a little bad. Sorry cows, but I gotta eat.  My kidneys are slowly getting better. So perhaps I can alter my diet a bit in the near future.

I wrapped up another cycle of chemo today. I'll start up again on March 20. Today I watched Horton Hears a Who, and talked to Dr Phan about his new Nissan Leaf and is way better than talking to Dr Phan about my cancer. Cancer is on the back burner of topics.

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