Every year since 1995, before the football season starts I place a bet on the Minnesota Vikings to win the Super Bowl. Every year. I wish I had saved all the betting slips. But instead, every year since 1995, I have frustratingly torn those slips up, well, except for the past few years
Cancer and the pandemic have partnered to give me some real emotional ups and downs. There's a palpable feeling of the loss of independence, with no end in sight. I know I'm not alone in feeling the stress of this all. I keep busy, but there's too much time to think and ponder and replay life choices and crossroads and all that. I've done a whole lot of what ifs. I know it's not helpful. One such what if, that's not bothersome and rather amusing is the below spreadsheet that I made recently during quarantine time. It compares the "investment" into the Vikings every year since 1995 to what would have happened if I had invested that annual bet into Amazon stock instead. This comparison is theoretical and flim flam at best, but the results are interesting.
-Myeloma I'm still cruising along on monthly Darzalex, twenty one days with a week off of 1 mg Pom and Dex. We lowered my Dex to just 4 mg at my monthly infusion. Yes!!! I need any modicum of relief from the havoc Dex plays on my skin and my emotions. Note though that Berenson did increase my oral Medrol (another steroid) to 12 mg every other day. Fortunately, Medrol doesn't give me the physical and emotional ups and downs. November will be 4 years on this blend. That's wild!
-Fitness Another side effect of steroids and covid is a near complete breakdown of muscles and strength and the unwelcome addition of layers of fat. I shaved my beard off recently and OH MY GOD, I've got at least 3 chins. And my belly is sad. Covid beers aren't helping, that's for sure. I bought a Garmin watch in July, which has motivated me to increase activity and track my walking and fitness. 8 mile walk this morning. My goal is to be 170 pounds by next week...kidding...by the end of godawful 2020. I was 188 this morning, which in the past would have been outstanding. But that's when I had calves and arms. In the summer of 2012, when I was getting 80 mg of Dex per week, I hit 220 pounds. Oh, and I yelled at lots of people at work.
-Why shave the beard? Two reasons. It's been so freaking hot here, I wanted to give my face a break and it feels great. Also, I've got a small skin cancer on my left cheek that requires MOHs surgery. I had to shave part of the beard for the upcoming procedure, so I took the whole darn thing off. Two benefits to the beard: 1) it hides my 3 chins and 2) it gives me a bit more serious, intimidating look, as opposed to my clean shaven non-fear inducing face. Why do I want this? Because I do. MOHs is this Tuesday.
- Muscles Since about March, I've been experiencing random yet all encompassing body aches, weakness and fatigue. I thought it might have been the myeloma, but it's definitely not. Phan had me (and Leslie) do two covid tests a week apart. All negative. Berenson sent me to a rheumatologist, who is running an assortment of tests. Yesterday I gave 12 tubes of blood. In a week or so, we're doing an MRI of the legs and a couple of other tests, including a swallow test. It's possible I'm just getting old and worn down from nearly ten years of continuous treatment. But the weakness is maddening and frustrating. I was actually starting to feel pretty good starting in June. Two daily naps were down to one or zero per day. But a couple of weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with a splitting headache. In the morning, the headache was gone, but the body pain was back. Connection? Doubtful, but we'll bring it up to the doc at next visit.
-WEAR A DAMN MASK!!!!
-Read Carl Safina's Becoming Wild
-Update My nephew in Lake Tahoe has volunteered to place my Vikings bet for me at a casino that is just a few blocks from his home. Phew!! 2020 is so frigging nuts that maybe this is the year the Vikings win the Super Bowl. Maybe maybe maybe, this will be that once in a lifetime season.