» Radiation tri-blade » Today is day #23 since the end of my chemo and radiation treatments. The blood-count nadir for this chemo is » "14-23 days". So that means I should definitely be on the mend beginning today.

Day #23 for Patient #23

The chemo doctor said that the three-weeks-after-treatment is done will suck-the-worst. (I'm paraphrasing, of course.)

She was right. Actually, I would put the sucky focus on days 3-13 .. as the worst of the worst.

I could certainly elaborate but will spare you the gory details.

» Worst is Behind

Between you and me .. the thing I am really looking forward to .. is that day when it occurs to me .. that this 'thing' .. this cancer thing & especially the EFFECTS of its brutal treatment regimen .. is/are behind me.

FrankensteinI cannot say that today, tho. Because this 'thing' is all up in my ass right now. Like a toothy croc munching on your butt.

But certainly, day #23 represents at least the beginning of the end. And that alone brings a degree of comfort .. that I made it beyond treatment and survived.

In other words » the worst is now behind. (Tho, no .. I admit, it does not feel that way.)

» Treatment in the 23-Day Old Rearview

Two days after treatment ended, my chemo doctor examined me and said, "Well, I must say .. for having JUST finished treatment .. you look fantastic."

(Tho no, I confess I hardly felt fantastic. Closer to Frankenstein than fantastic. Much closer.)

Cancer treatment in the 23-day old rearview mirrorThat was the day she gave me a big hug. "Completion hug," she said with arms wide.

"That was pretty hard," I had to admit. (I will take a hug from my chemo doctor any time.)

» Hardest Thing You'll Ever Do

While I was waiting recently to see the chemo doctor .. the nurse for the radiation doctor came out and saw me. She came over and sat down and we chatted for 10 minutes .. there in the big waiting room.

She has seen me violently shaking and projective vomiting, during my 2nd clinical trial .. so our level of familiarity goes beyond the usual niceties of social grace.

It's interesting how we can develop these mini relationships with people that feel surprisingly intimate .. for the amount of time that you spend together. And they know (intimately) this very vulnerable part of you. (And they are there to help.)

And I remember her saying » "The hardest thing you'll ever do." It struck me when she said it.

But how would she know? She herself has never had cancer, nor been treated for it.

She must have heard such things from other patients, I am guessing.

And such a statement I can certainly understand. I will not speculate whether it is the #1 hardest thing ever .. because plenty of things seem pretty hard while you are going thru them, no?

But certainly this thing, this cancer thing and especially the effects of its brutal treatment regimen .. is ONE OF the hardest. No doubt there, bro.

So .. one of the least appreciated things about cancer, it would seem, is that the oncologist, in order to kill the incurable .. must nearly kill you (the patient) .. or, at least, make it feel like they are trying.

» What's it Like?

If she happens to come over and talk to me again .. I dont think I can stop myself from asking her .. what it's like to work for/with her doctor. (One of my doctors .. I seem to have so many.)

I mean, she probably spends more waking hours with him than his wife. He is very smart. Impressive.

I've always enjoyed working with (and even for) highly competent people. He seems like he is always a step or two ahead of you. (In a good way.)

Some of the other people I have talked to (more than one) .. have indicated that they're afraid of him, or maybe just intimidated by him. As tho he were a demanding task master.

And there is so much riding on his work .. that you want it as good as it can get .. in order to coax from the odds the very best outcome possible. Feel me?

Perhaps the terms afraid and intimidated are exaggerations. But you catch my drift, and I cannot be more clear without quoting them directly .. so you see exactly what I'm talking about. I am thinking of 3 examples .. two girls and one guy. Which gave me that impression.

If it were just one .. you could more easily dismiss it as an anomaly.

I was originally going to discuss this stuff in the entry labeled » Killing the Incurable .. but never quite got around to it. (Blame it on the chemo.)

Well .. maybe I can discuss one of those conversations. But not now. Maybe later. If I remember.

Chemo Doctors (Medical Oncologists) Are » Blood People

The Chemo doctor said my blood counts should return to normal within 30 days (of today). "Definitely."

Chemo doctors are called Medical Oncologists. They are blood people. Experts in the blood, and especially how the various (30) different chemo's affect it. That is their area of expertise. The blood.

A doctor specializing in blood who is not an oncologist is called a hematologist.

If the cancer does come back (she said) .. it usually comes back within the » first two years. So, if you make it that far, you're over the biggest statistical hump. (We're talking about a matter of life-n-death, no?)

Today's entry concludes in Ye Olde Rad Blog v4 .. see here » Day #23 for Patient #23


» Radiation tri-blade » I have been trading emails recently with the sister of clinical trials patient #24. (I was #23, like Michael Jordan.) Her brother is three weeks behind me in treatment. Today is his final chemo and he has one week of radiation left.

Cancer cells dividingCancer is Such a Mystery

Most interesting of all the things she wrote is this »

» "Cancer is such a mystery. My brother was the epitome of health before treatment. A marathon runner, a tri-athlete and an elite cyclist.

He never smoked, he didn't drink and he ate a very healthy diet. He is only 39. So who knows?"

I read her statement multiple times. I could feel myself trying to wrap my head around the implications.

If nothing else, it doesnt seem fair, does it?

As a cancer patient, you cant help but try to figure out this shit.

During my many rides down to Moores, I would talk to the drivers. I recall one saying »

» "I smoked two packs of cigarettes a day for 25 years before I quit." [ And he never got cancer. ]

Myself, I smoked a little as a teenager, but never really enjoyed it very much. Rather, I was just trying to be cool.

My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer after not having smoked for 20 years. [ "Honey, we didnt know cigarettes were bad for you. When we found out, we quit." ]

I've never been much of a smoker or a drinker. Go figure.

Today's entry concludes in Ye Olde Rad Blog v4 .. see here » Cancer is Such a Mystery


» Radiation tri-blade » I was going to title today's entry » Moving Back the Oncolytic Goal Posts .. for reasons that will become clear. But that would have been the whiny title, the sniveler's title. The pussy title. And nobody appreciates a whiny, sniveling pussy .. especially when it's a guy.

Killing the Incurable

Instead, today's title is .. well, you see it there .. which I will use as a springboard to discuss these oncologists » The Cancer Killers.

Let me just mention that, killing cancer is no big deal. If you simply throw the host into a sufficiently-hot furnace, the cancer will die within a matter of minutes.

The trick, it would seem, is killing the cancer without killing the patient.

It should be noted that, my experience with cancer, while growing up, with both mom and gramps, was that » following diagnosis, the patient is dead within a matter of months. The kinder and more loving the person, the quicker and more gruesome the death.

Is there a statistical correlation between kindness, compassion, empathy, and cancer? I have discussed this concept (and the possible theories for reasons behind it) with my shrink during our most recent weekly session.

Cinderella and her Wicked Step Mother Lady Tremaine played by Cate BlanchettHow many selfish, cold-hearted fucks do you know who get cancer? I'm talking empirically, here.

Not many, I bet.

But before I get into that, and discussing the cancer killers, let me update you on the status of my latest iterations.

Just when you think it couldnt get any more bizarre. Or challenging. Or trying. Or testing.

» The Voice

My VOICE .. it has been a problem, off-n-on, for a week or so. The last time I saw the radiation oncologist, he said » "If your voice doesnt improve by the next time I see you, I am going to look at it."

Today's entry concludes in Ye Olde Rad Blog v4 .. see here » Killing the Incurable


» Radiation tri-blade » Two thousand fifteen. I made it. Definitely showing signs of wear-n-tear, but I made it. Twas not so long ago when this milestone looked questionable.

New Years Eve Celebration 2015 LondonSo I am feeling a sense of accomplishment and gratitude that I havent felt with other New Years.

Tho 'happy,' no .. I would not use that word to describe my New Year. (Just being honest here.)

The Mother of All Humps

You likely are familiar with the phrase » hump day .. typically Wednesday of a standard Monday-thru-Friday work week.

Last week was my HUMP WEEK. Week #4 of a 7-week treatment plan. The mother of all humps.

When I look back on hump week, I can see my ass there, dragging on the ground behind me .. trailing a good ten feet or so back there .. looking all worn out and shabby-like. Sucking serious wind.

The problem with my hump week vs your standard Wednesday hump .. is that things only get worse from here. (Say it aint so.)

Back when my ENT surgeon informed me of the type of cancer that I had been diagnosed with, he said » "I see these types of cases about once every couple of years; I only wish it wasnt you."

FrankensteinNow I know what he meant.

Already, I can barely talk. When I do it hurts. My gums are bleeding and look downright scary (swollen & turning pale white).

My nose is bleeding, so that I need to wad up pieces of tissue paper and stick them in my nostril so that I dont drip blood everywhere.

And those arent even the worst parts. Dont even get me started on my tongue. Or my throat. This is why I say that this does not look doable.

Four weeks looks doable. Maybe five. But seven? I'm not seeing how you do that. Other than eating tons of narcotic pain meds all the time.

When the Chemo doctor [ Medical Oncologist ] saw me this past week, after feeling the size of the tumor, she looked in my mouth with a light and said » "Well, you definitely have mouth sores." [ just like she said I would ]

In this sense my hump is not really a hump, but rather merely represents the halfway point up a gnarly, steep hill .. the hump being up there at the top of the hill. Cuz you will still feel like shit well after 'treatment' concludes.

I can see that a primary concern for the Oncologist is giving the patient enough information so that (s)he has a good idea of what to expect, but not so much that you freak them the fuck out .. which would not be difficult.

I dont want to gross you out. [ Tho certainly, I'm sure that I easily could. You do not want to hear, for example, my emergency procedures to help alleviate the mother of all constipations .. caused by the narcotic pain meds. ] So let me tout some positives instead, and perhaps even inject some Rad humor .. for purposes of stress relief.

Today's entry concludes in Ye Olde Rad Blog v4 .. see here » The Mother of All Humps