Friday, February 27, 2015

The GCW Tour, Vietnam: And So We Begin...

Does the Henhouse Have WiFi?

I've had a few requests to keep up the blog while running the Vietman leg of the GCW Tour. I'll do my best, but I suspect there's going to be a few periods of extended radio silence, especially during the first half of the trip. I have a hard time imagining a solid WiFi connection amidst the leeches and venomous snakes in the northern end of the country. 

But maybe leeches and the Internet blend better than I think. If so, I'll try to post a few pictures in real time; if not, we'll go with a retrospective look when the trip is over.

Either way, Dave the Minion can keep you company while I'm gone. 

The Juxtapositions of Travel

I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to do a fair amount of international travel over the past decade. Every time I start to get ready for a trip, I can't help but think of two comic writers and their thoughts on travel.

The first is David Sedaris's book Me Talk Pretty One Day. Mostly essays about Sedaris's time living as an ex-pat in France, I always remember the line he has about how Americans show up in France looking like they're there to mow the lawn. I find it hard not to think of that when I'm trying to decide what to bring on a trip.

But the thing about dressing like you're there to mow the lawn is that it doesn't take much to do it. A pair of shorts, a T-shirt and some flip-flops and you're golden. Attempting to avoid insulting the culture you're visiting requires a bit more material. But when I start to think about aiming higher, the second person who comes to mind is George Carlin, and his piece on stuff. I won't even try to summarize; the five minutes it takes to watch is well worth the time:

So now travel prep has boiled down to the choice between insulting the people where you're visiting or exemplifying the idiocy of dragging your shit stuff across the planet. 

In my travels with my XS, I tended to opt for the idiocy. It's categorically impossible for the XS not to look fabulous, so I always felt like I should make an effort to avoid looking like a landscaper by comparison. As a result, my suitcase was generally pretty full.

Not this time.

Apologies to the Vietnamese, but I'll be showing up dressed for yard work. When I finished packing I realized I'm only taking one shirt that has a collar, and I'm only taking that because I read once that you'll have an easier time getting through the airport if you aren't dressed like a landscaper. 

I also realized that nearly everything I'm taking is polyester. Natural fibers take too long to dry and don't really compress, both of which can be problematic for travel. So polyester it is.

Yeah, yeah, first world problems without a doubt, and I'm not sure what to do with the fact that it's visiting a developing nation that's prompting them. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It Seemed Good In Theory

The nurse managing my infusion today noticed my pink Cons* and I explained I was trying to find something that would mitigate the weird feelings in my feet from the neuropathy. My work boots aren't bad, but they aren't great either. Frankly, neither are the Cons. 

The nurse suggested lamb's wool slippers, mentioning that some of her other patients had good luck with those. And indeed, I have a pair of such slippers which I generally wear around the house and which are one of the kinder items on my feet.

So why not? I'm not proud. I'll wear my slippers on the street. 

Big mistake. 

I walked the three blocks to the pharmacy to pick up some drugs I need for Vietnam wearing my slippers and my feet may never be the same. Walking around the house is clearly not the same and walking the streets, and having my feet sliding around inside the slippers completely trashed them. They could've been made of goose down, lamb's wool and puppies and it wouldn't've made a difference.

So it's back the work boots and the Cons. 

* For those who have known me for a very long time, yup, they're the same pair I bought in college. 

Everyone Likes a Blasé Oncologist (Well, I Do At Least)

I'm in a mad dash to get ready for the Vietnam leg of the GCW Tour, but I figured I should report back on today's oncology appointment. In short, it was mostly good news. Here's the very fast rundown on events worth noting...

The recent scan seems to show that the tumors are at least not growing, and possibly still shrinking. This would be better news if one of my scans hadn't gone missing. According to this blog,* I got scanned at Group Health in November, but that scan doesn't seem to have made it to SCCA. So today's scan report was made in comparison to the September scan. So while the volume of the main liver tumor is a quarter of what it was in September, it's hard to say if that's a function of the Xeloda or the prior chemo infusions. Clearly, when I get back from Vietnam I'll need to visit GH and see where my scan went.

The oncologist was clearly unimpressed with the side effects that were concerning me. Back pain? "You probably just need to exercise more."** Blood in the toilet bowl? "Well, we could do another colonoscopy to see what's up, but it's probably nothing to worry about. It doesn't take much blood in the toilet bowl to look like you've been attacked by an axe murderer."*** Mouth sores? "I'm actually not seeing much. It might just be a dental thing." Fatigue? "That's pretty normal." In short, all the things I thought suggested the cancer might be flourishing, pretty much weren't.****

The neuropathy was a topic of extended conversation, as this is clearly something that concerns them. Interestingly, however, I learned that they don't really have any way to mitigate the weird numbness and tingling. What they're trying to prevent is pain and, potentially, getting to the point where you can't walk or stand. And I have to agree: those are good things to prevent. But since they aren't problems I'm currently dealing with, even the neuropathy was determined to be not a concern. 

So for now the status quo continues for another three months: an infusion of Avastin (done today), followed by fourteen days on Xeloda, followed by a week off, followed by a meeting with the PA, and then we go around again. 

Boring, but way better than the alternative I was preparing myself for. But at least now I have a signed will and testament in place...

* Actually, having record of what's been going on is actually kind of useful. I highly recommend it for anyone with a noteworthy condition.
** Quotation marks are for effect only. These were not the oncologist's actual words. 
*** Given the option to a) wait and watch for patterns, or b) get another colonoscopy, I went with the former. 
**** Woohoo!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Game We Can All Play While We Wait for the First Official SCCA Oncologist Check-in

If you're like me, you may remember reading Highlights or one of those other kid magazines that were full of games. One of the games provided two lists and the point was to draw the lines that would connect the relevant pairs together. So you might have a list of animals on one side (zebra, jaguar, etc.) and a list of markings on the other (spots, stripes, etc.), and you took your pencil and connected the relevant pairs together.

Tomorrow is my first appointment with the SCCA oncologist as my official oncologist, and one of the topics of conversation will be connecting the last ten weeks worth of symptoms with their likely causal factors. But since it'll be awhile before we get the official verdict, I thought it might be entertaining to let y'all try your hand at playing oncologist and identifying the relevant pairs. Tomorrow I'll post an update with my doc's official answers.

So match the cause to the symptom:

1. Mouth sores
2. Neuropathy
3. Blood where there definitely shouldn't be blood
4. Back pain, returning for the first time since my tumor was removed last July
5. Weird aches and pains, mostly in my hips and legs
6. Fatigue

a. Cancer
b. Xeloda
c. Avastin
d. Being an old guy
e. Eating processed food and other garbage
f. Sitting on my butt instead of running around the neighborhood
g. Being to tall for my own good

Here are my guesses: 1-b; 2-b; 3-a; 4-a or g; 5-f; 6-a or b.

See, cancer can be fun.

Here are the oncologist's answers: 1-b; 2-none of the above, it's a delayed reaction from the chemo infusions; 3-none of the above (don't ask); 4-g; 5-f; 6-b. 

I Missed My Calling

I've decided I should've gone into marketing. After four days in Houston I've come up with a new slogan for the city: 

"Houston -- we make Los Angeles seem appealing."

But in all fairness, I really didn't see much of the city, having spent nearly the entire time on the medical center campus. It's a crazy place. There's like seventeen hospitals, related research facilities, and a bunch of hotels all occupying the same plot of land. Happily, I didn't need medical attention, but there would've been no shortage of options if I had. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Star Trek or Star Wars? If You're a Cancer Patient, I'm Betting You're the Former

This is Captain Kirk. We'll let him represent the Star Trek camp...

This is Chewbacca (on the left). He's our Star Wars representative...

Now as a cancer patient, anytime anything needs to happen to you the healthcare providers are going to want to access your chest port. And every time they do, even if it's only for a thirty second blood draw, they're going to plaster your chest with an adhesive panel like this one to keep the line in place...

Trust me when I say, that stuff is like gaffers tape. 

Which is why the Trek modality makes a lot more sense for the cancer patient. Even if you start out like Chewbacca, it won't be long before you resemble Kirk -- and the transition between states is going to hurt like hell. 

Not the Answer I Was Expecting

Yesterday I asked the question, how much variance can there be in how one's routed through a scanner? Turns out, quite a bit.

This was my first CAT scan at SCCA, and it was substantially different than the same procedure at Group Health. Since nothing in cancer treatment happens without your port being accessed, the day's appointment started with that. This time, though, the nurses were very concerned about confirming that I had a "power port," which I eventually realized had something to do with how they push the contrast agent. Since I do not carry my port card,* figuring this out meant they had to look at a prior scan to see what kind of port I had. Weird, but whatever.

The next be difference came with the contrast agent. Since the scan needs to show what's up with my colon and my liver, I need to have both oral and vascular contrast agents. At Group Health, the oral contrast agent was this thick goopy "shake" that you had to drink. SCCA, on other hand, uses 25 mls of the vascular agent diluted in a liter of water. I actually asked the nurse if they'd given me the right thing, since to me it just seemed like water -- a lot of water, but still just water. I did not miss the shake.

The scan itself was fairly similar to the previous rounds, but the transition back to the world was much different. At Group Health they just pulled the line from your port and pointed you to the exit. At SCCA they wanted to monitor me for twenty-five minutes before they'd let me leave. Apparently, while they ask you if you've ever had a reaction to a contrast agent before, they actually don't believe you're answer.

Oh last difference: at Group Health I would've had the results by now. I'm betting SCCA won't tell me until I see my oncologist next week. 

* I can't think of anything that would be more out of character for me than carrying the little ID card that identifies the brand of port I have. I'm almost 100% sure I threw that away the instant I got home. 

This Should Really Be the Set-up for a Joke

Last night I was lying in bed reading, mindlessly rubbing my foot on the sheets as people sometimes do. After a few minutes my brain started noticing that mine were some really smooth sheets. Like satiny smooth. Then it started wondering when I put satin sheets on the bed. Smooth, satiny sheets. Then I disengaged from my book enough for my brain to realize something was off. I don't even own satin sheets, and looking at them and feeling them with my hand reaffirmed that these were my basic cheapo, pill-y flannel sheets for winter. 

The foot was still insisting on the satin. It was such a weird sensation that I finally got out of bed to pull back the covers and make sure there wasn't a shirt or pillowcase or something else hiding in the sheets.

Nope. I've just reached the point where the nerve endings in my feet can't tell the difference between cheap flannel and satin. 

Good thing Eddie Bauer doesn't have that problem. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

When In Doubt, Scan

It's been three months -- not to mention three rounds of Xeloda and an unaccounted for an infusion -- so it's time again for a CAT scan. This will be my first can at the SCCA, so that should make it interesting. If I had to guess, I would suspect that the primary difference will be that I won't get the results tomorrow, but will instead have to wait for my appointment with the oncologist next week. Beyond that, how much variance can there be in how one's routed through a scanner?

That said, I have to say that my state of being over the past few weeks makes me think there may be another difference between this scan and the previous ones: the results of this one may be less positive than the results of the last. I'll happily be proven wrong, but it's hard not to think that the blood and the pain and other weirdness that emerged this past quarter isn't a sign of something bad.

But it could just be that I'm a bleeder with a bad back. I guess we'll find out tomorrow. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


So the neighborhood I live in is prone to older apartment buildings. There's lots of classic brick boxes, huge old homes that were converted to apartments and condos, and other interesting buildings. 

One of these got even more interesting a few months back. It's a large, old multi-unit apartment building that sits on the hill between my condo and the library, and is also on along the path I typically take when I walk home. For a long time the lower unit I walked past was a studio  apartment occupied by a guy that looked like a refugee from the Great Gatsby. He'd stand outside his door, smoking cigars in a very natty suite and, frequently, a straw hat. 

But then the apartment disappeared; not the building, just the one apartment. The building is now now I'm guessing twenty-some apartments and one very small retail outlet: The Nevertold Casket Co. 

I'm not sure if it's the same guy from the apartment running the shop, but the two or three times I've been there it's been a couple behind the counter dressed like refugees from Sherlock Holmes (the original, not the contemporary update). Or given what they sell, maybe I should say refugees from an Edgar Allen Poe story, as what this place sells, in short, is death. In addition to the aforementioned casket (kid-sized and useful for storing Halloween candy, very cheery), they also have a wide range of stuffed animals (taxidermy, not plush), dead animals embedded in plastic, dead animal skeletons, old photos taken of dead people, various preserved body parts, late 1800s medical devices, and, well, most anything that might come to mind when you think about death. 

It's an interesting space to spend a few minutes, and I have to say, the stuffed peacock is pretty impressive. 

So if you're ever in the market for some lovely death-related tchotchkes, I recommend a visit to The Nevertold Casket Co. on Seattle's Capitol Hill. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I Hope I Have the Crud

The winter crud seems to be roaming through our offices, and I'm really hoping I've got it. I feel terrible -- tired, sore, etc. -- and I'm really hoping it's some seasonal cold and not cancer's new normal especially since I've got three weeks of travel coming up.

I guess we'll see.

I would also like to note that I'm bummed that the cancer's turned me into one of those boring old people that only talks about their aches and pains. I'm way too young for that. But in my defense, a) people do ask, and b) there's not a whole lot to more to cancer to comment on than the various pains it, or its treatment, causes. 

But I'll do my best to try to think of more interesting cancer-related things to write about. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Report Out That Everyone Is Waiting For

I'm sad to say, we were not overwhelmed. 

But dinner was tasty and the drinks, even if delivered by an overwhelmingly average server, weren't terrible. 

And anything's better than sitting at home bonding with your tumors so, all things considered, not a bad Valentine's Day. Sincere thanks to the dining companions who invited me along. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

...And The Not So Awesome

Mouth sores are not awesome.

Since I started chemotherapy, the nurses have been warning me about the potential for mouth sores. The warnings grew more urgent when I switched to Xeloda, as mouth sores seem to be third on Xeloda's side effect hit parade (after neuropathy and hand-foot syndrome). Until now I thought I'd dodged that particular bullet, but yesterday evening my luck ran out.

At first I was hoping it was just a twinge of sore throat or something psychosomatic, but no such luck. There's clearly a problem -- canker sore, cold sore, pimple, take your choice -- along the gum line of my back molars. But of course nothing's that simple. Now that I know it's there, my tongue has spent all day poking at it trying to figure out what's going on, and since your tongue isn't really designed to be poking around your back molars, it now hurts, too. And when your tongue starts poking around, your saliva glands start freaking out, and flooding your mouth with saliva. This means you're constantly swallowing, so soon you've got a sore throat to go with the mouth sore. Last but not least, it seems this is something of a cold sore on steroids as my teeth and jaw also hurt.

Not awesome at all -- especially as I'm now sixteen days from leaving for Vietnam and don't really want to be running around the jungles of southeast Asia trying to locate warm saltwater to use a rinse. 

The Awesome...

Sib4 sent me this picture today.

Her son's elementary school is apparently one of those that hasn't given up on valentine exchanges, so his class was given the assignment of decorating a box to collect said valentines. Rather than hearts and flowers, J opted to decorate his box to look like Stuart the minion -- at least I think it's Stuart, though I suppose it could be Norbert or one of the myriad other one-eyed minions. 

Whichever minion this is intended to be, this is my kind of valentine box.* If I was going to be involved in a valentine exchange, I would definitely find the experienced improved by the possession of a minion box to put them in -- particularly one with as much character as J's. 

Happily, I'm well past the age of having to deal with bulk valentines -- and thus needing a valentine box -- and the cancer has pretty much taken single valentines off the table as well.** Instead, some friends and I are trading our paper hearts for alcohol. An article on the "best places to spend Valentine's alone" identified a bar in Seattle apparently known for its "overwhelmingly attractive servers." If you can't have a valentine, a cocktail presented by an overwhelmingly attractive server seems a reasonable alternative. 

* As I think about it, this may actually help to explain why I'm divorced. 
** Frighteningly, a co-worker today explained that at her last job the staff, too, decorated valentine boxes and exchanged valentines. Undoubtedly, "teambuilding" run amok. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

No Such Thing As Normal

I was talking with my neighbor this evening who told an amusing story about the cancer support group he'd recently joined. 

For the first few weeks he was there, he was sort of bummed by the fact that he was the only one dealing with pancreatic cancer. I get his point. It's useful to talk to anyone dealing with cancer, but there's a special comfort in knowing there's someone else facing your same situation. 

In any case, at a recent meeting he thought he'd finally found his counterpart when a new attendee identified herself as a patient of pretty much the exact same cancer he's facing and at pretty much the same stage of progression and treatment. Unfortunately, his hope for a cancer companion was extremely short lived as she concluded her introduction by stating that she was opting for death with dignity and had already scheduled her departure for a few weeks later.

There is no normal in cancer. There are only statistical curves, and you don't always know where on a given curve you're going to fall. And sometimes, even when you're sitting at the exact same spot on the exact same curve as someone else, you'll still find you're facing two very different diseases.

Cancer sucks. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Lovely Model

There's an article in today's Slate about photographer Nancy Borowick, who photographed her parents as they were both dying of cancer. The photographs are quite striking, and you can find the entire series on her website.

I have to say they make me a little bit jealous. It's hard not to look at the photographs and not think that Ms. Borowick's parents found comfort in going through the wonder that is modern cancer treatment together. Sitting next to each other during chemo, hearing their scan results at the same time. You certainly wouldn't have to wonder if the other person understood what you were going through.

The other thing that struck me is how nice it must be for Ms. Borowick and her family to have this record of their parents' final years. My siblings and I have frequently commented on our regret that we don't have more photos of Mum's last year. A portfolio like Ms. Borowick's would be pretty great. 

Well That's Disturbing (and No Doubt TMI)

I discovered today that there's something uniquely disturbing about turning around to flush the toilet and finding the bowl full of blood. I'm no doctor, but it strikes me that there are parts of the human body that are not intended to bleed and, personally, I would put the entire digestive system in that category. 

Again, not a doctor, but it strikes me that when that part of the body does start bleeding that definitely qualifies as a bad thing. If nothing else, it means that at my next set of appointments the conversations about my bowel movements are going to last even longer than they usually do. 

Don't know if and/or when the colon cancer is going to kill me, but it sure enough killed my dignity a long time ago. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Best Healthcare in the World, Baby!

I've spent a fair amount of my blog time poking (fun) at the state of America's healthcare system. Apparently, I'm not the only one who sees the absurdity in the way the system is run. If you've got seventeen spare minutes, John Oliver's take down of pharmaceutical marketing is worth the time, and the URL he provides to find out how much money the drug companies give your doctors is pretty useful as well. 

Oh, and if that's not enough to get your dander up -- I'm sure there's a drug for that -- check out this article on Slate discussing what the FDA does when it finds evidence of fraud in drug studies (spoiler alert: not much). 

A Few Things I Find Tiring

I'm tired of wondering if my back pain is a result of the fact that I'm out of shape and spend all day sitting, or cancer.

I'm tired of walking home from work and not being able to feel my toes by the time I'm halfway through the trip.

I'm tired of having to swallow eight horse pills a day. 

I'm tired of having lengthy conversations about my bowel movements with every healthcare provider that crosses my path.

I'm tired of having fingernails that split and tear no matter what I do to prevent it.

I'm tired of not knowing whether I should be planning for weeks, months or years. 

I'm tired of wondering if my decision to forego any future chemo infusions is the right one. 

I'm tired of being tired all the time.

I'm tired of having to think about cancer all the time. 

Ah well. What else would I do with all my free time?

And the World Shrinks Again

But this time it's not due to the cancer.

For the past ten years or so, much of the information that enters my brain has come through the filter of Andrew Sullivan's blog, The Dish. I started reading Sullivan around the time of the second Bush administration, and never really stopped. 

A conservative, gay, Catholic, pot-smoking, Bush supporter who subsequently supported Obama, Sullivan was something of a unique breed. His blog was incredibly smart and, most unusually, you could actually see him thinking his way through things in real time. It wasn't unusual for him to post some argument, spend a few days posting response from readers explaining why his argument was stupid, and then post a correction to his original thinking. This habit reached its pinnacle with Sullivan's book, I Was Wrong, an extended mea culpa for his support of the Iraq War.

And I have to admit: it was somewhat gratifying to see a public intellectual move from supporting George W. Bush to realizing that, by and large, the current Republican party is, at best, a bunch of loons, and, at worst, Dick Cheney.

But the political thinking was only part of Sullivan's repertoire. There were Views From My Window (a daily photo taken by some reader somewhere in the world), Mental Health Breaks (selections of weird videos posted each afternoon at 4:20), Saturday content that tended toward the prurient, Sundays spent wrestling with arguments about God and religion, and a million other things that struck Sullivan's -- and eventually his staff's -- fancy.

And on Friday, they shut it all down. After fifteen years, the pace grew too much and they decided they'd done all they set out to do. So the blog now exists as nothing but an archive. 

And when they announced the impending closure, all I could think was, It figures. 

I'm not sure I have the energy to seek out a replacement, and I'm not sure I could find one if I tried. So the world gets smaller again. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

There Was One Advantage to the Infusions

I'm realizing there was at least one advantage to infusion-based chemotherapy. Both the pills and the infusions are/were delivering basically the same drugs, the infusions just did it a lot faster. With the infusions, then, I felt much worse and worse much faster, but it wore off faster as well. Six days unable to get out of bed, but for the remaining eight I'd be more or less okay. 

But with the pills, you get fourteen days of semi-exhaustion. It's not the bedridden exhaustion you got with the infusions; it's more of a "can I please have a nap?" exhaustion. Which would be fine if my employer had bit on the "napsules" suggestion back in the day, but since we don't actually have napsules -- just work stations -- there's not a whole lot to do with the fatigue except to just work through it.  

But it's still better than two days with an infusion pump. 

Walking on Air Isn't All It's Cracked Up to Be

Way (way, way) back in the day, my parents were big on extracurricular activities. Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Indian Guides -- my elder siblings did it all, with some seriously active participation from Mum and Dad. And as one of the younger siblings, I got to come along for the ride -- and goof around with the toys that were made for the bigger kids.

One of the things I remember is my Dad making these funky shoes out of spare lumber and rope. Some were like flip-flops built for five or six kids to march together like a caterpillar, but some were just like very short stilts.* 

I've been thinking a lot about those shoes lately. Pretty much every time I take a step. The way my feet work these days has a lot in common with how your feet work when you're a small child playing around with funky homemade too large wooded shoes strapped to your feet. Specifically...

I can no longer feel the ground under my feet as I walk. It's like there's two inches of inflatable cushion between my feet and the ground -- a wobbly, unstable, under-inflated cushion.

Though I can't really feel my heels anymore, it seems like all the nerve endings in my heels have moved to my toes. At this point, I'm never not aware of my toes which, at best are kind of tingly, but at worst are really painful.

Socks create a new challenge in that the sensation of wearing socks now has a lot in common with standing barefoot on that plastic fake grass or really cheap indoor/outdoor carpeting. Being barefoot is no alternative, as allowing my feet to get even marginally cool causes real problems. Slippers are okay, but there are only so many places you can legitimately wear sheepskin slippers.

The problems, moreover, aren't limited to my feet. As a result of the problems in my feet, I now walk like I'm doing a bad imitation of Oswald Cobblepot on Gotham. After forty-some years of walking in one particular way, my bones and muscles have gotten used to the established pattern. My weird hobbling is not making them happy. I've got weird pains and stiffness running up and down my legs, and my back is starting to scream. (Here's hoping it's not another tumor.)

And to think all this isn't the result of the cancer, but rather the cancer treatment

Ain't modern medicine grand?

* In truth, some of these devices were probably just a bit of poorly thought out cultural appropriation, but I doubt cultural appropriation was much of a concern for an organization known as the Indian Guides. And this was the seventies, after all. 

Xeloda, Round Three

(Note: I wrote this yesterday, but technical difficulties -- I couldn't find a relevant image I liked -- prevented me from posting it. I'm too lazy to rewrite it.) 

Today began my third round on Xeloda (or rather, capecitabine, the generic alternative). And since nothing happens in the wonderful world of cancer treatment without port accesss and blood draws and lab tests and conversations with oncologists (or the PAs who work with oncologists), here's a quick rundown on some highlights from today's events.

The SCCA is apparently changing their computer system, at least according to today's phlebotomist. I couldn't tell if this was isolated to the lab or intended to have broader impacts, but all I can think is, good luck with that. IT and healthcare goes together like, well, cancer and chemotherapy; you seemingly can't have one without the other, but ultimately they just destroy one another. 

There's a hipster vibe at the SCCA which is rather entertaining. Last time one of the nurses helping out with my infusion would've fit right right in on the set of Agent Carter, and today my PA came in wearing some very striking frames in the exact shade of jade green as the streaks in her hair. If their cancer care is as good as their fashion sense, I'm in good hands.

My tumor markers are down, and liver function is back in the normal range. The numbers were good enough that the PA considered postponing the start of the Xeloda for a week to allow some time for the neuropathy to recede, but given I scheduled the Vietnam leg of the GCW Tour around the next two rounds of Xeloda and the intervening scan, we decided to stick with the established schedule. But now I get to add physical therapy to my regimen, as there are apparently exercises I can do to help manage the neuropathy.

The PA doubled the dose of the anti-neuropathy anti-depressant in the hopes that might help as well. I hope so. I actually tried cooking for the first time tonight, and found that the neuropathy actually made the task somewhat challenging. The lack of feeling in my fingertips made peeling garlic nearly impossible and chopping onions somewhat terrifying. 

But at least I didn't come home with an infusion pump. I'd take the loss of a fingertip or two over two days strapped to a pump. Happily, it didn't come to that.