So much has happened since my last post, so unless I take a turn for the worse, this is gonna be quite an entry. So sit back, have a drink (wish I could), and relax while you read this long, wacky update.
Let's start with my health and how I'm feeling. Yesterday (Friday 11/19) was the best I've felt since the chemo effects started mid-last week. I was actually able to eat a little bit of each of my meals. Best foods? Cheerios with low-fat milk and soups. I may not eat much else for lunch and dinner, but I'll always eat the soup. :)
You gotta understand, from Tuesday thru Thursday this week, I think I had 2 tiny orange sherbets, a half a can of sprite, and a couple little apple/cranberry juice cups and that's it. That's not going to get your metabolism up, now is it? Part of it is that my GI tract is starting to rebuild. Know how I know? I can actually fart! Now you might think that's funny, but it's a huge step. For the past week, if I felt like I had to fart, it was time to head to the can and fast -- seriously -- no taking chances. So hooray for farting!
Today (Saturday 11/20) I feel about the same as Friday, which is great. Both days saw me make 3 laps around the 8th floor in the morning. Yesterday, I even made my way to the piano for the second time! Now that my IV is just fluids and antibiotics, I'm allowed to roam the hospital free. (More on the piano episode below.)
My doctor says that I'm doing well, responding to the induction, just as I should. We got a lot more information back (pathology, flow cytometry, etc.) about the AML specifics, etc. I'm not going to go into huge detail here, rather, I'll just say, that we still have every reason to believe that this is treatable and beatable. My doctor, and a couple other experts are going to pow-wow this week or the week after to see if they can come to a consensus on "Part B" -- the remaining part of the treatment. Part A is pretty easy/standard It's same no matter what: 7 or 8 days of intense chemo and then a 3-4 week recovery period (we're about 3 days into that right now) where they give me antibiotics, as well as blood/platelets as needed, watch all my counts, make sure I don't get any secondary infections, etc. Part B is much more of a science, because every case is different. They need to scrutinize every single data point they have about me, add in any other risk factors, and try to come up with a plan/recipe for treatment for me. Hopefully they can come to a quick consensus and then we can just execute. The problem will be if two experts vehemently disagree as to the course of action. That might be weird.
OK, lets move on to visits. Visits from friends have picked up the couple days since I've been feeling better. Assuming this keeps up, if others want to visit in the days leading up to Turkey Day, drop me an email and let's see if we can set something up. And yes, I'm going to be here through Thanksgiving. Earliest I could possibly be out is the Sunday after, but it'll probably be a few more days after that.
So in addition to Heather coming to see me just about every day -- which are the best visits in the world -- I've seen Tripp, Brown, Brandon, and Kirsten in the last 48 hours. I think Kat-dawg is swinging by this afternoon too. Kirsten brought me (and Heather each) a red RELENTLESS bracelet which I am now wearing with pride. Brown brought me one of my favorite family photos -- a picture of all of us at a baseball game -- along with a nice Grateful Dead poster.
Brandon stopped by to help with a fun task. My brother recently sent me 4 posters -- take three guesses what they are of -- and Brandon helped me hang them up. Actually, he didn't help me, he did it all. Thanks, B!
Lunch just arrived. Let's see... whaddawe got? Woo! Minestrone soup and Mac-n-cheese! I may actually eat quite a bit of this!
OK, give up on the posters? Philly sports, of course! We decided to hang three of the four (sorry, Iggy, you lose, cuz). Here are the pics. Tripp does not like one of these:
With all the family photos and now the sports stuff, my room is finally starting to feel like less of a hospital room, and more like a place where I'm just hangin' out for a while. Big psychological difference there, you know? Great present, BoM, even if it took a couple extra days for them to deliver it (more on that in my next blog post "Annoyances").
Speaking of presents, I just want to give props to some people who sent some pretty cool stuff recently. In addition to the red bracelet, and the posters mentioned above, Sam/Lucy/Adam/Mary pitched in for some awesome noise-canceling headphones. As my etymotic er-6 isolation earbuds are startin to flake out, this gift couldn't have come at a better time. I've always been on the isolation side of the isolation vs. noise-canceling debate, but I gotta say, these Bose sound phenomenal. I'll always want etymotics for certain things, but chilling in a hospital bed is a great use-case for noise-canceling and where the bulk isn't a factor. Thank you, guys.
Next, someone got me the perfect shirt: an old school Superman shirt. Problem is, there was no note, nor was there anything indicating the sender's identification. Soooo, whoever sent it please stand up and take a bow.
Shifting back into philly gear, Eric and Tracy Simon sent a huge Eagles tub (trash can?) filled with all sorts of preserved Philly food (like Tastykakes). Unfortunately, I didn't snap a pic of it before Heather took it up to Marin. Congrats, guys, your present is one of the first things moved to the new house.
Moving on, many of you will be happy to know that I finally made my second trip down to the 5th floor to play the piano. Now that my IV machine is just stuff like fluids and antibiotics (along with the occasional blood and platelets) I can come and go as a please. So after lunch yesterday, I went down and played for a little over an hour.
I gotta say, as far as upright pianos go, this one isn't so good. It's not that it's that badly out of tune -- I mean, it could definitely use a tune -- but it's just not dynamic at all. For example, it's really hard to play quietly without using the soft pedal. A lot of times, I just want to kinda space out and that's hard wihen the instrument doesn't provide the player with dynamics. You know the expression "tickle the ivories?" There's a reason for that. If you want to gently tickle the keys you should be able to. Not here.
Anyway, here's the setlist for those of you keeping score at home. I'm sure some of the titles will look foreign to some of you. Who can figure out what "Beach Theme" is? I know one active follower of this blog that should absolutely know.
jg - 11/19/10 - St. Mary's
Wots ... Uh the Deal >
Backwards Down the Number Line >
Here Comes Sunshine
Beach Theme >
Breathe Reprise >
The Great Gig in the Sky
Us and Them >
Any Colour You Like
Brain Damage >
So Far Away
Despite the fact that my PICC line kept tugging at my arm, and that people were coming and going, talking, working, what have you, I felt like I played ok. The Dark Side stuff is definitely my favorite to play right now.
I was going to author another section on some of the annoyances that have occurred here over the last week or so, but I think I'll save that for a separate post. For now, I'll close with these two pics of a huge rainbow that shone over San Francisco this morning. While Kat-dawg's picture is better overall:
Dave's pic shows the rainbow ending right at St. Mary's Hospital:
That's pretty sweet if you ask me.
I will kick its ass,