Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Anybody Get the Number of That Truck?

(Note: edited and new images added below on 4/28)

OK, well maybe it was a very small truck, but it felt like a truck hit me this time. I have waited to update for several days until the steroids got out of my system. I didn't trust what I might write. I have done a fair amount of ranting over in the Cllforum website. I am finally feeling myself again. Wow, they had warned me the effects would be cumulative, but this time really was the pits. I was more fatigued, which I can handle, but the very worst part was that I was SO moody this time right through yesterday. I would go from very, very sad to grumpy to angry to depressed to feeling OK to upset again within what felt like 10 second intervals. I even snipped at my poor, 91-year-old Mom twice this time. Thought I was guarding against that! I bought some chocolate chip cookies and another big bag of M&Ms for her yesterday as an apology. Cookies or chocolate will do it everytime. I felt I better get both.

Sunday I taught my Bible study class in the morning and then I was wiped out for the rest of the day. I went to work Monday morning because I had to have blood work in the morning only a couple of blocks from where I work. I felt like I was swimming in thick pea soup all day. After the blood work, I went down the street to the hospital and visited a former boss whom I greatly respect. She has battled cancer for several years but now it has spread and she is not doing well at all. In fact, on Tuesday she transferred to a hospice facility. After seeing all the cancer patients while waiting for blood work and then visiting with her, my mood only darkened more. I went back to work, but basically, I was just there. Then I left a few minutes early, came home and slept until Cheryl woke me for supper. I usually fix the evening meal, but Cheryl had it all fixed, bless her heart.

Tuesday morning I had to go see my regular doctor because of an ear infection, or more accurately, sinus that is affecting my ears. Today I went to work again and then had to go to my endocrinologist doctor's appointment. Looking at my blood sugar levels, we are a little afraid the steroids are pushing the diabetes out of control toward insulin use. I have to use the insulin when taking the steroid, but it swung wildly this time and didn't really come back to normal. So, for awhile, I will be taking my blood sugar reading before each meal and then two hours after eating and keep a log for several weeks and then fax it over to the doctor. I won't take insulin though unless it is over 200 before eating. However, during chemo week, she adjusted upwards the amount of insulin I am to inject, depending on what the reading is, including injecting starting at a lower reading. So much fun!

I decided not to post Monday's blood report because it really isn't all that accurate for several reasons. First, I took the last steroid Saturday night and that always pushes up the counts and second, with my sinus stuff going on, that pushes up the white count, neutrophils and lymphocytes. So, I don't put much faith in them. WBC more than doubled, lymphs tripled, neutrophils almost tripled. My platelets went all the way up to 122 which would be nice if they stayed there and continued to go up. I won't get excited over any of it and just wait and see what they look like on May 8th, the morning of the next chemo round.

My brother, Bob, is flying in from Ohio next Thursday. It will be good to see him again. Then he is taking Mom back to Ohio with him on the 9th, the day after begining the next chemo. At least I won't subject her to my moods this next round - watch out, Cheryl! I really am sorry to see her leave, but about this time each year she gets anxious to go back north. This time she won't go all the way to NY until July. She lives in upstate NY with my older brother, but his wife, Barb, just had knee replacement surgery last week, so we are going to allow recovery time so there is no added pressure on her. Mom is fine with that and it will be good for her to visit with Bob and his family. Kind of ironic that she came down with my youngest brother, Bill, just before my first chemo round and now she is leaving right after my, hopefully, last round for awhile. At least I was home quite a bit this time so I was able to keep her company, even if I was sleeping or working in on the computer.

David E. made a comment on my last post. He said I mentioned Grumpy, Sleepy, and Doc, my constant companions during chemo weeks.

But David wondered what happened to the other four dwarfs. Well, I did some investigating. Here is what I found:

Dopey - the silliest of the seven and the only one who is completely bald and beardless - he has been around the whole time. I found him when I looked in the mirror.

Sneezy - the one who often has his finger under his nose - well, he is here too. He is the one responsible for my sinus problem and thus my gurgling ear canal. Now he seems to make an appearance more when I am eating. Embarrassing trying to eat with a runny nose! Gross.

Bashful - the one often with his hands clasped behind his back, shoulders raised and eyes cast skyward - darned if I can find him. He keeps hiding, I guess. I haven't seen much of him since high school where he was VERY prominent. He only makes an appearance on very rare occasions.

Happy - the most rotund of them all and always in a good mood. He keeps disappearing every third week when Doc and his buddies, Sleepy and Grumpy show up. They are around that week all the time. Grumpy just parades around like he owns the place. Happy usually at least sticks his head in the door once in awhile, but this time I was really concerned. He seemed to just disappear completely. I started searching for him everywhere. I looked for days, everywhere I could think of. Everytime I thought I found him, it was really Grumpy in disguise.

Well, good news. I found him today. Just as I had suspected, the evil Troll, Prednisone, had kidnapped him and was holding him bound up under the Congress Street Bridge in downtown Austin. The same bridge that millions of Mexican free-tail bats live under. How appropriate, the evil troll had driven Happy batty! I am so glad I rescued him today. I sure missed the little fella. When I got him home, I made him get on the scales. Sure enough, the Evil Troll somehow made him gain another five pounds! I had a long talk with Happy and he told me he would keep his guard up, especially around the 8th of May! The Evil Troll, however, was not destroyed and I know he will be back.

(My apologies to Uncle Walt, may he rest in peace. Sure hope his company doesn't sue me over this.)


Karen said...

So you have an inner mouse and now inner dwarves ... Sounds like you deserve a trip to Disney World! :)

David Arenson said...

It's always good to keep your sense of humor about these things, and I see you have done so -- despite Grumpy's best efforts!

Dan O'Mara said...

Hey John, I'm just getting around to going through emails, website messages etc.. I see you've been having some ups and downs with the steroids. I can attest to their ability to mess you up physically and mentally. I am still going through mood swings even after I've tapered down to 10mg 3 times a week and 5mg 4 times a week. I guess it's one of the necessary evils we have to deal with along this winding road we're taking. Keep up the positive attitude and I'll keep checking back.


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