The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I believe that one of my previous posts, perhaps the brief one that introduced peripheral neuropathy, touched on the notion that a cancer diagnosis and its subsequent treatments seem to heighten a person's senses. I find myself examining every sensation that I have, and all of the time. For example, I have always been a kind of "heater"... in the way that makes me want to peel off blankets at night, and wear shorts in the summertime. I easily melt when the temperatures get too hot, and humidity makes me very uncomfortable when it is coupled with heat. I am at my most comfortable when I am at the Oregon coast, walking on the beach at about 65 degrees. I would last about three days in the Gulf coast states without the modern convenience of air conditioning (not that I've spent all that much time there, mind you). Even the relatively mild humidity of East coast summers would cause me to lie still and pant for cold drinks (even the frou-frou kind!) Now, though, I find that I am always rubbing my hands together to warm my fingertips, and I still have a down comforter on the bed at night. Sheesh.

I am constantly thinking about my tummy. Through the surgeries and recovery, I have really jumbled up my insides and they are still "settling in" as to regular functioning. I think I have already mentioned that several times. But I find myself CONSTANTLY checking to see, "am I hungry or, just what is THAT feeling?" I am kind of dreading the next treatment because I now know that the chemical balancing act with regard to my bowel is about to start again. I focus a lot on keeping track of how much I drink over a day. And I read that the oxaliplatin is mainly processed by my kidneys, and has a half-life of 16 or so days... That means that the amount of drug in my system has declined to one-half the initial concentration after a little more than two weeks. I am receiving additional drugs every 14 days, though, so the concentration of oxaliplatin will gradually rise over the course of my regimen. I am reminded regularly to drink PLENTY of fluids to help move that stuff along (as they say).

This morning I awoke at 5:04am, having slept all the way through the night for the first time in weeks (I have been waking at least once a night for bathroom stuff). But a bird song announcing the sunrise wiggled its way into my brain and I could sleep no more. After that, I could hear motor vehicles driving somewhere out in our area, and then I started thinking about my day... "Got to organize my work progress for a meeting this afternoon - should I use Powerpoint, or try a simple outline?" "I should get up and make a decent breakfast for myself - pancakes today, or will that be too heavy - maybe I should stick with cereal, even though I know my appetite will crash after tomorrow. I do love the taste of maple syrup on homemade buttermilk pancakes!" And taste is another of the things that chemo is supposed to affect by making things taste metallic. Oh well.

I have read that chemotherapy can affect a person's vision - and that you should NOT go to the eye doctor to correct apparent changes in vision clarity or eye fatigue during the treatments. So far, I have not noticed any changes like this, but I am constantly aware of the possibility. I love to read, and that would be a somewhat difficult side effect for me.

But it's another beautiful day in paradise, and I am glad to be able to greet the sun with my tweeting feathered friend. Gotta remember to check the irrigation system tonight after work, and finish cleaning out the basement too, before my energy and attention turns to processing the important pharmacological soup again. Have a great day, wherever you are!


Anonymous said...

Waking to birdsong--certainly a nice way to begin the day, and the way mine began as well. It is amazing how our bodies respond to various stresses and changes and tell us what they need if we just listen to them. Stay organic!


Boo Rayburn said...

I wondered about the anticipation. It seems like it would be going to the dentist for that second filling when the first was a doozie to get over. I hope things go smooth for you tomorrow.


john said...

I feel the same way about the heat. I would gladly give up one of these 85 degree 85 percent humidity days in chitown for an evening in Oregon, where the temperature actually drops. AC has saved me!!!

The next time you are doing breakfast, throw some bacon in the oven with brown sugar sprinkled on it. 450 for 8 minutes ought to do it. The brown sugar will make your mouth water!

Keep on, keep truckin'.


Anonymous said...

Ed -

Bill just sent me your blog address today. It has been interesting to read. I'm feel for you and I'm happy I didn't have to get chemo after my colon cancer surgery.

Hope all goes well and Bill, Rick and I will hold onto the cribbage board until you feel well enough to get back into the swing of things.