HD TV for the masses

July 29, 2006

A great diversion was going out, researching, and buying an HD TV. I ended up with a 50″ plasma. If I’m going to be stuck at home for any length of time, I might as well watch good TV.

Costco rocks. My friend Mark helped a ton with his pickup truck, and we schlepped the machine to my house. By Saturday the HD TV was fully installed, DirecTV and all. My old-school “wall of television” is gone, off to display an old friend’s nephew’s video games, I guess.

I’m glad I have a new set, now I can fully watch road games and have people over without fear. My teams were losing too many road games on that big ol’ set — the Tuck rule game, Cal road losses, NCAA 1st round ousters, all on that old big TV. Let the new HD TV reign begin! Woo hoo!

DNA breaks apart

July 22, 2006

At some point, the doctors explain what the radiation and chemo are doing. It’s a one-two-three punch combo: chemo hit one week, radiation for five weeks (or so), chemo hit week six. The wikipedia entry on cisplatin talks about what cisplatin does; what I’m told is that all of this treatment effects the DNA of the cancer cells, such they aren’t able to divide.

It’s amazing — everything is targeted at the DNA in the cancer’s nucleus. The cells get one more round of mitosis, but the inherited DNA is so damaged the cells can’t divide anymore. The Chemo does this too, but throughout the body (the radiation is highly targeted). It also makes the cancer cells more sensitive to the radiation that follows.

So that’s what I visualize — the DNA double-helix of the cancer cells and all those ATCG bonds breaking apart. Something cool to think of during the radiation blasts (which doesn’t hurt at all, and the whole radiation process is surprizingly interesting).

He’s baaaaack…

July 19, 2006

By Wednesday I’m back in the office. Making a mess. Creating noise. Setting up a project. Work part time? Hah!

My boss, Mike, is totally awesome through all of this. I’m very surprised at how well I feel — okay, some food tastes icky, but big deal. A week after the first set of Chemo, and I’m pretty much myself again.

So rather than going on disability immediately (which would probably drive me crazy with boredom), I’m still working. I don’t feel 100%, but I’m at least 90%. I’m told things will get a lot worse as radiation continues, and that second hit of Chemo is a doozy. We’ll see…

Wakey Wakey Saturday

July 15, 2006

In retrospect, this first round wasn’t really that bad. I start to wake up on Saturday. I’m still out of it. I hear music and weird noises. Bizarre auditory hallucinations. I’m still messed up.

The funny thing is that I keep having auditory hallucinations so that I think I’m hearing either:

(1) Marching band music — could it be the cal band?

(2) Joe Walsh’s “Life of Illusion” (why, I have no idea)

(3) The instrumental bit from War’s “Low Rider” (a 1975 hit)

(4) The instrumental bit from song where everyone shouts “Tequila!”

What I think is actually happening is that I’m zoning in on weird stuff like the sound of the fan squeaking and the brain is filling in the rest. Hallucinations really aren’t all bad, once you realize you’re hallucinating… I finally give in and start enjoying the free music… :^)

Treatment begins

July 10, 2006

It starts okay… but then gets nasty. Chemo sucks. I’m also doing radiation, which isn’t so bad. More on all of that later.

Chemo briefing

July 6, 2006

The week before the Chemo start is a blurr of more doctors appointments, and the 80 million things to do or not to do. In preperation, I get drugs galore for each possible nasty side effect that might happen. Yowza. I keep asking what about probabilities and percentages and standard deviations for these effects, but the doctors all say “yah, it can happen”. I don’t really know what to expect, but I’m told it’ll be nasty. It’s all a blurr.

I’m in for cisplatinum and 5-FU’s, the latter aptly named, because that’s how many FU’s you want to say to this stuff.. Two sites I found interesting are a UK site on cisplatinum, and an overly medical jargoned wikipedia entry on cisplatinum. The same UK site also has a blurb on 5FUs.

The cisplatinum goes in on Monday and Tuesday… but I need 2 hours of hydration before and 4 hours of hydration afterwards. It’s that nasty. The 5FU stuff goes in a fanny pack and is hooked up to a pump to deliver it over 24 hours a day for four days — hence the need for the port, near the collarbone. Oh, joy.