Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cycle Nine - Day 1

Hello y'all, Greetings to PR/B readers. :-)

Good discussion with my onc Dr. Z. Good guy. One has to be ready for surprises in the onc biz - I am getting used to this and made a few mental predictions since my last chemo. I was on the money. The known options were, 1. stop after eight cycles , 2. continue until 12 - and the new one - 3. dump the oxaliplatin and continue until twelve cycles with the old standby 5-FU + folinic acid - acronymically speaking - from FOLFOX-6 to FOLF (version unknown). FOLF was the "old" chemo that did pretty good - no data on that old study - (chemo+surg+rad) vs (surg. + rad + no other chemo as far as I know). Dr. Z said it would take at least an hour to explain all the tradeoffs and studies on dosing FOLF.

So, I went in with the Super88 model also known as the SuperBaBa model since ba is eight in Mandarin Chinese. Ba is a lucky number in Chinese tradition. We got a laugh out of the BaBa model.

Well, I am always one for compromise - Full Monty vs. 70% Monty vs. No Monty. I like to keep my sexy Calvin Klein black underpants on and so I am now on 70% Monty as I write. So now I'm on cycle nine - maybe it is the Super BaBa model after all.

I walked from MGH to home due a fire on the red line and in the rain. Lots of people where doing the same - some walked from South Station to Harvard Square. Umbrellas were selling well. The rain was warm and I rather enjoyed getting soaked. Of course, the sun came out as soon as the umbrellas sold out - one of the few sure things in life (the umbrella guys have some connection to the higher powers). :-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cycle Eight - Day 2

Hi y'all. Well, it's cycle 8. I can't believe it - four months ago I was pretty sure I would not get here. Thanks to Lou, Ellen's hubby, for escorting me to chemo and supporting me. Anyway, to take the load off them - I will likely be looking for the other potential escorts. I do have more people in Beantown to shock with the news.

But one thing I feel completely correct about - this ain't life - it's existence, survival and battle. My equanimity is severely strained - perhaps gone. This brings up a phrase a lawyer (L.B.) of Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston once used in greetings - "How goes the battle?" Old memories flood back. Somehow I associate this with the runner (and Boston Marathon winner) Joanie Benoit Samuelson through a link to her husband Scott who I think was a friend of a hockey buddy, and professional photographer, P. Lincoln C. aka Linc. DP and I met both of them after a she won a 10k in Boston. Small lady, strong legs.

Well, onto technical issues. My oncologist, Dr. Z, thinks I have reached 90% of final curative probability compared to the twelve, yes 12 cycle, protocol. In the spirit of McD oncology, I now have to decide whether to hit myself four more times or a subset of that. It's a real tough decision - increasing the probability of cure vs. increasing the probability of permanent damage - this is a heavy-weight decision. So we are going cycle-by-cycle with the same formula (dose and neut boost).

The warmer weather helps physically. But is has mixed result mentally. I see more people having fun - running, rowing, skating, biking - and I am hooked up to a chemo pump. Feels like I am missing the fun. Since life is finite - and chemo ain't life - the lost time can never be reclaimed - the calculus of long term chemo is more suspect. In that vein, they are giving chemo for longer periods or for "life" - the breast cancer people are far ahead - they give chemo for life - but it must be pretty low on side effects. Dr. Z. , MD & Ph.D. , is organizing a study of chemo , for colon cancer patients, lasting for four years! Wow! and yuck! :-)

Enough for now. Thanks for reading.

Tenth Anniversary of Surgery

It's been ten years since cancer surgery.  I have new camera. :)