Saturday, November 29, 2008

Nice Little Saturday!

I love to say that there isn't a whole lot to report on...Today was great. I think we have found a great drug combination. I had a high level of energy today and was able to do some things around the house. I sure hope that when I go off the zofran I keep this energy. I am very tired now, but I was fairly active today.

Isabella is changing fairly dramatically these days...she is discovering her hands and feet and is starting to be able to handle things. I haven't been able to handle her for 2 days because of chemo so I am really looking forward to tomorrow.

Isabella haning onto a rattle and shaking it...seems like a small thing...but it isn't!

Perfect light....

Had to get another....

Very happy in Great Grandma's arms!

My cousin Graham trying to hide behind Isabella!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Post Chemo #3

Today went well.

I really started to feel like crap last night around 7pm, but was able to take some Adivan and Gravol and get to sleep for about 11pm. I was awaken at 9am by Diletta with my morning cocktail of drugs! Pariet, Prednisone, Emend and Zofran. I then took an Adivan at 11 because I was starting to feel nauseated, than a Prednisone at lunch. I took a hard nap at 2 and woke up at 4 to get my neupogen shot (did it myself), another Adivan at 6 and finally, my zofran at 9pm.

All in all I feel pretty good, just tired.

Short and Sweet - Ciao!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Chemo #3

Today went very well. I had not problems with any of the drugs, which is for the detailed version:

I started this morning by taking the Emend (anti-nausea medication) at 8am. My grandma and I got to the hospital for about 8:20 and headed up to the waiting area outside the chemo room. We didn't get in until about 9:30 and started the drips at about 9:45. While the first saline drip was going I took my pills (Prednisone, tylenol, zofran and benadryl). At around 10 they started with the Rituximab.

With the Rituxan, the normal course of action is to take the first dose slow (like during my first chemo) to see how the reactions go. My firstchemo session, during the Rituxan, I got an itchy throat and hives. During the second chemo, I reacted just slightly, so they slowed it down. So I thought that for today the would speed it up and it would only take 90min - but they didn't, so this adds about 2hours to the treatment. This is fine by me as I would rather be cautious.

Around noon I took more tylenol and benadryl. So far today I have taken 9 drugs and will take 1 more tonight (either gravol or Ativan).

So i thought all was going well..until about 6:30 - now i feel like crap. headache, nausea and more. I'm off to take drugs and go to bed.

Awesome pics!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chemo #3 Tomorrow

The appointment went well with Dr. Hamm...but it was a reminder of how shitty this is.

Diletta and I showed up at the cancer center around 9:45 and there were no parking spots. Diletta had to drive to the other side of the hospital (to the main entrance) to park.

When I first go into the cancer center I check in at the front desk where they hand me my appointment forms and a form to fill out what testing I have had done, if any, and to list what concerns I have for my doctor. I then go upstairs to Dr. Hamms office where I drop off my forms at her front desk. Then to the waiting area.

For today, after I checked in at the first front desk, I went to get my blood work done. There was only 1 person in line and it went quickly.

I was called in for my appointment around 11am and finally got to meet Pam, Dr. Hamm's regular nurse who has been off for some time. We talked for a bit to discuss my concerns and to see how I was doing. She spent about 20min with Diletta and I. She is great and was able to straighten out a few things and help me with getting some more reports.

Then Dr. Hamm came in...apparently she has found my blog. I had actually assumed that she had read it before. She didn't say too much, but did mention that Isabella is beautiful! I also told her that my family calls her 'Hammy' - hahahaha.

So, about the questions that I had for her:

  • 8 treatments instead of 6 - She started answering by saying 'good question' - and then proceeded to tell me what the research says and handed me a summary of the research. To summarize, nobody has really studied whether 6 is better than 8 is better than 12. She feels that 8 is fine and may have considered doing 6 CHOP-R's and then 2 Rituximabs + the maintenance Rituximab, but we will wait and see what happens after the 6 treatments. As per an email from a fellow Follicular NHL'er - I asked about the effectiveness of Rituximab over time and whether or not it decreases - she told me that there is NO evidence of the effectiveness decreasing. If that were the case then continuing with the maintenance Rituximab would not be an option. So, we are sticking with 8 and I feel comfortable with this. However, to consider will be what I asked next;

  • CT scan of my head, neck and chest, Gallium and MUGA testing schedule - I will get all of these tests in early January. The CT scan and Gallium to see the activity of the cancer. This will tell a lot. We will be hoping for decreased activity. I asked what would happen if there was no activity - would that change the treatment plan - No it would not. We will proceed with the next 2 chemo sessions and then get the PET scan done and go from there.

  • Dr. Gascoyne at the BC Cancer Agency - she is going to set up the referral. No problem! Woooo Whoooo.

  • Blood Count Judy had told me, my WBC went up to 53.3 (normal is 3.6 - 11.0)and my Neutrophils went up to 42.6 (normal is 2.0 - 7.5) and they are now at WBC = 3.0 and Neutrophils = 1.4. The key to remember here is that the neupogen shots did their job and likely protected me from getting sick during the down time and now my blood counts, although low, are good enough to get my chemo tomorrow.

  • Drugs - I am going to try Zofran instead of Kytril and Adovan instead of Stematil/Gravol.

So, after Dr. Hamm I went to check out and get my next appointments. Then to the pharmacy to pick up my drugs, and then to the pathology department to drop off my slides and arrange for them to be sent to BC Cancer Agency. They will send them via Canada Post for free, but you can pay to have them Purolated. Based on my previous experiences, I don't want to feel stressed at all so I paid to have them sent out West.

That pretty much sums everything up.

Tomorrow is Chemo #3 - so wear your shirts if you got em.

P.S. If you want a shirt, let me know and we can arrange something.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2 more days...

It is nice to not have anything to write about, cancerly speaking. However, I find that I am starting to dread the 10 days following Chemo Day. I can't believe that I have 6 more sessions to go...Ug. Time is moving fast and slow...

I have an appointment with Dr. Hamm tomorrow morning at 10am. I plan to ask her about getting a referral for Dr. Gascoyne (pathologist at BC Cancer Agency), the reason for 8 cycles of CHOP R, the 10 shots of Neupogen for my blood counts (I don't need that many), check my blood counts, the 5 post chemo spinal taps...and anything else that I think of leading up to the appointment.

I also plan on picking up my prescriptions tomorrow morning (all 6 of them), maybe dropping off my slides (if I can get Dr. Hamm to refer me to Dr. Gascoyne), speaking to someone about the computer kiosks and the chairs.

Other than all of that, I have to mentally prepare for the next 2 weeks. I felt nauseated today and I think it just purely based on stress. Crazy.

My aunt Kym and Grandma are coming from Cobourg to help Diletta and I for a few days.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

All is Great.

I love the fact that I have nothing 'cancer-related' to report on. Just a good ol' weekend! So...of course...more pics!

Saturday Night Isabella and I watched the hockey game...Diletta took this picture before the game...
And this picture after the game...


Friday, November 21, 2008


All is great with me so I thought I would share some pictures from the Ladies Night out and the Jim Cuddy Band Concert.

Just before the Ladies Night Out dinner - my family and I were able to meet with The Jim Cuddy Band!

The event took place at "Meet at 66 King" in is a picture of the room prior to being filled with Ladies!

A few ladies enjoying their wine and gifts.

4 beautiful ladies...from left to right, my cousin Kahley, my wife Diletta, my mom and my aunt Kathy.

Me with 3 very beautiful and amazing ladies. From left to right, Lynn, Chris, me and Diane.

Me giving my speech to about 150 people. Apparently it was the best one I had ever done.

My cousin Kahley giving her speech to about 500 people...she said she was very nervous, but the way she spoke you couldn't tell. Again, she did amazing!

The Violinist - she really knew how to play that thing.

Jim Cuddy Belting out a tune.

This picture will give you an idea of how large the crowd was...This picture looks like it was taken when Kahley was speaking...and the two below when the band was a rockin.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wow What A Night...

Wow Wow Wow...

Tonight was the Ladies Night Out event and the Jim Cuddy Band Concert for our foundation - The Clay Elliott Scholarships Foundation. And holy crap it was amazing.

I am not really able to be around people I have to be very careful about getting sick. BUT, I went to the ladies night out and gave a small speech thanking the 120 beautiful ladies and to stress the importance of having the right attitude (I consider myself an expert now) and to ask them for money. I kind of snuck in and snuck out so that I wasn't 'exposed' to too many people. A huge thank you to Lynn and Diane who worked so hard to make this night happen. We had at least 30 volunteers help out too...thank you thank you thank you. My speech went very well and I had a lot of great comments after.

Then, I went over to the Park Playhouse Theater to see the concert. I hung out upstairs with the A/V and sound guys to watch it. There were 500 people there and it was freaking unbelievably fantastic. WOW. My cousin Kahley started off by giving a speech about the foundation, the importance of attitude - and she nailed it. I have never seen her speak so well. She was right on cue and impressed all 500 people. We also had a past scholarship winner speak about how the foundation helped her out (she won in 2005 and is now working in her field in the area). We had a slide show going highlighting the foundation and a looping video highlighting the past scholarship winners. We gave everyone in the crowd an Attitude pin and Kahley, in her speech, explained to each of them that they have to wear it on their right side so that they have the Right Attitude. I'll say it again, she nailed it! 500 people.

At the end of the concert, the entire crowd was up dancing. It was a perfect ending to a perfect night. I am guessing that we raised around $20,000 tonight...I'll report later on how well we did.

I feel great and what happened tonight was great for my soul.


I should have known better...

...things tend to always work out for me. They found my slides and my blood counts are through the roof.

Erin from Windsor Pathology called me this morning to tell me that Lena (international center at karmanos) had called her to say that they had found my slides. Awesome...I then called Lena back to find out where they were...and she told me that Pathology had called her to say that they found them. So, they were in the Pathology then I page Dr. RM's nurse (the one that was adamant that they mailed them) to be sure that they weren't looking anymore (...and maybe to see what she had to say)....she called me back a while later and was very nice (of course) and apologetic. She said that when we got off the phone yesterday that they decided to look some more (but i thought they mailed them????) and made a call to pathology...and found them.

Anyways, so my brother in law went to pick them up and all should be good!

Then, early this afternoon, I got a call from the cancer center (I had left another message this morning for the nurse to call me) saying that my blood counts were all fact, they were really high. My White Blood Cell counts were around 42 (pre chemo they were 7 and normal is between 4-11) and my platelets something like 4300 (not 100% sure how high that is but normal is between 2.5 and 7.5 - so I'm guessing that the 4300 is really 43). Anyways, this doesn't mean that I don't have to worry about getting sick...but that I don't have to be AS worried. She also said that Dr. Hamm will adjust the neupogen shots accordingly for next time.

So Diletta and I decided to head to Cobourg - which is where I am writing from right now, my mom's living room. I am still going to stay away from people to ensure that I don't get sick - but it is nice to be home.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Another Great Monday.

What a frustrating day... which is the last thing I need.

I went to get my blood work done around 10am...I went in to the blood clinic and dropped off my health card. As I suspected, there was at least 10 people who were in front of me so I ran upstairs to drop off my neupogen package (all my used needles, containers and the package they came in), ordered my drugs for my next chemo session and I also dropped off a package of old drugs. The pharmacy there is running a program to properly get rid of old drugs, apparently you shouldn't flush any medications down the toilet...never considered this before. Anyways, I then went into the chemo treatment area to speak with Sheila about the computer workstations and chairs....She was very excited. She wanted me to speak with the people that are in charge of donations and such, so she got on the phone to see if they were available and I went back downstairs to get my blood work done. I was down there for about 10 minutes when Sheila came back down to get me because Victoria and Sharon were waiting to speak with me (and Sheila said that she would do draw my blood upstairs in the chemo area). So, I met the two ladies and they too were excited but said that I needed to speak to Lynn who was not in at this it was left that they Lynn would call me in the next couple of days. Sheila then drew my blood and off I went. It was around 11am.

Late last night I got an email from a friend who works in the pathology department (I didn't know she worked there...) saying that she would help me any way that she could with finding my slides. I saw her today at the cancer center working in the blood clinic and I was able to say hi and thank her...

So, after the blood drawing I went to the pathology department to see if my presence could help anything...Ug. So I was able to get in quick and talk with Erin (I believe that she is an administrator). She had spoken with the nurses and Lena from Karmanos. The nurses told Erin that they are 100% positive that they mailed them...and Erin is 100% positive that they have not recieved them. Ug.

Knowing my audience I can't curse and swear as I would like.

So I asked Erin about worst case scenario - what if the slides are lost? Can I get more slides made...she wasn't sure and she said that she would have to go speak to the director. So she came back and said that he wanted to talk to me...ok. So I went in to speak with Dr. Shum who is the Medical Director and Chief of Pathology. Essentially, he just wanted to let me know that there is a chance that if they were to try and make new slides, it may not work. Several reasons; not enough tissue (I had 33 slides which requires a lot of tissue and these were cut from 3 blocks) and the results of how they treat the slides may be different. My discussion with him was at least 15min and much more complicated than what I am typing...What he recommended that I do for when I wanted to deal with Dr. Gascoyne, is to sign out the blocks myself, so that I am responsible, and let Dr. Gascoyne to the slide preparation. I am not sure if this will fly. I'll have to find that out...

So...I went home and paged Dr. Runge Morris's nurse again to see if they had discovered anything. She called me back fairly quickly and we talked for about 10min. Bottom line - they are 100% positive that they were mailed and that there is nothing I can do. She threw out a ton of scenarios and options for me....I could contact the postal office in Windsor because it is waaay different than the one in the US because it is waaaay smaller and it could be just sitting on the shelf (are you kidding me?). Or, it could be sitting on the shelf at the Windsor hospital mail I should go look there. OK I what about the US postal service and the postal office at could just as likely be there...she stumbled on that one and referred back to how small the Toronto office is...yes, she said Toronto. I asked why it would be sitting on a shelf at the post office...she said a wrong postal you're saying you may have written the wrong postal code - stumbled could have been read wrong. Ug.

So who is accountable? and how? .......

Anyways...looks like I'm screwed. I may be totally screwed too because I may not be able to get my slides redone.

So then I called the cancer center to get my blood work results. What happens is that I leave a specific question as a message for my nurse to call me back. This was around 2pm because I know it takes a few hours to get the results and I really don't want to bother them. I waited patiently until 4pm to call them back (because the center is open until 4:30) but my nurse had already left for the day.

More cursing and swearing.

So no blood results. I hope to find out tomorrow.

Other than all the crap today...I feel fine. No head ache or nausea.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lets hope for good Blood Counts!

I sure hope that the Neupogen shots worked and I will have good White Blood Cell and Platelet counts. This will mean that I don't have to be AS worried about getting sick or catching some type of virus/infection. If the blood counts are good I'll likely head home to Cobourg with Diletta and Isabella for a visit (Tuesday to Friday). This will be great! My mom had a designer furnish a baby room for Isabella and she hasn't even seen it yet. It has been done for months and she hasn't even gone in to take a there will be a big un-veiling.

Also, the Ladies Night Out (LNO) event is happening in Cobourg. This is a fundraising event that has happened for the past 3 years as a benefit for Attitudes For Education - The Clay Elliott Scholarship foundation, of which I am the chairman. If you are not familiar and would like to be, please visit here: . In addition to the LNO there is a benefit concert for the foundation the same night ... to be put on by the Jim Cuddy Band (from Blue Rodeo). WOW - this is huge! This is going to be an amazing night - 400 people that will be exposed to our foundation and the great entertainment of Jim Cuddy (I bought a Best of Blue Rodeo CD a month back and have been listening to it in the car). We will likely make about $10,000, but we also hope to dramatically increase the awareness of the foundation and the scholarships that we provide. There have been radio and newspaper ads running for the past couple of weeks. I doubt that I will attend either (too risky to be exposed to sick people) - but I am very much looking forward to seeing some people and maybe driving by to see everyone going in.

When I was getting my last group of chemo drugs I was talking to one of the nurses, Sheila, and she is working on getting some new computer workstations at the cancer center. When I say working on, I mean trying to raise money to buy - She works as a nurse and is trying to raise money to make the Cancer Center better. Very cool. They want to set up 2 kiosk's for patients to research cancer topics. They plan on having reputable websites bookmarked for patients to search, read and print. This is very important for many reasons; there is a lot of bad information on the Internet; people that do not have computers or Internet access; older people that are not sure what they are looking at, etc etc. I have spoken with a friend of mine, Shannon, at Working Environments Inc ( a company here in Windsor that sells desks, chairs and such) about height adjustable/wheel chair accessible desks and she is going to get me a great deal. I would also like to see if I can get someone/company to donate computers, printers and other accessories.

Another thing that bugged me about the chemo treatments were the chairs for my family beside the bed. Being an Ergonomist, I can't let this go. They were hard and uncomfortable. I sent an email to Shannon at Working Environments regarding this as well...Shannon will likely help me a ton! I'm not sure about paying for I may end up trying to raise money or talking to the manufacturers. We'll see...I plan on talking to Sheila tomorrow to see where things are at on her end.

Finally, one other thing that I did was get in contact with the Lymphoma Foundation Canada ( ) . I did this because they have 2 things I am interested in...first is the support groups that they have set up in various city's....why not Windsor? I'll see if I can help with this. Also, the money that they raise appears to go to some great initiatives. The have a "know your nodes" education program (this is very important for early detection), a fantastic resource manual (that I found myself) and they provide research fellowships for research. I have reviewed their website and like what I see. You may remember that I was questioning where all the money goes for cancer research...for this organization, it appears to be very transparent (I read their financial statements).

Just because your body slows doesn't mean that you mind has to. But don't worry Mom, Grandma, Aunts, Uncles, cuz's, etc....I won't over do it. Promise.

If anyone reading this has any ideas of how they can help...please contact me!

Let's hope for good blood counts!


Friday, November 14, 2008

I was stabbed 5 Times today....

A much better night and day!
I apologize again for complaining so much yesterday...but I am trying to be as honest and detailed as I can.

Today was good...I had a few bouts of nausea and very minor headache. I feel about 90% and will likely be 100% by Sunday! I can't wait. I think that this chemo session has prepared me even more for the next 6. I have read some other peoples experiences with similar treatment and they too were experiencing a 9-10 day symptom cycle.
If you've been reading my blog, you'll know that Diletta has had a bit of a hard time giving me my needles. Well today was the worst one yet. She ended up sticking me about 5 times before she gave up. Luckily, Val (her sister) was her to help out. I'm not sure what we are going to do about the next 2...I might have to do it myself.
Some bad news regarding my slides...seems as though they are lost. This is not good. I've spoken to Dr. Runge Morris's two nurses - ( Dr. RM is the Karmanos Oncologist that I handed my slides to) and Erin at the Windsor Pathology Department and neither have my slides. Dr. RM's nurse told me that she mailed them to Windsor Regional at least a month ago, about the same time that she mailed me my CT scan and Xray CD's. I got my CDs at least a month ago. Not sure what to do...

I am not going to post Saturday but will Sunday...have a great weekend!

...a few more pics...Isabella had great hair today!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Last night SUCKED

This will be a lot of complaining. Sorry.
Last night sucked. I made another mistake. I was going to head to bed for about 12 last night and had planned on taking some gravol to help me - as per the usual. Around 11:30 I heard Isabella crying upstairs - for longer than usual. Diletta has a nightly routine where she bathes, feeds and puts Isabella to bed...but she kept crying. So I go upstairs and the crying is getting louder as I get up the stairs...odd...I see Isabella in her crib crying without I rush into Diletta's room and turn on the reaction...I go over to the bed and grab Diletta...she wakes up - but looks like DEATH. I go back to Isabella's room and pick her up. Back to Dil's room and turn off the light and tell her to go back to sleep until Isabella needs to feed, which Diletta has to do.
I go back down stairs and hang with Isabella so that Dil can sleep. Diletta comes down around 3am and I have a crazy ass head ache, nausea and stomach ache. But I know that Diletta needed some peaceful sleep so I pushed through it.
I took a gravol and went to bed. What a horrible night. I was up many times and tossing and turning with a crazy headache. It felt like I was wearing a hockey helmet that wast too tight and someone kept tightening it - I had never had a whole head headache. Freaking sucked. That and the nausea and stomach aches...then came bone pain in my legs. That too was a first. I got up at 9ish and felt the same...more drugs and back to bed. I woke up at 1pm feeling a bit better, but still with a headache, nausea, stomach ache and weird pain in my legs. Oh ya...and the tips of my fingers are numb.

Holy Complaining. I am sure this will get better in a few days. I would hate to feel what my symptoms would be like right after chemo without all the anti-nausea drugs. I don't know if I could do it.
Anyways, it will get better. Now for pictures:


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wasted Wednesday...

I guess that I am just going to have to get used to nausea. I've had it for pretty much the whole day...combined with a headache. Ug.

I ended up taking the 2 gravol last night to get to sleep...worked fantastically, but I woke up very groggy and had to go get my blood work done in a rush because Diletta had an appointment at 11. All worked out well.

I called the Windsor pathology department today to find out if my slides were in and to see what I had to do to get my slides sent to the BC Cancer Agency. They didn't have them. ???? It has been about 5 weeks...that is odd? So I called Karmano's to see when (or if) they were sent to Windsor...and sure enough, they don't even know where they are. I hope this doesn't get ugly. I know that I have backup specimens in Windsor (so they told me) - but the slides are not prepared and I don't know what it would take to get more done...Cynthia from Karmano's pathology is going to call me tomorrow...She has to look through the piles for them. What the heck does that mean?

Diletta did my shot again today...and AGAIN stabbed me pre-maturely. Thank goodness it didn't hurt.


Wasted Tuesday?

The prednisone kept me up until 4am...I woke up at around 9 feeling crappy. Diletta made a great breakfast but then the nausea started...I went back to bed around 1pm, but my mind was racing.

I took a gravol at 2pm to get rid of the nausea (kinda worked) waited until 3pm to try and sleep so Diletta could give me my neupogen shot (she did pretty good this time...but still had 2 pre-stabbings). I fell asleep at 4pm and woke up at 7pm - feeling like crap again. It is a weird feeling that is difficult to describe. The nausea kicked in around 8pm so I took a Stematil - which only kind of worked - but, it doesn't really make me drowsy like it is 1am and I feel like I'm boiling and gonna vomit. So, I'm going to take 2 gravol and hit the sack.

See what I mean by 'wasted Tuesday'?

I hope tomorrow is better and that I have good blood counts.


Monday, November 10, 2008

November 10


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I started the ball rolling with getting Dr. Gascoyne to review my slides. I have now heard from another source that he is not only THE top lymphoma pathologist in Canada, but also a world renowned lymphoma pathologist. What I am really after is clarification with the Grading. I have also heard more about Follicular NHL transforming...this worries me a bit. So, staying on top of this is important.

I also called the doctor to discuss whether or not I should get a flu shot...I was called back and the nurse told me that I could get one about 1 week before my next chemo. I plan on waiting for my blood counts on Monday November 17th to make a decision. If high, yes...if not, no.

I screwed up just like last chemo drug session - I forgot to take my Prednisone at lunch today. So I took it about 45min ago...I hope I'm not up all night. Diletta and I got focused on my Neupogen shot and I completely forgot about taking it. Idiot. I could blame it on what they call "Chemo Brain" ... but nope. I typed out a freaking calender listing the drugs to take and at what I'm just an idiot.

Also, tonight I had a bout of hit me around 7pm and is still kind of lingering...that sucks. Just a constant feeling of "I'm about to barf" ... damn.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Good Weekend....lots of Pictures!


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Thankfully, not a lot to report...

Friday night went very well. I woke up again in the middle of the night feeling nauseated, but just tried to get back to sleep without drugs. Probably wasn't the best decision, but it worked. I woke up around 7:30am, had some cereal and watched TV for an hour and then went back to bed...until 12:30!!! That is at least 12 hours of sleep and I don't feel guilty. My body needs to work. The only bad thing was likely the lack of water intake...

What woke me up was a phone call around noon...I went downstairs at 12:30 and the nurse from comcare had called and wanted to come at noon. My mom was the one who answered the phone and didn't really know I called them back and tried to get a hold of the nurse who was to come for the visit (the nurse was coming to help us with the Neupogen shot). Anyways, so the nurse called me back about at about 1pm and wanted to come then...I said no. I was given pretty specific instructions from my doc and nurses that I was to take the shots 24hrs apart, which means that I am to take them at about 3pm each day. She said that there was a lot of paper work and that I could take the shot an hour earlier or later ... and it wasn't a problem. Ummm...NO. Come at 2:30 and I'll take the shot at 3pm. ...but there is paper work and ... NO, come at 2:30 and I'll take the shot at 3pm. OK..bye.

Made me feel like I was interrupting her Saturday...sorry, but deal with it.

So, she shows up and has an OK attitude (by the end she was great...we just had to charm her a bit). The paper work took about 20min and then we started with the shot. So, the purpose was for the nurse to show Diletta how to do it...It seems like it should be simple, but it is kinda freaky. Diletta got the needle all prepared....take the vile out of the container, open the vile, wipe it off with the alcohol pad, get the syringe out, get the needle out, attach the needle to the syringe, pull 1.6 of air into the needle and press that into the vile, turn it upside down and let the vile fill the syringe, flick the air out of the syringe and fill the syringe with 1.6, pull the needle/syringe out, wipe area on Jeff to be STABBED, pinch the skin with forefinger and thumb and STAB Jeff...ok... now for the hard part. Diletta decided to do a little test stab. hahahah. This hurt a bit...a little prick in and out...ooops. A couple of deep breaths and she was able to do it. Finally.

The main concern for me with the side effects of this drug is the bone pain. I have been through quite a bit of pain in my low back in the past and don't really want to feel any more...but apparently I am going to have to. I am getting pain in my low back, but it is more dull and spread out. To review, the neupogen shot works to increase the creation of the white blood cells, which occurs in the bone marrow and therefore, builds pressure inside the bones. Kind of weird, but glad it feels like it is working.
Saturday night went even better...Diletta went out for dinner at The Keg with Marco/Melissa, Val/John and Rob/Steph while I stayed at home with Isabella and watched the Leaf game! (they won 6-3 against Montreal). I asked Diletta to bring me home some Sliders (these are amazingly fantastic little hamburgers) which I wolfed down 2 of them (only about 2 oz each) just before bed. I woke up with a barfy stomach but couldn't tell if it was chemo or slider lets write it off as slider!

The nurse came again today (last time - the next 7 are solely Diletta's Responsibility - should I be worried???). Diletta pulled it off this time a bit better...she decided to poke me pre-maturely again (revenge?) but it didn't hurt like the first time.

Other than that...all is great!

Now for Picture overload:


Friday, November 7, 2008

Post Chemo #2

Soooooooo much better than last time.

I took the Kytril at 8pm and then the Stematil at 8:30. I was feeling very crappy but was able to eat and drink. I went to bed around 10:30 and fell asleep within and hour. I woke up at 4am and took two Gravol and woke up at 10am. I ate breakfast (fantastic banana and blueberry pancakes that my wife has mastered) and then took my Prednisone and Pariet. I went back to bed at around noon. I felt pretty good but I know that I have to take it easy - so I chilled out and tried to watch a movie. I ended up falling asleep and was woken at 2:20 to go to the cancer centre for my neupogen shot.
The nurse showed Diletta and I how to do it and it seems like no might be a bit freaky for her, but she can do it. A nurse that the Community Care Access Centre set up will be coming to help/show/do it. So we have a back up. We could arrange to have one come all 10 days, but figure that we will be able to do it.

Now, a few pictures!
Diletta and I while I get my chemo. The drugs that I get through my port-a-cath are 'hung' on the pole on the left. The nurse programs the flow rate and timing. If I need to go to the bathroom I unplug the machine (it has an internal battery) and I roll it into the bathroom. The machine on the right is for checking my heart rate, blood pressure and amount of oxygen in my blood. This is checked quite frequently...I'd say every 30min or so.

Graham, my cousin, at his condo in Toronto:

Kym and Brian, my aunt and uncle, I think they were somewhere in Toronto:

Kate, my cousin, in PEI just before her hockey game (which she won - she's THE goalie):
I know that the rest of my family wore their shirts and I thought of that often. It really meant a lot! Thanks.

I wish I would have got everyone to take time!