Sunday, March 29, 2009

Your Basic Update...

I think that right after absorbing the good news of being in remission I hit the gym/life a little too hard and fast. After about 2 weeks of being super active (squash, hockey, working out, house stuff, waking up at night) I was exhausted. But not my normal (pre-cancer) exhausted. I was getting a bit depressed and I was finding it difficult to get my energy, I've taken the past 3 days off from hitting the gym and will take the next 4 days off too. This was pretty difficult considering that there was a big squash tournament this weekend - with some good friends and all the people from the league I play in playing. I love to play and compete and hated missing it. But, I am better off for missing it....

Anyways, we are doing great and slowly making the adjustments...

Isabella turned 6 months on March 24th and is now eating rice cereal, a bit of banana, rolling from front to back and back to front, she is able to pick up her soother and put it in her mouth...and is constantly saying, in a very soft little voice "mamamamamamamamamama".

Diletta is starting to get some more sleep now that I am getting up in the middle of the night to feed Isabella. However, Diletta, out of habit, is still getting up...This morning I got up at 5:30 to feed Isabella and then I put her back down to bed...she was still a bit alert and making typical little baby noises...Diletta heard this, got up, went downstairs and made a bottle and brought it back up ... only to realize that this had already just been done by me...

P.S. There is a delay in the blog being sent out...for some reason there is about a 2 day delay...I have researched it and can't find a solution...and there are no responses to my emails.



Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I thought I would put together a 'numbers' summary of all the drugs, drug costs, tests, time and blog/internet. If you know me well, you know I like to count - hahaha.Check it out:


  • Rituxan - 10,500Mg - and lots more coming!
  • Prednisone - 10 pills @ 50Mg each X 6 sessions = 3000Mg
  • Cyclophosphamide - 750Mg per dose for 6 doses = 4500Mg
  • Doxorubicin - 300Mg - this was given for 6 cycles at 50Mg each. The therapy limiting dose for this drug is around 500Mg - at which point the risk of congestive heart failure increases. This is one of the major reasons for only doing 6 cycles.
  • Vincristine - 10Mg - nasty drug. The first 4 cycles was 2Mg and the last 2 were 1mg each. The major difference I noticed was the tingly feeling in my fingers.
  • Cytosar - 500Mg given in 100mg doses - this drug is given via Lumbar Puncture
  • Mystery Drug - given via lumbar puncture once - I do know that the following drug was taken in addition to it...
  • Leucovorin - 5Mg - These were taken in pill form every 6 hours 4 times starting 24 hours after my 5th lumbar puncture to counteract the drug that was injected. Very odd eh?
  • Ativan - This is a fairly common drug for anxiety - but it is also good for nausea. I tried to take as few of these as I could. Dr. Hamm was reluctant even giving it to me because of its addictive nature...
  • Emend - excellent drug - I started taking this during my 2 cycle and I think it made a huge difference. Mainly for nausea. I took one in the morning on the day of my chemo and then one that night and the next night.
  • Stematil - as needed for nausea.
  • Zofran - taken the day of chemo and the next two nights for nausea.
  • Pariet - to protect my stomach from all the drugs.
  • Kytril - This was replaced by the Emend after the first week.
  • Benadryl - given during every chemo cycle to prevent reactions to the rituxan (and it really relaxed me and made me tired during chemo)
  • Gravol - I took a lot of help with the nausea and to help me sleep. Generally speaking, I took it every day for 10-20 days post chemo. A few nights I took 2 - but that really knocked me out and I was very groggy in the morning.
  • Extra Strength Tylenol - I normally don't get headaches...but I got a lot of them during this.
  • Neupogen -1.6Mg X 30 shots - My second chemo cycle I took 1 shot daily for 10 days ... the 3rd - 6th I took 1 shot every other day for 10 days.

Drug Costs (all are estimates):

Estimated Costs of the over the counter drugs is $12,000. This does not include the Chemo Drugs Rituxan, Cyclo, Doxo or Vincristine...

  • Rituxan costs around $4,000 per dose, I have received 8 so far and will get 8 more = $64,000. I have read that the cost is between $3,000 and $8,000 per 'treatment'.
  • Vincristine is about $40/Mg - I had a total of 10Mg = $400.
  • Doxorubicin costs about $100 per 50Mg - for a total of $600.
  • Cyclophosphamide - 4,500Mg @ about $100 per 50Mg for a total cost of $9,000.

Total: $95,000


3 - CT Scans
2 - X-Rays
1 - PET scan
2 - MUGA Scan
1 - Bone Marrow Aspiration
6 - Cerebral Spinal Fluid (lumbar puncture/intra-thecal)


  • 161 Days - from diagnosis to the day I was told "Remission" - That might be a record?


  • 110 Blog Posts
  • 43 Blog Followers
  • 83 Blog Subscribers
  • 23,684 Page Views
  • 2,228 Number of Unique Visitors to the blog
  • 34 Number of Countries Represented
  • 425 Number of Cities (top 10 cities: 2951-Windsor; 1343 Toronto; 645 Cobourg; 294 Ottawa; 247 London; 244 Whitby; 194 Vancouver; 188 Kitchener; 156 Etobicoke; 140 Burlington)


  • 140 - Shirts Sold
  • $3,974.52 - Money raised from Shirt Sales
  • $4025.00 - Additional Money Donated
  • $8,074.52 - Total Money Donated to the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre for use in the new Patient Resource Rooms


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thank You!!!

Hi Everyone...All is pretty good in the Casey household these days! I have been getting back to the gym to workout with a personal trainer, playing squash 1-3 x's / week and I am still playing hockey 1x / week. I am a lot more tired post playing than I am used to - but I suppose that I will get closer to normal as time goes on. My energy levels are waaaay higher - and at times I feel they are greater than pre-cancer. But, more tired post I think I will have to monitor myself a bit more and take it a bit easier...(but I likely won't).

I have a few more shirts that I would like to sell - I have about 10 left over - so if you didn't order one you would really be helping out by donating a bit more money to the cancer center. Please just email me at - Thanks!

I have hired a blog-book designer to help me put all of this into a book format that I can easily load up to blurb for publishing - as soon as I have got that done I will post on here for people to order. The reason I am offering this is that a few people have expressed interest in getting a if you are interested, I will let you know.

Diletta and I are starting to 'move on' with our lives by booking vacations and other plans for the future that we weren't able to 2 weeks ago. It feels great to make some plans, but some decisions have still been difficult because of an impossible-to-get-rid-of feeling that cancer is still around. This will decrease over time - and I can't wait.
Now to the point of this post - Thank You.

Thank you to everyone that prayed, thought, e-mailed, called, commented, smiled, visited, cooked, baby-sat, joked, injected, prescribed, shipped, sent, hugged, donated, and bought for me and my family.

To my Family - Diletta, Isabella, Mom, Grandma, Kathy, Paul, Kahley, Erin, Kym, Brian, Graham, Kate, Marisa, Marco, Melissa, Val, John & Hallie!

To all the medical staff that helped me - Dr. Hamm, Dr. Ling, Dr. Warwarak, Pam, Debbie, Sheila, Donna, Maggie, Anna, Marg, Diane, The chemo nurses, the pharmacy, the booking staff, the blood clinic, Joanne, the registration staff and all the volunteers.

To Everyone that bought a shirt: Fed, Dante, Kristina, Caley, Stef, Don, James, Nick, Julie, Ruja, Tripun, Chuck, Gord, Ange, Abe, Mona, Andrew, Jeff, Cheryl, Graham, Gwen, Bob, Grandma, Marco, Melissa, Bello Metal Recycling, Rob, Steph, Chris, Chrystal, Adge, Susan, Frances, Brenda, Jeff, Laura, Marv, Joe, Moe, Ryan, Josh, Dana, Kelly, Justin, Miguel, Joel, Leo, Rosa, Fab, Dave, Blair, Albert, Lindsay, Melissa, Dave, Dora, Angelina, Anna, Tawny, Tony, Sherri, JP, Chris, Krissy, Dayna, Cathy, Mark, Lori, Shannon, Mike, Deidre, Sabrina, Bruna, David, Gratsiano, Denise, Phil, Justina, Jodie, Connor, Tim, Diletta, Mike, Phil, Syed, Alex, Scott, Nadia, Jamie K, Jamie M, Max, Greg, Ric, Doug, Jenny, Dave, Tanya, Diane, Mike, Steve, Scott, Chris, Gavin, Kristy Lee, Joanne, Mike, Sheri and Andrew.

To everyone that donated Money: Joanne, Jeff R, Brenda, Karen, Austin, Kathy & Paul, Dave, and Abe.

The TCS crew that did a combination of bought shirts and donated money: Kevin, Andrew, Peter, Sarah, Karim, Courtney, Scott, Heather, Tamara, Tom, Chris, Scott, Peter, Craig, Ryan, Steven, Graeme, Marc, Mike, Jamie, Sheila, Denise, Jeff, Mark, Austin and Danny.

All the people that joined Team Casey on Facebook - All 354 of you!
All 84 people that follow the Blog.

All 2,228 people that visited the Blog.

...and anyone else that I might have missed. If I was in contact with you ... I thank you!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Done Done Done!!!!!


I can not accurately describe how it feels. Tears come to my eyes often thinking about what I don't have to worry about - as odd as that sounds. You often hear the term "weight lifted off your shoulders" - doesn't do it justice. I have a new step, brighter eyes, bigger smiles, bigger fight...just an amazing feeling. I was able to go out Saturday and not worry...
I'm an Uncle! Or, more importantly, Val and John are parents! Beautiful baby Hallie Veljanovski was born Wednesday, March 11 at 9:30pm! She was 5lbs 15oz - sooooo tiny. So beautiful! An interesting coincidence...Isabella was born the day before I was diagnosed and Hallie was born the day before I was done with chemo.

So, last Thursday I went in for my last Lumbar Puncture and the 8th round of Rituxan as part of my 8 cycle chemo plan. The LP was booked for 9am and Dr. Hamm was called for an emergency and I didn't get the LP until about 11:30am - kind sucked, but at least I got it done...and I almost didn't. It started with the usual injection of freezing and then she inserted the needle (which I found out is a 20 gauge 3.5 inch needle - WOW) to start collecting some fluid (she collects every time to test the fluid) but she wasn't getting much - a little dry (I think she was joking??)...So she pulled out. She said that she will try again in a different location and that if she wasn't able to get any there, that she wouldn't do it - and that she was ok with that. After all, it is just prophylactic anyways. Didn't matter, the second one worked. But man it sucked getting 2 done.

Then on to the Rituxan...I normally get this drug over about 3-4 hours...We decided to push it and see if we could get it done in 90min - which is normal. We did it slower because of the reactions I had in the past. Anyways, they loaded me up with Tylenol and benadryl and then started the problem. As soon as I was able to get up from the LP I went to the bathroom came back and Joanne was there to visit and try some therapeutic touch. Within 2min of getting back in bed I was asleep! Fantastic!

On my way out a few nurses got together and sang a bit of "Happy Last Chemo" hahaha ... and gave me a little bottle of champagne blow bubbles. It was cute.

My plan was to go visit little Hallie (and Val / John) in the hospital attached to the cancer center...walking out of the cancer center I was overcome with emotion and I cried a little and impulsively, I shot the cancer center the finger! hahahah (nobody saw this - but it made me laugh and still does). I wanted to collapse and cry - but I wouldn't let myself - it was harder than I thought.

I've got a few more posts to write specifically about this journey so I will continue on with the blog...

I couldn't pick a favorite....


Monday, March 9, 2009

1 More to GO!

I can't wait to be done with this shit.

I had a lumbar puncture today and Dr. Hamm used a new drug : mexa-idon'tcare-atose. I went in for my appointment at 8:30 to get blood work prior to my lumbar puncture and found out that I wasn't booked for a lumbar puncture. hmmmm....So, I went up to the doctor's office to see what went wrong and to see if I could get it done anyways...sure enough, my nurse Pam said that I was supposed to get the LP....blah blah blah, I went back down and got my blood work done and then made my way up to the chemo center. I didn't get my LP until 11am...out of there by 1pm. Also, Joanne (social worker) came by to visit and we had a good little chat about living with a history of cancer...Sounds good doesn't it - it is history, in the past, gone, see ya...bye bye.

I am really tired and have a slight weird headache. I slept for 1.5 hours post injection and then took a 1.5 hour nap around 5:30...and now I can't wait to go to bed. The only reason I am still up is to write this - I haven't been able to for the past 3 hours because Isabella was sleeping in my arms.

I have a lumbar puncture and a Rituxan on Thursday - my last treatment until June 4th. Wooooooooooo Whoooooooooooooo

P.S. I think that is the first time I have sworn in my blog - but it is called for.
We had some good weather on the weekend and Diletta and I took Isabella for a walk...she had a bit of problems with the wind and sun...but she loved it!


Thursday, March 5, 2009


This is very overwhelming at the moment and very difficult to put into words. We are very excited, scared, happy, worried....but overall, very happy. It is difficult to just turn off all the worry and anxiety - but I know that eventually it will go away.

So, celebrate with me tonight in whatever way you can!

P.S. There will be a party to celebrate - I'll let you know!



Tuesday, March 3, 2009

.............Still waiting............

Sooooo Cute!

I don't feel too anxious, but I have to admit that the number of times that the PET scan results crept into my head dramatically increased today.

On Monday they cancelled my LP because of this stupid cold. I have been so cautious over the past 5 months - likely overly cautious (if that is possible) - but I slipped a little at my cousin's family get together 2 weeks ago and caught a cold. I hate that this has been delayed at all - essentially it adds a week to the treatment. I am better today, but have had a sinus headache all day - just annoying.

My next LP is on Thursday, the following Monday and then I am not sure when my last one will be...hopefully she will do it next Thursday when I have my 8th round of chemo (lite) - Then I can be done and won't have to go back until June.

I wanted to give all my doctors something special from my family to say thank you. How do you do that? Essentially, I placed my life and family in their hands and they have done a phenomenal job. Words cannot do it justice. If I could say anything, it would be that each doctor, Dr. Warwaruk, Dr. Ling and Dr. Hamm all made me feel safe. I knew when I met each of them that there was something special about them and that I was is the right place to get the right things done. I can't type enough here to get the entire point across...I hope if any of you have a medical issue that your doctors are 1/2 as good as the ones I have had. In addition to my medical doctors, my Social Worker (Joanne) has had a huge impact on my mental well being, which is the biggest part of the battle.

OK - with that said, my hobby is photography and I have a few photographs that I have taken that I really love. The following picture was taken in 2006 at the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. I call it "Family of Elephants" - I had 20" x 30" standouts made of the picture and have so far given one to Dr. Hamm and Joanne (the Social Worker). I plan on finding Dr. Warwaruk and Dr. Ling in the near future.
'Family of Elephants' seems too simple, but the point is that the doctors helped keep my family together - and this picture symbolizes that...

Now for some more pics...

Our extended family decided to wear their Casey Kicks Ass shirts to the Super Bowl!

My mom and Isabella - quite the hat!

Not too sure how I feel about Isabella wearing a Juicy bathing suit....

Trying to eat/suck her toes...just like mom!

A little out of focus...but look at those eyes!

Keep your fingers crossed today!!!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cancer Table = GONE

I only have 2 weeks of treatment left and some big news coming mid-week.

Monday morning at 9am I have a Lumbar Puncture and a meeting with the social worker during the rest period post-LP. I was very surprised at how wiped out I was after the last LP so I plan on taking it easy for the day - maybe 2 - also because I have another LP on Wednesday.

Also, I took the cancer table apart and threw the empty bottles away, put the papers/binders away, got rid of the calendar, etc...felt good. Diletta wanted to burn it all! hahaha.

A friend just sent me a cool Lance Armstrong Commercial - check it out at the link below - I am starting to see Livestrong everywhere:

Some pictures from Belleville and some friends in Sudbury skating in Ottawa on the Rideau Canal.

Have a good week and keep your fingers crossed,