If you’ll be so kind as to direct your attention to the highly technical medical document at left, you’ll see that I started on Thursday August 20, and that my last day of treatment is Thursday, Oct. 1. I take the chemo pill every day during that period, but the 30 radiation treatments are just Monday through Friday (not including Labor Day), which is why things get spread out a bit more.
So far it’s been pretty free of complications, other than just the increasing fatigue. I get a little dizzy-wiggly from the cumulative effects of the radiation and chemo, and I have a bit more rawness and tenderness around the right side of my head, which is the point of entry for most of the radiation beams. My brother Brian (who’s visiting this week to help out along with our lifelong, hometown buddy David Noland) noticed a bit of puffiness around my right eye as well. I’m not going to worry about that, unless that eye actually falls out or something. But even then, what the hell, I’ll just have a nice conversation starter for future social occasions.
After this first round of treatment is over, I’ll get a one-month break with no treatment at all. I’m going to have another MRI done on Oct. 19 to see how effective the treatment has been in keeping the tumor from returning. Then starting in November, I’ll go on a “maintenance” regime that involves taking the chemo pills just five days each month for an indefinite period of time. At that point, my doctors assure me, I can resume my training regimen for the 2016 Summer Olympics (pole vault, senior brain-cancer-survivor division).
The response of everyone to this blog has been great. I’m really happy I started it now. Just the amount of support I’ve received from friends all over the country is overwhelming and gratifying. I’m reading all the comments, and love being able to have a way to keep in touch with long lost friends from Independence and KC and elsewhere. I’m also getting lots of good-old fashioned cards from others who are too numerous to name. A couple of you have wondered if I even remembered you. And the answer is “Hell yes, I remember every single one of you.” I will do my best to respond to messages individually when I start to get some energy back.
The only blog-related weirdness has been with some of the responses to my “Dick Cheney vs. Bob Dylan” smackdown post. Apparently what started as just a fun and different way of looking at the politics of “patriotism” turned into shark chum for some corners of the blogosphere. It got linked on some Dylan fan sites…and sort of went viral from there and created all this traffic onto this blog. Who knew? There are even a few pro-Cheney folks in that crowd who have come over here to correct the record as they see it. Also a few Dylan hyper-enthusiasts who have helped me fine-tune some of my research with regard to his motorcycle accident as well as his current fighting condition (apparently he keeps himself in pretty good shape these days). Oh well, I guess I asked for it. If you want to read some of their comments you can go back to that post and see for yourself.
My Sentinel pals have continued to keep a steady stream of food and other goodies flowing into the house. So I’m very well taken care of.
To summarize, I am halfway home and still a very happy camper right now — dizzy wiggles and all.