Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"Now Ye Hear Of Endless Bliss"

Towards the end of Leroy Anderson's, "A Christmas Festival," (which you can listen to by clicking on the link) the lower brass of the orchestra begin the tune, "O Come All Ye Faithful," which is then "stolen" by the trumpet section. I say this because when we performed this piece in my high school band, I was a member of the lower brass section and resented that the trumpet section got to take over the melody that we had started rather majestically. When you listen to the piece in the link, you will hear it happen at 7:19 into the piece.

The photos above are "before and after" pictures of a pine tree that sprouted in my yard this summer. When I first noticed it, I immediately made plans for it at Christmas time (with apologies to Charles Schulz) and the photos above are those plans come to fruition. Until Christmas Eve, the tree appeared as you see it on the left. Yesterday afternoon, I added more decorations and the string of lights that now adorn it as you see in the picture on the right. And yes, my neighbors are not offended by my tackiness. Some of them even admitted their delight and approval.

I recently heard a Christmas sermon that spoke of the birth of the Christ child, but the sermon focused entirely on the fact that the birth of Jesus was necessary for the salvation of humanity. The message of the sermon was that until humanity accepts that, they are nothing.

I heard another Christmas message last night that also acknowledged the birth of Christ. That message gave humanity credit for knowing that because of the birth that was being celebrated, humanity knew how to pay the gift forward by being reminded of the enormity of the gift.

As the pictures of the tree above show, we can choose to remain burdened by the weight of inaccurate messages and thought. Or, knowing that there is strength in wherever our inherent goodness resides, we will allow ourselves to shine the light of goodness into the world without judgement or condemnation of those whose lights shine with less intensity, or do not shine at all.

Happy Holidays.

Title from John Mason Neale's lyrics to the tune of "In Dulci Jubilo."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Repeat, Repeat, The Sounding Joy."

Some of you may have read this before. I feel the need to repost it.

         Give Christmas Away.

            Voices are ringing this year. They are at every pitch and every personality a voice can have. There are shouts, returned greetings, wishes followed by handshakes or hugs, all delivering the wishes of all the events and occasions that take place in this time at the start of the season of winter.

            Some of those voices have also been ringing with the dismay that the greeting of “Merry Christmas” has been replaced with “Happy Holidays.” A small town newspaper editor in the December 8, 2005 edition of his paper related, “We Americans are expected to respect the cultures, traditions, and practices of other nations and peoples, and rightfully so. But what about our culture, and our traditions, and our practices? “

            Who are “we?” Are “we” the Native Americans who inhabited this land before our Spanish and Anglo Saxon ancestors came here to explore? Are “we” the African Americans who were deposited here by descendants of “our” Anglo Saxon ancestors? Are “we” any of the immigrants who gazed upon the message held high by the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor?

            To feel that “we” are the ones being persecuted by not being made to feel comfortable in saying “Merry Christmas” is missing the entire foundation of the Christmas Holiday. If the observers of Christmas were to be true to the holiday, evergreens in houses would have to disappear (actually, some of “our” Puritan ancestors outlawed Christmas observances in the mid-1800’s in “our” country). The lights on “our” houses, the wrapping paper, the sending of Christmas cards were not part of the origin of Christmas. “We” have added all that.

            Maybe saying “Happy Holidays” does diminish the amount of times we get to say the word “Christmas.” Even the word, “Christmas” wasn’t used until several centuries after the event it commemorates. Its use came about from some of “our” ancestors trying to tie in the observance of the birth of Christ to existing festivals and holidays with origins in the Roman Empire. “Our” ancestors actually caused the existing observances of Saturnalia, Yule, and the flight of Oden to be diminished or eliminated by the evolution of the Christmas holiday.

            With all the compassion and joy that the Holidays observed in this time frame intend to generate, I will wish the appropriate greeting of “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukah,” or “Joyous Kwanza,” when I know what greeting is appropriate. If I am not sure, I will wish “Happy Holidays” with the same compassion and joy. I don’t worry that Christmas will be taken away from me if I don’t say “Merry Christmas.” I don’t think Christmas is mine or “ours” to keep. I think Christmas is to be given away. Maybe it’s time to bring everyone together again.

I think, one day we will get to see the creator of this world. I believe when we see the creator, we will see a form like we never could have imagined. We will ask, “How did you come up with that?” The reply will be, “You could have done the same. I gave you all the ingredients.”

May Peace, Joy, Grace and Love be in your life from now until you meet the creator of this world. Happy Holidays.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Annoying Though It May Be

The sign in the picture above hangs above the doorway from the foyer to the kitchen in my house. When you enter the front door, it is directly straight ahead in the line of vision.

The sign was a gift to me by a friend soon after the arrival of "the alien." The reason she gave it to me is because the expression was one of my standard responses about what was taking place at the time. The reality was that I couldn't go back in time and prevent the diagnosis from happening. I accepted the diagnosis and moved on. 

However, my acceptance did not mean that I accepted that the alien possessed me. 

On the night that I was admitted to the hospital, my defense mechanism kicked in. Not by choice. My defense mechanism was humor. It was in force enough to make the nurse who was attending me that evening ask, "Mr. Frazee, do you understand what your diagnosis is?" I replied, "Absolutely, but what can I do about it right now?"

I was not skilled enough to consciously switch on the humor switch that night, but it came on, and once it came on, it stayed on. I recently  made a presentation entitled, 'Effective Patient Communication. Truths and "Wished I Would Haves" From My Alien Adventure.' I shared stories of some of my silliness from that time and some of the ideas I came up with later that I wished I would have done.

What ultimately happened, once the doctors and nurses accepted me as I was, is that I became more approachable for them and they didn't necessarily have to take the deep breath before entering the exam room and worry about, "How do I tell him this?" Instead, I like to think that before they came into the exam room with me in it, they asked themselves, "What is he going to do today?"

Yes, it was what it was. But, it wasn't acceptance. 

Instead, I like to think it turned into this:

"Truly charity has no limit; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts by His Spirit dwelling in each one of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate the beauty and spread the fragrance of His Providence." - St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Next Last Time

The next time I use this piece of luggage, I will be able to say that the last time I used it was for a trip to Ocean Isle Beach, NC from October 21-25. To prove it was there, I took this picture from the balcony of my hotel room with the Atlantic Ocean in the background (a day or so before Hurricane Sandy started affecting the waves).

The last time I used this piece of luggage, prior to the trip to Ocean Isle Beach, was when I loaded it to maximum capacity for my stay at the L'Hotel BMT at MCV in July/August 2009. I didn't really need to use this bag for the trip to Ocean Isle, but I did anyway. All said and done, it was perfect to take along because of all the many storage features it contains and as a result, almost everything fit in it vs. taking multiple smaller pieces of luggage.

The last time I was at Ocean Isle was well before "the alien" came to visit. I had been hankering to go to the beach while I was receiving treatment for "the alien," but just never had the opportunity to get there. Ocean Isle Beach is one of my favorites as it is not so congested and fall is a perfect season to go. And, with a view like the one below (another picture taken from the balcony of my hotel room), how can you resist?

It was great to be there and great to complete another circle that needed to be closed. I've learned it is important to do that.

Didn't draw one in the sand, though.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Let Me Make One Thing Perfectly Clear

Yesterday was the second round of "childhood immunizations." Not a big deal at all. It cracks me up when the nurse says, "Sorry for the sting," before she puts the needle in my arm. I reference the discomfort of regular biopsies, bone marrow biopsies and port removals as discomfort I did not enjoy.

As you can see from the above chart (it is mine and everything), I am halfway completed with the immunizations. Some of you may recall that when you received your polio shot way back when (around the same time period I received mine as a child), the polio vaccine left a scar on you. It doesn't happen anymore. In fact, all of the shots I received yesterday were given in my left arm. As I type this, I can feel where they were given, but no side effects or discomfort.

Also, you may see an influenza vaccine was also given. That is not to replace the annual flu vaccine that is due this year.

5 of the 8 vaccines I will receive in the process will require multiple administrations as you can see from the white boxes.

Here is a "trick of the trade" I have learned. When vaccinations are given, the person giving the vaccine will usually draw the vaccine from the bottle with a larger needle, then remove the needle from the syringe and replace it with another needle that will be used to inject the vaccination. When I received my swine flu vaccine in 2009, the person giving the vaccine used the same needle to withdraw and administer. As a result, the needle "stung" more than usual. When I asked about it, the person told me that the health department where I received my vaccine only used one needle in order to save costs. However, the main benefit to the patient for the "needle switch" is that the needle will not hurt as much because it has not been "dulled" by piercing the membrane in the vaccine bottle. Kind of the same concept as why a dull knife hurts more than a sharp knife when it cuts you.

My biggest complaint, however, is that since I am receiving my childhood vaccinations again, you would think that afterwards I would get some sort of treat for being a good patient.

So begins my campaign against Chronological Bias.

Monday, August 20, 2012

"With Six You Get..."

(Photo credit: Turner Classic Movies)

I had the annual follow up appointment on Friday, August 10 at MCV. When the pre-transplant coordinator saw me sitting in the waiting area, she asked, "Why are you here?" I told her I was there for the annual oil change and tire rotation.

The appointment is the final round of check-ins and exams for now. Six months from now is blood work and check up with regular oncologist and that is it. No scan, bone marrow biopsy or pulmonary function test until a year from now.

Between now and then, I will be going through a regimen of childhood vaccinations. During my appointment, I received 6 vaccinations for Tdap ( Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis), Haemophilus Influenzae Type b, Hepatitis B, Meningococal and Polio.

When I asked why the protocol had changed regarding vaccinations for autologous patients,  I received the following answer (and I paraphrase): The stem cell transplant protocol has only been utilized for 30 years. Therefore, as new data is collected, protocols change. In the past, survival rates for the procedure were lower than they are now. As a result, patients were rarely (if ever) at risk for contracting any of the ailments that childhood vaccinations are intended to prevent. Since polio, whooping cough, measles, mumps, etc. still exist in the world due to several reasons, those with immune systems that were severely compromised need to be protected from them. As I said to the doctor, "It would stink to die from cancer, but even more to die from meningitis after you were cured of cancer."

So, there are more vaccinations to receive down the road, but it's OK by me.

RE: The Carolina boys, Bo and Hunter; they are doing well. Bo had his most recent round of testing last week and he remains cancer free. Hunter has his coming up, but in Facebook pictures that his mother posts, he looks great!

I have to share this comment from Bo. His mother sent it to me last week. "Bo said to the lady at registration, 'Sometimes I’m glad I got cancer because I got to meet some really awesome people because of it'.  Made me proud and sad at the same time." 

Well done, Mr. Baker.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

It's A Wrap

(Photo credit: "Stripes" / Columbia Pictures / 1981)

This round of testing is all done. Visit with the doctor is also done. One thing remaining is the annual oil change and tire rotation at MCV (the official designation is an annual checkup, but how boring is that?).

One thing the folks at MCV did tell me in advance of my appointment is that they have changed their protocol and I will now have to get all of my immunization shots again (i.e. mumps, polio, etc.). Not what I envision when they talk about "second childhood," but anything for an excuse to misbehave some more. I suspect I understand the reasoning behind the change in protocol, but will confirm after I meet with them next Friday.

RE: Bone marrow biopsy this time. I actually got to experience the process twice. The first attempt was unsuccessful due to the fact that the point of access had to be shifted. Reason is that if the same point is accessed, then the sample accessed may not be "old timber" bone marrow, but rather "new growth" bone marrow that regrew after the last sample was retrieved. It is important to collect a sample that has a history of containing cancer vs. a newer growth sample that was never affected. In changing the access point, there was more discomfort as there was more tissue to move through. The kind person performing the procedure made the call to discontinue the procedure and reschedule me to have the procedure done via an X-ray guided process. When I asked why she didn't try the other side, she responded, "I had already put you through enough discomfort, I didn't want to add any more discomfort to your day." Honestly, it wasn't awful. Just some weird discomfort in a weird location.

Second attempt went fine and the doctor performing the biopsy did a great job. I got to meet some more people in the "business." The bone marrow sample he collected was at least 1.5" long and he let me look at it. I consider myself lucky in that I can say I am in a select group of people who have actually seen their bone marrow. I think it is kind of cool to see the "nucleus" of your own body. What others see of me may not be all that, but I do think I have interesting, and very attractive, bone marrow.

The doctor visit was Thursday of this week and the results from all the testing is "all clear." No abnormalities to report. Blood work was all in the normal ranges. Platelets still aren't back to the days before the arrival of the alien, but they probably never will be again. That's the facts, Jack. However, platelet counts can be altered by any number of reasons and not just the history of an alien or the concoctions that kill them.

So that's it for now. Next appointment isn't until February and there will be no more "fun" testing until a year from now.

I just noticed that it was three years ago this very day that I came home from my "summer at the spa." Ain't that just somethin'.

Cool stuff on the horizon for all of us is this. Wonder if they will find any aliens?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Early Morning Drinks At My House Tomorrow

They will be them crazy banana flavored barium sulfate suspension drinks. Today, when I picked them up, they asked me what flavor I would like. Since it is summer and all, I asked if they had any margarita flavored ones. Who knows, maybe one day they will.

The schedule is as follows: Tomorrow - CT scan; Next Monday - Bone Marrow Biopsy; Next Tuesday - Pulmonary Function Test; July 26 - Blood Work and visit with the doc; August 10 - Annual follow up visit with the folks at MCV.

Then....there will be no more barium sulfate ingesting, CT scanning, pulmonary function testing, and bone marrow exploration until next year. I will still have blood work and a doctor visit every six months (poor, poor doctor). I graduate into the once a year testing for all the other stuff after this round. Then, I will only have to go through the complete round of testing in July 2013 and 2014; which will wrap it up and I will have official permission to use the other "C" word. Cured.

Cured bacon is also tasty.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cringing Curmudgeon

To others, I have expressed my desire to one day be labeled a curmudgeon. Not so much in the miserly definition, but the surly one. Some (primarily those who have known me the longest) have responded, "You don't have to wait. You already are." Some (who haven't known me that long) have responded. "You are too young and too nice."

However, today I am feeling a bit curmudgeonly, especially when I read the news about a certain member of the media associated with a major network morning show. I wish her well and am sure she is a very nice person. I respect her for bringing her situation to light. I would like to respond to some comments I have read in the online CNN article (which appear in green type below).

" I've always been a fighter, and with all of your prayers and support, a winner," Roberts said in an online message Monday."  - Nice comment from her. She is correct about the significance of prayer and support.

"Then a few weeks ago, during a rather unpleasant procedure to extract bone marrow for testing, I received word that I would interview President Obama the next day," Roberts said. "The combination of landing the biggest interview of my career and having a drill in my back.." - This is the kind of dramatic statement that can hinder others from wanting to undergo a bone marrow biopsy. While it isn't the most pleasant of experiences, it isn't the worst thing that can happen in life (I've had 7 since November 2008 and am scheduled for 3 more between now and July 2014) and is a very critical diagnostic procedure to determine the extent of the disease. There is a drilling process involved, but it does not require an industrial 20 volt variable speed reversing drill with impact driving capabilities. Trust me, it's no walk in the park for the person who had to administer it. They understand that it can be uncomfortable, and they do all they can to make sure the patient is comfortable throughout the procedure. As for me, I do not experience prolonged discomfort throughout the procedure, but rather, a few times of discomfort  that are equivalent in discomfort to hitting your funny bone. For myself, prior to my first bone marrow biopsy, the worst part was imagining what was going to happen vs. what actually happened.

It can be brought on by chemotherapy and radiation, treatments that Roberts underwent after her breast cancer diagnosis. "Sometimes the treatment for cancer can cause other serious medical problems," She said - Note the second word in the statement, "can." It is likely that her previous treatments could have lead to her current condition, but I would like her to state, if knowing what she knows now and she had to do it all over again, what direction would she take with her treatment? I know that the possibility exists that I may face some "benefits" from my treatments down the road. However, at the time of my diagnosis, I felt so lousy, I was willing to do whatever it took to feel better. In an ideal world, chemotherapy and radiation treatments would not exist. The immune system would attack and end cancer in the body. Making broad statements that, yet again could steer someone away from adding quality time to their life is borderline irresponsible for someone in a position of responsibility to report facts to the public. I understand the emotion involved when someone is diagnosed with a catastrophic illness. However, when you are in a position that your statements can be distributed to the masses, measure your words carefully or keep them entirely in the bucket.

While information found online about MDS can be "some scary stuff," Roberts said her doctors told her it doesn't apply to her. "They say I'm younger and fitter than most people who confront this disease and will be cured." - Geez already. You work for a news organization and you went online? Don't you have medical talking heads on staff? Please tell me you went to legitimate sources. And the whole "younger and fitter" stuff is good news for you, but what about older folks? What would be your recommendation for them?

That search is conducted largely through the National Marrow Donor Program, which maintains a registry of bone-marrow donors. Sally-Ann Roberts said her sister is hoping to draw attention to the registry and encourage people to join."It's very simple to be part of the registry," she said. "I just had a swab, a cheek swab, and they test that and that's how they determine that." - Thank you. Something good can come out of all this if you say these kind of things. And just to help you out, the legitimate web site to learn more about marrow donations is: www.marrow.org

I will never minimize the impact of a medical diagnosis on someone else, no matter whether the diagnosis is a common cold or life threatening illness. However, as someone who enjoys live theater, I choose to experience drama while gazing at a stage.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Was It Just Me That Heard That?

Tonight, I saw a commercial on TV for a cancer treatment center that I will not name here. I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable of what they speak. I wonder how much of what they present in their commercial is lost on the general public. I would suspect that due to the saturation of their commercials, should someone be diagnosed with a form of cancer, if that particular facility is not available in their area, they may consider that facility for a second opinion.

However, one part of their commercial jumped out at me, causing me to follow up. They mention that on their website, you can find survival rates for various cancers. I checked it out. Some are listed on their website (and that part of their website is not necessarily easy to find) and a large amount of them are not. Mine was not. I did peruse the stomach cancer link and noted that the statistics are only of their patients and the time period is from 2000-2005.

That doesn't work for me. That is a period of 7-12 years ago. Too much has happened in cancer research since then.

I recently spoke to someone who was about to begin chemotherapy and radiation treatments for throat cancer. I advised him to 1) stay off the internet except for sites recommended by his doctor; 2) do not read published material that has a copyright date of more than 2-3 years in the past as things are changing that quickly; 3) do not concern yourself about how someone else reacted to treatments that may be similar to yours as the treatment process may not be personalized to the individual, but since there are enough variables in physical makeup between each patient, "portion sizes" and reactions will vary by patient.

I was once annoyed (and still am) by what cancer does to the individual. But what troubles me even more these days is what individuals, who listen to erroneous information, allow cancer to do themselves.

"We're just knocked out. 
We heard about the sell out. 
You gotta get an album out. 
You owe it to the people. 
We're so happy we can hardly count. 
Everybody else is just green, 
Have you seen the chart? 
It's a helluva start, 
It could be made into a monster 
If we all pull together as a team. 
And did we tell you the name of the game, boy, 
We call it 'riding the gravy train' " - Roger Waters

Monday, April 30, 2012

Read All About It

As a result of my own thoughts and conversations I've had with others, I've wondered sometimes whether it was wise to put the whole "alien experience" out there. In a group setting once, I heard someone say, "Prospective employers can search for me on the web and land on my blog, journal, etc. and then not hire me because they can see my medical history." When I heard that statement, I was already 3 years into my blog, so I guess it was too late for me to do anything about it.

Later in the day I had an opportunity to have a one on one conversation with the person who made that statement and I told them why I started my blog and how it evolved into something else. I made the idealistic statement,".. that if someone was going to refuse to hire me based on my medical status and not my talent and skills, they didn't deserve me anyway."

The other week, during some down time, I was searching for pictures online and naturally got sidetracked. I decided to search for pictures of Greg Frazee. There are plenty of pictures to see - not all of them me, but..in the initial page, there were pictures of me. If you click on those pictures, the word "cancer" is associated with them.

Guess that makes me a sitting duck.

However, I equate my blog evolution with that of how a person evolves in their faith journey. Some folks come about their faith to save themselves, to punch the ticket of salvation, in hopes of better days ahead and a reservation at the Casa Grande in the sky. That's fine and it works. However, there has to be something beyond just that.

I was pretty self centered about the purpose of the blog at first. It was to save me time spent on the phone and to prevent having to answer the same questions over and over again. It worked. But the blog grew beyond that. As I continued, folks told me the blog was helpful to them so they would know not only how to approach me, but also how to help others. Funny, as time went on, I ended up talking more about what was going on and I found that people didn't step lightly about the subject around me. I didn't want them to.

For now, this duck will continue to sit here, quack out loud, bring others to the pond and show them not only how to float in the pond, but how to swim in it.

With no regrets.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's Worth Repeating

Celtic shamrock irish flag 2 by ~PeAcE-88©2010-2012

Go bhfana í ngrá linn,
Iad siúd atá í ngrá linn.
Iad siúd nach bhfuil,
Go gcasa Dia a gcroíthe.
Agus muna gcasann Sé a gcroíthe
Go gcasa Sé caol na coise acu
Go n-aithneoimid iad as a mbacadaíl. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

One Way Or Another

Recently I purchased a bottle of vitamins. Naturally, I checked the expiration date on the bottle before I purchased them.

Break for funny story here. Once, when I was receiving an IVIG infusion, the nurse left the box that contained the bottle of chemistry on the table by my side. Naturally, I was curious about the composition and infusion protocol. After gaining that knowledge, I thought to myself, wouldn't it be funny if..... So, when my nurse was across the room, I asked (loud enough for everyone in the room to hear), "How long after the expiration date are you allowed to use this stuff?" I received a benediction from her and some funny looks from the other patients in the room. To this day, I insist it took the edge off of the mood in the room. My story, and I'm sticking to it.

Tonight, I was going through my cabinets and encountered some saltine crackers that had not been opened since the beginning of my alien sabbatical, three and a half years ago. Looking for an expiration date, I did not see one and thought I would try one of the crackers. The expiration date may not have been on the box, but after one taste, it was clear the crackers had expired.

I guess that was another sign that things associated with that time of my life are departing.

Ironically, the vitamin bottle pictured above displays the date when I will be considered "cured." When I noticed the correlation, I was telling someone that I had purchased something that is now in that window. Other things that I have purchased did not have expiration dates that far out. This bottle of vitamins does and it lets me know that the cure date is indeed on the horizon.

However, when talking to the individual I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I couldn't resist saying, "You know, either the vitamins or me could be expired by then." 

Dark humor, I know. But hey, sometimes you have to find the humor where you can.

The following is out of context, but it's not the first time words from this book have been used out of context. My usage is for fun. Not for judgement or derision.

The Lord will laugh at him, for he sees that his day is coming. - Psalm 37:13

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Way Down Deep

Not really all that far does one have to go to extract bone marrow. Probably less than an inch.

Last Tuesday was the scheduled bone marrow biopsy for this round of follow up. If I calculate correctly, I have had 7 of them since November 2008 and only have 3 more to go between now and August 2014 (another one in 6 months and then only one in 2013 and one in 2014) when I will be considered officially cured of the alien invasion.

I was asked on Sunday if I had heard back from the results of the bone marrow biopsy. I replied that I hadn't and I normally don't worry about it unless the doctor's office calls me. If a week or two passes without hearing from them, all is well.

Remind yourself to keep breathing as you read the next part.

Monday, the caller ID on my phone indicated a call from the doctor's office. Before I could say anything other than "Hello," the medical assistant to my doctor said, "I'm calling you with the following message from your doctor. You have beautiful bone marrow." Immediately after that, the verbal hijinks began.

That's how it works for me. If they had paused and said, "The doctor would like to meet with you, can we schedule an appointment," there would have been anxiety.

However, being the pros that they are, they know how to make and deliver those calls before anxiety even has an opportunity to peek in the door.

First down at 10 at midfield....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I'll Have Another Round

This round of scans, bone marrow biopsy, doctor follow up - DONE!

Nothing to report other than another 6 months of being cancer free. What is left is the next round in 6 months and then it goes to yearly testing/follow ups after that. Only 3 more rounds left in the next two and a half years.

It's funny though, I can tell when people ask me, "How are you doing?", that maybe their real question is, "Has the cancer returned?" I had a couple of coughing spells in the last few months and a friend said to me, "I've noticed you have been coughing alot lately..." Given our familiarity, I replied with a snarky remark.

I was telling a retired nurse friend of mine about how I sense everybody still seems concerned about my health when I think they needn't be. She replied, "Let your friends be concerned for you and care about you."

I get it now. Nurses are so smart!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Over Easy

In case you want to go to the store and purchase a couple of bottles of what I had for breakfast today, I have included a picture of them as they appeared in my refrigerator this morning (yes it is kind of empty right now - only because I don't "stock" my refrigerator unless company is coming) so you would know what to ask for when you just have to have yourself a CT scan prep smoothie. I've gotten so I tolerate them pretty well. I started drinking them at 6AM and finished by 6:30. As you are not allowed to have anything to eat after 4:30AM (which I hadn't consumed anything since the night before), they put a hungry stomach to rest for awhile.

My main anxiety was about the IV stick (instead of having my port accessed as in the past). By now, I'm used to the whole needle thing, but due to some IV needle placement issues in the early days of all this, I'm not wild about the whole concept of an IV stick. However.....

The medical technician that did the stick today has to be one of the best. Small pinch....all done. That anxiety is now discarded. And, since I only have to do 3 more between now and August 2014, I can deal with it.

Next up, a follow up visit with the doctor next Thursday. Not so much anxiety for me between now and then. Here is how it works for me.....If her office calls between now and then and wants to set up another sort of test/scan, we have things to think about. If not, it's a "How are you. I'm fine. How are you? See you in 6 months and 'Oh yes, we need to schedule your next bone marrow biopsy'.." kind of meeting and we part ways until next time.

I feel good. I look good (it's objective, I know). 

Good enough.