Wednesday, June 9, 2010

#178: A Good Day to be Alive

I experienced my first chemo side-effect yesterday and it was a heart-breaker. Mrs P made herself a grilled cheese sandwich. As I made my way toward the kitchen, the cooking odor from that most comfortable of foods hit me like a cloud of poisoned gas. A wave of nausea knocked me a step backwards and I felt as if I might faint. Over a grilled cheese sandwich! If she had made tomato soup with it I may have been struck dead on the spot.

Consequently, I have forbidden Mum to make pierogi. Should I ever feel nausea at the smell of that classic Hunkie delight, I would lose the will to live.

Today was Mum's turn to take me in for treatment. Mrs P got to sleep in. They have decided to switch off like that. Don't want to burn out the girls in my inner circle. I took care of flushing and cleaning the PEG tube myself, and Mum helped me to coordinate the nine different drugs that start my day. I can't imagine what it would be like to go through this without the two of them. No one should ever have to do this alone.

I was warned about 'roid rage, and I know it's still early, but all I've noticed is that the steroids give me a lot of energy in the morning, then I sort of crash around 3:00 in the afternoon. Today, I took advantage of that in a couple of ways. Mum let me drive to the clinic, which I enjoyed. Then I stayed awake and alert to pay more attention to the machine as it shot me with its mystery rays. The tech explained how enormous lead plates in the gun combine with fine, sliding fingers to shape the beam. By varying the intensity, they can control how deep the particles sink into me. It is amazing to experience, though there is no sensation I can detect. They gave me a brief tour of the "cockpit" where the techs control the whole works from a safe, lead insulated distance. I was amused to see that the whole thing is run by a gang of five Dell computers daisy chained together. Not a Mac in sight. No wonder they crashed so easily yesterday.

Finally, I felt so good when we got home that I decided to take a walk. It was a tiny trip, just once around the short block across from our house, but it felt good to travel familiar sidewalks in the cool morning air. Having a hose running through my abs limits the kind of resistance work I can do, and it queers my posture a bit, but I can certainly walk. I felt no ill effects from the trip, and plan to keep moving as long as I can.

And to top it all off, I was able to eat one of Mrs P's home made bran muffins today with no ill effects.

It's a good day to be alive.


  1. Thanks Bob - love your description of nausea w/ comfort food. The outrage! So praying for your physical healing - and enjoying your spiritual and emotional health.

  2. Try a little organic KEFIR from the Coop. It is helpful for RAD tummies. Prayers for you--lots, molly


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