Monday, August 9, 2010

Cycle 6, Day 1 - Infusion #11

Monday morning and we're back at the cancer center for another infusion. We got a nice early start this morning - was in getting blood work by 7:50 so should be completely done by 11 or 11:30.

And the ubiquitous picture of me signaling infusion #11. You can see that I'm doing my bit to market Big Al's bike shop from CB. I'm also definitely getting back some noggin hair. Good to see the black dome start to come back!

Good news is that there are no surprises. My blood work is good (the prednisone has boosted by WBCs and ANC #s), bp good, O2 sat good, no temp, heart rate ok, etc. So cleared for another infusion. Today and 2 weeks from today and them I'm done with chemo - hooray!!! Hopefully another uneventful 14 days, one more dose of the magic sauce and I can then really start to focus on recovery.

Today for the first time we started talking about post-chemo recovery. The cancer center has some pointers to folks that can help with nutrition, physiology, exercise, etc. The folks here are telling us it will be a good six months before I've really got all this stuff out of my system and I can determine what the new me is like in terms of what my body can do.

Today we also checked my lung function (clear chest sounds, good O2 sat) so we're reducing my prednisone dose to 50 mg/day. The plan is to reduce my dose by 10 mg/week. This will give my lungs a chance to recover slowly and slowly wean me from the prednisone.

The one small negative step I've taken over the last few days is that my voice has gotten pretty froggy. I wake up in the morning and can't really talk - nothing comes out and my larynx feels like it's coated in gunk. To combat this, I've started doing some singing exercises in the morning. I do scales on the guitar and sing along. Luckily I do this in the basement or garage so no other human or feline is exposed to this torture :) I do find that the singing helps my lung function - it's hard to begin with but over 15-20 minutes my lung volume comes up and my larynx gets clearer. Hot tea and honey also helps. The nurse practitioner I saw today indicated that the chemo may be causing a bit of neuropathy in my larynx but this should resolve itself after the chemo is completed.

So, my current daily schedule looks something like this:

- I usually sleep pretty well from 10 pm to 4 am or so. Some nights I can get back to sleep and get another couple of hours from 4-6. Other nights I end up thrashing around a bit. I feel like I'm getting enough sleep but it would be nice to not have that early morning insomnia to deal with.
- Singing exercises for 20-30 minutes. Scales with the guitar and solo. Toning, work on getting big, clear notes out, focus on lung volume and larynx function.
- Breakfast, prep for morning workout
- Morning workout, primarily road or mountain bike rides. I did one run and it was crazy hard - had to mix run and walk to keep my heart rate under 150. I'll do more runs here in the next couple of weeks but I do enjoy the bike rides more.
- Post work nap, shower, then lunch
- Afternoon home improvement projects, or programming projects
- Dinner with Susan, post dinner reading, TV, hanging out.

So that's it from the infusion center. Just finished the Adriamycin and now getting some Vinblastine.

Oh, yeah. One more positive note. Yesterday I went up into the mountains for the first time since my time in the hospital. I've been wondering if my lung function is good enough to be able to do any sort of exercise at altitude. Yesterday we did a moderate hike at 10-11,000 feet and I did OK. Here's a picture of the unbelievably cool Middle Boulder Creek. Man, we're so lucky to have this type of outdoors so close to us here on the Front Range! And I was super happy that I can still push my weak ass up the trail enough to see this kind of scenery.

Definitely was working hard and couldn't keep up with Susan going uphill but I did the hike without any significant lung pain. Here's a little screen snap of my workout history from the hike. myGarmin info for that hike is here.


  1. Great summary! I'm so glad to read about all the positives and to hear that the waters appear calm for smooth sailing through the end of the chemo! Great work. Thanks for being so inspiring. Love you.

  2. Any chance of you making it back to the pitch this fall? We'd love to see you out there even if it is just for 5-10 min at a time until you are back on your feet.
    Keep up the good fight!