Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thrombosis? What Thrombosis? Who you callin' thrombotic? And other good news

Just finished a good checkup with my oncologist. As you the intrepid blog-reader will remember, last week I was diagnosed with blood clots in both my arms and was sent home from school with a week long assignment to inject myself with heparin everyday, stay out of the pool and get my veins less gunked up with blood clotty type stuff.

And since I haven't posted any slightly inappropriate body pictures in a while, here's a fun one of my stomach (please keep all comments about the lack of a six pack to yourself. I know it's a jelly roll but I'm blaming that on the prednisone!). Anyway... The heparin is an anti-coagulant and frequently you get bruising at the injection site. So, you get to:
  • inject yourself every day. Not too gross but that moment when you have the needle touching your skin and have to push it in is a bit sketchy.
  • the needle is very thin and doesn't hurt going in. But ah - the heparin. That, my friends, is a different matter. That stuff gives you a 2-3 minute sting like a mild bee sting. Not horrible but not in the "Gee, this is fun, I wish I could more of this" category.
  • And, you end up getting some nice purple bruises on your stomach. Self inflicted, BTW. And not completely clear that any of this is necessary. Yeah, that was fun!
  • The bruising in the upper left quadrant and lower middle-right section of the pic are courtesy of the heparin. More fun with the Geo science experiment!

Today I had my exam and passed with flying colors. My veins are much improved so no more heparin injections. I read the radiologists report of the ultra sound study and to my ears, it didn't sound like explicit clots as much as some general stiffness in a few areas of veins in both arms. And in the vein world, stiff is not good. Anyway, that seems to be much better so hopefully that's all behind me. They also did a bunch of tests for other diseases (like Lupus) that might start manifesting themselves with inopportune clotting. All those tests were negative which is a relief. Let's stay focused on one major disease per year, shall we?

Other news - my case was presented at the tumor board last week. I am officially classified as NED (No Evidence of Disease) and also as CR (Complete Response) to the chemo protocol I was given. These are both really, really good things to be in the cancer world. So now we'll do a PET/CT scan next week to confirm that everything is ok in my chest and then we're in wait and see mode to see how things go over the next few months.

Other news this week - I've been off the prednisone for a week and my lungs feel ok. They're certainly not perfect but my pulmonary function is still getting a little better every few days. I'm also starting to lose some of the fatty deposits the prednisone left me so I'm starting to see my midsection emerge from the roll of fat I had grown over the last 2 months. It's kind of funny - I think I'm adding muscle at about the same rate as I'm losing fat so my weight has been pretty constant. Although I guess that's a standard phrase that people use when they see fat going away from one part of their body but they're not losing any weight! So maybe I've now officially joined the ranks of people that have Good Excuses For Why I Don't Weigh Less. Of course, the best part of that club is that it's also part of the I'm Going to Live Long Enough To Worry About My Weight club, which is one I REALLY like being in (or at least I'm working hard on the membership application).

Let's see, what other news. Went to the LiveStrong wine tasting on Saturday and met up with Bob, Nancy, Josh and Sarah. It was pretty mellow but fun. We spent a bit more money buying some stuff they had for auction and felt good about contributing to a good cause.

On Tuesday, I was at School of Mines doing some recruiting and had to talk pretty non-stop for about 4-5 hours. That was a pretty good stress test of how my voice is doing. My voice was definitely hoarse at the end of the day but I made it through without any major coughing fits, wheezing, etc. So that was a good milestone. And BTW, my o2 sat this afternoon was 100, which is a good indication that I'm a happy, oxygenated guy.

Other odds and ends - legs are feeling a bit less gumby like. I did some striding intervals today at lunch and could go 50-60 yards before I started to run out of leg juice. A month ago that number was about 5-10 yards so definitely good progress there. My hair continues to grow back. I'm now starting to get some more gray hair on the top of my head although in general my noggin still looks pretty black. Still don't have my normal compliment of eyebrow or armpit hair but I'm assuming those will come back at some point. My facial hair is pretty much back to previous fullness although still maybe growing slower than pre-chemo.

Anyway, a good checkup this afternoon. Next week I'll get a pulmonary function test and another CT/PET scan and the week after that I'll review with the docs. The following week we're off to Hawaii for a week of R&R which we're both really looking forward to!



  1. Woo hoo Hawaii and being in the I'm Going to Live Long Enough To Worry About My Weight Club! Sounds like you are still on a Good Path. Love you!

  2. yeah, gonna get in the pool today and see how the arm responds to some free style. I still feel like a jelly roll but I think the weight is starting to gradually come off. It's a beautiful day here today in Boulder County so I'm planning a run (always difficult for the new, post pneumonia body), then a run, then a nice car tour of the mountains to catch some foliage. Weekends are A Good Thing!