Wednesday, October 24, 2007

10/23/07 - Doctor Visit

I got back late on Monday from Pittsburgh. Then Laura and I ended up spending 7AM until 3PM on Tuesday at the hospital.

As a reminder, every eight weeks I have my blood counts checked, followed by an MRI of my head, and finally a review of the previous two tests by my doctor. If the tests are good, I should receive chemotherapy. This time, the tests came out good for the most part, and then we came home.

I was concerned because it was the first time I was on a "drug holiday" so I didn't know what to expect. Because of the "holiday," I haven't received chemo since July 10th. My MRI was clear, which was very good. On the other hand, my platelet count was still too low to receive more chemo. They must use some powerful drugs and/or my body must not like them to still have low counts after 16 weeks!

Now I'm having my counts checked once per week until my platelets come up, and then my next chemo treatment will be scheduled. Also, my counts might be improved by some drugs that must be injected 24 hours after chemo. The only counts that can be effected by these injections are my white blood cells and my red blood cells. Unfortunately, there is no drug to improve my platelets...

My oncologist's assistant also said that some of my liver counts were high, but these were most likely due to taking Zocor for high cholesterol. Potential resolution - take Niacin instead of Zocor. I see my PCP tomorrow (10/30/07) morning to have my counts and cholesterol checked. I'll have to provide an update to my future chemo status...

10/22/07 - Pittsburgh Trip #2

I'll apologise in advance for all of the people I was unable to see. This "long-weekend" type of vacation was both last minute and shortened from the one I had to cancel in August. It was certainly a whirlwind tour to see the people I did, but it was very nice nonetheless...

Of course, I had to cancel my Pittsburgh trip scheduled for the third week of August because of low blood counts. I really hated to cancel, since the trip would've been about 10 days and multiple events were planned, but it had to be done. I was able to make this second trip because my counts had rebounded due to my "drug holiday" (a cycle without chemo). Without this "holiday" I would not have made it back up to Pittsburgh until sometime next year, whenever my treatment ends.

Some Pittsburgh bridges, in IR, from Todd's old apartment.

If I were to list all of the details, it would definitely be too much, so I'll probably edit a lot out. Believe me, it would have been hard to manage if I wasn't "sick," and I must have been running on pure adrenaline to stay awake for it. Actually, I was on the move so much that I was too excited to be sleepy. I'm paying for it now, by apparently catching up on lost rest.

I thought about plotting the whole trip on my
GPS, but it wasn't working very well, and it would have taken up a lot of time. Still, it would have been nice to see my travels on a map.

I spent the first two nights at my father's house. This is a story in itself, so it won't be in this post. Instead, it will be in a separate post with "Budville" in the topic.

Unfortunately, I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I would have liked to, but I will try to put a few in this post to help spice things up. Also, where I don't have pictures, I put hyperlinks in bold instead.

I still can't drive, which is very inconvenient. That being said, my friend Rob picked me up on Thursday and took me out to his father's house for a while, as well as his house. We had some lunch, and after catching up (some), he brought me home to Budville (with this second reference to Budville, I guess I'm obligated to put it in a separate post).

Friday, my friend Ed flew in early from Hartford, and met my father, Bud (what was the name of his property?), his girlfriend, Karen, and I for breakfast around 8:30AM. We met nearby at Janoski's restaurant, which I later found out was pretty popular and well known.

Ed and I left the restaurant and visited our friends George & Leah, which was a nice couple of hours. We then went down to Penn State Beaver Campus, and Ed had a revelation that we were there about 20 years ago (September 1987), and furthermore, the current students weren't born yet. Sure enough, Ed asked a present student when he was born, and he said 1988. Other things didn't change much...

Ed by the Lion shrine at "The Beave."

We ate lunch in a Primanti's ("per-man-tease" in Pittsburghese)
restaurant that was recently opened in Moon Township. Primanti's is a Pittsburgh restaurant most famous for putting coleslaw, fries and an optional fried egg on their sandwiches. Ed and I then went to see his parents, and then we went to stay at Bill's new house.

My sandwich at Primanti's.

Friday night (yes, it's still only Friday) our friend Rico had a bunch of people (Rico & Diane, Melvin & Michelle, Rob, Julian, Al, Ed, and myself) over at his house. Moreso than catching up on how everyone was doing, we told stories from the past, which was very nice. I forgot to bring my camera to Rico's, which was almost grounds to go back and get it...

Saturday, we went out to breakfast and watched Penn State beat Indiana at Bill's. We then lazily made our way down to Todd's old place, picking up Kevin along the way. Todd was in the process of moving from an apartment in Pittsburgh to a townhouse he bought in Scott Township.

Todd, Me and Kevin. Todd's old apt, PNC Park behind us.

That night, Ed and I went down to his youngest brother, Steven's place. He has an old, three story warehouse around Munhall. He converted the first and third floors to living space, while the second floor remains his shop. Steven happened to be having a big Halloween party, but I was more interested in his place. Ed kept on describing it as an old warehouse, and although it was good-sized, it wasn't the huge red-brick building that I had imagined. We had fun while we were there, but had a commitment to return fairly early to Bill's (before 11:30PM).

After we left and got about fifteen minutes from Steven's, Ed checked his phone only to find a text message saying that everyone at Bill's was going to sleep. We thought about going back to Steven's, but then thought better of it because neither of us were "partying."

Bill's dogs - Roxy, Jacky, and Morgan (walking in).

Sunday, Bill & Carolyn made pancakes for breakfast. Ed had to fly back at 1:00PM, so he left around 11:00AM. We just sat around and watched football for the afternoon. The Steelers played around eight, so, once again, we had a few people over to watch the game and eat some food.

Bill's house(and Bill).

I had to fly out Monday at about 4:00PM. Bill took me to the airport, and I was pretty late. Luckily, I pre-boarded due to my inability to walk that well, and I was able to jump ahead of some pretty full lines. I didn't like "cutting" ahead of a bunch of people, but at least I had a reason.

Phew, that was still too much detail..