Thursday, April 29, 2010

I shouldn't complain, but...

When I write "I shouldn't complain," it means that I'm going to complain, but I want you to think I'm a reasonable person who usually knows when to hold his tongue.  Anyway, the topics of my pique are in bold.

The side effects are increasingly annoying.  My sensitivity to cold objects now lasts the entirety of the two-week treatment cycle.  The effects modulate somewhat in the last seven days, but they do not subside completely.  Right now I'm typing this in a room that's probably at 70 degrees, but my fingers are tingling and I'm making more typos than usual.

Fatigue is also an issue.  It used to begin the day after my pump was disconnected., but it now starts earlier and lasts longer.  That's a bit of a problem when trying to run a Cub Scout den meeting, soccer practice, and the game.  Fortunately, those aren't all in one day and I can usually recruit other parents to help out.

My weight is beginning to drop - I lost a pound since my last weigh-in.  Even though I try to "eat as if it's a chore," the insensitive taste buds don't allow me to enjoy much.  I'll probably drop five to ten more pounds.  If you know me, you know that I can't afford to drop weight.

It would be nice if parents brought their kids to the soccer game on time.  I ask that they get there 15 minutes early to warm up and stretch, with the unreasonable hope that all 11 players will be there at game time.  At the last game, only six players were present for kickoff (the U8s play 6v6).  This completely screws up the line-up and substitutions that I plan. 

The referee lined the players up for an equipment check.  She did that last season too and is the only ref to do so.  One of the kids, despite everything I've told them and their parents, wore his shin guards over his socks.  At least I could blame the ref when I told tell dad that his son could not participate until he was properly in uniform.  This dad also yells "KICK IT!"  whenever the ball gets near his son.  I've asked the parents to refrain from coaching, because I don't want the kids to just boot the ball aimlessly, but that is also an unreasonable hope.

We lost the last match horribly. The mercy rule (add another player at -5 goal differential) was implemented in the middle of the first half.  Adding the player didn't help.  Part of the problem is that we took our team picture an hour before the game, and the boys ran around during the waiting time and may have tired themselves out.  So, rev up the "Fire Coach 270" bandwagon again.

I just put golvs on to tyoe.  Cqan you tell?>

Friday, April 23, 2010

FOLFOX Round 5: When It Absolutely, Positively, Has To Be There... Whenever

Nothing ever goes as planned.  I went to my infusion appointment last Tuesday, as I do every other Tuesday.  But I waited a little more time in the waiting room.  When I got to the infusion room, I noticed that one patient was getting extra attention from several nurses.  Not that I'm jealous, mind you.  It's going to happen in an oncology practice that someone has an emergency from time to time that takes a lot of attention.  So I sat in the recliner and waited until one of the nurses was free to hook me up and start my infusion.  In all, I was in the oncologist's office for five hours.

When I went back two days later, to have the pump disconnected, I was supposed to get a Neulasta shot.  Unfortunately, the shipment of refrigerated drugs was sitting on the ground in Memphis.  I'm sure that the Eyjafjallajökull is taking the blame for that.  Have you noticed how the English-language new services never mention the volcano's name?  It's always "the volcano in Iceland" or  "the volcano that has disrupted air travel in Europe."  C'mon, can't anyone pronounce Eyjafjallajökull?!

On the positive side, the "Fire Coach 270" bandwagon is idling.  The U8s are now 1-1, with a +6 goal differential.  We have more wins and more goals than DC United. The last game was fun for our team, but not so much for the other.  Most of them hadn't played soccer before and they were younger than our team.  Next time we outmatch a team (if there is a next time), I'll probably institute the 3-passes-before-you shoot rule or take a player off.  I informed the other coach that she could add a player at 5-0, but she said they "weren't keeping score."  Sorry lady, the kids do keep score.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lies, Damn Lies, and Hit Counts

I started this blog last summer, but didn't install a hit counter until January.  It measures hits from individual computers and may overestimate the number of readers as some of you read this from your work and home computers. I'm not sure how or if it counts mobile devices.  If you're reading this from an iPhone or Droid, put the phone down and drive.

Anyway, now that we've crossed 1,000 individual computers, let's take a look at you. I should mention that it's a free hit counter, so the stat reports are limited - I don't know who you are.

Where you at?
Most of you are in the United States.  You're probably looking for traffic reports or directions from Bethesda, MD to Hershey, PA and are wondering what I-270 has to do with colon cancer.  The highway and the colon are both routes with noxious, gaseous emissions.  Sometimes traffic moves quickly and sometimes not at all.  Fortunately, with the colon you get only one @$$h0le.

We have some repeat visitors from Spain (los amigos madrileños), Canada (cousins?), and the UK (other cousins?).

Among the one-time hits is someone from Denmark.  I don't know anyone in Denmark, or the rest of Scandinavia (including Finland and Iceland), but I do know Scandahoovian folks from Minnesota.

Other one-time hits have been from Australia and Slovakia, who may be former colleagues (G'day and dobre rano, respectively), and Poland.  I don't think I know anyone in Poland.

Your Gear
Most of you use PCs, probably because that's what you have at work (lots of XP users).  To those you you who have Macs supported by your IT department - luck-yyyyy.

Most of you use Internet Explorer.  Please run a virus scan immediately, then download Firefox.  For those using IE6, I have your credit card and social security numbers.

Anyway, all of you are welcome to post comments by clicking on "comments" at the bottom of each entry.. You may post as anonymous and make up a name.  Also, feel free to e-mail me.  If something is funny enough to be shared, I'll post it without your name.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Songs Of The Colon

Previously on The Local Lanes...
cowpasture said... Has this blog noted one songwriter's attempt to do for National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month what he did for Chanukah?
The Colonscopy Song: Peter Yarrow

OK.. You asked for it.  Well, maybe all of you didn't but it's my damn blog.  Here are some clips about colons, rectums, and scopes.

Working Where the Sun Don't Shine: Bowser and Blue. I posted this one before my surgery.

The Colon is a Mighty Big River: Bowser and Blue. Schoolhouse Rock for adults.  Warning: contains actual colonoscopy images.

I Don't Like Getting Older: Robert Klein:

Bonus Comedy Track: WARNING: NOT SAFE FOR WORK OR KIDS.  Remember Billy Connolly?  Most Americans were introduced to him as Howard Hesseman's replacement in Head of the Class, you know, the savant sweathogs.  Here's his stand up routine about getting a colonoscopy.  He's Scottish, so he swears a lot and you may need a translator...

Monday, April 5, 2010

FOLFOX Round 4: Neulasta lasts an extra. extra. extra long time

My fourth round of treatment started with the usual routine: vitals, blood work, and a quick exam.  I managed to gain three pounds since my last visit, so eating all that garbage paid off.  I eat burgers, pizza, and, when the cold intolerance subsides, I scarf down a couple of Klondike bars (dark chocolate shell).  Of course it's bad for me, but I have to get my weight up so that I can lose it again.

Unlike last year's chemo, when my taste buds were very sensitive, the drugs in this round have really mucked up my taste buds.  Everything I eat tastes like the dry chicken breast that you have at corporate banquets.  Every meal I have is a disappointment because I can smell the food, just not taste it.  Mrs. 270 says that if everything tastes like cardboard, I might as well eat healthy stuff.  But then I play the weight loss card.
During the last treatment, when my white blood cell counts dropped, the nurse gave me a shot of Neupogen.  This time, my WBC counts are low again, so they're giving me Neulasta.  Neulasta contains the same cytokine as Neupogen, but it's mixed with polyethlyene glycol (a relative of antifreeze).  This acts as a slow-release depot for the drug, hence the "last" part of the name.  Those pharmaceutical nomenclaturists sure are clever.  The effects are supposed to last longer.  I suppose that's true for the side-effects too.

The cold intolerance is, to say the least, inconvenient.  At my house, school day breakfast for the kids usually consists of something processed and frozen (waffles or toaster strudel).  As the executive chef for breakfast, it is my duty to take these items from the freezer and put them in the toaster over.  This requires gloves and tongs.  So the next time you see someone using oven mittens to take something from the freezer, he or she may have peripheral neuropathy, not dementia.

As I was returning from treatment, I noticed that my can accrued over 100,000 miles sometime in the last two weeks.  I knew it was coming up and had plans to pull over and phone the odometer (it's a guy thing).  But I forgot and now it sits at around 100,500.  What a lost opportunity.  They should really install an alarm for this.  This is the second car I've had to reach a century of millennia.  When I was in grad school, before Toyotas were spontaneously accelerating, my Celica reached 100,000 miles.  But, the speedometer cluster had broken somewhere around 90K.  Fixing it was not a priority (back then, our stipend was roughly $12K/year), so I had to gauge my speed by the gear and the tachometer (another guy thing).  Also back then, we did not have digital cameras on our cell phones because we did not have digital cameras and we did not have cell phones.  Next time I have a car that hits 100K miles, I'm sure the car will send you all tweets.