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Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

Baseline, Chronic, Progressive

Let’s start with a dorky reference graph that models a sentient being’s physical state of health:

Now let’s transition to a chronic, recurrent state of health:

 

In this state, you’re Ok for awhile, and then you suffer for awhile, and then the cycle repeats. The graph example above shows a worst case scenario where, as time goes on, the patient spends more and more time in a painful, “Flare Up” sub-state than she does in its peer “OK” sub-state.

And finally, we arrive at the progressive, fatal state of health:

In this bad ass state, our heroine not only spends progressively more and more time in the “Flare Up” sub-state, each “Flare Up” feels worse and worse upon each transition into it. Eventually, the last “OK” sub-state is entered, and then, upon exit…… the reaper awaits.

So now, let’s integrate up the previous babblings and concoct a homemade state transition diagram of health as follows:

Read read the model as follows.

We are initialized at birth into a healthy, baseline state. The luckiest of us will go through life relatively unscathed from physical and mental dysfunction. The lucky ones will dwell in the glorious baseline state over time, right until RIP comes a callin’. Others will take the progressive-RIP path or the dastardly chronic-progressive-RIP path on their way through life.

In my case, I was idling away in the warm, baseline state of health for 57 years. And then, boom, upon hearing of my terminal diagnosis, I transitioned instantaneously into the progressive state. I hope all who read this are dwelling happily away in their baseline states!

Categories: Cancer

Living In The Head

May 7, 2020 2 comments

I’ve found that the best way for me to maintain a modicum of a healthy state of mind is to dwell as much as I can in the present moment, not withstanding the stage 4 cancer diagnosis and the coronavirus siege. A.k.a. “living in the now” as opposed to “living in the head“.

If I’m not diligent at monitoring and detecting which time frame my thoughts are dwelling within, I’ll find myself spending too much time speculating about a fearful future or spending too much time regretting bad decisions that I’ve made in the past. When I’m living in the present moment, life feels “lighter”. I’m more able to appreciate the sights, sounds, smells, touches, and tastes that are right in front of me… right now. Everything is much more vivid and alive. There is pure joy in indulging the sensations that permeate my being!  

My Katy Kahuna massage chair, cannabis edibles, and meditation practices (Balance and Headspace apps) are great tools. I employ them to nudge me me back into the present moment from my wild and scary mental transgressions into the (scary) future and (regretful) past.

 

Categories: Cancer, spirituality

The Double Whammy

May 2, 2020 4 comments

Geeze, a lot has changed since my last blog post on March 20th. I’ve gotta tip my hat to the insidious new coronavirus scourge that has emerged out of nowhere and jumped into the ring to compete with the EOAM for ownership over my body and soul. This emperor+virus double whammy indicates that the fit has really hit the shan for me and millions of others with pre-existing conditions. Yikes!

I know I’ve probably been an asshole more than I’ve been a nice person during my lifetime, but I didn’t think “god” would be so enraged at me that she would summon the vile coronavirus to compete with the sinister emperor for the annihilation of my physical and (especially) mental well being.

 

Ok then, enough doom and gloom (for now). On the bright side, I had a CT scan and a brain MRI since my prior post. They both indicate that the emperor is still firmly shackled in place. There is no doubt he’s still an integral part of me, hoping that the newcomer virus doesn’t beat him to the punch. He’s patiently waiting for the time when my Opdivo immunotherapy infusions stop working so that he can shed his shackles and resume pursuing his goal of slowly ravaging my body into dust.

 

Categories: Cancer

Inventory Check!

March 20, 2020 2 comments

I just finished my 10th and last radiation treatment for the enlarged lymph node in my left pelvic area. I was hoping to get all the “burns” in before any positive Coronavirus results for my county were announced. But alas, there were 2 confirmed cases on Monday and that number has risen to 7 as of today.

Now that the radiation regimen is completed, I still have an Opdivo infusion coming up next Wednesday. After that, barring any major, unforeseen, personal medical events (like another freakin’ stroke), I can really hunker down to weather the impending Coronavirus maelstrom.

As you might have guessed, I fall into the high risk, immune-system-compromised, Coronavirus group. D’oh! If I DO get sick when the hospitals are overflowing, and the inevitable “triage” policy is instituted, the triage nurse is gonna walk right past me and I’ll smile and wave her/him by. At this point in my life, what more can happen to me? LOL!

On the bright side, I decided to take inventory on my beloved stress-and-anxiety-reducing cannabis product stash…

Between my stash and the frequent warm embraces of Katy Kahuna, I think I’m good to go for quite awhile, dontcha think?

Categories: Cancer

Rejected And Reversed

March 15, 2020 2 comments

I thought I had gotten away with transitioning between health insurers seamlessly. But alas, in this fucked up, maddeningly complicated, healthcare system, it was not meant to be.

This past Monday I started a 10 session radiation regimen for a growing cancerous lymph node in my left pelvic region. The previous week I had a standard “radiation teach”  learning session and a “coordinate scanning” CT scan so that the technicians could use the images to guide Burnadette’s radiation beam to its nasty target.

Early in the week I received this notice of rejection from my new insurance company:

So, I went to the Excellus BCBS web site to verify. Lo and behold:

After calling my radiologist and telling her about the rejection, she told me not to worry. She would call the insurance company and have a peer-to-peer discussion with the insurance company doctor that rejected my claims.

On Friday, I received this reversal of decision notice:

My radiologist came through for me with flying colors. Thanks Tracy. You rock!

So, I made it through 5, 15 minute, burn sessions last week. I hope I can make it through the last five this week before my state gets put on COVFEFE-45 “lockdown“. Oh, and I have an Opdivo infusion scheduled for the following week. This is sooooo much fun that I can’t wait to find out what the future holds.

Categories: Cancer

Katy Kahuna

March 5, 2020 3 comments

Meet sweet Katy Kahuna…

I’m 61 years old and I discovered dear Katy precisely when I needed her. She is the best personal item I’ve ever purchased.

Katy is a powerful yet gentle, robust, electro-mechanical marvel to behold. She weighs 220 lbs to my (current 😉 ) 211 lbs. Her physical structure is comprised of a set of sturdy, rolling, throbbing balls on an L track that straddles my spine. She also has a plethora of air compression bags and heating pads that can give me a bone crushing or smoothly relaxing massage.

Katy is soooo good that I want to die in her arms in mid-massage while the “Yoga-Stretch” program is running. When the program ends we can then be carted off to the crematory together and stuffed in an urn after we’re pulverized into ashes!

I think Katy allowed me to briefly glimpse, feel, taste, hear, and smell what’s waiting for us all on the other side. I experienced this out-of-body epiphany while simultaneously:

  • Laying snugly in Katy’s arms running the “Elite Lower Back” program,
  • High on a pot brownie, and
  • Listening to an Eckhart Tolle podcast.

It was an orgasmic, heavenly experience!

Categories: Cancer

Just Ten More Hits

By using the word “hits” in the title, I don’t mean “hits” from a blunt. I mean “hits” from my friend Burnadette Radner. She’s been waiting patiently in the background to come to my aid whenever I need her firepower in my battle against the EOAM. She’s already helped me with ten, burn-baby-burn, hits on each of two other cancerous lymph nodes a year ago.

My latest chest/abdomen/pelvis CT scan showed that a pesky lymph node in my left pelvic area has grown to a size (2.8 cm) such that my oncologist/radiologist dynamic duo decided it must be radiated ten times to kill the bastid. The lymph node in question has been growing slowly on and off for quite a while and now it’s time to blast the bejesus out of that EOAM soldier. I start the treatment regimen this upcoming Monday and I’m ready to rock. Let’s do it!

The good news in this post is that the CT scan also revealed that all the other numerous cancerous tissue spots are still shackled by the lifesaving power of my Opdivo (Nivolumab) infusions. Thanks Bristol-Myers Squibb!

An interesting side topic is that I had to transition from one insurer (UnitedHealthcare) to another (Excellus BCBS) just two days ago on 3/1/20 because my COBRA coverage expired.

Excellus won’t be too happy with the effect of my first ten claims on their bottom line:

Aw shit! This new customer is a fuckin’ stage 4 cancer patient. We can’t wait until he croaks or until protection for pre-existing conditions is gutted via the supreme court striking down the whole ACA law on a technicality.

Categories: Cancer
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