This Year’s Accomplishments

January 9, 2020 Leave a comment

Dear boss, here are my 2019 accomplishments:

  • 20+ Opdivo immunotherapy infusions
  • 20 radiation hits
  • 5 brain MRIs
  • 1 full CTLS back MRI
  • 20+ doctor/nurse/specialist visits
  • 4 Chest/Abdomen/Pelvis CT scans
  • 1 Emergency Room excursion to treat a small” stroke
  • $3000 out of pocket max exceeded in early November
  • $450K+ in healthcare consumed

My proudest and most valuable accomplishments of the year are the procurement of:

  • 1 Medical Marijuana Program card

  • 1 MRCG membership card

What were YOUR 2019 accomplishments?

Categories: Cancer

A Proud, Card-Carrying Member

January 1, 2020 Leave a comment

First of all, Happy New Year everyone! Next…..

…I am a proud, card-carrying member of a group of beautiful people that no person would ever want to be a member of: the Metastatic and Recurrent Cancer Group (MARCG). Am I right? Isn’t that the scariest group name EVER?

The MARCG meets for an hour and a half on the first and third Tuesdays of each month to discuss what we’re going through, how we are doing, pain management and diet tips, etc.

Last year was a very somber one for the group. Four dear members lost their final battle against the Emperor Of All Maladies in 2019. The only one I knew was Amy Conroy. Amy died last week after a long series of battles with the Emperor. She was a courageous warrior and an inspiration to the group. Amy would lead or contribute to many group discussions. Damn it girl, we’re going to miss you! Rock on Amy!

Categories: Cancer

A Highly Diversified, Multi-Level Defense Of DeFeet

December 28, 2019 2 comments

Except for the sentence you are currently reading, this entire post was coaxed forth from the depths of the beyond with the aid of my trusty side-kick… the 1991 edition of Microsoft Visio.

 

Categories: Cancer Tags:

Why The Long Face?

December 25, 2019 Leave a comment
Categories: miscellaneous Tags:

Insane

December 23, 2019 5 comments

The following graphic is insane, dontcha think?

Various doctors, nurses, labs, and specialists posted 159 claims to my insurance company this year. Not a single one was declined. At least I have THAT going for me.

Even though the “patient responsibility” for co-pays, co-insurance, and deductible is $3820, I “only” had to pay my max out of pocket amount: $3000. A savings of $820. Whoopee! 🙂

So, with my monthly premium at $700, the total amount I’ve had to pay out of pocket this year is $11,400. That’s quite a deal for stage 4 cancer treatment, right?

Categories: Cancer

Tah dah!

December 17, 2019 6 comments

Wow, I just saw that my last post on this preposterous blog was published on my birthday, October 10. So, in case you were wondering….. Tah dah! I’m still alive. LOL! I’m working on another post titled “How Will They Know?“. Double-LOL!

The good news is that two of the big four of my cancer complications, dizziness and “head-ringing“, have subsided to the point where I’m not aware that they’re constantly lurking in the background and chomping at the bit to muscle their way into the forefront of my consciousness. The bad news is that the other two complications, right-leg-numbness and, especially, “Feet on Fire” (FoF), have gotten worse.

In order to keep up with the deterioration in my poor feet, I kept upping my dosage of gabapentin to combat the worsening pain until I hit the ceiling of 600 mg X 3 per day. The drug didn’t seem to be working anymore so I decided (with doctor approval) to start backing down on the dosage to see if my FoF would get worse again. The rationale was that I’d rather not be taking a drug if it’s not working. Of course, when I cut the dose in half, my FoF did get worse. I was pretty much dead in the water for a week because of the foot pain. This most recent “flare up” has subsided a bit, but the progression is at the point where there now is always some fire-like pain in both of my feet. Tis what it is.

The next thing I’m going to try in my fight against seemingly worsening FoF is alpha lipoic acid. It’s an over-the-counter supplement recommended by one of my cancer group therapy friends. I got the Ok from my pain management doctor and I’ve been taking 650 mg per day for about a week now. So far, sigh, I haven’t noticed any improvement.

As the graphic below shows, the progression from taken-for-granted,”normal“, feet to the FoF state is an additive process. You may not believe this, but as I write this my feet are numb, tingly, and painful all at once. I don’t know if I can do anything to permanently regress back to the numbness + tingling state but I’ll keep trying new meds/supplements/topicals as I become aware of them.

On the bright side, I met a new internet friend, Kiara Bickers. Kiara stumbled upon this irreverent blog while searching for information on “systems thinking“, which is a fascinating subject near-and-dear to my heart. Kiara sent me a hard copy of her upcoming book, “Bitcoin Clarity“.  I haven’t finished it yet but I can tell you that Kiara’s writing style is very endearing. It feels like you know her personally and she’s sitting right next to you trying to painstakingly and patiently explain an almost inexplicable topic to newbies – Bitcoin.  Go pre-order your kindle copy now. 🙂

 

 

Categories: bitcoin, Cancer

Small, Patchy, Parenchymal Opacities

October 10, 2019 5 comments

I had my “routine“, tri-monthly CT scan of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis on Tuesday. I haven’t followed up with my oncologist yet but I have the CT scan report in hand. It basically says:

  • The two enlarged lymph nodes that were radiated 10 times each in August have shrunk considerably.
  • The original 4 tumors in my right lung are still “under control“.
  • No new cancer spots were detected anywhere in my chest, abdomen, or pelvis.
  • There seems to be some relatively minor, but not unanticipated, collateral damage from the radiation beams as they zeroed in on the well-hidden lymph node located behind my stomach, in front of my spine, and straddled by two blood vessels. The damage manifests on the scan as “small, patchy, parenchymal opacities in the lateral right upper lobe“.

My favorite words on the report are:

No new or progressive metastatic disease.

So, the fight goes on! Next week I have the followup for the CT scan with my oncologist and a brain MRI with neurosurgeon followup. Wish me luck for yet another 3 month reprieve from the emperor of all maladies!

Categories: Cancer
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