Friday, September 24, 2010

Let the scanning begin!

Yesterday was the first of what I assume is to be a series of scans and tests-HOPEFULLY this will prove to be my final series before I am released to a more manageable and tolerable annual type check up. i.e those precious words saying I have a clean bill of health and we are CURED! That is the terminology they say can actually be used for my type of cancer so the fingers are crossed amongs other things. Now of course is the anxiety of waiting. My next scheduled appointment is not until October 12th and of course the techs will never tell you anything on what they saw yesterday. We did a series of x-rays and CT's and a PET will be forthcoming but at least the process has begun and I fully expect a busy October up and around Queen's but if that's what it takes to be done with this, so be it.

As that all I have on the health front, I can report we were able to pull off a hell of a celebration last weekend - a combined birthday celebration for both Mom and myself and the fact that I could. I decided it was time to do one of my usual "BBQ" parties where I cook and have others bring the wine. As it was my first event of any kind to host this year it got a little out of hand numbers wise. Wow talk about being overwhelmed and at the outpur of support-thank you all. Not only did Tom McNamara, one of my best friends from college, come all the way from Denver-so did some 70 others. Never have I done one of my gig's for that many and quite honestly, I was a bit concerned but.......with putting Tom to work on his mini vacation as well as Lisa, Mom and Pam, the borrowing of a friend's grill for more cook space and the recruitment of random victims throughout the evening for thier kitchen and bar skills-we pulled it off. It was, even if I do say so myself-a great success. Thank you all for everthing!

(Complete pics available

Oh-thank you LC but yes, I was able to feed the troops shortly after 9 and with no blood, at least not mine! Smart ass!

I will admit however, I was completely wiped out after the weekend-between the party prep, party, a VIP pre opening dinner for the new Iron Chef Morimoto's opening here in town that Pam took us too and entertaining Tom-in the best of times I'd be wiped out so needless to say, when I dropped him at the airport the body went on shutdown and been resting ever since. Now I find myself prepping for this weekends event-Holo Holo-a nonstop overnight circumnavigation of Oahu and possibly the Blue Angeles Sunday-see how we feel. YIKES!

Sans the throat penalizing me for over usage or difficult foods, guess I'm feeling better huh so those scans better validate that!

All we have to report for now - have a great weekend

Friday, September 17, 2010

There is a light at the end of the tunnel

We hope! This will take some time but at least things are in motion. I met with Dr. Adachi on Tuesday and she has started to schedule my final series of scans starting next week. This will go on for the better part of a month but once they are all completed and we get all three Dr's to review the results, the hope is obviously to find we are cancer fee and put finally put this nightmare behind me! To say I am rather anxious is an understatement as you might well expect.

Outside of that, as far as her findings and update, it is again all positive from a visual standpoint. We discussed my recurring pain issues as well as the difficulty I have developed in swallowing occasionally, specifically when I first wake up. You may recall I use the term "seized up" previously and ironic as that is exactly what happens. She explained there are a set of upper muscles in the throat that start the whole complex swallowing process and the radiation damages them in treatment making them tight just like the jaw muscles. This causes them to literally seize up and prevent me from swallowing. That is why this issue happens more often when I first get up as the muscles tighten up throughout the night. She says there is no way to tell if this is temporary, permanent or possibly might even get worse. She has one patient who is seven years out of treatment and is just now developing this same problem-WONDERFUL!! The punches just keep on coming on what we didn't know right.

In regard to the irritation and pain I get with some food items, this is still part of the healing process and in her very matter of fact manner, tells me to figure out what aggravates my throat and "STOP IT!" Makes perfect sense right-LOL. She is not too pleased on drinking of any sort.- Her opinion, especially on my find and theory on Kettle on the rocks, is "it's poison and not worth it." She lightens her tone slightly on beer and wine in moderation but very clear that she is not a fan for her patients period. She herself admits to drinking wine nightly with her dinner but quick to point out she not a patient. I'll have to run my own personal experiment and pay closer attention to any correlation between vodka and throat issues the next day and determine if that a "stop it" substance. If so it also fails my other Dr's opinion on the matter that I have no restrictions and can eat and drink whatever I care to and the body will tell me if it is OK. That said, I seem to have isolated tomatoes and related product as a food that will fall into the immediate "stop it" category as have noticed I always seem to have problems with them. Bummer!

We also discussed the alkaline diet I was told about and the benefits there. She agrees that cancers prefer an acidic (i.e alcohol) environment and that having a diet heavier in alkaline foods can't hurt-she doesn't necessarily subscribe to the entire theory. More of the Eastern versus Western medical theories but she, like me at this point, prefer a balanced healthy diet and that is bound to include certain foods considered acidic.

Anyway-that about it for this week-I'll certainly update more next week after the first scans are completed although doubt I'll have any feedback-the tech's never say much but it is a start. Right now I'm off to Costco as need to prepare for a little celebratory gathering tomorrow-my birthday as well as Moms but considering the health, this will be quite a test-looking like more people than I've had before so crossing my fingers I can pull it off! Hell, I even have one of my best friends from college flying in for the festivities from Denver-Now that is cool!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Well for that brief scary moment back in January it crosses your mind if your going to have another one. Brief mind you but scary as sh*t nonetheless when you first get this kind of news and try decipher what is happening. You know the tales since then and I am happy to report I just had another one on Tuesday!

Didn't do a lot on the that specific day, but had a great Labor Day weekend as celebration in Lahaina with Lisa and the Prima Donna crew as well as an upcoming gathering. The 7th was actually a going away party for a very good friend who took a contracting job and is heading overseas to Afghanistan for a year so we gave him priority for the evening. I actually blew up my throat pretty good that night as well and that shut me down on the spot. I'm sure it was nothing more than the body putting the brakes on for overuse as we had a combination of what for me was a very long weekend. We kicked off the Maui races with some carousing Friday night with Lisa and the crew, a race Saturday and post race pool festivities, and an 8 1/2 race home to Oahu on Monday. Combine that with some red pepper flakes that I apparently neglected to see in the tako poke I was eating at the farewell party and my throat pretty much instantaneously sent me home! I was still torched Wednesday and could barely speak but am rebounding much quicker and seemed to be much better yesterday.

Next on deck is I have an appointment with my ENT next week and there I hope to begin the process of scheduling and preparing for my final series of scans. I don't expect these to actually happen until October but I'm hoping we can at least begin the process. I also am looking forward to getting her opinion on my progress as well . These occasional shutdown that occur are still a bit concerning as to why and I have also noticed it is becoming regular in the morning regardless with the water out the nose trick now being common place when I first wake up. My jaw bone has also become quite sensitive as well. That might be from the deliberate stretching I am trying to do daily to help my ability to open my mouth wider. On my last visit she suggested I do that as my mouth is not opening as wide as it should be-a common occurrence she tells me and correctable over time with stretching but has that caused the tenderness-all part of the barrage of questions you have and hope you remember!
Back to Prima for some Friday night racing and the results from last weeks adventure-WooHoo

Have a great weekend yourself!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lahaina Bound!

Exciting weekend lies ahead as we are in Maui for my first real yacht race since opening day way back in January with the Prima Donna crew! Excited as both Lisa and I love Maui and this is a very fun regatta with very serious racing, as well as some not so to make for a great all around Labor Day. Can't get her into the sailboat racing thing yet so she'll come play and wave at us as she flies home overhead. Prior to that however, we kick it off tonight in Lahaina town in what always seems to be a series of memorable events before heading out tomorrow for the Lahaina Inshore or what we choose to call the Lahaina Lights -a series of inshore buoy races off the Lahaina coast that is notorious for very light wind conditions. A few years back when I first raced here with Rick Osborne, these conditions led him to the idea that to counter the effect of the cold frosty beverages that the heat generated in this part of our Island chain requires, one might as well fire up the BBQ while racing and really enjoy the day. (attached photo) It has now turned into an almost fleet wide competition with numerous boats flying kites while trailing smoke-rather a funny sight. The key is to save enough to bring back for the judging during the post race poolside festivities! Sunday involves a Maui vs Oahu crew softball game and dinghy races at Lahaina Yacht Club although prudence says Lisa and I might very well forgo that continued debauchery. I may be getting back in the saddle per se but best to not overdo it and very well may find I am better off to relax and enjoy the newly remodeled Royal Lahaina Hotel my friend Tom Bell has set us up in and the Kaanapali shoreline while resting up for what culminates early Monday morning with the 67th Annual Lahaina - Honolulu return. A race from Honalua Bay across to Molokai where we choose to run the slot or a spinnaker run down the beautiful North Shore and surf on to Diamond Head. Looks like we could get as many as 40 boats participating this year and forecasting some good wind to bring us home so looking forward to a great weekend. Wish us luck!

As far as a status update for the week-fortunately, the razor blade issues I experienced Sunday have subsided so hoping that won't hinder any of the festivities. I do have another appointment with my ENT on the 14th and the continued irritation will certainly be on deck for discussion. The primary focus there of course will be to get the scans scheduled.
I find I am still getting a kick with the lack of recognition as it is still occurring even with the hair coming back in. Got a few sailing buddies last Friday after the races and a few paddlers last night as was down at the club with the SC contingent but quite possibly the best one yet happened last weekend. I was dealing a poker game at Lisa's when a longtime friend of hers, as well as a guy whom I have now know for a few years as well, came in and sat in seat 1-that is immediately to my left. I said hello, got him set up and actually dealt him 4 or 5 hands before he turns to Lisa and asks "So how's Jeff doing, feeling any better yet?" HELLO CAREY! You mean ME! LOL-really can be entertaining-can't wait to see who I get in Lahaina. There are sure to be a few.
Have a great Labor Day!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Michael Douglas on Letterman

A little different post here but I found this Letterman interview interesting. As I am 10 1/2 weeks out of radiation therapy and still dealing with my remaining difficulties, I watched the Late Show and Michael Douglas, water bottle in hand (the dry mouth hasn't even begun yet Mike!) discuss his first week of what sounds to be my exact regiment-8 weeks, i.e. 35 plus sessions, weekly chemo.....An odd feeling came over me hearing him describe the similarities in his experience of realizing something wrong, through diagnosis and into the treatment cycle (although he is not doing the inpatient chemo regiment I did) and from my viewpoint at this juncture you can't help but feel for him knowing what is forthcoming. I had the pleasure of being introduced to him and talking with him many times years ago and find myself wishing I still had his contact info to discuss this. That said, he has obviously been very well prepared and even as Letterman is trying to tell him he hasn't looked better he is quick to reply he is only one week into the treatment and the full effects are not nearly upon him. YA THINK! He is fully aware he is on his last week of his junket for the new Wall Street movie and not going to be able to do the European portion at all as his throat deteriorates from the radiation. Interesting to hear he too has gotten the oh so familiar spot on warning I got about the 2 weeks of treatment before hell hits and I am so glad I'm on this side of the treatment while reliving this even know still dealing with my own remnants. I did find it interesting that his PR people had him completely dodge and redirect a question at his chain smoking where he said "no, this cancer is caused by drinking and yes I drink." Umm no, it is not necessarily caused by drinking although there can certainly be a case made that links it but there most definitely is a proven correlation to smoking-interesting redirect