A Nice Surprise

I just received the insurance claim for my 5 hour stint in the emergency room two weeks ago. Since I had a CT scan and an MRI taken during my stay, I was expecting something in the range of $10k. Lo and behold, the bill was less than $5k.

Categories: Cancer

At The Office

Just another day at the office.

It’s impossible to get the band off without using a scissors.

Categories: Cancer

A Full Schedule

July 22, 2019 4 comments

This morning, I popped out of bed and loaded up my berry-lish-iss “CT contrast drink” and my cheater’s parking card. I was then whisked away for my “coordinate mapping” CT scan.

When all was said and done, I left the cancer center with a boatload of new, exciting appointments and impending copays.

In anticipation of the upcoming radiation-fest, I baked my first batch of brownies EVER yesterday. Until now, I never had the desire to bake anything before in my life.

For some strange reason, my house still reeks today.  I hope the rest of your summer is as fun as mine…..

Categories: Cancer

Nice Blue Tats!

July 19, 2019 2 comments

Ok, ok. Get your mind out of the gutter, damn it! The last word in the title of this post has the letter “a” in it, not “i“.

Now that you are (unlike I am) thinking clearly again, we can move forward.

I met with my radiologist yesterday to discuss the plan for radiating the two moderately growing cancer lymph nodes in my body. Thank god it didn’t turn into a “Ground Hog” replay at the office. After discussing and consenting to the plan, I cut a clean getaway out of the facility without being carted off in an ambulance to the ER like last week.

According to the plan, I will undergo a “coordinate mapping” CT scan on Monday to precisely annotate where the radiation beams will soon be focused to obliterate the DNA of the emperor’s two, advancing orcs. During the process, the radiology team will imprint a series of small, blue, millimeter-sized, permanent, “tats in the appropriate locations to ensure total annihilation.

 

After being prepped, each of the emperor’s two disgusting orcs will be zapped once a day for 10 consecutive working days (a “real” two week scrum sprint!). The good thing about the plan is that I don’t have to suspend my Opdivo immunotherapy infusions while undergoing the radiation treatments.

I do not yet know the exact day of the initial radioactive assault, but I do know that another CT scan will then be performed a month after the last day to determine the effectiveness of the treatment. Until then, it’s time to chillax a little with some, um, “essential” oil therapy…

Categories: Cancer Tags: ,

A Very Small Acute Infarct

I love “The Strokes“. They’re a smooth and tight indie band that sounds like a divine coupling of two other bands that I can’t quite articulate. And it’s driving me knutz!

As usual, I digress, but not too far (this time) from what I want this post to be about. It’s about MY Stroke – singular.

I met with my neurosurgeon today and we discussed the MRI report from last week’s exciting trip to the ER. In preparation, I read and tried to extract the signal from the medical jargoneeze in the write up so that I could understand what the stable-genius emperor is up to THIS TIME.

To achieve that end, I first present the appropriately redacted and annotated MRI report for your scrutiny:

In case you haven’t been following this gawd forsaken blog, the context of the matter is that I have 3 tumors in my brain (to complement the 3 lovely primary tumors in my right lung along with several enlarged lymph nodes).

My notes on the top right of the picture summarize what the serial, 1D, typed text to the left says about the 3 tumors in a more absorb-able, 2D tabular form. It’s actually all good news. Virtually no change compared to the late May MRI.

The NEW revelatory information in the report is highlighted in the red box:

New very small area of cortically-based restricted diffusion involving left frontal insula, most compatible with a very small acute infarct.

In other words, I formally had my first stroke. Whoo hoo!

The next thing I did was draw a 2D picture+words combo that provided me with the last bit of clarity I needed. My neurosurgeon politely said the drawing was technically wrong, but close enough. LOL.

In the picture, I only show one of the three brain tumors because the other two aren’t relevant to stroking it. 🙂

My neurosurgeon said that it was most likely only a coincidence that the infarction occurred in the same lobe as the tumor.

I’m not fully recovered from the effects of the stroke and I may never be, but that’s one of the emperor’s most devlishly effective tools hidden deep in his arsenal – “progression“. The bastid.

The most concerning symptom, my speech pattern, has gotten waay better over the last few days. I’m not jumbling whole sentences anymore but I often pronounce words incorrectly (sort of sounding like a funny baby).

A new symptom is that I feel something indescribably strange going on nerve-wise down my right arm every once in awhile. I’m still feeling too wobbly to leave my house without “supervision“, but that’s happened several times before and I recovered each time.

So, the next steps for me are:

  • To see what shape the blood vessels to and within my brain are in with a CT-angiogram of my head/neck.
  • Get an EKG-cardiogram to check for heart blockages that may break off and get me into the plural version of Stroke, like the band.

But wait, despite the thrill of experiencing my first stroke, I’ve been cleared to get my next Opdivo infusion tomorrow. Oh, and then I get a do-over with my radiologist on the following day when she will tell me the radiation schedule for nuking the two growing lymph nodes that need tending to. I hope it’s not groundhog day when I step into her office.

 

Got any kestions folks?

Categories: Cancer

D’oh! My First Post-Diagnosis Trip To The ER

July 14, 2019 1 comment

I think I’ve had a wonderful week of cancer-filled fun, but I’ll let you decide for yourself if you agree. So, here goes…

My latest brain MRI in late May said all is well “upstairs“. All three tumors were stable and the swelling around each of them was relatively unchanged.

My latest chest/abdomen/pelvic CT scan in late June indicated that two cancerous lymph nodes have grown large enough so that my concerned oncologist scheduled an appointment with my radiologist to have them Chernobyl-ized soon.

Since I didn’t know how many radiation treatments I’ll soon be having and I felt confident enough to go, I made a hastily planned 4-day trip to Florida to see my family. Of course, they treated me like a king and I enjoyed every second of the experience. Love you guys and gals!

One day after returning from FL, on the day of my scheduled visit to the radiologist, I “forgot” how to tie my shoelaces for a whole minute. Thinking it a bit strange, I nevertheless kept on moving.

I got in my car and shifted my manual transmission (several different times during the drive) but “unknowingly” left it in neutral and wondered why my car slowed down while I cranked the gas pedal to red line rpm range. Before my car stopped moving, I suddenly “figured out” why I was slowing down, I put the car into gear and lurched forward, frantically looking in my rear-view mirror for a car to shh-toop me in the bum. Yay, I did it!

Next, I dropped my notepad 3 times walking from the car to the radiologist’s office only 20 yards away. While in the office, I forgot what my birthday was twice within one minute and I had to X it out on the intake form. Strangely enough, I remembered who the president is when the nurse asked 😉 Next, the words I wanted to say started coming out all jumbled up and I relied on my wife for help in completing my sentences.

That “aphasia” was the trigger. While in the radiologist’s office, they called an ambulance and the EMTs gurneyed me out of the place, a la Britney Spears, for all the other cancer patients at the facility to see and get depressed about.

I was taken to the ER and they performed a CT scan and MRI on my brain. They didn’t detect a mini-stroke or anything unusual relative to my previous MRI and they sent me home after 5 hours with steroids to take (yet again). I can’t wait to open the unreadable, lengthy, itemized bill I get from the hospital bureaucrats and see if all the staff they had working on me were all “In Network“.

So, after all those fun and games, I have an appointment with my neurosurgeon on Tuesday, followed by an appointment with my oncologist’s nurse practitioner, also on Tuesday, followed by an Opdivo immunotherapy infusion on Wednesday, followed by another visit to the radiologist on Thursday. Oh, and I had to reschedule a Tuesday appointment with my acupuncturist so I wouldn’t have 3 doctor appointments to go to in one day.

Just think of all the co-pays I’ll be dishing out in the upcoming weeks in addition to the $700 monthly premium I have to pay for health insurance. I have the resources to pay for my healthcare, but it pains me to think about how many less fortunate people would be blown out of the water with the debilitating physical + financial double whammy.

On the bright side, it looks like I may be resurrecting my stoner days from college (and shhhh… my high school days hangin’ out with the kool kids). Whoo hoo! Among other heavenly benefits, cannabis helps me “temporarily forget” the worsening peripheral neuropathy in my feet. It’s way better on the body than drinking (which I have extensive experience doing), dontcha think?

Thanks for listening!

Categories: Cancer

Rocket Ship To The Moon!

June 24, 2019 4 comments

Since I probably don’t have too much time left on earth and since I own some Bitcoin and since it just recently re-crossed the $10k threshold, I decided to reward myself with some new Bitcoin swag.

So, off I went to Etsy.com to browse the 10 bazillion pages they have with Bitcoin stuff on them. Lo and behold, I found a genuine replica of the Bitcoin rocket ship to the moon. All aboard!

If you want to get one of these innovative and creative products, go visit Emma and Josh at GeekySexToys on Etsy. They’re Aussies, so by definition they’re really nice.

Oh, and if after seeing the rocket ship you “can’t” buy one for some reason, you could be more discrete and get one of these instead….

Or yet again, you could get a commemorative “wine bottle cork” 😉

Categories: bitcoin
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