Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

October 20, 2009

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Yo, minions of the blogosphere!

Beno sends you greetings!

In other words, “Howdy!”

It may have been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, but it’s been like living at the end of La Guardia runway here in Lex. Last Wednesday, I had a Deborah Kerr (“Getting to Know You”) session with the radiation oncology folks at the local clinic. Thursday, I had a follow-up session with my Docs at Duke. (In case you haven’t noticed, I employ the utmost effort and concentration in typing “Duke” when I refer to the fine oncologists and staff working there, which is an extreme measure of respect and appreciation, as my hands and fingers almost fight in Strangeloveian fashion to type “dook” whenever the name occurs.) In coordination with the Lexington Clinic, the docs have strategized a course of radiation therapy that’ll last 23 sessions and, in the words of the main dude here at Lex, “should zap this thing into remission.” Keep your prayers coming, and your fingers crossed, though not necessarily when you pray – that might send the Big Guy crossed messages.

Friday, I revisited the Radiation clinic for yet another PET scan and a “dry run.” The scan was fine. The “dry run” was a session on the radiation table with the techs doing all sorts of adjustments to my bodily alignment while they had fun with Sharpies drawing slashes, exes, stars and dots all over my chest. They finished up giving me five tatoos. These aren’t tatoos of the artsy-fartsy variety – you know, Bald Eagles snatching the turbans off Iraqi heads or busty, lascivious babes draped across the handle bars of Harleys. No, these are simply conspicuous, jail-house dots, that look like nothing much except the dots in everybodys’ palms from when they accidentallystabbed themselves with #2 pencils in grammar school. My chest ended up looking like a map, though as best I can tell, it’s the road to nowhere.

This afternoon, I revisited for a “picture session,” during which they shot couple of X-rays, using the marks on my chest as guide posts for aiming the machine. The new method of radiation therapy (though for all I know, they might have been doing this for 23 years or so) is not to aim a monster tube at you and administer a shot-gun blast of rays that cause all sorts of collateral damage, but is more precise. They vector 3-4 concentrated beams to converge on the tumor, minimalizing the effects on healthy tissue. After taking a few pics, the techs consulted with the doc, and agreed, “what the hell,” so they administered the first treatment today.

I show no ill effects from treatment No 1, though I can illuminate a dark basement holding a lightbulb in my hand. And the cat hisses at me when I saunter by. And, none of my credit cards work any more. Otherwise, I’m fine. I did get marked up again today, however, with a diagram showing roughly the area that got radiated. The result looks suspiciously to me like the outline of Wisconsin. I figure there must be a hidden meaning in this, some ancient and esoteric code. Does anybody know how I can contact Dan Brown?  If there’s a conspiracy behind all this, I’d really like to know.


October 12, 2009

In Uncategorized on October 12, 2009 at 10:01 pm

     Well, a hell of a lot of water has passed under the bridge since last I wrote. The stock market has climbed. The Red Sox have finished their season. Obama has gone from being everybody’s Prince Charming to everybody’s Uncle Mort – the guy with beer-stained boxers and two left shoes and breath like fermented weasel that everyone avoids at the family reunion. He does find favor with five Swedes – ex-parliamentarian, no less – which is the sort of reception that ought to make one reconsider the true nature of one’s appeal. (Why do I only attract skanky women, wonders Mort, as he scratches armpits revealed by the “Tom Delay Dancing School” wife-beater tee shirt that he is wearing………speaking of “Tom Delay” – isn’t that what Tarzan used to yell to make elephants stampede through the evil white hunters’ camp?)

     As for me, I have been in something of another holding pattern. The last PET Scan revealed that the chemo was no longer effective except for slamming my marrow and driving hemo-and hebe-and homo-globing and platelet counts down so low a Bowery drunk could drag his feet across them. I followed the PET Scan with a transfusion of three bags o’blood (and I have already applied for the local Bags o’Blood franchise).

     Now, I have never been one to give much weight to ethnic stereotypes, but on the Saturday following the transfusion, I woke up with forelocks, then tried to use words like “meschuggah” and “mensch” in regular conversation. Sunday, I woke up in a knitted cap and walked around all day doing hand signs and wearing long pants with the legs rolled up to my knees. Monday, I woke up to find that, while sleep-walking, I had used Sharpies to draw a Confederate flag on my chest. Even worse, I had almost uncontrollable urges to get “Mama” tattooed on a bicep and buy a 12 pack of Dixie beer. Luckily, I was at home when the inevitable fist fight broke out, punching myself in the face with both hands, all the while muttering, “Oy veh, oy veh!”

     For a month, I’ve been ingesting loads of vitamins and minerals and Tarceva, a drug that supposedly gives enzymes, electrolytes, electroluxes, accuvacs or some such bodily chemical the strength to go out and do what needs to be done. I revisit Duke this week to review progress and map out a plan for the future. What that might entail, who knows. Rest assured, however, that I am doing well, feeling fine, and am as lovely as ever. I’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to figure out whether you’re reassured by that last tid-bit.