Wednesday, April 29, 2009

That crazy bacon fever!

So this swine flu thing seems to have great timing, considering that I have a pretty compromised immune system. I've heard predictions going both ways about whether this thing is going to get really big or not. Regardless, ANY kind of additional contagion is a no-go for me right now, so I decided to be a little cautious and order some N-95 respirator masks off Amazon. I figure they'd be handy in some of my upcoming travels when risk of infection is relatively high.

In other discouraging news, I just had what I know to be a super-awesome egg salad sandwich and it tasted pretty bland today. I think I may have to light my tongue on fire to get some kind of flavor sensation.

To end on an upnote, I learned yesterday that I got a promotion and a raise. This is very encouraging given the rather dismal economic circumstances some of my friends are in these days. Good luck and hang in there people!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chemo Round Five

I had chemo round five today. Everything went pretty good. I wore my free t-shirt from SkyDiveAZ, and everyone at the doc's office was pretty impressed/surprised that I actually jumped given my "condition." It shouldn't be a big schocker because, fortunately, all my other side effects are relatively minimal right now. I also have some new pills to counteract all the likely steroid-caused water-weight gain. I'm trying to avoid looking any "mas chubikins" than necessary. I stayed away from the liquor so my liver counts are back to normal. My white counts seemed to benefit from the Neupogen shots following the last round, so I have five more lined up. That means a total of six trips across town again this week.

Work is still pretty intense, so getting enough sleep this week will be the main goal. I'd like to work out too, but I was advised that this crazy "bacon fever" from Mexico is highly spreadable in places like the gym. So I'll be even more antisocial than normal for the time being. I actually don't think anyone will notice... Mom did get me a supply of surgical masks, but I don't think I'll be rocking the creepy Michael Jackson look just yet.

Excuse me while I kiss the sky...

"...Fear, that's the worst of it. That's the real enemy. So, get up. Get out in the real world. And you kick that bastard as hard as you can right in the teeth."

I'll start with a great quote from this week's episode of Breaking Bad, which is an amazing show in its second season on AMC. I may talk about the show more in a separate post, but it should suffice to say that it's some of the best stuff on TV right now. It gives me something to think about every week.

The weekend got off to an early start with Mom coming into town for a few days. It's always good to have home-cooked food for a change. We went out for some karaoke and I almost got her to sing for her first time. Oh well, maybe next time.

Saturday morning was supposed to be a "big event," or so I thought. My friend Farah invited me to go skydiving, and I couldn't come up with any reason to say no. (That's usually my default reaction to trying something new: "No." I'm working on it -- some might say too much....) Anyway, we drove all the way out to Eloy (about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson) for our tandem jump appointment. Tandem jumping is when they strap you to a seasoned pro and you jump out together.

After watching a video clarifying that you can die from skydiving, we then read, initialed, and signed six pages of legalese reminding us that we can die from skydiving. To sum it up, I learned that I can die while skydiving. After paying the fees, we sat around waiting for our instructors. They put us in our harness rigs and walked us out to an open area to wait for the plane. After about two minutes, the wind picked up and they announced that it was too gusty for jumping. We could either wait for 30 minutes to see if the wind let up, or we could make an appointment for the next day. All the staff seemed pessimistic, so we decided to call it quits and come back again.

Bright and early the next day, we made the lovely drive back to Eloy (which is a sad ghost town, btw). Back into the harness rig, some brief instructions for the jump (brief because there's not much for me to do), and we're on our way. The plane was a tight fit with two benches full of jumpers. We climbed up to 13,000 feet and out we went. The first few moments of freefall are a bit of a sensory overload. I'm trying to mentally remember the instructions I was given, while visually focusing on the photographer in front of me, all while trying to remember to breathe. After a minute or so, my instructor pulled the cord and everything slowed down. My senses caught up and I was able to enjoy the view. Pretty damn awesome. There are a few times when you are able to really appreciate just how small you are. One I have experienced is when out on the open ocean, and another is when floating in the air a mile away from EVERYTHING.

We landed out without any issues and they sent us on our way with some souvenir photos (a few seen below), video, and a T-shirt. If anyone in the Tucson/Phoenix area wants to try it, I'll definitely be going again sometime soon....

Blog Launch

Welcome to my blog! I've communicated with friends and family in various ways over the last few months regarding my diagnosis, treatment and overall progress. I'm hoping that this will give me the right balance of content flexibility/freedom along with ease of access. I'll possibly post some older stuff to provide some prologue, but the point is to keep things current and focus on the present (while looking ahead to the future, of course).