Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In remission

Well there it is, the only thing you want to hear when you have the big C.

I am officially in remission. My SED rate is ridiculously low (3) and aside from a small mass, which could very well be scar tissue, I am all clear.

I am still taking the prednisone and my face feels and looks about twice its normal, yet still gargantuan size, but it is a small price to pay if it will revive some lung function.

I am hoping to return to work on May 4 (Monday) and am really looking forward to it. Things will definitely have changed when I get back, I will have a new manager and the members of the team, that are still there, will have moved on both in terms of competence and personal development, so it will be interesting to see how I fit into the new dynamic. In the short time I have been away the product (code base) will have changed markedly and it will take me some time to absorb the changes and new development patterns.

I think I will just keep my head down for a couple of months and try and find my place in the grand scheme.

I will not be posting regularly over the next couple of months, reflecting the irregular nature of my treatment going forward. I will however be starting a new blog more focussed on my technology dealings and thoughts. When it becomes active you can find it at

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

All done ... bar the shouting

I have officially completed my treatment.

I have a veritable frenzy of appointments over the next couple of weeks to check my oil and top up the washer fluid, so to speak, but I am now officially ramping back up to return to work.

It will take a few weeks for me to put myself back together again but I am hoping to be back at work by beginning of May.

I have to say that I am looking forward to getting amongst it, although the thought of weaving my way through thousands of cagers, all intent on my destruction, is a somewhat terrifying.

I have an appointment with my oncologist next Tuesday, I'll post again then.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cough cough

Nicky and I have just returned from the pulmonologist's office.

He thinks that it is too early to say conclusively that the damage to my lungs will be permanent.

For now, I will continue taking prednisone and hope for the best.

Nicky has confirmed that I am, in fact, a miserable bastard, so the steroids are definitely making me irritable.

I also seem to have a somewhat insatiable appetite which is doing nothing for my otherwise svelte, athletic physique. Everything wobbles when I move. With luck I will be able to exercise a little more in the coming weeks and try and counter my ever increasing waist line.

I'll post again when my radiation therapy is complete. Cheers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oops I accidentally my blog

Just tried to respond to a comment from Pat (FinderGuy) and something went horribly wrong. Post deleted.

So here we go again.

So it has been confirmed that my breathlessness is bleo toxicity, currently my lungs are able to exchange gases at 66%, down from 95%.

I am continuing the prednisone in an effort to relieve some of the problem and am being referred to a pulmonary specialist but bleo toxicity is not, as far as I understand it, reversible.

Slow and slovenly though I am, I did used to enjoy the occasional run which, as things stand, will be pretty much beyond me. It's a depressing thing to admit at 39.

But, all things need to be kept in perspective. The bleomycin helped arrest my lymphoma, throughout my treatment my lungs were constantly checked, it just so happens that the last dose pushed me over the cliff.

Because the radiation can also adversely affect my lungs I am not ready to see how far I can push myself until I have finished that course of treatment; thereafter, I will start seeing how far I can go and start working out a schedule for regular exercise and hope that a healthier diet can help me balance calories in and out.

Obviously this is disappointing but, all things considered, it is better than the alternative outcome.

Hope you are all keeping well.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I huff and I puff

but I can't even blow down the straw house.

Over the last couple of days I have become increasingly breathless.

A chest x-ray yesterday seems to suggest more changes in my lungs. We aren't sure if this is the result of bleo toxicity or something else.

I am starting a course of steroids that will hopefully arrest and reverse the symptoms, but if it is the result of bleo, well, best to just wait until we know that is the case before contemplating what that means.

I have just completed my first week of radiation. Nothing special to report, no super powers and just a little lethargy.

I'll post again when I have completed my pulmonary function test and we know a little more about what is going on with my lungs.

Have a nice weekend.

Monday, February 23, 2009

PET Scan

So, just got back from the oncologist where we reviewed the results of my latest PET scan.

Not much has changed. There is still no sign of activity in my neck/chest/abdomen, but the mass remains. There is also some evidence of a problem with my lungs but we are not sure whether this is the result of bleomycin toxicity or just something that will eventually resolve itself. Another pulmonary function test will be scheduled to check the actual lung function so we can at least rule out bleomycin toxicity.

Needless to say I wanted a definitive and positive result and although my Doctor, the very capable and patient Dr. Kankipati remains positive about my prognosis, I still feel somewhat in limbo.

Radiation starts next week and that may yet shrink the mass, perhaps not. It may be something that I just need to accept will always be there, a trophy if you will :-)

I'll post again as soon as I determine what super powers I have developed from being irradiated daily. Knowing my luck I will become the Spleen; "Weapons check, pull my finger".

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

If it's not one thing, it's another

Just returned from my post chemo blood test. I was expecting a pretty simple in and out but while I was there I was collared by my oncologist.

Apparently my SED rate has spiked back up to the mid 40's. It might be a lab mistake or it may be an indication of some new activity, I have a PET scan on Feb 20th which should pick up anything that we need to be concerned about. I'll be on tenterhooks till then.

Just when you think you are almost through...

Long road back...

Nicky's regular walking partner, Sarah, had to cancel on her this am. I took the opportunity to accompany Nicky on her stroll around the crossings.

For various reasons, this was probably my first serious effort at taking some much needed exercise in a long time.

I have to say that, although we only went for a short stroll, it felt wonderful to be out and about with Nicky.

It is definitely going to be a long road back to fitness but at least I have taken the first tentative steps. Perhaps walking a golf course or two might be my next challenge ;-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Last chemo

I had my last chem treatment today. I can't believe we have made it, at times it seemed a lifetime away.

The nurses and administrative staff at EpicCare gave a small performance and presented me with a certificate completion which was much appreciated. Although I will see them occasionally over the coming months I will certainly miss seeing them on a regular basis.

I meet we Dr. Chau on Friday, to begin planning for radiation. It will not happen for at least 3 weeks, to allow the chemo to be purged, but then it will be fairly intensive, with one treatment a day for at least 4 weeks.

I'll post again when we have details of the radiation plan.

Until then I am going to lie on the couch and remind myself that this is the last time I have to endure the side effects of chemo.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cycle 6

Well I started my LAST cycle today. I can't tell you how good it feels to type that.

I feel pretty lousy but that is nothing new, two more weeks and I will be, hopefully, done with chemo.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just to clear things up

A couple of people have asked, so I thought I would explain why my news from stanford was so welcome.

When I visited stanford, the initial review of my PET/CT and pathology led them to conclude that my tumor had not reduced in size to any significant degree. This is in stark contrast to view that it had reduced by 75%.

The consequence was that my treatment would have to be revised and extended. However, as you have already read, their board concluded that I am actually on schedule.

It goes to show what an imprecise science this is. For a couple of days we were fearing the worst, so we are mightily relieved.

As I approach the start of my sixth and final cycle (YAY) I am starting to reflect on the experience and also the number of people I have met that have not been so lucky. It is a short life in any case but you never know when or why it might be cut short. Cherish every moment, loved one, and friendship, and remember that when you are in your last moments there is a list of things that you are unlikely to utter.

"I wish I had spent more time at work"
"I wish I had done more housework"
"I wish I hadn't spent so much time on the golf course"

I'll sign off with one last thought.

How come the stock price didn't fall when I got sick?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Great news

Just heard from Stanford. They have determined that I am on track and don't need to change my treatment.

This is a huge relief, the cumulative effects of the treatments are beginning to wear me down so the thought of an additional two months of chemo was not very welcome.

I think I will allow myself a small celebration tonight!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back from Stanford

Well, we just spent 3 hours at the advanced medicines center, Stanford.

After reviewing my pathology and PET scans they have decided that the need to discuss my case before a full panel.

Until they make their conclusion, Monday PM, there is little point is sharing their prima-facia opinion.

Speak to you soon.