Monday, November 22, 2004

Golden-haired cancer patient

I've been out of school for what, nearly 15 years now. I still get giddy when I score really well on a test. Even a blood test.

Maybe I should say, especially a blood test.

Anyway, my white blood cells are right smack dab in the middle of the normal range. My red blood cells are comfortably ABOVE the normal range (which is good). So no procryd today. No neupagin.

I talked briefly with Dr. Evers (my oncologist). He and Dr. Trivette (my radiation oncologist) are thinking I ought to be able to start radiation with my next round of chemo, starting around December 6.

Dr. Evers also cleared me to have a bit of Guinness from time to time and to exercise in moderation. Although I'm eating fine, I haven't really gained back much weight since I left the hospital, so I'm hoping some Guinness and exercise might do the trick.

Judy and I talked a little this morning about what happens if I die. Neither of us is really focussing on that scenario, but we'd both been thinking about it a little, so it was good to connect. Work the plan, but plan for every contingency. It wasn't as hard as I expected. Not much fun either, but it feels better to have the channel open between us.

I did a little legal work today. Reviewed some documents. Made some suggestions. I think I can do more, and I'm kind of sorry for the holiday this week, as I think I can do some ramping back up over the next few days.

I'm really feeling good. Aside from tiring easily, some residual ringing in my ears, an especially efficient digestive system and the nuisance of the port-a-cath access tube dangling from my chest, I'm quite well.

Judy and I went to Target late this morning and started Christmas shopping. Looks like we're going to go with an artificial tree this year for the first time. The kids are a little disappointed, but good soldiers.

Judy, too.

Me, too.

My clothes seem to be covered a light dusting of my hair. Looks like I won't dodge the bald bullet. I told the kids they could have at me with the clippers before it all fell out on its own, so it looks like we'll do that on Friday or Saturday. I think it'll last 'til then.

We've been thinking and talking about how this process is like a crucible, burning away the inessential, and tempering the essential.

Hair is inessential.

9 Comments:

Blogger Jenn said...

Hey Jim!


Most of my patients who lost their hair with chemo say it grows back a bit more thicker- dunno why though.

Weight gain: Try Instant Breakfast. It's cheaper and more FDA friendly than those weight gain shakes sold at health food stores. Also, there is a medication out there called Megase which can help gain weight. Dr. Evers can write a prescription for you.

Artificial Christmas Tree: I grew up in a house where plant allergies ran rampant. One year I got a real tree. Honestly, I like my artificial one better. You can get a scented candle to mimic the scent (I love Yankee Candle's Balsam Fur- it smells realistic) and no pine needles, or nasty fire risk.

Okay, enough "advice" for now. Take care!

5:24 PM  
Blogger UisceBaGirl said...

I remember a year ago, on Halloween, Jim was a Pict and had dyed his hair blue (to match the blue face paint). At the end of the night he said, "If this doesn't wash out I'm going to have to shave my head" [because he had an important corporate meeting the next day]. The next week he still had more hair than could have grown in a week, so I assumed the blue dye washed out.

I remember thinking how much I as a female would be unwilling to simply shave my head - especially for work. Loosing my hair - inessential, yes, but it would still be quite an adjustment for me.

I hope you are continuing to improve as the holiday approaches.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Pamela, I totally agree- I am so vain about my hair. But most of the female cancer patients I've worked with in the past have shaved their heads, and they look beautiful, very exotic. I watched a documentary once about a woman battling breast cancer, who liked the look so much she decided to keep it even after treatment. "I realized I had a very sexy head," she joked. And of course, sophisticated chicks love bald men. :D
Here's to sexy heads. SOOCCIAAAL!
Love,
Jenn

9:05 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Jim, I've been embracing the "hair is inessential" concept since about 82.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Tom Nicholson said...

So... if you are the Golden-Haired Cancer Patient, does that make you related to Sister Golden Hair Surprise?

Great news on the cell counts-- normal is a good thing once in a while!

Have a good evening, Jim.

Peace and blessings,
Tom

10:23 PM  
Blogger Pat_N said...

Take it from me, a beer drinker with a running problem, a pint and jog around the block does wonders for the body, mind, and spirit.

Keep acing those tests Jim!!

7:47 AM  
Blogger vkenny said...

Hi Jimmy, Great news about the blood counts I have been waiting to hear those results. I also have a suggestion about the weight gain. Ed had a milkshake every day with carnation instant breakfast in it and he was the only patient his oncologist ever had that gained 5 lbs during chemo so I know it works. As for the hair issue I also think bald men are sexy. I'm also glad you & Judy spoke about the possibility of alternate outcomes so everyone is as prepared as possible. Don't sweat the small stuff. Happy Thanksgiving

Love,
V

10:04 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Jim - You are fortunate to have a good head on your shoulders. Otherwise, hair could be more essential than it needs to be.

Keep up the good progress. I look forward to your doing some lawyering again.

4:55 PM  
Blogger bonnie said...

Hopefully the worry stones have made their way to you and Judy. I had the wrong address on them but all is fixed now. It was great to see both of you last Thursday and I am elated about the good news. Judy and you are doing great and are having those hard conversations that are so necessary - Hurrah!!!! for you and Judy.

Laugh often - it makes germs confused. Think of all your friends in purple hair and blue faces meeting you at the pub, that should give you at least a chuckle with the mental image.

Bonnie

5:11 PM  

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