Monday, September 26, 2011


I received good news about the CAT Scan I had last Thursday!

I met with the Chief of Radiology today and my last radiation treatment will be on Tuesday, September 27th - two and a half weeks (12 treatments) earlier than the last plan. It appears that the very ugly tumor has been reduced by an additional 10-15% since the last scan (around 40% overall).

He said the radiation I've already had will continue doing its thing for the next 3-4 weeks so we should see an even greater reduction (hopefully) and they don't want to hurt the good heart and lung tissues with continued radiation if I don't need it. (This might cause a realignment of my chemo treatments as without concurrent radiation treatments that might opt to be a little more aggressive with the chemo, but that is for another doctor's consideration on another day.)

So the good news is that as of the 27th I am currently done with radiation treatments!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

News from the North

Sheila and I unfurling the Mish flag made the front page of the Wawatay News in 2008
click to read
I received an email from my friend Sheila in Canada after I'd updated her on all the news from this summer. Thom and I met Sheila when we were down in Antarctica for the marathon and we've stayed in touch over the years.  She is an incredible woman, devoted wife and Mother and constantly achieving the goals she sets out for herself - she, like Thompson, will soon be joining the "Seven Continents Club" by having the unique distinction of running a marathon on every continent - She added so much on our voyage to Antarctica -   

Oh My Sweet.., What good news and terrible news. I wish I could give you a big hug and hold your hand. Congrats on your 30th. What a remarkable story of love and commitment.  You have with Thom, what most people will never experience.

You have in me, a friend who will never give up hope. You are, an incredible person who has so much strength and love to give, you make the rest of use look like under achievers.!  Joe if anyone can do this..., you can!  Tell that cancer to fuck off, no room at the Inn! We will not allow this cancer to have a place in your life, or our lives! For all of us that care for you, please get well. I will fly down to see you, walk down to see you, I will do what ever you want to help you get better. I promise you I will. I won't give you my first born cause I still like him.., but all else is on the table, except for the husband cause I still like him too! But everything else is on the table - really

My thoughts are with you and Thom..., please keep me in the loop

Love and miss you

Your favourite Scot/Canadian

I'm lucky and blessed to have so many great friends from all over the world.  Thank you all for the cards, emails, texts, offers of help and phone calls - It really does take a village!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dry as a bone

Oncologist just called me with results of today's x-rays - NO FLUID BUILD-UP on my chest!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Chariot Awaits

Life in the fast lane

Thursday, September 22, pushes me well over the half way point for the radiation treatments. Hopefully it’s also a day that includes a new CAT scan (to see how this tumor is continuing to respond to the chemo and radiation) and an x-ray to see if there is any new liquid on my chest that we need to deal with.

Fingers crossed on both counts! 

In the meantime strength and energy returning - also enjoying beautiful weather in San Francisco on my walks to and from the bus for radiation treatments!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Live from the drip

8:54 a.m.
I have my own private room for this today and they found a vein! Reading lots of magazines and the new Jacqueline Kennedy book - Later - and thanks for being there!

9:00 a.m.
Bon chance ... avec Jacqueline. Queue me up for the book.

9:33 a.m.
And with your chemical cocktail sounds like a good PTO!!

10:15 a.m.
I'll live blog it so keep me updated.

10:16 a.m.
K- currently in a private room getting fluids and chemo and reading Jacqueline Kennedy - historic conversations on life with John F. Kennedy.

Joe has been cordially invited to spend the day with the President and Mrs. Kennedy.
The Kennedys and a slew of doctors and nurses with needles, chemicals and radiation equipment.

10:35 a.m.
Drinking cranberry and apple juices - Bev and Lisa are looking for ways to fatten me up.

2:40 p.m.
Sounds like a good chemo drip day!!! XOXO from D.C.!

2:45 p.m
Still there?

2:46 p.m.
Still here - last hour then radiation.

2:54 p.m.
Hope Jackie O is still keeping you entertained.

3:26 p.m.
She did her best - I have a seat on the bus so home soon. What a day for my little body -

4:01 p.m.
Let me know when you're, sound and aglow.

4:14 p.m.

4:15 p.m.


Today was the best day since getting out of the hospital a week ago - temperature good, energy getting back to what it was and all of that putting me in the right frame of mind for my second 6 hour session of chemo followed by the daily radiation treatment - Last session of chemo was as an in-patient and happened while I slept so I was not sure what to expect - today was private room with juices and lunch and all painless with lots of time for catching up on magazines and my book - Trying to stuff myself to put on some weight and looking forward to a good night's sleep and whatever (besides Thompson!) tomorrow brings!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

And now a word from the star of our show

Much like a hostage poses with a newspaper to show the world a photo is new and legit,
yesterday we adorned Joe's shoulder with Elvis' cancer crab...his guardian angel.
Now that Joe is home and feeling better, he wanted to update you all with his most recent adventures:
The week that should not have been. 
Thursday, September 1, was one of my best days - good energy, easy breathing and enough energy to work from home. I walked 8 blocks to the bus to get to my radiation treatment, visited with Tina that afternoon, called Herb and Alan in NYC, had a pizza dinner with Sally and then a late call to Aunt Jane in Colorado - I felt great! 
Eight hours later I had a temperature of 102.4, fever and chills and felt just awful - I am rarely sick and had no idea what to do about it. Luckily I had an early visit from my home nurse for my scheduled draining - one look at me and she was on the phone with the Oncologist who wanted me into ER STAT (I think that is the phrase). The bad news as you now know was that visit ended up becoming 8 days in the hospital. They needed to ID and fight the infection and get my white blood cell count from .5 (should be a minimum of 2.0) back up to 12.0. After way too many attempts to draw blood and locate a vein for an IV the doctor also wanted to check the catheter in my chest and found it to be infected so he just yanked the sucker out - very strange feeling.
The GOOD news is that I got to visit with Tina, Doug and Debbie and Thompson was able to come up for a number of days to help get me back to good health. AND there is no current plan to replace the catheter, instead monitoring fluid levels and performing a Thoracentesis as necessary which thankfully eliminates the need for home nurse visits - so I am currently plumbing, bandage and dressing free.
Now I'm back home getting my land legs and back to daily radiation with chemo next Friday. Just taking it easy this weekend, reminding myself that I am not currently the old me, but a new me with radiation and chemo in my system.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Free at last


Joe got his "get out of jail" card last night and Debbie picked him up, brought him home and even got him a Chipotle burrito. He got a good night's sleep and went off for radiation earlier today. I got a text from him that they've come up with a new radiation strategy. I'll let y'all know what that means when I know. I'm going back up tomorrow.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Joe, the human pincushion

Well, IF they can ever find a vein to draw blood from, Joe should be able to get his dang lung drained and then go home. Poor guy has been poked with needles over and over, but because of the swelling in his arms and hands they can't locate a vein. And actually they don't need the blood for blood's sake, they just need to check coagulation Joe says. He also says ya'd think they'd notice how quickly the blood coagulates from all the missed-vein holes, but....

Still, he's not complaining, just ready to go home. He got good news about last week's scan, the tumor is down about a third, which is GREAT. It's still big, but at least we know that it's reacting to the chemo and radiation.

More later.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Still slumming it in Pacific Heights

Joe's in good spirits and on the mend, but he's still at California Pacific Medical Center. Who knew when we used to go to the Fillmore for fun that it could get so boring so quickly.

Still, he's out of TICU which means he's not hooked up to all those machines and they're not drilling for blood every hour. And he really can't say enough good things about the doctors and nurses....he's treated REALLY well.

Hopefully he'll get out later today or tomorrow.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Update re: hospital

Joe's feeling good, his white cells are up to safe levels, the fever is gone and they're treating the infection. Probably not going to get to go home today, but fingers crossed for tomorrow. He's also hoping they don't put the chest catheter back in and if he still needs draining, just let him get the needle version once or twice a week. He has to be at the hospital for radiation anyway.

He has NYT crosswords and Harry Potter (he wants to reread them all for some reason) so he should be good for now (bored, but good).

More later.

4:30 p.m.

He's looking very good, quite handsome actually. Especially now that they let him take off the oxygen nose tube. Those things don't really make the most of your features.

Debbie, Tina and Doug came by for a usual, laughter ensued. He might not have been able to make the Labor Day BBQ we planned, but at least there was a party in Pacific Heights. Without Joe's usual satorial, those hospital gowns are ugly.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A little set-back

First off, Joe's feeling fine and the news isn't drastic, but he did have to go back into the hospital today. He woke up not feeling well and with a fever and when his visiting nurse came to change his bandages, etc. she recommended that he go to the hospital, which he did.

They gave him antibiotics and his fever went down, but they decided to keep him overnight. When his surgeon came in to check on him he told us that these kind of things happen with chemo 'cause the white blood cells drop.

He mentioned to Joe that he was looking good (the doctor hadn't seen Joe without facial swelling). He said, "I can even see wrinkles now."

Thanks doc.

The interns (who all look about 12) were excited about getting to see the draining (Joe was supposed to get that this morning but went to the hospital before that could happen). Besides, they wanted to drain his lung and check for infection in the fluid. Much to their disappoint and the doctor's surprise, when the he took the bandage off Joe's chest catheter they could immediately tell that it was the catheter incision that was infected.

So wham, bam he pulled the tube out. Anyway, Joe's actually feeling more comfortable without the catheter and hopes they don't put another back in...then he won't have to have the visiting nurse.

He's fed and on a drip and hopefully he'll be able to come home on Saturday or Sunday. The blessing in disguise about all this is that he was feeling really good so he was going to go down to my house today to get away for the long weekend. And if all this had happened down there, his insurance wouldn't have covered all the expenses at my local hospital. So we've learned a lesson about all this. When they told him they didn't want him to travel, this is why.

More later.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Note to Elvis and his parents


I got a wonderful package in the mail last night - I love, love, love the cancer eating crab -it is so life like, colorful and HUNGRY!  - the card from Elvis was right on and I am trying to stay within that circle of health - and candy, 2 boxes of my very own chocolate covered Macadamia nut candy - what a bonus -
I was ear to ear smiles, chocolate covered face with a heart full of love to all of you - thank you! 
xoxo Joe, on the mend!