Scratching the Itch

Long Chicken

You know you want me.

Just a quick update for everyone:

It’s been a good week.  Since my release from the hospital on Friday, I’ve felt progressively stronger each day.  My latest labs (drawn this morning) are looking good, as I’m within the normal range on the majority of key categories in my blood panel–red and white cell count, platelets, absolute neutrophils, etc.  My liver enzymes are elevated (likely as a result of the most recent round of treatment) but have been steadily trending downward.  I’m confident we’ll be back to normal by my next scheduled blood-draw on Monday. If that is indeed the case, and all of my other numbers continue to look good, I believe that we’ll get rolling on round 2A sometime in the middle of next week.

In the mean time, I’m enjoying some days of feeling good, eating well, and spending time with family.  My parents traded places this week, Mom headed back to Nebraska and Dad here to San Diego.  Murt gets a temporary break from my sass and sarcasm and Daddy Wags steps into the heat of the anti-cancer kitchen.  Leigh spent the week with me last week during the toughest stretch we’ve hit on this journey thus far.  It’s truly a full-time job cooking and caring for me, especially during my rough patches.  I couldn’t do it without my family, who I love beyond words, and to whom I can’t adequately express my gratitude.

One more quick thing that I just have to get off my chest. I mentioned in a recent post that I have been craving some junk food…true confessions time, and I know Leigh is gonna read this, so I’m just busted.  I snuck out on Sunday for an original chicken sandwich from Burger King!  When I was about ten years old (Leigh would’ve been eight) we used to make my Dad drive us through Burger King (or Amigos) after piano lessons.  I’d order a “long chicken sandwich” or chicken soft tacos every time.  For those wondering it was just as good as I remember.  No regrets!

Final note on the nutrition side.  It’s normal to lose weight during chemotherapy.  Treatment speeds up metabolism, which in my case is already pretty high to begin with.  During times when food tastes good, like this week, I’ve been working hard to take in a lot of healthy (minus my BK breakdown!) high quality calories.  I’m happy to share that I gained five pounds between Monday to today!  I’m working towards a goal of gaining at least five more pounds before my next weigh-in on Monday.  Gain ten pounds this week.  How’s that for a new year’s resolution?  Anyone working to move their weight in the opposite direction can feel free to live vicariously through me.

And, fair warning, I still haven’t satisfied my California Burrito craving, so if it comes down to Sunday night and I’m still short a few calories, it’s going down!


The rebel

A clenched power fist, Tom? On the holidays?? Are we at a Rage Against the Machine show,  ready to start an Occupy San Diego protest? Didn’t your mom ever tell you ‘no politics at the dinner table?’ Ok, guilty as charged — but if you’ll indulge me off the bat, I promise that somewhere here lies the makings of what more learned men might call ‘a point’.

Shoot, I’m losing my audience already…(why did I have that red bull and vodka and shot of espresso before I started typing??). Ok, I need a quote….ahh, a rabbit out of a hat; this one ought to do just fine:

But he who dedicates himself to the duration of his life, to the house he builds, to the dignity of mankind, dedicates himself to the earth and reaps from it the harvest that sows its seed and sustains the world again and again.

(Boom — now I’ve got my game face on). The beautiful and quite apt words above are from Albert Camus’ appropriately titled essay, ‘The Rebel’. In that work, and in much of his life’s thinking, Camus dedicated himself to the overarching proposition that, despite man’s sometimes befuddling existence, and the often cumbersome predicaments put in his place, there is only one option at the end of the day: to rebel. You might rightly ask: Rebel against what, and for what purpose? Camus had his own litany of responses, both political and metaphysical in nature, but the takeaway of it is that in spite of much of the pain, frustration, and loss that living provides for us, this life simultaneously provides us the ability to rebel against those bumps in the road in order that all that is beautiful, sublime, and ineffable around us might again be revealed. It is a constant process, politically, socially, and personally, but by rebelling against those conditions that bring us tribulation, we can nonetheless reassert our humanity — and as an extension — know love. Continue reading

The Itch

I have a story to tell you. . .it’s from “Gently Lead” . . . a great little book for children . . . exposing them to God

Itchy  (could be called cancer)

Child:  I have this itch on my knee.  It’s bothering me.  I can’t get to sleep with all this itching.

Parent:  Well, it’s time for prayers now.  Maybe if you can stop thinking about it you won’t notice it.  Try thinking about something else.

Child:  But I can’t stop thinking about it.  It itches!  How can you think of something else if you itch?

Continue reading