Sunday, June 8, 2008

Blogging on some new things

Well folks, as treatment is over cancer is not going to define me on the blogosphere any longer. Therefore, I've started a new blog - A Philadelphia Guy's Blog. If the techy stuff isn't your thing, be sure to use the Health Updates link there, so it will filter that stuff out!

This blog will kinda be a mismash of everything, including checkup updates. I liked the blogging, and to be honest there were times I wanted to add more, but didn't want to change the theme. Now, I can do that. I'll be sure to tag posts about my treatment there so you can find them easily.

For everyone who followed along, its been a long, strange trip :) Thanks for riding it with me, and let's hope we don't have to do it ever again. As I've told the wonderful staff at the Paoli Cancer Center: I love you all to death, and I hope I never see you again in a professional capacity!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Head shaved for cancer costs woman her job

Stacey Fearnall, of Owen Sound, says she was asked to leave her job as a waitress from Nathaniel’s, a casual fine dining restaurant in Owen Sound, after she had her head shaved to help raise money for the annual Cops for Cancer fundraiser.

read more | digg story

Saturday, May 31, 2008

And He Lived Happily Ever After...

Yeah, it sounds good to me :)

Anyway, I haven't written in a bit. Last Wednesday was my last radiation treatment, in fact my (hopefully) last cancer treatment. It felt kinda anti-climatic, at least compared to the end of chemo. Still, its good to know that when I feel better now, I'm better for GOOD.

My voice is completely gone at this point. I sound like Don Corleone whispering to avoid waking a baby or something. Also, my throat is still on fire, but that should only be for another week or so. Beyond that, I also went back out on disability - So I'll rest up this time and make sure I'm really good to go before I head back to the office. Beyond that, I have my deportation (my PowerPort people, I'm not getting sent out of the country!) sometime in June, and my first "follow-up" appointment with Dr. Szarka in July. That's just a simple checkup "How are ya" kinda visit. I'll have those (along with occasional tests) for at least the next 5 years.

Oddly enough, I'll have my first appointment with my regular doctor in June too, the last one being my cancer diagnosis. It will be damn nice to get back to stomach bug visits again :)

Anyway, I'll still post on how those appointments and tests go, just to keep this site alive if nothing else. If my travails help even one new Hodge patient get through this crap, it will be all worth it. As for me, I don't really have any life-altering plans. I have a respect for my own mortality that I didn't think I'd need, I think I'll be visiting family a bit more often that I used to, I'm being more careful about my diet, and I think I'm a bit closer to God then before. But for the most part I figure life will go on as it was before. And that's a good thing.

Cancer sucks. But I'll live.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ever Have One of Those Days...

Have you ever had one of those days where it just feels great to be alive? I mean, I'm sitting here waiting for the narcotics to kick in (prescribed people, prescribed...) to relieve my torn-up esophagus, and it doesn't matter. The kids are playing around, its a gorgeous day outside (that I'll be able to go out and enjoy), and we're almost done.

Adding to the euphoria is the fact that one of my biggest worries just went out the door. My radiation doc is pretty adamant I go back out on disability for another 4-5 weeks, to rest up. Apparently I'm the only one who thought going back to work was a good idea. Well, here's the problem: I only have 2 1/2 weeks of FMLA left. What does that mean for you folks who don't know FMLA law? Essentially, my company has the right to fire me. Naturally, that worries me.

I spoke to my manager on Thursday. Her response is one of the reasons when I'm better I'll work 24 hour projects for her: "We don't HAVE to fire you, its really there for people who abuse it. In your case, you probably are the opposite... You didn't take it when you probably should have."

In essence: You'll have a job, just get better... And make sure you're 100% better this time. Of course, I thought I was, but was under the impression that radiation was a cakewalk compared to chemo. It's still easier, but DAMN am I tired - And burnt. My whole neck and chest are red.

But, the fact is, I kicked cancer's ass. I'm going to enjoy a gorgeous day outside with my family, and I'll enjoy another one tomorrow. I have a lot of them to go. Yeah, we're feeling good about things today.

Am I going to live forever? No. The fact is, with the risks for relapse, secondary cancers (due to treatments), and the fact that my genes are fubar, I have about a 60% shot of making it 20 years. That's OK though. Go back to the beginning where I may have had something that gave me a coin toss for 2 years. I look at the wonderful people I've met through this who have the same "easy-cure" disease, who didn't make it. Twenty years sounds damn good.

But, the most important lesson is what I've heard constantly from the start: Live every day like its your last. Damn, its true. Enjoy every day.

Speaking of, I need to go shower. There's a gorgeous day outside with my name on it!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Rads suck.

Over the last three days, my throat has decided to betray me. Imagine having a sore throat that extends down a ways into your chest, so that you feel like you're running a gauntlet every time you swallow a bit of food... Yeah, that's where I am at the moment.

Tiredness is starting to kick in as well. I JUST got back to the office, and was having fun getting back into the groove... And now I wonder if I'm going to need to take more disability time. After initially being told rads would probably be a cakewalk, I'm finding myself back in the same situation again. Bleh.

Well, on the bright side, I only have two more weeks. And its my birthday - A year older (ugh, that's good news?).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Whaddaya Know -- The Buzzing Machine is Actually DOING Something...

Well, the side effects started to hit over the weekend. First of all, we have the "sore throat". Now, is it a normal sore throat? Oh no friends, we don't get that. Since I'm getting hit below the jawline, it's more of a feeling like perpetually having something stuck in your throat. Good fun, and I'm all about new and exciting experiences, oh yeah...

Next, we have the tiredness. Still not chemo tired, but I just feel like I want to lay on the couch, put something mind-numbing on TV, and have Suzanne wait on me hand and foot. Oh wait, that's everyday. Just kidding of course (as I wouldn't want Suzanne to catch on to my grand scheme for lethargy), but its getting there. Also doesn't help that I haven't had coffee yet today.

All in all, things are going well. I'm back to work, and that's been going great (although I'm already swamped with work again). The gang is doing great. Still haven't really thought about the concept of "cancer free life" yet, but I suppose someday I'll get there.

I also have a few takers (from the WebMagic boards and at the Paoli Cancer Center) for my idea of an Ativan Pez dispenser. I figure we can start the line with a giant "A" on the top of one, and maybe Cheech and Chong on the other. We can add other characters later once the product goes prime time ;-)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

So I'm a Sensitive Guy...

Leave it to me to have side effects earlier than most.

To start with, I call the Cancer Center on Friday to ask if they can fit me in for 3PM. I'm told that they will squeeze me in no matter what the 3PM appointment says (I love Paoli). I take the ride out there, thank them profusely, and get my dose of the buzz machine. So far, so good.

I go back to the changing room, and see some nice-sized sunburn marks. I go chat with the nurses, who look shocked -- Apparently I'm not supposed to have sunburn after only two treatments (I had three at that point, but the 3rd just happened). They check me out, and I get a cream to stick on the burns 3 times a day. No worries, right?

Well, I got a cough again, and when I do so I get a metallic taste. This could be one of two things: One, its the radiation working on my esophagus and the cough is from my cold I picked up, or 2) I'm coughing up blood.

I have my next appointment tomorrow, and I see Dr. Curry at that time - I'll see what she thinks then.