So it’s been months since I last updated this blog. And while I’m not proud of it, you can rest assured that there hasn’t been a whole lot to report in that time. I mean, a lot of work, a lot of working out, a trip to Washington D.C. and Jamaica, an engagement which I’m thrilled about (mine, of course)… but there hasn’t been anything to speak on pertaining to my health.
That being said, I’m going in to Memorial Hospital today to meet with Dr. Samer Kanaan, the Thoracic Surgeon who’ll be doing my VATS Lobectomy in 7 days. And while I’m excited to get this whole thing over with, I’ve got to say that I’m not expecting to actually enjoy the process. We shall see though. I’ve brought every episode of Big Love courtesy of my friend Ian who has amassed the most impressive DVD collection ever. So if nothing else, my Mormon friends will keep me company in my recovery room.
Better than Big Love, my brother is back in town to visit which has been fun. And, I’m sure, will continue to be fun.
Okay, off to run some errands before the big pre-game show. Details to follow. And R.I.P. to my old classmate Paul Wabl who passed away in his sleep last night.
Posted in General Post | Tagged Big Love, Dr's Appointment | 2 Comments »
*That’s a tangerine.
I finally met with my Oncologist again. And while the appointment did take longer than we all think it should have, I assure you that Dr. Bozdech is not worthy of having hate or frustration targeted in his direction. He is the man. The problem is that he is a particularly busy man. So while many of you (whom I love very much) have offered your support with a side of criticism of the delay in me getting in my last appointment, rest assured that I’m getting great medical care.
Dr. Bozdech suggested, after reviewing my recovery from the excision of my teratoma, that I speak with a Dr. Samer Kanaan about surgery. Dr. Kanaan is a Thoracic Surgeon in Napa whose name is extremely close to the name of a musician that I work with on a daily basis. I was able to get an appointment for yesterday, April 8th, and met with the man (albeit 3 hours later than I had expected to – whoops. My bad). Dr. Kanaan was very easy to talk to and seemed to know everything about his profession as well as my particular health issues – until he suggested that I have a Video Assisted Thorascopic Surgery to have the “tangerine-sized” mass removed from my chest as soon as possible.
Now, I was kind of excited about routine follow-ups and occasional chest x-rays and CAT Scans, but a 3-points of entry, micro-camera’d removal of a small fruit from my chest? Eh… I don’t know. The surgery is minimally invasive. And the recovery time is swift. But I had fully expected to go to that appointment and resolve to track my chest mass’ progress via scans and x-rays. The mass is 5cm by 3cm and is located in my lower left lung not too far from my heart. I haven’t had any breathing problems and my doctors insist that I would feel no difference breathing after my VATS Lobectomy unless I was a world-class marathon runner (which I am not).
Over the past few days, I’ve gotten comfortable with the idea of having surgery to have my mass excised and I plan to do so in late June. Why not earlier, you ask? Because I have a lot of stuff to do. I have international travel planned, a wedding to attend, a high school reunion to attend, 3 albums to promote, and some other long-term projects that I need to wrap up (I’m re-building 2 jukeboxes with custom art!). My health is certainly a priority but it sounds as though waiting another 2 months is not going to put me at any higher risk for this procedure so I’m going to take my time.
My less-than-frequent updates are less a testament to my failing health and more an indication of healthy business, so please worry not about me. I hope you all are doing well though and hope to stay in touch. Two months until surgery…
Posted in General Post | Tagged Kanaan, surgery, tangerine | 3 Comments »
When I posted in January about hats that I liked it was more to give myself a record of what hats I should buy in the case I’d be losing my hair to chemo. It was in NO way a suggestion for people I know (or even more – COMPLETE STRANGERS) to go ahead and buy me said hats in preparation for such a bald occasion. It became a bit of an afterthought as news of good biopsies and plans without chemo became the norm, for which I count my many blessings and keep my many fingers crossed. What had been written off as an afterthought became a reality this week when a mysterious package from a mysterious sender mysteriously arrived at my parents’ door in Santa Rosa.
Now, ordinarily, such a combination of packages and mystery would be cause for a call to any number of authorities, some bomb diffusing equipment and a reluctance to open said package. It came from a Mr. Pete Rivera in Brooklyn, and while I know a wealth of Brooklynites, I know none of that name. But I know plenty of people in Brooklyn who would use an obscure alias to send me a package. Something from a John Hughes film or one of Prince’s mid-80s side projects. Still, Pete Rivera rang not a bell. What was in the package was a royal blue RECON Heaven & Hell hat. This hat retails for $40 which is plenty of money as far as I’m concerned. And upon some googling and research, I came to find that it wsa sent to me from RECON directly. Pete Rivera runs shop over there. He got a Google Alert from my blog and sent me a hat. Like that. I called him to thank him for it and he was humble and nice; said he appreciated that I liked the hat and that I included it in my list.
While 1 hat in the scheme of the man’s business may not be all that significant, I found it to be a great gesture and was impressed by the level of kindness and generosity that the man displayed. If times weren’t so tough, I’d have run over there and bought some T-shirts or a jacket (I’m fond of their Sgt. Pepper shirt in particular) but times being what they are, I had to opt for the Heaven & Hell socks to match my new hat😉.
I just thought that was a cool thing to do. Between world-class cured italian deli meats and limited run New Era fitted hats, I greatly appreciate the gestures I’ve been getting. And while its great to get such gifts I hope the impulse for people to do so ends soon (I’d rather have a clean bill of health!).
Posted in General Post | Tagged Brooklyn, hat, mystery, package, Pete Rivera, RECON, socks | 2 Comments »
It’s been a minute since I’ve had a chance to update the blog. All apologies if you’re one of the folks who’ve been patiently waiting for any update on whether I am to live or die (that’s sarcastic drama, not dramatic sarcasm). Now where were we? Oh, yeah. I had a biopsy. With all of the advancements in modern medicine in the last 10 years, I’ve got to say that I’ve been rather impressed with how the difficult has become easy – how the intolerable has become comfortable. Enter my arch-nemesis, biopsy. 22 inches of cold, terrible needle ready to deflate my lung with the greatest of ease. I had my appointment last week and while I might have been dreading the process from afar, it completely disappointed.
The actual process ran about 2 times as long as it was supposed to, but there was no deflated lung, very little pain (they were done before I’d thought they’d started) and most importantly, there was no sign of cancer in my lung. There is, indeed, something in my lung that is not supposed to be there, but the likelihood that it is a teratoma has reduced greatly in the last week. With that said, my fantastic oncologist, Dr. Bozdech should be yammering at me shortly with a second opinion from a chest surgeon, but either way, it seems we’re moving on. We would very much like to get whatever it is out ASAP, but if not the plan is to get regular CT scans, chest x-rays and such to make sure that whatever I have in the lung doesn’t grow.
It’s funny. While I’ve been completely inconvenienced by cancer for the last month, its been more a pain in my ass than it has been a life-threatening illness. Even if I had gotten bad news from my biopsy, it’d still be nothing more than a drawn-out waste of time. I spent the last week hearing about and attending parties across the US celebrating the life of James Dewitt Yancey who died of complications from Lupus 3 years ago. And as much patting of my back as there was and as much as I GENUINELY appreciate people’s support and concern, uhhh…. people die from illnesses and I just have to drive to get blood tests more than I’d like to. It’s weird to be enjoying a Trumer Pils while having a party honoring a man who died from Lupus and have people fearing the same of me in the near future.
People, it ain’t that serious… I’m not dying. Period. Which brings me to the shabuya-roll call portion of this entry. I got home from work on Friday of last week only to find that I had received a package via FedEx. While this is not an unusual occurrance, I was not expecting anything and was extremely curious as to what could be in said package. A little history: my girlfriend of 5 years and I went to Seattle for the first week of 2009, and while we enjoyed some of Seattle’s greatest restaurants, the world-famous, heavily touted Batali family-owned italian deli Salumi was closed during our visit.
So I get this package and RIGHT when I see the sticker I know that my dear friends David and Sammie in Seattle had made sure to ice our Seattle cake – with salami. Sounds gross, but you don’t eat the salami with cake. It’s a metaphor. So anyway, inside were two of the world’s most perfect Italian cured meats:
This is clearly the best salami I’ve ever had. And David is the mother$*(%ing man. Your lovely mother raised you well. Sammy, you are awesome too.
Posted in General Post | Tagged biopsy, david, haters, no news, salami, seattle | 6 Comments »
So I finally went in for my lung biopsy. While they did swap doctors on me at the last second, whoever my doctor was, he was a.o.k. The procedure took a little longer than we’d all expected because of the position of my mass and because of my difficulties holding my breath (having a tumor in your lung can severely hinder your ability to breathe normally). In addition, we had grossly underestimated the time that I was to spend in the outpatient room after the procedure. While my lung did not collapse during the biopsy (yay!), they feared that there was a chance that it would. So I waited patiently for about 4 hours and then had a chest x-ray. When any chance of my lung collapsing seemed slim, they checked me out.
I had hoped to head back home to Emeryville tonight. No such luck. Instead I’ll be confined to Santa Rosa’s city limits as I am both in pain and am not permitted to drive or operate heavy machinery. And no showers until 6pm tomorrow (FTL!). I’m glad to have it over with. Six samples were excised during the biopsy and the doctor is confident that the samples will yield a conclusive result which was the whole point. I’m hoping its small and that chemo won’t be necessary. It’d be overkill to go through chemo for a benign mass. We should know something Monday or Tuesday though. Until then…
Posted in General Post | Tagged biopsy, hospital, pain | 8 Comments »
I had the world’s shortest doctor’s visit. I was in by 10:15 and out by 10:20 or so. And all is well with regard to the healing and repair from the biopsy that I had two weeks ago. In celebration of this landmark occasion, I’m going to mosey on over to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital just to have another.
Yes, this time it will be a biopsy of my lung.
No, I will not have any general anaesthesia (womp womp womp).
No, I am not looking forward to it at all.
Yes, I fear that even if I am diagnosed to have benign teratoma they may actually put me through chemo to reduce it in size as has been suggested by my surgeon.
No, I don’t expect to be in the hospital for more than an hour today.
We should have the results on Monday or Tuesday, I’m guessing. So in the meantime, I’m just going to put it out of my mind and try to relax, I guess. I am definitely looking forward to the weekend. I’ve been logging some hellacious hours at work and am not exactly charmed about all of the doctor’s visits. Although I was greeted at Dr. Cortez’ office by a friend of a friend who knew Garrett and his mother. Perhaps that had something to do with the expedient service? I have no idea, but I’ll just assume it did. Let’s hope I have equal luck in 20 minutes.
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As much as I am a fan of Taqueria Santa Rosa, hands-down the best tacos I’ve ever had were in Guadalajara at Tacos de Barbacoa. So what, you say? This is a cancer blog and not a place for you to write about food, you say? Well seeing as how I am not allowed to eat at all tomorrow, this is a particularly relevant topic. And further more, logging the amount of hours I’ve logged this week at work, I feel an urgent need to take a vacation – Mexico would do just fine. As of midnight tonight, I will be starving myself. I’m being extra-dramatic at the moment as my appointment is at 1pm. I’m sure I’ll last.
That being said, I’m expecting to have the best biopsy of my life tomorrow. 10 years ago, my lung biopsy left me diagnosed with a malignant Testicular Cancer which was followed by months of chemotherapy, intermittent studies in high school and a bald head (not a particularly good look on me). This one, (if all goes according to plan) should leave me with an appointment to have a tumor excised from my lung and the classic doctor’s orders (“be healthier”).
Now, I know that I’m not the healthiest person in the world, but how is it that I, of all people, have cancer? I have never smoked a cigarette in my life. I’ve lived a relatively normal life, right? I know chain-smoking alcoholics who cross freeways a la foot who are “healthier” than I am. And its kind of frustrating. I eat a lot healthier than I used to, I go to the gym more frequently… I don’t know. I suppose this isn’t a question that can be answered so I’ll drop it. I can’t wait to start riding my bike. And playing indoor soccer again.
Until then, however, I’m going to high-tail it up to Santa Rosa, try to find some Mexican food and take it easy. Kindly cross all fingers that tomorrow’s biopsy goes according to plan. And if you have any kind of heart or soul, please clap 3 times for my friend (who I haven’t even met) who just ended her last chemo cycle. Hooray for that!
Posted in General Post | Tagged biopsy, healthy, mexico, tacos | 6 Comments »