Hello Friends!  Alan here: Although just barely.  Sorry for my absence, but Round 14 has been very tough.  As you’ll recall, we started a new Chemo Regimen last Wednesday which is essentially most of the drugs I’ve been taking with Vectibix substituted for Avastin.  Early indicators on Thursday and Friday seemed to show that this drug cocktail was MUCH more tolerable.  In fact, Friday was AWESOME.  I felt good.  Good like a normal day a year ago.  My energy was up.  I had no pain.  I was out and about and really hopeful that this new regimen was the bee’s knees.  Later on Friday evening, I realized that this was just a GLIMPSE.  But it really cheered my spirit.

In a lot of ways, I WANT my Chemo to be rough and hard to tolerate.  If it were not, I would be under the impression that if it’s easy for me to handle, likewise for the tumors.  On Friday evening, about 60 hours after infusion started I got my wish.  As is common in my treatment, my liver started to hurt at this point.  The liver only has pain receptors along the capsule/envelop of the organ.  A couple of the tumors live here.   They really piped up with intense pain starting on Friday and Saturday.  I’d hoped to be able to post earlier, but, honestly, I’ve either been unable to concentrate long enough or have been too “Fat Elvis” (terminology for being full of drugs) to write an entry.  Likewise, many of you have reached out to me on email or Facebook and I’ve yet to reply.  I’m a little behind on my correspondence and it’s chiefly Fat Elvis’ fault.  I will catch up, and I do SO value hearing your notes of encouragement.

So now it’s Wednesday.  It’s been a week since Round 14 started.  New drug definitely still lights up the liver with some kind of action that is made highly evident to me by the liver pain.  In the Fun Side Effects Department, Vectibix is generally expected to produce an acne-like rash on the face/chest/back/hands and feet.  Good news is, it’s only hit my face.  Bad news, I look like Opie Taylor stopping by the drug store for some Clearasil on the way to the Mayberry junior dance.  So, earlier indicators that cancer and said treatment therefore only make you BETTER looking have been debunked as false.

Round 14 has been ROUGH. I’ve been in a significant amount of pain and on a significant amount of drugs to combat such.  Both of these have a tendency to get you down a little bit.

Also in the dreary department:

  • A friend of mine can’t get his “stuff” together and is torturing himself and his family.
  • Jim in St. Louis got results back:  Not good.  Cancer.
  • Susan, a friend here in Huntersville has been waging a great fight against breast cancer.  Received a clean bill of health.  Felt a lump last week.  Is in surgery about NOW and will go through radiation treatment afterwards.
  • My friend Randolph was taken off Chemo and put on oral drug maintenance, had a not-so-great scan and is now back on Chemo.

So I’m just a regular Shirley Sunshine this morning, huh?  I’m actually NOT sad or depressed now like I was a week or two ago.  I’ve got my winner’s attitude tuned up and ready for business.  I’m hopeful and happy with the prospects that my new drug regimen bring to the table.  I mentioned a GLIMPSE earlier.  God afforded me a reminder.  A recall of what it’s like to feel “normal” or good on Friday.  That was really awesome and cool.  I was driving around and feeling great and felt like I was back in action.  I’ve always thought and regarded that this battle was going to be very hard, with lots of trepidation, disappointment, pruning, and adaptation in store.  Round 14.  14 times two weeks = 28 weeks of chemo.  That’s over half a year.  Gee, time flies when you’re having chemo.  I feel contradicted by a desire to “focus on my battle” and the bulleted reminders above that indicate that life goes on around me and lots of people have challenges.  I don’t know what stage of recovery I’m supposedly in, but I’ll tell you how it all makes me feel:  SAD.  I know that “for everything there is a season” (turn, turn, turn) but it just seems like a lot of SAD stuff to me.  I also understand that nobody promised us a rose garden (why am I thinking in bad lyrics today?).  And then I think back to GLIMPSES.  Like on Friday when I felt really good.  Like when my babies where born and looked at me.  Like when I pushed the junkies out of the way on South Beach to propose to my wife.  The GLIMPSES and the memory of them really help us through this thing called life.

So, I’m back.  Thanks for your prayers.  I know they’ve helped through a tough week.  I thank God for GLIMPSES.  He gives them to us in the form of imagination, of memory, and through sharing joy with others.  Have a great day and I’ll talk to you soon.  Love,