Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Looking back, looking forward

To the right is my Facebook flashback thing. It's reminding me that a year ago today I had just started chemotherapy. It was kind of a quasi-experiment. On the experimental side it was not an FDA approved drug for me. But research showed that 14 people with my symptoms took this drug and more than half of them got better. I needed to get better and definitely I needed to stop getting worse. A year ago I couldn't sit up without help. I understood the chemo wasn't gonna make me better was just gonna stop me from getting worse.

Starting chemo was scary. There was a time when both my neurologist and my urologist were visiting me at the same moment. I asked them if they got a big room on the top floor of the hospital with a giant table and it where they all sat around and talked about me. She said yeah, and and there are actually a few TV screens in the room with doctors from other places talking about you too. I said good, because I was thinking of calling Columbia for a second opinion. She said that would be redundant they are already in the room and so are some doctors on other continents.

I wasn't so scared of chemo. The doctors shared all the data with my wife and I. And my wife the statistician, explained to me that the cocktail I was about to have gave me a 10% chance of severe to moderate side effects. So I had a 10% chance of being physically ill. I really wasn't looking forward to that, being that it would be a challenge to sit up if I had to throw up let alone run to the toilet. But none of that happened, I just lost a couple  of hairs.

Before I started chemo I learned what the Rankin scale is. They said of the 14 people who took the brand of chemo that I was about to get eight of them improved 1.8 on that scale after two years. I wanted that. I was a 4.9 on that scale. I was not incontinent although every few hours a nurse would ask me if I was. They stopped when I snapped back, "You been a few feet from me for the past 24 hours you know as soon as I did if I was incontinent!"  Now I can say that I am a 4. I'm really pushing hard to get into that 3 range. I know how to push because two years ago I pushed so hard I would bleed for my nipples when I ran.


The Rankin and scale doesn't account for the superpowers that I've developed since losing other physical skills. The Facebook ad to the left showed what I could do. I might not be able to pour myself a cup of coffee but I can stop rush-hour traffic with no hands.

Yesterday I had some more dental work done. The staff in the office hadn't seen me a month and one of them blurted out your improving so fast next year you should run the marathon.(From the looks of this person and the way they said it I knew they didn't know that a marathon was 26.2 miles. And that if you're in New York City THE marathon is on the first Sunday of every November.) She didn't know that I have finished 29 marathons. She probably didn't even know that there was a thing longer than a marathon and I finished three of them. I just said yea, that the plan November 6, 2016.


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