Two weeks in

MegnmeMeg reminded me that my first chemo treatment was two weeks ago Saturday. Since then, it seems like a whirlwind has been blowing through the head with a rushing sound akin to a jet engine in my periphery.

Diagnosis Details:

As those two weeks were finished, I completed the first round of treatment and a chaotic rush to get blood and scanning tests to assess the current state. This week I have the entire week without treatment, assuming the average person needs the week of rest. As with most Myeloma patients, the first stage is predominately influenced by bone pain. In my case, I have, according to the Pet Scan significant cancer growth in the sternum, shoulder blades, thoracic vertebrae and the left femur. These are all places where I experience pain when moving, lifting or twisting. Pain management comes from a steady flow of Oxycontin.  Funny how Oxy is so closely regulated for regular pain control, but those concerns seem to go out the window with cancer.  I can ask for as many as I want. So I’m thinking of opening a drug store.

Finally, I take a steroid on Tuesdays and for the past two weeks an AFIB episode has shown up. We are exploring the possible connection but for the short term, I’m taking a low dose beta blocker to ward off the possibility of a stroke.

Today, Bob S who is a church member and a very bright guy went with Meg and me to the consult.  He’s gathered several reading sites and has offered his expertise in cognitive mind/body integration as a mental toolbox in defeating the enemy within. He will also be very helpful when we need objective input regarding the possibility of stem-cell transplantation.  We all left the meeting today sobered by the reality that the dreaded buggers have aggressively taken over the bones and plasma.  Right now infections remain the threat because the clones (cancer) has crowded out the white blood cells and fighting stuff will be very difficult.

Nutrition:

Now that the calcium production seems to be under control and the kidneys are doing a proper job of cleaning up the place, the questions revolve around healthy eating.  I’m skeptical about cancer fighting diets for most have very little empirical evidence.  But if something sounds interesting to me I’ve gone ahead and begun trying things.  One such experiment is the “slow cook, bone roasting” methods.  If you are in NYC and go the the swanky restaurant Canora, you can walk up to their outside service window and order a mason jar full of beef bone marrow broth for $5.00 or a take home quart for $16.  These bones have been oven roasted for 24 hours and then cooked into a vegetable broth like the one I’ve done here:

 

IMG_3669

3lbs marrow bones, grass fed organic beef.
6 carrots
2 yellow onions
1 leek
2 sweet potatoes
1 garnet yam
8 in strip of kombu
4 red potatoes
TBspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
4 Allspice berries
 Half bunch of parsley
2 bay leaves
12 peppercorns
Head of celery
5 cloves garlic
I can also roast chicken bones for 30 minutes before making a chicken broth and most cooks are referring the outcome as ‘Brown Chicken Broth’
Spiritual and Practical Living Questions:
I am confident in God’s plan for my life and have no qualms about being asked to walk thru this terrible ordeal.  I trust I am found worthy to be encouragement, support and an honest human when it comes to living this out publicly.  I don’t wish to be God’s sandwich board man, He can handle His own affairs, I just hope my interactions with others are full of grace, hope and a sweet aroma that would all be contrary to the hot headed nature I can sometimes toss out when in stressful situations.
Finally, I will have to explore taking early social security, shifting some estate planning issues to protect Meg’s future income and security, and to make sure my children’s future estate is fairly established.

I did not see this coming

On Saturday, April 4 at 10 AM I got the confirmation that I have Multiple Myeloma, a rare but growing cancer type. In my case, the markers are still bd&Ceing identified and “how bad” it is, remains in the data of the professional gatekeepers in Kaiser’s blood and medical imaging departments and soon under the evaluative eyes of a new close friend; my oncologist. Hopefully by midweek, April 15 we will have a baseline that will create the orienteering necessary.

But for now, the effort is underway to, in Dr’s words, “keep the thing from snowballing.” It’s hard to hear that since I’ve been in significant back pain for now five months. But let’s get the party started.

Yesterday, began the basic treatment for Myeloma, a twice weekly injection of chemo call Velcade. On Tuesdays I get an oral treatment of steroid called Decadron. For now that’s it, but a third and possibly fourth medicine will be added to cocktail as markers progress or regress.

This will be my start and mainline medical defense for the next six months while I discover what this disease is, what it will do, how it will affect my earning an income and how it will re-direct my ministry and most importantly, my eight month marriage to Meg. For the present time, I’m fighting the pain of broken bones to satisfy the wedding contracts I’ve signed through June 7. I have taken 10 weeks leave from pulpit teaching. After that, I will have to see what nausea and life has thrown at me.

During the day, I work analyzing all the available data and concerns that this produces and try to use the brain as much as I can until “chemo-mush” sets in but please also know that at night, I laugh and weep when I read your wonderful words of encouragement.