Get Out the Brooms

And it’s a Devils’ sweep! And Gionta got a short handed goal! Elias now has five goals and six assists! Gomer got a goal!

I have to say, I really do respect the Rangers’ coach for pulling their goalie with three minutes to go after the Devils took a penalty. It showed that he wasn’t ready to let his team give up and they actually made up a little bit of ground. Kind of the opposite tack that I usually think of anything associated with Jaromir Jagr, but it probably helped that he re-injured his shoulder on his first shift. That let the rest of the Rangers play tough and not give up. Still… sweep time, baby!

On the chemo front, I had another good night. Looks like taking Zofran an hour before the chemo drugs is the key. I’m still going to wait until after Wednesday before I have any tomato sauce again. Wednesday I get another blast of vinblastine, so by Thursday I might be secure enough with my belly to eat red things.

Barb’s faculty vs. student softball game is tomorrow, but I’m not going to be able to be there. It’s down in New Haven at 10 and we have the realtors coming over at 12:30 to get the open house set up. Since I won’t be able to race back and forth (it’s about a 45 minute drive, even at Brianspeed), I’m going to be sticking around here to make sure they get in the house and get set up okay. I did get to go with her today to watch their practice. I don’t know what the students look like, but the faculty was looking pretty good. Nothing like seeing all of that gray hair flying through the breeze…

And so it Begins…

Well, I’ve been sprinting around like mad trying to remember all of the places in the house we’ve touched since the last time we showed it because… a real-life realtor’s going to be showing the place in about half an hour. Woo hoo! Now I just have to figure out where I’m going to go for the next hour or so.

Oh, and since I didn’t mention it last time, if you’re looking to buy a house in Hartford, our open house is going to be this Sunday from 1PM-3PM. The contacts on the page are our rockin’ realtors. Say you’re a fan of the site and you’ll get a $1 discount on the price of the house!

Okay, this is really frickin’ creepy. For some reason I have the song “Just Once” by James Ingram stuck in my head (please shoot me). Being the meticulous blogger that I am (as evidenced by my site’s complete lcka of tpyos), I went over to AllMusic to make sure he’s the one who sang the song. I go there only to find that their album of the day is James Ingram’s Greatest Hits: The Power of Great Music, which includes “Just Once.” How often could something like that happen?

The first person to say “just once” gets a slap.

Last Night ROCKED

Well, I suppose last night rocked. I don’t know since I was ASLEEP! That’s right – I had a puke-free night with the Zofran. For future reference, I took one Zofran a little over an hour before I took the chemo piklls and that did the trick. I’ll tell you though, taking those chemo pills last night was the hardest thing I’ve made myself do through this whole cancer experience. There’s definitely something in me that doesn’t like making myself sick. I guess I’ll never have that girlish Lindsay Lohan figure.

In house news, we signed our contract last night and went over all the particulars. Our real estate guys, Evan and Scott, are great and exceedingly thorough. The deadline for getting real estate ads into the newspaper was yesterday at 1, so they went ahead and got the ad placed just on our word that we’d sign that night. They’ve also set up… an open house! This weekend will be the first big showing of the place with Barb and I hiding in the close…. I mean… out shopping or something. Far away from the house. Yeeeeaaah.

Made It Through the Night

Well, I made it through night one of this MOPP! crap. Thanks to Steve over on the Hodgkin’s forum, I remembered that I still have some Zofran I was given at the start of all this chemo stuff. I’ll give that a try tonight, but I figured I’d call the doc to see what they suggested. Their answer? The zofran. Good to know I’m smarter at medicine than I am at locating it. Or something.

So now that the puking’s over (oh, the count wound up in the teens and took around four hours before I could stop throwing up and go to sleep), it’s time to talk hockey!

The Devils have been awesome as usual. It almost feels like their ’95 Cup run again, ’cause none of the announcers seem to understand how the Devils work. They continue to be amazed that they function as a team and when one person goes down, another’s there to take their place. Duh – that’s Devil’s hockey. Everyone knows the role they’re supposed to play and they play it to the best of their ability. Is Cam Janssen out there trying to score beautiful goals? No – he’s out there hitting people. Is Brian Gionta picking fights with the other team’s enforcers? No, he’s going to the net and scoring goals. This is what a team is, and the Devils have always personified that. That’s why Ken Daneyko’s number was retired this season. He’s not going to wind up in the hall of fame like everyone else whose number has been retired by their team, but he was the ultimate team player. There’s a reason they call him Mr. Devil, and it’s not the horns.

Jaromir Jagr. I should start off by saying I’ve never really cared for Jaromir. In my mind, while a hockey forward should obviously be good at offense, they have to pay attention to defense as well. Probably one more reason I’m a Devils fan. All of the times I’ve watched Jagr play, he’s never coming back to help out. He’ll often stay back either by the blue line or occasionally as far back as the opponent’s blue line, waiting for the puck to bounce to him. He also doesn’t go out on the penalty kills. For someone who skates and puckhandles as well as he does, he should be out there in any situation they can get him in. But no, he doesn’t like defense. Either that or his coaches have realized he’ll probably do something stupid like his attempted sucker punch on Gomez that dislocated his shoulder.

Take Peter Forsberg. Take Joe Thornton. These are big guys like Jagr. They can skate, they can shoot, they can puckhandle and they can make awesome plays. They can also play defense! And as for Forsberg, he can just get mean when he’s out there. I like that. Too bad he’s a Flyer.

So Jagr comes back for Game three, and makes an immediate impact on the team by scoring no goals and getting no assists. Way to go, Jags. Even better that the Devils’ first goal is scored 68 seconds into the game, as Jagr’s jersey number is 68. Welcome back to the series. Maybe you should focus on growing out that frilly mullet of yours again.

Sadly, I missed the first two Devils goals and the entire first period. Why? We interviewed some realtors who are going to be taking over the house selling duties for us. Between my new chemo and the pain that can go into selling a house properly, we’ve decided to hand over the house-selling to someone else.

These guys were great, despite making me miss part of the Devils. There are some great fringe benefits to working with them and their company, and it should help us get this house sold quickly and get us another one rather quickly as well. They’re coming back over to have us sign the contract tonight, and they’ve already submitted our house to the newspapers for an open house this Sunday. Sweet! I’ll just need to make them aware that there may be a Devils game at 6, of course.

The even cooler thing is, they know the area around here very well and actually thought we had underpriced the house. They said it was one of the best and nicest old houses in the area they had seen. Hot damn! If we can get it to sell for their price, then we can pay the commission and still be pretty close to our asking price. How cool is that?

One Down (sort of), Thirteen to Go

Yesterday was the start of the whole new MOPP! thing, which Barb has found is officially called ChlVPP for my specific protocol. Still, MOPP! is easier and more fun to say. I got the vinblastine earlier today, which primarily seems to have affected my joints. I’ve been quite achy through the day. Before bedtime, I got to take my two chemo drugs – one a set of six pills, the other a set of four. The one that I take four of (procarbazine) had a copay of $2600. Nice, huh? Fortunately, my deductible’s already been reached, so my copays get refunded to me in a couple of weeks, so all this means other than sticker shock is we get a few more frequent flier miles. Go go gadget credit card!

Now’s the point where you might be wondering why I’m up and writing at four in the morning. To put it simply, MOPP! sucks. Through all of the chemo they’ve put me through for almost a year, I’ve never thrown up. This morning I’ve puked three times and can feel another in the wings. In fact, I just blazed through numbers four and five between the last sentence and this one, Wonderful.

Here’s a note to all of you who will either go through MOPP! or are having nausea issues with anything else: don’t eat pasta with tomato sauce. It’s quite disturbing to see later on.

Well, I’m feeling that feeling again, so I’d better post this while I’m still relatively coherent. Let’s hear it for number six!

Devils Game 1 (Spoiler)

Okay, if you happened to have taped the game for later and stumbled into here, stop reading now.

While I fully expected a Devils win today, I’m still rather stunned. Six to one? They really must want to help me beat this cancer. The guys were playing awesome as usual and Cam Janssen continues to make me giggle with glee every time he hits the ice, no pun intended. I just feel sorry for the officials – I don’t think they were expecting their arms to get such a workout calling penalties. Of the seven goals scored, only one wasn’t on the power play, and that one was scored one second after a power play was over, so it might as well have been one. Wow. Just counting the penalties over on the Yahoo box score, the Rangers took 16 and the Devils took 9. And that was even without giving Jagr five minutes for being a whiny little baby, a penalty I hope they incorporate next season.

For now, it’s back to housework. We have a couple of people coming to look at the place early next week, so feel free to uncross some of your “hope Brian beats cancer” fingers and cross them for “hope Barb and Brian sell that house.”

While We’re Talking Hockey…

Holy crap! Keith Primeau might be coming back? If Forsberg stays healthy, Buffalo doesn’t stand a chance. I think the important question the reporter should’ve asked him was not “would you be coming back if this weren’t the playoffs,” but “would you still be coming back if Scott Stevens was still on the Devils?” I’m sure the answer would be a resounding “No!”

A gay player in the NHL? Come on, Tie Domi. We’re your friends. It’s okay to admit that you think Don Cherry’s hot. Come on out of that closet. After all, it’s not like you’re going to be a Leaf much longer.

As if you needed more reason to love the Devils, here’s one more.

Time to MOPP! Up the Cancer

Well, we got home yesterday to a voicemail from Dr. D’s office. Looks like we’re going with MOPP! as they want me to come in on Thursday to get one of the IV pushes. I’m going to call them on Monday to get the exact details and such. Barb was looking up symptoms and things to avoid with some of the components of MOPP! and came across this page on one of the drugs I’ll be getting, which includes the following handy little guide to eating:

  • Do not eat foods that have a high tyramine content (most common in foods that are aged or fermented to increase their flavor), such as cheeses, yeast or meat extracts, fava or broad bean pods, smoked or pickled meat, poultry, or fish, fermented sausage (bologna, pepperoni, salami, and summer sausage) or other unfresh meat, or any overripe fruit.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages or alcohol-free or reduced-alcohol beer or wine. No problem.
  • Do not eat or drink large amounts of caffeine-containing food or beverages, such as chocolate, coffee, tea, or cola. Oh crap.
  • Do not take any other medicine unless approved or prescribed by your doctor. This especially includes over-the-counter (OTC) or nonprescription medicine such as that for colds (including nose drops or sprays), cough, asthma, hay fever, appetite control; “keep awake” products; or products that make you sleepy.

So it looks like I’ll be limited to Skittles and warm tap water, Great. The real fun part is reading the drugs I’m not allowed to take at the same time as the procarbazine. I’ll let you read through those on the other site, as I don’t think my site’s big enough to list ’em all.

In happier news, the Devils play in just over five hours! I watched the end of the Ottawa game and the third period and both overtimes of the Red Wings game. Playoff hockey is here, baby! I found a site yesterday that had a great playoff tree wallpaper, o98 Designs, so I had to go ahead and fill in the blank spots (warning – large, wallpaper-size graphic ahead). Once I started filling it out, I realized I know next to nothing about the Western Conference this year other than the Red Wings have been kicking butt and the Predators destroy teams at home. Hence, Red Wings v. Predators in the semis. Of course, I know everything about the Eastern conference, so that one will happen just like I predict.

Also, I have a nice arena in New Jersey I’d like to sell you…

The Results Are In (Again)

I saw Dr. C. today and got the results from Monday’s PET scan. They were crap. Not as bad as the initial ones, but that same mass is still in the middle of my chest. It just doesn’t want to go away. My guess is, it’s an alien.

I asked Doc about the size and he said it was a tiny bit smaller, but size doesn’t matter (we’ve all heard that, haven’t we, guys?) so much as the fact that something’s still there. The ifosfomide he had me on a couple of weeks ago should have wiped it out, especially since the dose was twice what’s usually given to patients through the ICE protocol.

Remember, you heard it here first – it’s an alien.

Where do we go from here? Well, since Ripley’s nowhere handy, that means more chemo. He has two options he’s considering for me. One is harsher than the ifos treatment I just had, the other is easier and mostly oral rather than IV. He said he’s not too concerned about how hard the chemo is on me, as he knows I can take anything he throws at me. He’s seen the pictures, you know.

At the moment, he’s leaning toward the easier oral-based chemo, known as MOPP! I’m not that excited about the chemo, but it’s hard for me to say or type without an exclamation point, mostly because of a They Might Be Giants song (not the one I’m listening to now, but “Violin” from No!). Try saying it to yourself quietly and without verve. You can’t, can you? MOPP! MOPP!

So the way MOPP! works is, it’s given over a fourteen day period. I go in on day one and… maybe day 8… and get some quick IV chemo, but the rest of the time it’s two or more pills I’ll be taking. After that fourteen days, I’ll have another fourteen days, then I get another PET scan at my favorite place. Meh. No matter what this PET says, we’ll move on to the high dose chemo from there and on to the SCT afterwards. Once my bone marrow’s back up to working and the SCT is done, I’ll probably go in for some focused radiation treatments on that chest mass just to make sure the little bastard doesn’t come back. Radiation in my heart = stake in tumor’s heart.

So now you’re saying, “Why not the tougher stuff if you’re so tough, Mr. Big Man?” First, bite me. Second, the big bad stuff in that chemo (cytoxin?) is in the same family as the ifosfomide he gave me. Since the ifos didn’t do the trick, he’s not sure that the other treatment would do anything either. The MOPP! is in a different family entirely, so hopefully it’ll come from a different direction and smack the cancer around like a pimp on collection day.

When does all this start? Sometime next week. Probably later in the week. Dr. C’s attending a conference with some oncologists on Tuesday and he’s going to present my case to everyone (I hope I get to be “Patient Z”) to see if everyone agrees with his thinking. So near the middle/end of the week, I get to see what MOPP! is all about.

So the good news is, I should be able to see the first couple of rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs with no interruption. Hopefully the more widely broadcast third and final rounds will be underway by the time I have to do the hotel stay. The other good news is, this gives Barb and I some time to try to get our house sold and a new house found and bought before the high dose chemo starts up. It would be awesome to be able to come home to a new home when this is all over. As you can imagine, there are some memories around here now that would be good to get away from. Plus, we’ll be closer to work and my Yale docs, so that would also be good.

Want to live in Hartford, CT? Love to live within blocks of a great hospital, greater oncologist and next door to a school? Not afraid of Rooms of Evil? Give us a holler and we’ll see if we can make a deal.

The bad news? This means it’s that much longer until we can get the high dose started, that much longer until the SCT and that much longer until I’m done with this. I guess in the grand scheme of things, the bad news isn’t all that bad, but still. Oh, that and the fact that yes, I still have cancer.

And it’s still my bitch.

A Post for Dad

…and anyone else who may be interested in watching the Devils stomp the Rangers. Here’s the schedule for the first round of the playoffs. Dad, you’ll be able to see a couple of them for sure (Saturdays on NBC). I think you get OLN, which means you’ll get to see them all. Be sure and print this out and tape it to the TV! (Sorry Mom, but it’s the Devils!)

Game 1 Sat, 4/22 3:00 PM NY Rangers at New Jersey NBC
Game 2 Mon, 4/24 7:00 PM NY Rangers at New Jersey OLN
Game 3 Wed, 4/26 7:00 PM New Jersey at NY Rangers OLN
Game 4 Sat, 4/29 3:00 PM New Jersey at NY Rangers NBC
Game 5 Sun, 4/30 6:00 PM NY Rangers at New Jersey OLN
Game 6 Tue, 5/2 7:00 PM New Jersey at NY Rangers OLN
Game 7 Sun, 5/4 TBD NY Rangers at New Jersey OLN