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…

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


…and a little bit more of the cancer dies away.

So I had a stressful night with my Devils. They were really stinking it up through the first 30 minutes or so, but Gionta woke them up by scoring his 47th goal, breaking Pat Verbeek’s record set back in ’87-’88. Then they started figuring out how to skate and pass again. Gio got another power play goal, Elias got an astounding goal and Langenbrunner got the gamewinner. The Devils win 4-3. The Rangers lost their game against Ottawa, so Ottawa moves ahead of Carolina (who lost tonight) for the #1 spot in the conference, but more importantly the Devils win their division, earning the #3 spot in the conference. They have now overcome the biggest points deficit since divisional play began in ’74, being 19 points behind the then-leading Flyers on January 7th. In Marhc, they were still 11 points back. Way to go, Devils!

The thing that makes the Devils the best team out there is just that – their teamness. Jamie Langenbrunner gets the game winning goal in the biggest win of the season and is the main reason the Devils become division champs for the sixth time in nine years. They interview him after the game and all he can talk about are the other three goals – not once does he mention his own. They interview Scott Gomez, who assisted on two of the goals and he talks about the other two goals, the fighters on the team and the coaches.

These are my Devils. Like Gomer says in one of their commercials: they’re not playing for the back of their jerseys – they’re playing for the front.

Playoffs begin Friday and we face the Rangers in the first round on Saturday. I’d better not be in the hospital for chemo!

PETs and Pucks

Well, I just got back from my latest PET scan, so now I have nothing going on again until Thursday, when I find out the results and go through the whole MUGA/PFT/EKG/CXR thing like I did at the start of all of this. Hopefully that last round of chemo took care of the mediastinal mass (the one in the middle of my chest). If it did, that means we get to move along to the high dose chemo (BEAM) and get this party started. Until then, more waiting. Meh.

In the good news column, the Devils beat the Flyers yesterday, 5-1. They extended their win streak to 10 games (longest in the NHL this season), Gionta got his 46th goal to tie for the most goals by a NJ Devil and Elias got his 500th point (as well as #’s 501 and 502). This win over the Flyers sets up an interesting points scenario. The Rangers lead the Atlantic Division with 100 points. The Flyers and the Devils are tied at 99 points. All three teams have one more game to play tomorrow. If the Devils beat the Canadiens (who are in their own interesting little points battle, just farther back) and the Rangers lose, the Devils are the division champs and wind up third in the conference going into the playoffs. If the Devils win and the Rangers lose in overtime or the shootout, the Devils still win based on number of victories. Tomorrow’s going to be a very interesting and tense night. Let’s go Devils!

Lace ‘Em Up, One More Time

Well, last night I didn’t get home quite as early as I wanted. It was getting dark pretty quickly, so I grabbed a bag full of pucks and went out back to shoot some around. My wrist shots were pretty snappy and surprisingly accurate. My slap shots, however were wild to the point of dangerous. Anything within about a 270 degree arc of me was fair game. I only tried about ten slappers all told. We have new garage doors and while I was shooting with my back to them, you read how wild my slap shots were.

I got in about 40 or so wristers before I had to call it a night on account of darkness. Black pucks on black asphalt are really hard to see in the dark.

I was feeling pretty good, but this morning my back was feeling the workout. Especially after I sat at my desk for a bit and then stood up to walk anywhere. Holy crapoley. Regardless, I made a point of getting out the door right on time tonight. I made it home with enough time to get on my gear and actually do some skating. That’s what I’ve been hoping for all week. I’ve had work stuff taking up my weekend hours and I was starting to think I wasn’t going to get to skate before I went in to the hospital.

Luckily, I got to have one more skate. Who knows how long it’ll be before I get another. I’m getting admitted into the hospital on Thursday and will be there through Monday. Then I’ll probably be too tired to get out of bed for a few days. Plus, I’ll have to be getting my blood checked every couple of days. The comes the stem cell harvest. Then comes the high dose chemo. Then comes the hotel room confinement. Then comes the re-strengthening.

Then comes the hockey season.

C’mon Devils…

So I’m watching the Devils/Flyers game tonight, and during one of the intermissions they start talking about the rest of the Devils’ schedule (a word that I just had to retype three times). As they’re going through the dates it hit me – aside from being immunodepressed (a word I typed only once) and reeling from the heavy, big-time chemo, I’m going to miss a lot of the playoffs. Most of the initial rounds aren’t going to be on the regular stations and I’m going to be locked away in a hospital or hotel room for most, if not all, of the run to the Stanley Cup. This blows.

Great quote from between periods. Matt is interviewing Peter Forsberg and asked him that since he’s such a highly skilled and awesome player, what skill does he have that no one ever points out. Forsberg just grins at him and says “I think I’m pretty overrated, to be honest with you.” Why’d he have to become a Flyer?

On the cancer front, today was an extraordinarily crappy day. I slept pretty much right up until 7:00 tonight, with brief moments of lucidity and getting up to go to the bathroom. Luckily I did wake up at 7, ’cause that gave me 30 minutes to make it from the second floor to the third to watch the Devils.

I made it with two minutes to spare.

Yup, Still Bald

So here’s the weird thing about having no hair. You think your head’s going to be all cold and you’re going to lose all of this body heat and such, but really, it’s all just weird patches of cold. For instance, put your hands behind your head. You know, like you’re going to kick back in your chair and put your feet on your desk, satisfied in a job well done. Watch out for the pencil holder. Feel where your hands are right now? That’s where my head is cold. Right about where my skull curves under in the back. Just above the collar, just below a hat. Son of a… So instead, I sat at my computer today wearing my stocking cap and feeling Canadian.

Speaking of Canadian, how about the big Olympic flop for North America? The one good thing about it is that now the Devils only have one player left in the tournament – Viktor Kozlov. All of the rest get to rest and relax until the NHL starts back up again. I’m cheering for the Swedes now. Here’s hoping Peter Forsberg plays a LOT in the next few days.

One thing I liked about watching Olympic hockey? No TV timeouts. Just a whole uninterrupted period of hockey. Nice. Plus, I didn’t have to worry that I’d have a lame announcer, since Doc Emerick would be doing all of the US games. It is astounding all of the bizarre and random hockey facts that man has in his head. One of the many reasons he’s the best.

The Goon is Back and You’re Gonna Be in Trouble

Well, we lost another one, but this time we got to play to the end. The final score was 9-7. We got the first goal (my linemate) and at one point later in the game we had pulled within one goal, but they just kept getting that extra goal. I got a little more rough and tumble than I have been, a little closer to how I used to play, but still no penalties. My trainer had me do a boxing workout on Monday and I told him it would be his fault if I got a fighting major.

Looking back I see I didn’t post anything about the last game the week before last – another mercy rule game, this time 12-2 and I was a -4 I think. Tonight I was a -3, but only because I was out there for two of our goals.

At one point in the game tonight I went into the boards with a guy, pushing and shoving for the puck and we both went down. When I got up, the whole rink just kept doing slow 360s around me. I wound up winning my faceoff anyway and played out the rest of my shift. I just had to keep my eye on one person and focus. I wound up short shifting after that.
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Whalers are 1-1

Talk about adding insult to disease. First I find out the cancer’s still going, then I go to play hockey and get cheered up and we get beat 10-0. Ouch. And that’s only because the league has a mercy rule – the game was called with almost 6 minutes remaining. OUCH.

I don’t know how it is that I wind up on hockey teams that don’t understand positional hockey. Our opponents sure seem to. My current team’s defense is also having trouble moving people out from in front of the net. Basically, they just stand beside the person and watch the play. I’m thinking I might have to switch to defense, not for my lack of offensive ability, but for my team’s lack of defense. Even though I was ostensibly a forward last night, I was clearing people from the front of the net on our penalty kills and I made one skate save and one head save in the game. I skated my ass off and felt like I was the only one who did, especially today since I can barely walk from the muscle soreness. I might not be a great player right now, but at least I was trying.

On the plus side (so to speak), I was a -3 for the night. Bad numbers, but good in the context of the game. I gotta switch to D.

I told everyone in the locker room about my diagnosis after the game, so hopefully in the next game it might occur to them that if a cancer patient is out there skating his ass off, maybe they should be too.

Not that I’m bitter or anything. That’s probably just my thighs talking.

Whalers are Undefeated!

So we had our first game of the season last night, against the same team we played first last season. I don’t recall how we played against them last time as I was having troubles of my own, but this time we definitely played better. We won 6-3 and I was +2 for the night (3 goals for, one against).

I think I played my best game ever – even counting when I was deep into it and in shape in San Francisco. I was not only thinking and skating hard, I was actually setting up plays.
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