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?

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.”

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.