BMT Day 57: Pain, Lymph Nodes, and Milkshakes
Saturday July 11th 2015, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Family, Leukemia, Me, Myself, and Reid, Sodapopcornculture

I spent the day in bed and in pain. At least I wasn’t beating myself up. I think I was in too much pain for that.

My Aunt Cindy came over to visit while we had lunch, which was nice. It’s always great to have someone around I don’t get to see everyday.

After lunch, I slept off and on, which has basically been the story of the painful lymph nodes around my neck.

We watched some of “The Comedians” on FX on demand and the commercials that play over and over about getting half-priced shakes after 8PM at Sonic finally wore my dad down. He went to Sonic and bought us all shakes and we watched one more episode of “The Comedians,” before I stumbled off to bed.

I was so dizzy, I had to have my mom make sure I got in bed okay. Which is where I am now. Hopefully I’m going to fall asleep in a few minutes and feel all better tomorrow.

Here’s hoping!

Goodnight,
–Reid.



BMT Day 53: Big, Spontaneous Bursts Of Momentary Energy For Small Thngs.
Tuesday July 07th 2015, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Leukemia, Me, Myself, and Reid, Sodapopcornculture

Although my neck is finally feeling better and turning at all angles without pain (not like an owl, like a normal human–and not like a human with owl powers, just a regular human), I’m still having headaches and stomach aches. Still, I think energy-wise, this was one of the best mornings I’ve had in a while.

I took advantage of the energy I had and I took care of some things I’ve had to get done for a while, which proceeded to knock the energy out of me like the Sun being thrown in the East River (why did those Spider-Man movies get a third sequel and the new ones don’t?)

Sorry… where was I?

Oh yeah. NOT nerding out, THAT’S for sure. So it was another day of realizing I’m not as strong as I want to be. It makes perfect sense, probably more so from looking in than looking out, but I’m constantly amazed at the energy I don’t have. Even to do little things.

We watched “Falling Skies” on TNT tonight and then some of the very funny “The Comedians” on FX.

I have a PT coming over in the morning, which I believe will sap all my strength for the rest of the day. So I should try to get ahead of that my by going to sleep.

Goodnight all,
–Reid.



BMT Day 51: American Women Win World Cup! AND Movie Adaptations By Apostles.
Sunday July 05th 2015, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Family, Sodapopcornculture

If I’m still this sick tomorrow, I’ll bring it up in the BIC.

Two non-sleep things happened in my world today today. Sorry Greece, you didn’t make the cut.

A) The American women won the World Cup over Japan. We invited my aunt over to watch it, and by the time she got there, the USA was already up 4-0. I think that sums up the game. It was a pleasure to watch; especially all the good sportsmanship between the two teams during the game. And the five American goals. Both were good. It ended with a hockey-like score. it was fun to watch and at which to yell.

B) My dad and I finally watched the movie version of Ender’s Game, which is one of our favorite books. We thought it was pretty good. I’m not usually a person that thinks a book is better than a movie just ’cause. I always think of them as different tellings of the same story, ether in book form, comic book form, audio. To me it’s life if the apostles read the same book, they’d probably highlight different things and make considerably different movies. That’s usually how I feel about adapted literature. It was an pretty cool movie, but one that I probably won’t have to see again.

‘night,

–Reid.



BMT Day 49: A Bunch Of Nothing. And “Pitch Perfect.”
Friday July 03rd 2015, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Family, Leukemia, Sodapopcornculture

I’m still feeling too lousy to do much more than try to sleep.  I think I got in several good hours today.  The rest was sort of mopey lying in bed trying to sleep.

After dinner, my mom and I watched Pitch Perfect at the goading of my sisters.  It was cute.  I’ll try to watch the second one with them when we’re all together again,

Now I need some real bedtime sleep, so I’m going to go practice that.

Goodnight!

–Reid.



BMT Day 48: The BIC And “The Comedians.”
Thursday July 02nd 2015, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Family, Leukemia, Sodapopcornculture

Today, my mom took me to the outpatient BIC for what should have only been the second time this week.  I’m glad I went a third, emergency time on Tuesday to find the makings of a clot that wasn’t allowing all the blood to get to my brain.  That was a worthwhile extra trip.

Today, they just took my labs and tried to determine if I look as swollen on the right side as I did the other day.  The consensus was that I didn’t look as bad as I had looked, but that I’m still swollen.

I honestly wouldn’t know, because my neck and throat still hurt so much.  “A few more days,” I keep telling myself, “just a few more days.”  I’ll get the shots of a drug called Lovenox for a free more months, but it should indirectly help my body break down the forming clot within the next seven days.  The Lovenox, itself, doesn’t break down clots, but stops them from growing while the body breaks them down.

I then came home and slept. I’m in lots of pain and I’m exhausted.  The little things I want to do frustrate me because they’re still eluding me right now despite seeming so easy.

Tonight, my dad and I rewatched the first three episodes of The Comedians with my mom, so she could catch-up with us. It’s about two comedians with very different comic sensibilities (Billy Crystal and Josh Gad) who are forced to work together by a studio to make a sketch comedy show (yes, another show about making a sketch comedy show, but it’s very different from 30 Rock or Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip).  It’s on FX and it’s very funny; I highly recommend it.

Now I shall try to get some sleep.

Goodnight!

–Reid.

 

 

 

 



BMT Day 45: Terrorism (Important). I Get Switched To Two Days A Week In The BIC (Less Important).  Dammit.
Monday June 29th 2015, 9:41 pm
Filed under: Leukemia, Sodapopcornculture

I’m tired of turning on the TV and hearing that there’s going to be a terrorist attack on America by the Islamic State on July 4th.  It seems to be in every news cycle, but not a big enough story to get its own block.  There’s some story about flooding, a story about how we’re going to be attacked on Independence  Day–that, at most, I’ve seen last a minute–then onto some other BS story.  I’ve seen it at home on a few local stations and I saw it on CNN today at the Outpatient Bone Marrow Infusion Center (BIC).

My biggest problems with this story, in no particular order, are:

1) What are we supposed to do about it?  If we keep being told there’s going to be a terrorist attack of a totally unspecified nature, we can’t really do anything about it. Other than get scared, which can lead people to do some pretty dumb or awful stuff.  Dammit. 

2) “It’s the month of Ramadan, so that gives the Islamic State more reason to act now.” I keep hearing some various version of this from people who clearly don’t know what they’re talking about.  Or how to use the World Wide Web, for that matter.  Ramadan is the holy month in the Muslim lunar calendar in which there are traditions such as fasting, studying the Qur’an, giving sadaqah (voluntary charity), and–most importantly–doing no bad deeds and remaining humble.  The fact that it falls at this time this year–over July 4–would seem to be a good thing.  Dammit. 

3) There are actual, real terror attacks already occurring in th US right now that are getting little to no screen time. In the past week, six different black churches in six different states have been burned down. If that and the recent gun massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church are not saying, “If you don’t feel safe in church, you shouldn’t feel safe anywhere” to blacks, I don’t know what is.  That’s actual, real terrorism going on right now in America, which is largely going unreported on television news.  Dammit. 

Dammit.  I mean really.  I have Stevie Wonder’s “Pasttime Paradise” stuck in my head–especially the words “race relations” and “confirmation to the evils of the world.”

Dammit. 

In other, far less important news, even though I felt worse today than I did yesterday, I’m switching to two days a week from three in the outpatient BIC starting this week. I feel that this is a show of confidence from my doctors in both the strength of Rachel’s cells and the hopefully lay-over-and-die spirit of my own.

Dammit,

–Reid. 



BMT Day 44: Inside Out, Migraines, Stupid Migraines.
Sunday June 28th 2015, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Family, Leukemia, Sodapopcornculture

I had a migraine most of the day that prevented me from sleeping. I can only take Tylenol or one of two different narcotics to manage my pain.  While the Tylenol helps with headaches, it doesn’t touch migraines.  The narcotics don’t touch headaches of any kind.  That was less than ideal.

Luckily, before my migraine started, my dad took me to see an early matinée of Inside Out, Disney Pixar’s latest film.  It was great.  The animation was great, the casting was great, and most importantly, the story was great.  I have to agree with my friend Jason that Pete Docter is the best writer/director at Pixar.  Between this outing, Monsters, Inc. and Up, his portfolio is pretty amazing. 

And before you ask, I did get permission to go to restaurants and movie theaters with the understanding that the fewer people that are there, the better.  I even wore a mask so people would avoid me

We watched the first episode of the final season of Falling Skies tonight and then Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, both of which were good, but would’ve been better without a migraine. 

I think I’m going to try sleeping again and hope for the best.  Goodnight!

–Reid. 



BMT Day 43: Sleeping, Not Sleeping, TV Recommendations.
Saturday June 27th 2015, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Leukemia, Sodapopcornculture

I slept well last night, but woke up not feeling well this morning.  After breakfast, I fell back asleep.  But I had no such success in the afternoon after lunch.  It felt like a very long afternoon.  

At some point, I got out and took a short walk with my mom and our dog,  Ferris Bueller (the dog).  I’m supposed to be doing some walking every day.  It was hot out.  Heat and BMT go about as well together as heat and chemo; which is to say not very well. 

Here is my recommendation of the day: we just finished watching both available on demand seasons of “Silicon Valley.”  It’s on HBO and will surely have many more seasons.  We blew through it fast. You don’t need to know anything about computers to enjoy it.  It was created by Mike Judge, who’s created such fan favorites as “Office Space” and “King of The Hill.”

Tonight, we watched the premiere of USA’s “Mr. Robot” on demand.  I liked it a lot and am excited to see more.   The pilot opens up all kinds of questions, like, “Is any of this really happening?” and,”I I know I must have seen Christian Slater in something recently but I can’t remember what it was!”  I don’t expect these or any questions to be answered clearly for a long time. 

I have more recommendations but I’m very tired, so I’m going to try this sleep thing again.  

Good night,

–Reid. 



BMT Days 15 – 22: “Should I be blogging? I should be blogging, but I’m too tired.”
Thursday June 04th 2015, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Attack Of The Internet!, Family, Friends, Leukemia, Me, Myself, and Reid, Sodapopcornculture

Every day since through the bone marrow transplant process begun, every day has had a number.  The day of the BMT, itself, was Day 0. The numbering of days climbs from there.

You may be wondering whatever happened to Part 2 of that last post, where I talked about the countdown to BMT.  I’m still working on it.  Days 1-14 are all coming together in a blog entry, but I’ve decided not to make it my primary concern right now, so that I can instead post more frequently about more recent days and their goings-on.  As predicted in my last post, I have been saying to myself, quite often,”I went to the outpatient BIC today and slept the rest of the day. Should I be blogging?  I should be blogging, but I’m too tired.”  Well, I am too tired right now, but please allow me to present last week through today, anyway, where we begin with last Saturday, Day 15:

Day 15. Saturday, May 30th.  Dad and I visit the outpatient Bone Marrow Infusion Center (BIC).  They drew blood like they normally do.  Dad and I both fell into a daze, then a doze, even though we’d both brought work to do.  I brought my iPad for blogging, but that sure didn’t happen.  Unfortunately, for just checking my blood counts and electrolytes, it takes much longer than anyone might expect.   After my blood is drawn, it’s sent down to the lab, which I gather only has one working machine, that is operated by a badger or maybe a ferret, because it can take up to two hours to get my results back so I can be released from the BIC.   And if something shows up way out of range, even though we’re looking for all the parts of my blood to be going down, I sometimes need to get a transfusion, which adds additional hours of BIC time.

But everything was just fine today.  Day and I awoke to the great news that I would no longer have to visit the BIC every day of the week and weekend.

I took a short nap when we got home.  I woke up for dinner with my maternal grandparents, Gigi and Papa (not their real names).  It’s always nice to see them and I think they appreciate seeing me and getting real-time updates about my health straight from the horse’s mouth.  Fun fact: my handlers put peanut butter in my mouth to make it look like I’m speaking.  I go in and do the voice overs later.  No wait, that’s how they did Mr. Ed.  I get us confused all the time.

As soon as Gigi and Papa left, it was time for more of the BBC’s Sherlock on Netflix.  We watched the final episode of the first season, “The Great Game,” which, like most season finales, was a big cliffhanger.  We couldn’t stand not knowing what happened, so we moved right on to the first episode of the second season,”A Scandal In Belgravia.”  I sense a particularly big problem with binge watching this show: there are only three episodes a season and there are only three seasons!  But man, this is just too great a show; we can’t slow down now!

Day 16. Sunday, May 31st.  My first day not attending the BIC since my BMT (discounting that stupid weekend I spent in the hospital).  Originally, I attended the BIC all seven days a week.  From now on, I’ll only be attending the BIC on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  I still can’t travel anywhere besides doctors’ offices, the hospital, and home.  Since the BMT, I’ve been very fragile, like a fabergé egg.

I got to play my Star Wars RPG with my normal group of in-town nerd friends, but we played over the Internet because of my fabergéness.  They’re good friends for putting up with my schedule and fatigue and playing over video chat when I don’t feel well.  Yes, I just admitted to what is probably the nerdiest thing I do.
I took a nap and woke for dinner.  We took a break from watching Sherlock, because I was so exhausted and in pain, and I because I wanted to watch Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.  That show is so up-to-the-minute that I feel like I have to watch it live or I’ll be out-of-touch with all the jokes and the no-longer-surprisingly great journalism about things I previously had no clue about.  That last sentence sure was filled with lots of hyphens.
Day 17. Monday, June 1st.   I saw my psychologist in the morning and went to the BIC at 1:00.  At the BIC, they draw blood from my trifusion line, which, just to remind you, has three catheters suspended outside of my body, dangling on my chest.  Those free me from needing to get poked with a needle when they take my blood or infuse me with anything.  They’re looking at my blood to monitor two important things: first, my blood counts, things like my white cells, my hemoglobin, and my platelets.  They want all those things to go down, and that’s the way they’re going; I can literally feel it.  The other thing they’re looking at are my electrolytes, things like magnesium, potassium, and my ability to sweat in cool neon colors while dunking the ball, like in those Gatorade commercials.  Sometimes they need to supplement my electrolytes so that certain parts of my body–like, say, my heart–continue working.

I am being monitored as all my blood counts hit rock bottom which precedes–I’m told–my counts eventually going back up.  This whole “moving to three days a week” thing means that my doctor has confidence in my progress, even though I’m feeling so lousy.

I came home, where I tried to continue blogging, but fell asleep.  I woke up for dinner and an episode of Sherlock, called “The Hounds of Baskerville.”  I love how how so many things in this show–including this title–refer to original material by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Plus, I found out while Wikipediaing (a totally legitimate hobby), that there are references or allusions made to many of the early movies, which began in the silent film era (which quickly became the age of talkies because people really hate reading) (but please don’t stop reading this).

(Thanks, I just knew I could count on you!)

Day 18. Tuesday, June 2nd.  A day of rest.  Mom wasn’t feeling well and had to lie down on the couch.  That’s supposed to be my job.  I fell asleep in the armchair holding my iPad, which I intended to use for blogging, until  I received a screening call from a coordinator of an online cancer support group in which I’m going to take part this summer.  They already gave me a brand new iPad Air, on which I would video chat with other people that are going through something to beat cancer (chemo, radiation, BMT, etc.), if I did not already have a better iPad that my friends gave me.  I think I’ll probably sell this new one.  Oh, and as for the screening, I am apparently sane.

I eventually went to bed and fell sleep for a few hours.  When I got up, we ate dinner and watched the final episode of the second season of  Sherlock.  It’s called, “The Reichenbach Fall,” which is a great title, though a spoiler for anyone that’s read the books.  I can’t recommend this series enough.

Day 19. Wednesday, June 3rd.  Back to the BIC.  Today, we see a Nurse Practitioner (NP).  They’re generally in charge of everything both in the BIC and back in the inpatient cancer floor.  They talk to the doctors and carry out their will.  Every so often, I get a pre-planned visit in the BIC from an NP, my dietician, my oncology psychologist, or even my actual real BMT oncologist (a rare, but always informative event).

I’m feeling lousy.  Really lousy.  I’m assured that for Day 19, this is perfectly normal, and what they want to be seeing.  Why are they looking for my counts to hit rock bottom–to hit my “nadir” in sciency terms?  Because they want my cells so give Rachel’s cells free passage into where they need to be, and grow the way they need to grow, and they need Rachel’s healthy cells to clobber my previous immune system, which will be easier if my immune system doesn’t fight back.  I would never fight Rachel.  She would kick my ass.  Which really makes her my perfect donor.

So the reason I’ve been so extremely exhausted all of the time is because my body (well, except for my old immune system, which is hopefully off dying somewhere)is devoting all of its energy to the grafting process and building a new immune system with Rachie’s cells.  And I’m in constant pain because, I suspect, all of the stem cells are going into my bones, which is not the direction they normally go, and certainly not in such high volume.  So, while I’m feeling physically flat-out bad, I’m mentally and emotionally happy to know this process is working as planned.  Only narcotics and my bed can sooth me in any noticeable way.  I do not like narcotics and and I do not like spending all day in bed.   I try blogging, but I’m too tired.  I play the piano mindlessly for a while and then go to bed.

I wake up for dinner and an episode of Sherlock.  First, we watch the BBC mini-epidose interlude between seasons two and three, called “Many Happy Returns,” on the BBC YouTube channel,  Then watch the first episode of the third season on Netflix.  It’s called “The Empty Hearse.”  This is the first time having a smart TV has allowed us to do anything really cool to justify its existence, going between YouTube and Netflix on the TV.  I’m just happy for the extra bit of Sherlock.

Day 20. Thursday, June 4th.  I have noticed over the past few days that my beard is falling out.  Yesterday, I asked the NP about it, who told me that any follicle growth within six weeks of my chemo might not be stable.  Boy, was she ever right.  When I wash my face and put lotion on it, big handfuls of beard hair fill me with grief.  I think this was my best beard ever.  But it’s clearly going to have to go.  I get out the trimmer, chipping away at pieces of my beard so it looks funny, until finally… it’s gone.  I have a babyface once again.

My PT and friend of many years, Jackie, stops by to see me and my mom, and of course, Ferris.  She’s just one of those people that has a way of brightening our day whenever we see her.  That was great.

Worried that the calluses on my left hand are wearing away, I get out my guitar, put the strap over my shoulder and back around my neck.  I set my fingers to play a chord.  Suddenly, the guitar feels very heavy, so I set it down and open my computer to blog.  I’m seeing two of everything.  Time for a nap.  If there was dirt in here, I would kick it.  At this point, I’m really annoyed with myself for not blogging in such a long time.

No Sherlock tonight, because Dad’s out on official business.

Day 21. Friday, June 5th.  Mom takes me to the BIC.  I have decided that the best thing to do in regards to my blog is to forget about following the last entry up chronologically, and just write about the past few days, and eventually get back to filling in the days between my last entry and this one.   I brought my iPad to the hospital, took a painkiller and promptly fell asleep for the entirety of our time there.  Nothing noteworthy happened at the appointment except that my white cells have jumped up a bit (I believe this means the coup d’etat on my immune cells has been successful by Rachel’s forces).  After lunch, I slept.  I woke up for dinner with my Aunt Kadra and my Uncle Danny, who brought over Piccolo Pizza, which was delicious.  It’s always a joy to be around them, because they’re both really interested in finding out about my health and they amuse me so much by just being their normal selves.

After they left, we watched the second episode of the third season of Sherlock on Netflix.  This one was called “The Sign Of Three,” and like all the others have been, was spectacular.  My parents both wanted to watch the heretofore final episode of the series.  It will be the last one until a Christmas full-episode special the BBC is making right now and then season four will come out sometime in 2017.  However, none of this had to do with my hesitancy to watch the final episode.  I simply felt I couldn’t stay awake for it.  So I went to bed, confident we’d have something nice to watch tomorrow night.

Day 22. Saturday, June 6th.  Today.  I have not felt well all day.  I woke up, ate breakfast, took a dilaudid (narcotic painkiller) and went back to bed.  I got up for lunch and decided I was really going to hunker down on my blog.  Especially since I’d received a few messages today checking in on me.  While that was very nice, some people didn’t realize I was out of the hospital and some who did, didn’t understand that they could come visit me.  So I want to clear this up right now:  I haven’t been an inpatient in the hospital for two weeks, I’m at home and if you give me a call, we can plan out some time for a visit.  It would so awesome to see you!

Today may have been the only day I wrote about, because I wrote it and then went back to sleep.  But I couldn’t sleep well due to being I’m in so much pain.  So I got up, figured this would be a distraction from the pain, and I wrote back a full week, which sort of surprises the hell out of me.

I’m going to try to sleep now for a while, before I get up to eat dinner and watch the last episode of Sherlock (for now).

Forgive me if this entry is sort of jumbled–that is what my mind has been since BMT.  I feel like I’m in a fog and can’t think as clearly as I want to.  Certain words hover just out of my thought process which makes both conversation and writing slightly frustrating.  I think this could be the result of some good ol’ chemo brain, which I certainly had last time and even for a few years after treatment ended.

Oh well, I’m pleased I’m finally getting a blog posted!

–Reid.

P.S.  If it’s not clear by now, I highly recommend the BBC’s Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.



Writing, Tweeting, Losing Sports Championships. Plus! Special Bonus: Is Being A Dictator All It’s Cracked Up To Be?
Monday February 03rd 2014, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Denver, Liberty!, Me, Myself, and Reid, Sodapopcornculture, Who Knows?, Word Nerd

I’ve been wanting to write a lot lately, but I have a pinched nerve in my neck. It’s referring pain down to my thumb and forefinger, through the ol’ carpal tunnel, which I believe Chris Christie conspired to close at some point recently, for all but two tendons. In lieu of writing, I tried dictating to Siri, but that just didn’t feel like writing. Because it wasn’t. It was dictating. If there’s one thing I know for certain about my skill set, it’s that I’m a much better writer than dictator (to which the good people of Sincostan can attest).

Then I figured out I could just mash at my iPad screen for an experience similar enough to writing, but without the pain of actually typing. So here I am mashing away! mashmashmash!

Last night, the Broncos were crushed by the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. As a Denver native, I am obviously a sad fan. I’ve been tweeting about it:

1) As a #Broncos fan, I feel just like Mitt Romney on Election Night. Winning: inevitable. Losing: ha ha! impossible! We’re fools, Mitt. Fools.

2) Hard watching #Broncos blow championship in a night, but way easier than watching #Rockies take four to do the same. Plus that was baseball.

To understand that second one, you need to know, first, that yes, Colorado has a Major League Baseball team (the Colorado Rockies) and that, second, yes, they somehow bungled their way into the “World” Series.

Going into the Series To Determine Which Team Is The Best In The World Despite Its Only Participants Being Based In The USA Save For A Single Canadian Team (how worldly!), the Rockies had won 21 of their last 22 games. Unfortunately, the Rockies’ opponent was a real baseball team, the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox clobbered the Rockies in a “best of seven games” series. The Red Sox were best in all of the only four games that had to be played.

Finally, it’s worth noting that I find watching baseball to be incredibly boring. Not as boring as watching golf (how the hell can anyone watch golf?!), but pretty damn boring. That is, unless I physically attend a baseball game with friends. Then it’s a nice outdoor social event with a game of baseball going on in the background. You even have to stand up occasionally–it’s good exercise!

mashmashmash!

–Reid.

P.S. This was originally just going to be copies of my two tweets, but it kind of got away from me. Mashing seems to soothe my writing cravings.

P.P.S. “Sincostan” is the cleverest and only math joke I’ve ever written. Or noticed, that’s probably more appropriate. Come to think of it, Sincostan isn’t even really a joke. Unless you consider portmanteaus to be jokes. Which I know you don’t. It’s okay, my feelings aren’t hurt.

P.P.P.S. Huh. I don’t have a dedicated “Sports” category. I wonder why that’s never come up before. I don’t have one for “Math” either. Weird.