Monthly Archives: April 2011

Monday, April 11

Felt like I was at 95%. Huge difference from last Thursday.  I can feel the next few days before my next chemo are going to be good. My body’s telling me I’ll be feeling fine.

Oversaw the delivery of the cabinets for the kitchen remodel I’ve been working on for my dear, sweet clients Jennifer and Craig.  Jennifer is the mother of a two-year old and newborn twins as of December. She thought it would be a good idea to stay with her parents in Minnesota while I remodeled their kitchen. This started in the middle of December. Fortunately I was done with all the heavy construction when the pain peaked. I actually got the call that they thought I had pancreatitis while I was sweeping up the last of the construction debris.

Fortunately, since the hospital stay and starting chemo, I’ve only had to oversee painters, tilers, and sheetrock workers, and not actually do any labor myself. I say fortunately because I’ve lost about 60% of my muscle mass. So on Monday I found myself driving a truckload of cabinetry over to the jobsite with my friend Tim and my brother Jimmy.  They did the lifting and I told them where to put them inside.

Which brings me to my next point. I’ve added a “Gratitude” button to try in some small way to express my thanks to everyone who’s been there for me, reached out to me, and supported me through this tough time. The list is incomplete and growing. Please take a minute to check it out.

Third chemo on Thursday.


March 31st-April 10th / 2nd chemo

Had 2nd chemo Thursday. Was out and about on Friday and felt okay, strangely. Went out to dinner on Saturday night and ate a huge meal. Felt fine. But after that I’d been feeling progressively worse each day. Nauseous and unable to eat much.

I think I’ve eaten about 3,000 calories this whole week, of which I think 1,500 was that meal I had at Sunflower Saturday night – a delicious Vietnamese vegetable curry. (Note to self: don’t accept free Vietnamese iced tea after 9 pm. I was up literally all night. That was the most caffeine I have consumed in two months. I think the Vietnamese call it liquid meth.)

I burned off those 1,500 calories at the Alameda Flea Market on Sunday. For those of you who don’t know, the Alameda Flea is held the first Sunday of every month on the grounds of the old Alameda Naval Air Station. It covers a full two-and-a-half acres, and everything sold there must be at least 25 years old. It is a treasure trove of wonders and delights, and going there is one of my favorite things to do. This is evident in the household full of objects I have purchased there, from 100-year old lithograph print of a church (a church that I later accidentally stumbled upon in Paris with Barbara Caldwell) and the art deco pewter ashtray nymph on my mantelpiece to the lucite-encased ticket to the 1892 Chicago World’s Fair, a gift from my son Dillon. The most bizarre thing I’ve bought there is a set of  half-melted copper and latex antique baby dollhead molds. They have been banished to a box somewhere due to the horror and dismay they cause anyone who looks upon them.

Strangely, this was the first day I went to the Alameda Flea and didn’t buy something. Kaki and I were looking for a desk, and although we found one we loved, it was being wheeled out the gate by the person who had bought it. I guess the reason I didn’t buy anything is I was so focused on looking for the desk, not because I haven’t been purchasing  things. The future is mine and I shall not sway from buying something because of a fear that tomorrow may not come.

This belief was borne out by the beautiful art deco desk Kaki and I found on craigslist (that’s ‘classifieds’ to you 20th century folks) two days later. And it was less expensive than the one art the market.

So I started feeling worse late Sunday, and it got worse with each passing day. It peaked (or bottomed out) on Thursday. No appetite and lots of nausea. I feel like I’m still losing weight.

A dear friend who shall remain nameless (whose name starts with an ‘M’ and ends with an ‘E’ and sounds like something you sing into) brought me some traditional medicinal herbs to help me deal with the nausea and lack of appetite. Additional note to self: Like Vietnamese iced tea, this should not be imbibed after 9 pm. I found myself self-exiled to the couch, staring at the ceiling and trying to ignore the sounds of someone breaking into my house. Turns out it was the wind and my imagination jimmying the lock.

Apparently this was due to the strain of herb, and I have been assured by another dear friend in Mendocino County (whose name starts with an ‘S’ and ends with an ‘E’ and rhymes with the part of the shirt that covers your arm) that the next strain will do the trick without causing Vietnamese Tea Syndrome. It’s great having so many friends so well versed in the traditional Native American healing arts.

Starting on Friday, I’ve been feeling incrementally better each day.