Friday, September 28, 2012

Idiot Box

Ok, so it's big premier week on television, and I happen to be sick this week, thus I have nothing better to do...

What the hell, let's review the new shows Mel and I have seen so far this season.

First off, the new shows that have actually premiered so far and that we've seen


Monday:

Revolution
The Mob Doctor

Tuesday:

Go On
The New Normal
Vegas


Wednesday:

Guys with Kids


Thursday:

Last Resort
Elementary

None of the new shows for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday have premiered yet.

666 Park Avenue premieres this coming Sunday, and looks possibly interesting, but the early reviews are pretty bad. The cast and writers are good, so it may improve over the pilot (also I've been in the building it's based in... and it's quite creepy, and has an interesting history).

So, the ones we actually HAVE seen...

Sitcoms:

Go On:

Funny, so far well written (four episodes in), very good performances in a strong overall cast. Particularly good performance on the part of Matthew Perry but he's playing the same basic Sorkinesque character he's BEEN playing over and over again since his guest shots on "The West Wing" (including in "Studio 60" and "Mr. Sunshine"). That character has been entirely unsuccessful in getting over with audiences. The showrunner of the show was a senior writer on Friends, so perhaps he'll have more success

The New Normal:

So far adorable, screwed up, quirky, funny, cute... It's got a very gay sensibility, which since it's created and written by gay men, about two gay men and the straight women in their lives... So far we like it, but I doubt it's going to work overall. Ellen Barkin is... Memorable... It's actually very sweet, and has a lot of heart, but it may just be too contrived.

Guys With Kids:

I wanted to like it... I love the cast, and the writers SHOULD be good... But it just isn't. The concept should work, but the writing is so cliched, so tropish, so plastic and obvious... It's just bad.


Drama:


Last Resort:

I'm going to do a full review on this one tomorrow. It's... interesting...


The Mob Doctor:

So bad I think it's already been unofficially canceled. Watched five minutes of it and deleted it. Some of the worst TV I've seen in years. I can tell you what the pitch was "It's Greys Anatomy meets The Sopranos, but sexier, and funnier".... It isn't. Any of that. At all.


Vegas:

I am cautiously optimistic. The performances were very good, the cast is beyond excellent, the writing so far is good; but the pilot wasn't quite there yet.

For one thing, it's supposedly set in Vegas in 1960, but the cars and motorcycles used in production vary all the way up into the 80s (several of the Harleys were 80s or 90s models. I clearly saw a '67 gto, most of the vehicles were '62 through '65 models), some of the fashions were mid 60s etc...

The fact is, "Mad Men" has set a new and very high standard for period accuracy, and every period show is going to be judged against that.

That said, Dennis Quaid is great, Michael Chiklis (the few minutes he had in the pilot) was very good, and the supporting cast is excellent. The potential for these characters is huge.

I'm hoping that the full series pickup will do better on production design, and the writing will relax a bit into the characters and plot lines. The potential is definitely there.


Elementary:

GREAT performance by Johnny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu hasn't had a chance to show much here yet but there's potential there. In general, great cast, sharp writing so far, but kinda hollow... I'm hoping that's just the nature of the pilot beast, having to jump in and sell the program on that first few minutes. It's definitely a "watch it for now, see how it works".

Definitely NOT as good as BBCs "Sherlock", but it's an entirely different format, concept etc... So it's not really fair to make the comparison. Also, "Sherlock" is some of the best TV ever made, and probably the best interpretation of Holmes on any screen large or small (even better than the 80s Jeremy Brett incarnation, and that's really saying something); certainly the best modernization of Holmes ever. It's available on Netflix now, and you should watch it if you haven't yet.



Revolution:

I saved this one for last for a reason...

Wow... I didn't realize they let stuff this bad on network TV anymore.

Seriously, they actually PAID someone to write this?

S.M. Stirling already wrote this... and he wrote it a HELL of a lot better than this piece of crap.

I mean... Someone with SOME knowledge of basic physics had to have read this script at some point and said something to someone about how bad it was....

Three ways to deal with this sort of thing in fiction:

  1. Handwave it away as "no-one know why the big thing happened. Some people say it was aliens, some say it was the hand of god, some say the hubris of man... I don't know, I just know we're here". From there, either never speak of it again, or make finding out a core part of the story (which inevitably leads to 2 or 3)
  2. Handwave it away as implied (subtly or otherwise) fantastic causes. Aliens, magic, etc... Thus opening yourself to a universe that follows different rules than the ones we currently understand. Then, as with 1, never speak of it again, or make it a core part of the story.
  3. Come up with a realistic, plausible, and physically possible but extremely unlikely explanation. Has to ACTUALLY be theoretically possible, and plausible enough that it might, even one in a billion, happen. 

They choose to not do any of these things, but try to blend them all... only... not really... Basically there's no internal consistency, no plausibility, and yet no idea that its "just magic" or "just aliens" etc... Thus there is NO immersion or suspension of disbelief.

Take "Lost", "Terra Nova" and "Jericho", mash them together, and make them make even LESS sense with LESS consistency, and there you go.

 A very important note: No matter what you choose to do in your fictional universe, it must be INTERNALLY consistent. Your universe has rules, even if they are not the rules we understand, and it has to follow them. If for some reason it appears not to, then you have to have a plausible explanation why; even if that explanation is "the aliens were pretending it was the other way, but that didn't work so they stopped pretending and now it works this way"; so long as it's internally consistent, you don't break immersion. When you break the universe, in an internally inconsistent way, you instantly break all immersion and relation that your audience has to that universe; particularly if you do it because you wrote yourself into a corner, or because it's plot convenient. Witness "lost".

This particular comic says much of what I would otherwise be ranting:








Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fallout Boy - Day 14: Still sick as crap

'S'why I haven't done a fallout boy post since Friday. 

Sinus and chest congestion, coughing, sneezing, headache, sore throat,  joint aches, intestinal disturbances poor temperature regulation... Your basic respiratory infection. 

I'm feeling somewhat better than I was a couple days ago; but it's probably going to be hanging on for a while given the condition of my immune system. 

Yes, I know, any kind of infection can be dangerous in my condition. Yes, we're keeping a careful eye on it. Temp and blood pressure every few hours, tons of fluids (I'm the only person I know who GAINS weight when he's sick), and the second anything gets out of bounds I'm going to the ER and/or urgent care.

Such is life with a compromised immune system. 

On the whole weight thing... I lost 38lbs in the first two days after I went on my levothryoxine in conjunction with my diuretics; but I had to stop the diuretics when I got sick, and have gained a bunch of that back. Can't wait until this infection passes so I can start losing weight again. 

I have been keeping my numbers, but I reduced my measurements to one per day when I fell below 50uSv/h peak. My immediate surroundings have all fallen down to a small multiple of background and are slowly fading. My skin surface is less than 20uSv/h everywhere, including directly over my thyroid bed. 

Actually, as of right now, I'm under 20 mSv/h over my thyroid bed, and under 10mSv/h everywhere... Under 5uSv/h most places; including anywhere my wife might be dosed pressed up against me. 

It's FINALLY safe for my wife and I to actually sleep together in the same bed. 

So, from my case, I can say that the exceedingly broad estimates of 4 days to 4 weeks as "safe to sleep with your pregnant wife" are correct; and the "rough guess" of "about two weeks" by my docs is right about on the money... But honestly, for anyone who has to go through this, I STRONGLY recommend you get yourself a beta+gamma dosimeter like we did; because every case is different, and a lot of our assumptions (and a lot of the guidelines) were very much incorrect (both on the good side and the bad side). 

Also, the degree and speed which I have purged radiation out, indicates that I've had a LOT more cancerous tissue dieoff over the past week... Which is probably contributing a lot to how miserable I've felt (purging radioactive dead cancerous tissue causes flulike symptoms in some people); but which otherwise is a good thing.

Oh and even with the thyroid meds, my sense of taste and smell are mostly gone again; which is most likely, again, a side effect of the radiation, and the purging of dead nuked tissue.







Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Baby baby, can't you hear my heartbeat



Baby Byrnes fetal heartbeat, 12.5 weeks, 160-170bpm, strong, healthy, and regular.

 We should know the gender in two weeks.

I'm Not An Optimist, I'm a Recovering Pessimist

Late last night I was talking with a friend who was dealing with a problem. He belongs to a club specific to one of his hobbies and this club has a committee that leads the club and deals with internal problems between members. One member has made false allegations against my friend, so patently ridiculous that almost no-one is taking them seriously. The supposed incident happened at a private home outside of club activities but an aggrieved party has taken it upon themselves to complain to the club leadership directly.

The leadership, being stuck in admittedly a sticky situation no matter which way you look at it, has decided that they'll take both sides of the story and then determine what to do.

This pissed him off. After all it's none of the club's business, it happened outside of the club between friends, they have no jurisdiction, etc... not to mention that he's offended that they're even taking the allegations seriously. He was so pissed, hurt, and offended that he could not see why the leadership could be taking this stance.

I pointed out that yes, while the allegations are ridiculous and yes, they have no "jurisdiction" they must as leadership make it clear that all such allegations will be taken seriously. They also must demonstrate that while allegations are taken seriously they will take pains to get the whole picture and presume no malice on the part of the accused until they finish taking everything into account. How they handle these allegations, the accused, and the accuser sets precedent for future incidents. Also, if they determine the allegations were made in an attempt to victimize the accused then they set precedent for dealing with false allegations as well.

In other words, the behavior of leadership didn't reflect on him or whether or not they actually believed the allegations. Their behavior is all about them, how their leadership is perceived (fair or arbitrary) and what they think will be best for the club as a whole. This has nothing to do with him or his friendships with the leadership.

At the end he thanked me for my "optimism". I contend it wasn't optimism, but instead harsh reality. I believe you can't make an assumption until you gather all of the possibilities and determine which is most likely (or test until you find the answer).

Gathering all of the options and weighing their likelihood isn't the act of an optimist. An optimist seizes upon what they perceive to be the most favorable scenario, much like a pessimist assumes what they perceive to be the worst scenario.

I'm a recovering pessimist and alarmist. I choose to handle my pessimism and panic by laying out of all of the possibilities and taking the scare out of the bogeyman. In other words I replace my fear and uncertainty with knowledge, hard facts, and odds.

Let me give you a real-world example.

The day Chris and I walked into the endocrinologist's office for the first time we didn't know what was wrong nor did we expect to have any more of an idea by the time we left. We expected blood tests to be ordered, theories to be raised, follow-ups to be scheduled.

We did not expect the PA doing the intake to find a thyroid "nodule" (the catch-all term for a growth of the thyroid of any type) nor did we expect to be sent straight down to imaging for an ultrasound. Yep, there it was. Definitely a growth of some type.

Our response (other than scheduling the biopsy) was to go home and do our research.

99% of all thyroid nodules are benign. Only 1% turn out to be cancerous. There's some good news right there, right? The odds are low enough that you can just ignore that possibility and assume the best, right? After all, the graph is really, really, comforting.


We can't be that unlucky, can we?

Wrong. That line of thinking is guaranteed way to fuck yourself up later if it turns out the odds are not in your favor. Also, leaving yourself with a vague bogeyman doesn't do you any favors.

Cancer is an extremely vague bogeyman. There's several different types with several different manifestations, several different likelihoods of survival, and several different levels of suckitude. Just "OMG CANCER" with no idea what it means in that context leads to reacting from emotion, not reality.

The key to avoiding pessimism is to react from reality, not fear.

So when I found myself left with the fear of OMG CANCER I knew it was time to dig a little deeper. Gather all of the possibilities and all of the data about the possibilities. Here's what I found out.

So what's the scariest bogeyman out of all of the possibilities? Anaplastic. Look, the worst possible outcome now has a name.

If it has a name, it has a treatment or a way to deal. If you can name the fear and make a plan of how to deal with it the fear loses all power. Also, by identifying the worst possible outcome you automatically turn everything else into a sigh of relief.

When the news that the biopsy came back "fibroid encapsulated mass with mixed papillary and follicular structure showing poor differentiation and grossly enlarged nuclei" almost everyone not involved was shocked at my reaction. I knew enough to know that almost certainly meant follicular thyroid cancer (cannot be confirmed by biopsy, only removal). While everyone else was going OMG CANCER, I was saying thank God it's not Anaplastic. I was relieved, almost giddy. I'd already memorized all of the important figures. 96%+ survival at Chris's age. Relatively easy to treat. Not going to kill him immediately.

When your named fear is a cancer that kills quickly and is hard to treat, finding out its a highly treatable cancer that 96%+ cases in the age range survive - now that's something to be relieved about.

Several people asked how I could possibly be upbeat, optimistic, downright silver-lining about cancer. That's how. I'd sought out all of the possibilities, gathered all of the knowledge, and developed that most elusive of mental states: perspective.

I fight my own pessimism and panic with hard facts and knowledge so I'm prepared for whatever happens.

When I lay out all of the possibilities and compare them and take the fear out of the worst cases, that's not optimism. That's fighting pessimism and being prepared for whatever may come.

Mel

Monday, September 24, 2012

Uuuuughhhuuhhh

Sick. Been sick a couple days. Immune system is shot right now and I went out in a big group last friday hugging a bunch of people... Probably not the best plan.

Just a cold type thing; but a cold type thing really sucks when your immune system is shot.

UPDATE: Ok... a bit sicker than I thought.

Passed out about 1630 or 1700, just woke up a bit after 2200...


Sunday, September 23, 2012

One thing I forgot about having a kitten....

Just how much blood is involved.

MY blood that is.

Especially since she's a jumper AND a climber.

...and she likes my shoulders as both a comfy perch, and as a launching platform for leaps to greater heights.

Not a Good Way to Avoid Unnecessary Stress

I've made it pretty clear in many places that I am aiming for a stress-free pregnancy. Or, at the very least  since I can't have that, a pregnancy free of avoidable stress. This has meant taking such small measures as filtering extended family's political rants on Facebook all the way up to extreme measures of "oh, I'm sorry, I'm hormonal and you're pissing me off right now so I'll tell you how I really feel." Because, after all, every time I feel the desire to beat the crap out of someone out of anger and I do the civilized thing by not causing actual harm, it raises my stress level.

At this point I'm actually quite blessed in the fact that the only in-laws I can't stand are the ones who refuse to talk to us at this point anyway. But anyhoo...

Avoiding excess stress and anger is good. But sometimes it's just not possible.

Chris and I have been adopted by a black, tail-less kitten. Honestly, Chris is far more adopted than I am, this kitten is almost glued to him. Glued in a loving, purring, kneading, chewing, won't leave him alone kind of way. That's fair, because the other stray cat is far more attached to me.

Obviously this kitten is well-socialized, raised around humans, housebroken, etc. She also hasn't shown any real indication of wanting to go outside...

Which given that when I went outside to investigate the wailing we think I scared off a trio of coyotes that had been hunting her...

Leads me to all sorts of not-good ideas as to where she came from.

Let's see, if we add up all the evidence:
1. Underweight and eating every hour on the hour and has increased her body weight by 25% in 24 hours.
2. Had recent food when she was found (as evidenced by potty habits) but evidently not enough food to keep her at a proper weight.
3. Dehydrated, and we live on freshwater lakefront.
3. Hadn't contracted a giardia infection as of yet, which according to the vet never happens with animals that are strays for long in this area (rampant in local agricultural water and Badger was suffering from the infection when he found us).
4. Used to have a tail but the stub is healed over (but not handled by a local vet because I checked with all of those).
5. Showed palpable relief when shown a litter box.
6. Shows no interest in going outside.
7. No ads listing a lost kitten of her description, even if I just limit it to "female and black".
8. No ads for the past three months matching a litter of the right age within 50 miles.
9. Lots of ads on craigslist that start "please help I found a litter of abandoned kittens."
10. Second stray cat that has "found" us in the past 4 months.
11. Increase in animals abandoned at shelters.
12. Increase in animals just plain abandoned outside of shelters, in foreclosed homes, on the side of the road, etc.

Yeah, this is not helping with the not being stressed or angry...

Like the obviously human-raised black and grey tabby who now holds court over our top floor, I'm pretty sure this loving little kitten and formerly indoor-only cat was abandoned in "a farming area".  After all, our house rests on what used to be a farm, there's a hay field within sight, and once you get past the few "suburban" streets it's almost all small farms and ranches.

Lest the term lull you into a false sense of security, I must point out one additional piece of information; our "farming area" has active coyote and wolf packs. And bobcats. And badgers. And large raptors, including bald eagles. And an occasional black bear or mountain lion. This is why when we moved we didn't get cats.

Abandoning a cat is bad enough, abandoning a cat in an area with known predators is worse, and abandoning a defenseless kitten is worse still.

As for why we keep attracting stray cats I've narrowed it down to six important factors:
1. We almost always have a light on of some kind in the garage and in the house and there's no street lighting. This is rare on this street, most houses turn EVERYTHING off at night.
2. We almost always have at least one window open so we can usually hear what is going on outside. This is true even in winter as our fireplace is usually too effective.
3. We almost always have at least one source of sound on in the house that can be heard through an open window.
4. Our yard is one of the few fenced yards on the block. If the cat can get into the yard (as Badger did) it's relatively safe from coyotes, wolves, and angry moose (seriously, moose use the yards to either side to reach the water).
5. Said yard is patrolled by three large domestic dogs, therefore it only smells of domestic dog and the occasional rodent or small bird. The doggies also discourage the local coyotes from getting too close to the fence line.
6. Our garage/ parking area (outside the fence) has motion-activated flood lights. This also discourages the coyotes and I'm pretty sure me tripping them (intentionally) contributed to the decision to leave the property, especially as I heard distinct crashing in the underbrush to the pitch black side of the lighted area.

As for why we keep ending up with the cats we attract... we'll attribute that to situational awareness, listening to the dogs' signals, and a willingness to walk out into the darkness with a handgun.

I'm pretty sure a goodly portion of the loving behavior shown to us by both cats is a reaction to being picked up by a "safe" human and carried to food, water, and safety.

Now if only I could find the people who keep abandoning their pets here, tie them up, leave them in the darkness without food, water, or a weapon, and then let them see how it feels to be hunted by coyotes and wolves... yeah that's a fantasy I'm better off not indulging in.

The mental picture does dramatically lower my blood pressure though, so it's not all bad.

Mel

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fallout Boy - Day 9

Long day,  running errands, down in Spokane half the day, seeing friends for the first time in a month or more (getting out of the house for only the second time in five weeks that didn't involve a doctor for that matter)... and we only got back a few minutes ago.

I'll update the radiation numbers in this post later.

Due to the sudden appearance of Teh Kitteh, we got NO sleep last night... Just sort of drifted off for about 90 minutes this morning, before the fullness of the day sprung upon us;  and we are both dead tired at the moment.

One very good number, I've lost 34 pounds since 10am Wednesday (as of just before midnight Saturday that is); and I wasn't taking my diuretics today because I was out and about (believe me, you don't want to be peeing every 20 minutes when you're trying to run errands).

G'night folks.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Oh for gods sake, not another one...

So, a few minutes ago, we heard some noise from out in the yard. I'm pretty sure I heard some 'yote chirping and yipping; and there was some obviously distressed wailing.

It's nearly pitch black out tonight, between the new moon, and the smoke from the Washington forest fires (it's been a problem south of us for days; but just finally reached us today), but we went out to check it out (firearms ready of course... This IS north Idaho) ... And still couldn't see a damn thing; but we could certainly hear it.

When we went out to investigate we disturbed a large animal of some kind, and several smaller ones; which jumped and ran away (the large animal running all the way down into the lake); leaving behind a terrified wailing little thing:


Who instantly jumped into Mels arms, and started purring.

Apparently, after the first one, it's gone around stray cat circles that we're a bit of a soft touch for a sob story...


She's a black female, green eyes, unspayed, and as you can see there, she has a fairly distinctive feature: She's got no tail.

It looks like her tailless state is from a non-surgical amputation at about the second tail vertebrae. It's fully healed and grown over, but it was definitely a post birth injury, and not surgical.


She's pure black, and hasn't been declawed; but her claws are clean, not ragged, and seem to have been trimmed at least once.

She's only about a foot long nose to tail root, and if she weighs two pounds I'd be surprised. From her size and state of maturity, I'd call her four to five months old.

She's completely clean, no matting of the fur; no sign of mites, lice, fleas or ticks (or any other visible infection or parasite), and seemingly has no other injuries.

She does have what seems to be a bit of inflammation at the rectum (we're keeping her isolated from the other animals); but her stool seems clean and healthy, but very dry and firm (she may be dehydrated, and she certainly attacked the bowl of water we gave her).

She's also incredibly affectionate, very purry, very curious, and very vocal.


She's housebroken... in fact, she started looking for a litterbox shortly after we brought her into the house; and the second we gave her one, she used it.

Oh, and VERY VERY HUNGRY... but apparently unused to wet food:


As with the last one... who is now a permanent (and very happy) member of our household by the way... clearly, this is a well socialized, well cared for cat, that someone is probably missing. 

Unfortunately, also as with the last one, we haven't seen any posters around, and no-one local posted anything on craigslist or in the pennysaver...

Tomorrow (or later today I guess, given it's now 3am) we'll ask around the neighbors, go to the local vet, put some up notices, check the local free paper and pay paper again, call local animal control etc... 

Funny thing, having a lost and damaged little black cat show up needing our help, right at this time in our lives, and on the eve of the autumnal equinox.

 Well... Another opportunity to pay it forward.

Fallout Boy - Day 8: The numbers

NOTE: I split the "fallout boy" post for today into two parts. This part is the data for today; the other part is the story of the day.

So... Today was a rather eventful day... For both good and ill, mostly good. I spent half the day at the docs, so there was no 1400hr data series.

Date         Time HR   D   Dose 
9/20/2012 10:00 164 0 115   
9/20/2012 10:00 164 2 6.8    
9/20/2012 10:00 164   3    4.0    
9/20/2012 10:00 164   6    0.97  
9/20/2012 10:00 164   12  0.62   
9/20/2012 14:00 168 0   
9/20/2012 14:00 168 2      
9/20/2012 14:00 168 3    
9/20/2012 14:00 168 6    
9/20/2012 14:00 168 12  
9/19/2012 18:00 172 0 107  
9/19/2012 18:00 172 2 5.5   
9/19/2012 18:00 172 3 2.7   
9/19/2012 18:00 172 6 0.97 
9/19/2012 18:00 172 12 0.62 
9/19/2012 22:00 176 0 116  
9/19/2012 22:00 176 2 5.3   
9/19/2012 22:00 176 3 2.7   
9/19/2012 22:00 176 6 0.94 
9/19/2012 22:00 176 12 0.57 

As I said, there was no 1400 series, so I'm going to include the 1800 series for the day over day.

Distance -- 9/13 ------ 9/14 ----- 9/15 ----- 9/16 ----- 9/17 ----- 9/18 ----- 9/19 ----- 9/20 
0                 >1000    >1000     790       580         485       335         190       107  

2                 >1000    240         70         38           20        13           9           5.5  
3                 800        40          15          7            6           4.7         4.0        2.7  
6                 600        22           5.3        2.5         1.7        1.6         1.0         0.97
12               480        9             2.4        1.1         1           0.75        0.8        0.57


Tomorrow, I'm going to restart the day over day data series, starting with a 9/20 baseline.

I'm pretty happy with where where I am, given what happened today. By the 2200 measurement I was just about safe for my wife to sit with me on the couch touching me.

Yeah... we're still at least a week away from sleeping together again unfortunately; but that just means the radiation is still working... Which is kinda important...

We also took another series of residual measurements today


Date -- Time -- Delta -- Distance -- Dose uSv/h -- Object

9/20      1000      164        0                  7.52              Shirt (worn for 3 days, dropped to 5 after 12 hrs)
9/20      1000      164        0                  4                   Handkerchief (used repeatedly)
9/20      1000      164        0                  3                   Wet towel after shower (0 dose after 12 hrs)
9/20      1000      164        0                  1.87              Couch seating area (used constantly 7 days)
9/20      1000      164        0                  1.23              Bedding (used for 7 days)
9/20      1000      164        0                  0.4                Laptop (used constantly 7 days)
9/20      1000      164        0                  0.4                Glass of water sitting for hours (used)
9/20      1000      164        0                  0.2                Plate (used repeatedly 7 days)
9/20      1000      164        0                  0.2                Spoon (used repeatedly 7 days)
9/20      1000      164        3                 1.16                Seating area at other end of couch
9/20      1000      164        6                  0.62              6 foot line from seat, open air, no objects
9/20      1000      164        9                  0.92              Closest seat on other couch across room
9/20      1000      164        12                0.72              12 foot line, open air but some objects in area
9/20      1000      164        15                14                 Toilet (used repeatedly)

9/12      1000       0           25                0.14              baseline 25ft from seating area before dose
9/20      1000      164        25                0.43              25ft from seating area, unchanged since 24hr

The biggest surprise was how much the shirt I'd been wearing the last couple days (I should mention, I'm barely sweating at all, because I'm basically lying on my ass all day; and because I'm severely hypothyroid) retained, giving off a dosage of 7.52uSv/h a few minutes after I took it off, and was still at over 5 uSv/h 12 hours later.

Given how little the bedding or couch retained, I was really expecting the shirt to retain less; and to decay faster than that.

 We also did a shower skin test, checking various areas on my skin before and after a vigorous shower (after not showering for a couple days), and found that I consistently dropped about 1 uSv/h over my entire body. My wet towel registered 3 uSv/h immediately after use. Funny thing though... It was indistinguishable from background after hanging up for 12 hours.

I realize this whole series of data is anal and nitpicking... and if you're not interested it must seem endless... But I haven't seen any other thyroid cancer survivors doing this; and I know I wanted this data before I went through the radiation, so I'mna keep doing it for a while.

I'll probably do this level of detail for another week; which will bring us to the "two weeks" line that the doctors recommend for "restricted" contact and limited work time etc...

After that, I'll probably do it as a one measurement a day thing, until my levels fall below significantly above background.

Fallout Boy - Day 8: Tired of Being a Radioactive Zebra

NOTE: I'm splitting the "fallout boy" post for today into two parts. This first part will be the story of the day; the second will be about the data from today.

So I had my full body gamma scan today.

Or rather, Mel and I took the 75 mile drive to the hospital, and I got into the lab, and onto the Gamma Scanner...

...and the damn machine broke while I was in it.

They had started the scan, but decided they wanted to reposition me and start over.  So they paused the scan; and as they were pulling me out of the machine, it went into a continuous reboot loop.

It was so bad, they got the manufacturers tech rep on the phone, and even he couldn't get it to stop. So, unfortunately, they couldn't do a full study.

 ...but they did get some pics… including some spot pics with a pinhole scintigraph...

The bad news, is that I've definitely got a lot more cancer left.

Frankly, we were pretty sure of that anyway, because my 7 day residual radiation is WAY higher than clean would be, and my initial uptake was more than five times what they expected. We weren't really surprised there.

They WERE able to get a study of my thyroid bed, and it's so hot it looks like there's still a full thyroid there (on the scintigraph). So much so, the radiologist looked at it and said to me "Are you sure you got a thyroidectomy? It looks like your thyroid is still there".

Yeah, that's how much radiation I took up just in the thyroid bed alone...

Ayup... I'm still a damn radioactive zebra

So anyway, we talked to the radiologist about the radiation measurements, and uptake calculations; and basically he said "yeah, that looks about what I'm seeing here... That's totally consistent".

However, we also talked about the differential body testing we'd done with the dosimeter, and that there didn't seem to be any major concentrations other than the thyroid bed; and we agreed that was probably a solid indication that there were no other LARGE masses.

That said, the levels we were seeing, the few pictures they were able to get, the blood work, the other indications... All of that indicates that I've still got a lot of cancerous tissue floating around in there, and in particular attached to my other endocrine glands.

After that we went up to my endocrinologist, went over the study with him, went over the radiation numbers we saw, talked about the radiologist reports... And basically he said the same thing.

BUT THANK GOD, there's some GOOD news today

Actually, three pieces of good news.

First good thing:

Given the HUGE uptake, and current residual radiation, my docs think that I shouldn't take an immediate second course of radiation.

The nuclear medicine guys ARE going to have to go back next week. They're going to call me tomorrow to schedule me for a scan next week, to look for large masses; but if they don't see any large distant masses (or large concentrations or unexpected involvement in the lungs, bones, kidneys, liver, or lymph nodes) then we have a better plan, than keeping me down another three months with immediate radiation.

My endo thinks that with the dose I've absorbed, that if we give the radiation a couple months to work, there's a good chance all the cancer will be killed off (again, so long as there aren't any large distant masses) without another dose.

Assuming next weeks cam scan is OK, my endo is having me come back in in mid-December. They're going to check my residual radiation, my residual thyroid tissue indicators, my other endocrine bloodwork, and they're going to ultrasound my thyroid bed (and possibly my esophagus and airway, stomach, bladder, and kidneys, depending on what they see on other tests).

They may give me a tracer dose and gamma cam me as well; but they may not, depending on the testing indications.

If at that point they still see cancerous tissue, or indicators in my blood of more cancer, or other misbehaving endocrine glands; then they're going to give me another big dose, to kill whatever residual cancer there may be.

Then two weeks after that, another gamma cam scan, to make sure; followed by another one after six months.

Second good thing:

Under this plan, once my medications have brought me back up to "normal", and I have a few more weeks for my immune system to recover, I am completely cleared to work without restriction.

In fact, I can work now, if I keep my immune system protected and don't overstrain myself.

Which leads to my...

Third good thing:

As of this afternoon, I am back on ALL my medications; including immediate full dose thyroid supplementation (which we will check and adjust in 60 days, to allow my levels to normalize; or sooner if necessary).

I'm also off my ultra-low iodine diet.

I took 400mcg of levothyroxine in the parking lot of the doctors office (about 8 hours ago).

They say it takes a few days to notice the effects.... But in my case, they are very much wrong.

Edema

I've been back on my diuretics since Monday, but they weren't having much impact. The docs were glad to have me on them once I hit full uptake (after 48 hours basically), to flush my system out faster...

...But that didn't really happen. I was drinking more than a gallon a day (as much as two gallons in fact) to induce more evacuation and flushing, but I was only evacuating every two to four hours.

Yeah, that's still more than most folks, but I also take a ridiculous amount of diuretics.

For the last 18 months or so, I've been on 8mg of bumetanide, 240mg of furosemide, and 100mg of dyrenium a day (two of the strongest diuretics on the market, and a third that holds on to potassium, to help keep me from becoming hypokalemic); plus associated potassium, vitamin, and mineral supplementation to keep my kindeys from shutting down, or depriving my other organs of essential elements.

I take them staggered out from the time I wake up 'til a few hours before bed, to make sure that there is no time during the day that they are not active and working; and it's the only way that I can control the edema enough to avoid balooning up.

...Or at least it has been... My docs (and Mel and I), are hoping removing the cancer and supplementing the thyroid will fix that; and in a few months I can at least reduce them, and may even be able to go off them entirely.

When the diuretics are working (and I'm drinking a normal amount of fluids), I basically urinate every hour, or more often. Sometimes as much as every 20 minutes. And I don't gain weight that day, or maybe I actually lose some weight that day.

When the diuretics are NOT working, I keep taking the same dosage, nothing else changes; but I only urinate once or twice a day... and I gain weight that day.

It's very frustrating.

Basically, from Monday through today, the diuretics were working a bit. I stopped actually gaining weight, but wasn't losing any. Basically, because my thyroid levels were so low, they were fighting against an inrushing tide.

Since the levo started working though, I've been evacuating damn near constantly... Pretty much a full bladder every 20-30 minutes.

As I write this, it's 10pm. I've lost over 20lbs since I weighed myself 10am yesterday morning; all through water loss, even though I've drunk over 2 gallons in the last 36 hours... And most or all of that loss is in the last eight hours (during which time I've drunk about 64 ounces).

If my past experiences, from when I first went on them two years ago hold true; I may lose 40 lbs in the next two days.

Since I went off my medications (eight or nine weeks ago now I think? I can't even remember. Depending on the medication it was between 2 and 4 weeks before the surgery, now it's more than five weeks after the surgery) through Sunday, I gained 80lbs; mostly water.

Now, in 8 hours, 20lbs gone; and losing fast.

Note: by 11:30pm, 90 minutes after writing that, I had urinated four more times, drunk another 16ounces, but lost another 3.5lbs

I'm most best pleased with that.

Yes, I know, be careful of my electrolyte, vitamin, mineral, and particularly potassium levels. I've been on the damn diuretics two years, I know the deal. It's hard on the kidneys, which is why I get them checked out once a month (and have since I went on the diuretics in the first place. My doc insists on it before he will renew my scrips). We also check iron, calcium, vitamin levels... Pretty much everything they can test for, they do it once a month.

I also check my blood pressure and heart rate at least twice a day (usually three times. Wakeup, midday, and before bed), to make sure I don't get hypovolemic, or hypokalemic; and I carry potassium supplements around with me, and keep orange juice on hand at all times (32oz OJ, is the same as half my days potassium supplementation).

You know what's harder on your body than peeing every 20 minutes?

Carrying around 100lbs to 140lbs of "excess dependent fluid"; choking the circulation out of your extremities  swelling your joints, and compressing your heart, lungs, and nerve trunks.

Testosterone

Tonight, I injected my testosterone for the first time in those months. By tomorrow I'll be feeling it.

I can't tell you how AWFUL you feel when your testosterone drops below 300ng/dl for extended times, or below 150ng/dl for more than a few days... No energy, no strength, no drive...

The labs I got two weeks before the surgery, I was in trough (I hadn't injected in two weeks), and I was down to 70ng/dl.

My last testosterone test was in my postsurgical labs. I was down to below 50ng/dl... and had probably been down there for a while... And without any thyroid function or supplementation, there wasn't much telling my body to make more, so I probably stayed that low or lower the entire time.

MONTHS below 150.

By tomorrow, my testosterone levels will be back over 150, and I'll be feeling it. In a week or so the difference will be VERY obvious to me, and I should be over 350.

In conjunction with the thyroid supplementation (which should also stimulate adrenal, pituitary and testicular activity), after six weeks or so (three injections), I should be back up over 700 ("normal" for a male my age) peak, and above 350 trough... And feeling GREAT because of it.

Thyroid

But just the thyroid supplementation on its own is HUGE.

This afternoon I took my levothyroxine for the first time since the post surgical labs; and I was feeling it within an hour (of course it helps that I take a massive dose of 400mcg, and that I was SOOO low that anything at all is a huge improvement).

My sense of taste and smell started returning within a couple hours. It's still muted (and probably will be for months, as a side effect of both the radiation, and the extended time at extreme hypothyroid state) but I was actually able to taste dinner.

Oh and I was able to feel satiation again.

Tonight for dinner, I had my first completely unrestricted meal in two months (though three weeks ago I had a cheater cheeseburger with friends who were visiting over labor day weekend); a normal sized plate of pasta with butter, oil, sea salt, parmigiana cheese, prosciutto, chicken, and sausage... And I was completely full by the end of it, even though I hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch.

In fact, it's about six hours later, and I'm still not hungry.

It's been nine hours since my levo dose, and I can already tell the muscle aches, the chills and lack of temperature control, the lack of energy and fatigue and exhaustion... Even after just one dose, I can feel that it's a little bit better.

Just a little bit better, but enough that I'm sure it's real, not just in my head; not just feeling better emotionally.

Most importantly though...

I already feel less brain fog. Less fuzziness. Better presence of mind.

I've felt stupid... Like I was trying to think with wool wrapped around my brain... for months now...

I already feel less stupid.

And THAT, is the best news I've had in a while.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fallout Boy - Day 7



Back to the small hammers again today... Almost to the medium hammers.

Yesterday I said:
 the symptoms of the severe forced hypothyroidism are getting worse day by day. I can't wait for them to tell me I can get back on the levothyroxine.
Today, I have two new words for you all: Ageusia and Anosmia

For those of us who don't speak "pretentious obscurity", those are two rare side effects of severe hypothyroidism, which are respectively the loss of your sense of taste, and the loss of your sense of smell.

I've been progressively having less of each for the last week or so; but as of today, the only thing I can taste is a slight metallic taste in my mouth all the time, and a very faint sense of acidity with strongly acidic food or drink. No taste of saltiness or spiciness at all.

Just for giggles, we did some tests with a habanero pepper sauce... I just barely had a slight sensation of spiciness, no taste of the sauce at all, a little bit of burn, but nothing in the nose.

Then we tested my sense of smell, and I was just barely able to smell chlorine bleach, and pure distilled white vinegar; and then smelled essential orange oil slightly stronger.

Perversely, at the same time as I can't enjoy my food at all; by body wants as much of it as it can get.

I have no sense of satitation at all. I can eat and drink 'til I'm bursting, without ever feeling like I've eaten properly; and then the second that processes out enough to no longer be bloated, my body is telling me I'm hungry again.

Rather unpleasant really...

And more than a little depressing.

You see... It's taken away the only thing I had to look forward to in my day. I'm stuck in my basement, I'm sick, I'm exhausted, I'm fatigued, I'm sore, I'm achy... I can't even sleep with my wife, or play with my dogs...

The only thing I have to look forward to every day is dinner, and maybe a bit of dessert...

And now, that's taken away from me as well.

Were I a more morose type, I would be most depressed... As it is... combined with the financial situation this has put us in... Well...

There's not a lot of light in my day, let's just say that.

This may sound extreme to some folks... It's "just taste right?"... well, no. It's taking away the little moments of joy and hope and expectation that make the day livable.

Were I facing this long term without prospect of recovery...

...I have never in my life seriously though of suicide, and I'm certainly not thinking of it right now...

...But I can see how one would.

For now though, we're at the 7 day mark (indexing dose day as day 1, not day zero); and we should take a look at my radiation levels.



Date         Time HR   D   Dose 
9/19/2012 10:00 140 0 210   
9/19/2012 10:00 140 2 11     
9/19/2012 10:00 140   3    3.3    
9/19/2012 10:00 140   6    1.2    
9/19/2012 10:00 140   12  0.80   
9/19/2012 14:00 144 0 190  
9/19/2012 14:00 144 2 9      
9/19/2012 14:00 144 3 4.0   
9/19/2012 14:00 144 6 1.0   
9/19/2012 14:00 144 12 0.8  
9/19/2012 18:00 148 0 185  
9/19/2012 18:00 148 2 9.3   
9/19/2012 18:00 148 3 3.8   
9/19/2012 18:00 148 6 1.1   
9/19/2012 18:00 148 12 0.6   
9/19/2012 22:00 152 0 175  
9/19/2012 22:00 152 2 8.3   
9/19/2012 22:00 152 3 3.2   
9/19/2012 22:00 152 6 1.30 
9/19/2012 22:00 152 12 0.62


The slope steepened up again, the day over day is encouraging me right now; but things are going to be inconsistent over the next few days, because of the expected tissue death, and purging out.

Distance -- 9/13 ------ 9/14 ----- 9/15 ----- 9/16 ----- 9/17 ----- 9/18 ----- 9/19  
0                 >1000    >1000     790       580         485       335         190  

2                 >1000    240         70         38           20        13           9     
3                 800        40          15          7            6           4.7         4.0  
6                 600        22           5.3        2.5         1.7        1.6         1.0   
12               480        9             2.4        1.1         1           0.75        0.8  




Tomorrow is my full body gamma camera scan. I should have the results back and the call from the doc Friday or Monday; and find out if I have any large distant masses (major metastasis).

We know that from the vascular invasion and endocrine microlesions, and now from my reaction to the radiation itself (and the rate of uptake on the radiation dose); that I have at least minor haematogenous metastasis, and minor implantation metastasis.

What that means is that little specks of cancer have been floating around my bloodstream for a while now, and sticking themselves into my endocrine glands, making them go nuts.

Yeah, we knew that...

...and that's OK. It's expected, and  he whole point of the high dose radiation is to kill it off before it becomes major; growing into large masses, or spreading outside the venous and endocrine systems into my lungs, lymph nodes, bladder, stomach lining, or intestine (the most likely targets for large non-endocrine masses).

I had a very high initial uptake of the dose of radiation (48hr uptake was calculated at over 37.5%, which is 4 to 10 times the "normal" uptake rate for someone with a total thyroidectomy, and almost double the normal rate for someone who has a full thyroid that they are ablating to treat hyperthyroidism).  As my thyroid was free and the tumor was able to be completely excised without invasion or infiltration into the surrounding tissues (excepting the venous infiltration) this indicates that I had a very large amount of cancerous tissue floating around my blood stream, or implanted into my other tissues.

All that would also be consistent with the extensive venous infiltration and the aggressive nature of my malignancy.

So, it's very likely that I have a large number of speckles of cancerous tissue in there, and it's strongly possible that I have other large distant masses, or multiple small distant masses.

HOWEVER, those "normal" values are calculated for someone who weighs 1/2 to 1/3 what I do, which does make a difference....

And all that said, again, that's the whole point of the high does radiation.

And I can tell you, just from my bodies reaction in the last few days, I have a lot of tissue in there being killed, and being purged out.

And it really doesn't feel very good.

Not very good at all.

That of course is part of the process...

And if the gamma camera shows any large masses, or large concentrations of specks, I'm going to need to wait another 3 or 4 weeks, and then have another high dose of radiation.

Let's hope not... But, if it does, we have a known successful treatment plan.

More than anything in the world right now, I'm looking forward to sleeping and cuddling with my wife again... Let me tell you, I need that right now almost as much as I need to breathe...

... But only slightly behind that in second place, I'm looking forward to knowing.

Because good news or bad, knowing is better than not knowing.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lessons From the Well Spouse - Part 1, Pre-Crisis

I've been a "well spouse" for 2 years now.

Actually,  I've been a "well spouse" for almost 7 years now. I never thought of myself that way until the cancer, but it was just as true then as it is now.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the term "well spouse" it's the common name for someone who is married to someone who is in some way incapacitated. The other person may be ill, have a chronic disease, a long-term injury or a disability, doesn't matter. What matters is that one spouse is unable to do what are considered normal and necessary activities and the well spouse makes up for it one way or another.

In the beginning all I really made up for was Chris's bad knees and lack of mobility. If it required lots of walking, I did it. If it required repetitive lifting, I did it. If it required crawling around the floor for whatever reason, I did it. If it required standing for any extended period of time, I did it. Grocery shopping, Costco, at-home oil changes, hooking up cables, hauling in groceries, laundry, whatever.

By the time Chris got REALLY sick I was already quite used to picking up whatever he couldn't do. It helped that he earned the income and could still lift the really heavy things, it's not like I was attempting to do everything in our lives by myself. I had more than enough time to make sure everything got done.

Not that everything got done. Certainly depression and anxiety and ADHD got in the way. But I could have gotten it all done.

I never expected to be in the position I've been in lately.

Knee problems are pretty predictable. Sure the pain can change from day to day but there were certain things I could always depend on. Chris would be smart and working hard. Chris would be fairly able to take care of himself no matter what.

Diagnosing cancer and going through cancer treatment is completely different. Nothing about Chris's symptoms is dependable. He can be completely awake and energetic and raring to go one day, and unable to move the next. There's no rhyme or reason, nor is there any way of preventing the bad days. The tasks he needs me to do change constantly.

Such undependability and chaos takes a lot out of a person. Worry takes a lot out too, as does financial stress and emotional stress. And then you add in a surprise pregnancy and...

Yeah. Exhaustion is too tame a word for what I'm experiencing at the moment. Completely tapped out is more like it.

So with that in mind, here's some lessons I wish I'd learned BEFORE the crisis.

1. Life is composed of creation, order, entropy, chaos, and divine grace. At any point the ratio of those forces can change. Just because life is humming along fine doesn't mean chaos and entropy can't hit and destroy everything. Conversely, just because chaos and entropy are kicking your ass doesn't mean creation and divine grace aren't coming around the corner. At any point things can change for good or ill.

2. Never, ever, EVER live at 100% of your resources. Obviously this applies to money, but it also applies to other areas. You have a finite amount of mental energy, emotional energy, physical energy, and time every day. You can borrow against tomorrow, but you CANNOT run at 110% forever without burnout. Also, your resources can be reduced at any moment. Lay-offs happen. Stressful events happen, sapping your emotional and mental energy. Stress will reduce your physical energy as well. Sudden illness or pregnancy can also deplete your energy levels. Oddly enough, crises and surprises also tend to require more resources from you while reducing the amount of resources available. Life's funny that way. Don't set up your life to take everything you have.

3. Streamline your life as much as possible. This means reducing your number of expenses, worries, and obligations as much as possible. It also means streamlining your work processes so that you're as efficient as possible. Sure you don't "need" to right now, but when you need to you will be dealing with other issues. There's no time better than now.

4. Now that you've reduced a much as possible, only add obligations that you can drop at a moment's notice. Sure you can handle it all now, but if you were to lose 20% of your time every day and 20% of your energy could you still handle it? Sure livestock farming looks like an awesome hobby and is fun for you but if you suddenly became ill could you devote as much time to it? Or would you have an obligation you'd be unable to meet?

5. Lazy isn't always a bad word. Laziness, not necessity, is the true mother of invention. You'll appreciate being able to devote the absolute minimum amount of time to life's necessities when you no longer have free time. Designing life so that you take as few steps as possible is greatly appreciated when you can't get further than 3 feet away from the toilet due to morning sickness.

6. Don't feel guilty or apologize for your massive amounts of free time. If you're healthy and life is going smoothly then you should have a ton of free time. You do not need to fill that time with something "productive". You are not "available" unless its something you actually want or need to do. You are not being "lazy" if what life requires is taken care of and you choose to indulge in doing nothing or only doing things you enjoy. If you ever have a crisis you will need that free time and miss being able to do nothing.

7. Specialization is for insects. Knowing how to do things for yourself can often save precious resources and prevent worry. Knowing how to pay the bills is important even if that's your spouses job. Knowing how to fix plumbing leaks is useful when you're limited on time and money. Being able to read the trouble codes on your truck can save you half an hour or more and a tremendous amount of hassle. Time spent learning how to do common household maintenance can save tons of time and money when you put the learning to use.

8. Don't tolerate toxic people, not even when you can handle it. The time to cut them out of your life is before you absolutely have to. When a crisis hits and all of your resources are taken up you don't want to waste a single resource on people who actively hurt you. Not even the amount of energy it takes to kick them out of your life.

9. Cultivate your enjoyment of the small things in life. Yes you may hate the girl in the office that gets excited about every.little.thing. Or look down on someone who squees over tiny little inconsequential things like getting a free mint from the restaurant. That is, until you're in the middle of a crisis and realize that being able to glean happiness from small things is an indispensable life skill. It may be that one day you'll be in the makeup aisle and realize that $2 worth of lip gloss lifted your spirits when everything else was going wrong, or that the best part of your day was homemade coffee with whipped cream. If you can teach yourself to be happy over small things you'll be much better off when life brings really bad news. When you have little in the way of resources left being able to bring yourself happiness using little is an awesome, awesome skill.

Mel

Fallout Boy - Day 6


Thank GOD, my rad levels have started falling again.

For several days, they were barely falling at all; now they've fallen much faster in the last 24 hours than they did in the previous 48.

What I think was happening, was that for the first 48 hours I was dropping the dose that wasn't taken up by cancerous tissue very quickly. Then the last three days I had already dropped most of what wasn't taken up, and the cancerous tissue hadn't died off or purged out yet.

Which would also be why I was having the worst symptoms of radiation on day 3. I had full uptake and excretion of what wasn't going to be taken up; and the rest had a few days to "work".

Now I'm dropping faster again, and I think it's because the cancerous tissue is finally dying and purging out.

Of course, the symptoms of the severe forced hypothyroidism are getting worse day by day. I can't wait for them to tell me I can get back on the levothyroxine.


Date         Time HR   D   Dose 
9/18/2012 10:00 116 0 385   
9/18/2012 10:00 116 2 13     
9/18/2012 10:00 116   3    4.7    
9/18/2012 10:00 116   6    1.6    
9/18/2012 10:00 116   12  0.75   
9/18/2012 14:00 96 0 335  
9/18/2012 14:00 96 2 13    
9/18/2012 14:00 96 3 4.7   
9/18/2012 14:00 96 6 1.6   
9/18/2012 14:00 96 12 0.75 
9/18/2012 18:00 100 0 310  
9/18/2012 18:00 100 2 12    
9/18/2012 18:00 100 3 3.9   
9/18/2012 18:00 100 6 1.5   
9/18/2012 18:00 100 12 0.75 
9/18/2012 22:00 104 0 260  
9/18/2012 22:00 104 2 12    
9/18/2012 22:00 104 3 3.5   
9/18/2012 22:00 104 6 1.35 
9/18/2012 22:00 104 12 0.65

As has been the case the last few days, the non-contact numbers have gone below where they're going to be consistent; because the residual dose is now as large or larger than the active dose being given off by my body.

As I said yesterday, the 3, 6, and 12 ft are all under 5 uSv/h at this point, which is in the safe zone for my wife, so I really don't care too much.


The slope is steepening again, and I just say go baby go, because I want to sleep with my wife again. The day over day is encouraging me right now.

Distance -- 9/13 ------ 9/14 ----- 9/15 ----- 9/16 ----- 9/17 ----- 9/18  
0                 >1000    >1000     790       580         485       335   

2                 >1000    240         70         38           20        13     
3                 800        40          15          7            6           4.7   
6                 600        22           5.3        2.5         1.7        1.6    
12               480        9             2.4        1.1         1           0.75  


We're not quite there yet; but so long as we don't spend all night cuddling together (which IS our preferred sleeping position unfortunately), we can probably be sleeping together again by Friday... It's going to be some time beyond that before we can actually cuddle together... but we'll take what we can get.

As of late yesterday or early today, she can sit on the same couch with me, we can hug etc... The only limitation is the sleeping and cuddling; but otherwise, it's 100% safe for her to be around me. And the dogs too, though again, gotta keep them from licking me.

Actually I should do a shower test... See what kind of difference a good shower makes. I think I'll do that as soon as I finish this post; and if there's a significant difference I'll update it.

The elimination tests had been falling steadily; I think they're going to rise a bit now that I seem to be purging out dead cells. I'm only doing one a day now, at the 24hr interval, as the data was just repetitive the last few for shorter intervals.

Right now we're just looking forward to our 7 day gamma scan Thursday. Here's hoping for no distant masses or excessive concentrations.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fallout Boy - Day Five

Bad day today... not so much from the radiation; I think I'm over the hard stuff from that; but I have got to get back on thyroid meds as soon as possible because I am dying here on the hypothyroid effects.

That and the money problems caused by this cancer are really kicking our ass today; but that's life.

Again, it's better than dying.

Date         Time HR D Dose 
9/17/2012 10:00 92 0 530
9/17/2012 10:00 92 2 19  
9/17/2012 10:00 92   3   6    
9/17/2012 10:00 92   6   1.9 
9/17/2012 10:00 92   12 1.1   
9/17/2012 14:00 96 0 485
9/17/2012 14:00 96 2 20  
9/17/2012 14:00 96 3 6    
9/17/2012 14:00 96 6 1.7 
9/17/2012 14:00 96 12 1    
9/17/2012 18:00 100 0 470
9/17/2012 18:00 100 2 17  
9/17/2012 18:00 100 3 5.8 
9/17/2012 18:00 100 6 1.5 
9/17/2012 18:00 100 12 0.8
9/17/2012 22:00 104 0 415
9/17/2012 22:00 104 2 16  
9/17/2012 22:00 104 3 4    
9/17/2012 22:00 104 6 1.7 
9/17/2012 22:00 104 12 0.9

At this point, the 3ft, 6ft, and 12ft distance measurements have become inconsistent. The environmental reflection, absorption, residual etc... are within the margin of measurement error, and the changes in background levels, so they're not going to be particularly accurate at this point.

I could average the errors out by taking five measurements, dropping the high and low, and averaging the middle three... but really that's too much hassle. the 3, 6, and 12 ft are all under 5 uSv/h at this point, which is in the safe zone for my wife, so I really don't care much. She can sit on the same couch with me; just at the opposite end. In a few days, she'll be able to sit next to me on the couch.

What's really important to me right now, is the torso contact measurement, which I'm measuring at the junction of neck and torso (a couple inches below my incision); the highest point of radiation concentration on my body (it falls quickly down to somewhere over 100 within a few inches, and between 20 and 60 over the rest of my body; higher in sensitive areas with lots of blood vessels, lower in extremities etc...).

Again, it's very clear the slope of change has shallowed dramatically; both hourly, and the 24hr day over day:

Distance -- 9/13 ------ 9/14 ----- 9/15 ----- 9/16 ----- 9/17
0                 >1000    >1000     790       580         485

2                 >1000    240           70       38          20  
3                 800        40            15       7            6    
6                 600        22           5.3       2.5         1.7 
12               480        9             2.4       1.1         1    


From differential scanning, around many areas of my body, that high toros contact number could indicate that I've still got a large mass, or large concentration of cancerous tissue somewhere in my neck or upper chest. We'll know when they gamma cam me on Thursday.

That may indicate I need a second dose... We'll know better on Thursday... Or more likely Friday or Monday, after my endocrinologist and radiologist consult...

Or it could just mean the tissue is still dying and hasn't purged out enough yet. It has only been 105 hours since I was dosed after all.

We'll see.