Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day 19, and everything's going great.

So, I'm on day nineteen after the transplant, and everything is going great. I'm ahead of schedule as far as recovery, which is a great thing. I was having to come in every day to get 2 bags of fluids, but have already been cut back to 3 times a week, and only 1 bag. Which is a good thing. My blood counts are doing great, and if I didn't mention last time, the bone marrow transplant was successful! Thank God! I was kindof worried about it, because there are some people here who's transplant didn't take, and they had to start everything over. So, now my prayer and request is that the bone marrow transplant does the trick and the cancer doesn't come back. Lord knows I don't want to do this again. Since my last email, I had to spend a week in the hospital because I had gotten some pretty bad sores in the back of my throat to where I wasn't able to even eat. And after about 5 hours of being admitted, I started to run a fever. But I got released last week, and since then my health has shot up like a bottle rocket. It's amazing actually, one day I'm feeling like crap, the next I feel good. Weird, but I'll take it. And I apologize to everyone for not letting you know I was in the hospital. I was just feeling really bad and didn't get around to doing an email. I know some of you expressed you wanted to come and visit if/when I was admitted. And I know some has expressed you would like to come around and spend some time with me. So, if you want, just let me know when's good for you. My evenings are pretty much clear. I still can't go out or anything, so most of my evenings I'm just sitting around not doing much.

Anyways, other than that, everything is going fine. I got to see my niece for her first birthday the other day. She was so cute! I'll post some pictures on my blog when I can, hopefully this evening. I got her one of those stuff-a-bears, and it has a heartbeat to it. I thought it would be kinda cool to have a teddy bear with a heartbeat, but after feeling it, it's kinda creepy. LOL O'well, hopefully she'll like it when she grows up. Not much else going on. Hope everyone is doing good, and had a good thanksgiving. And Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A few days after transplant.

I just had my stem cell transplant this past friday. Which they officially call Day 0. I'm so glad to have that out of the way. Now I just have to wait and let them (the cells) do their thing, if they want. There is a chance that the transplant won't take. Which means I'll have to have a donor, and go through a whole new set of hurdles. But I'm not worrying about that right now. I'll fill everyone in on that if and when it happens. Let's just pray it doesn't. The doctors are saying that my blood counts will probably bottom out in the next few days, meaning I'm the most susceptible to infections or fever or whatever. So, I'm having to take it really easy for the next few weeks. But I'm feeling fine right now. I just started to get a sore at the back of my throat. It makes it a little hard to swallow, but not bad yet. They say in the next few days it's going to get bad enough that they're going to have to admit me to the hospital. O'well, it's expected to have some type of hospital stay, so might as well get it out of the way. Other than that, everything's going okay. I haven't had much to do, beyond going back and forth to the hospital every day. Being here for 8 to 10 hours a day, then when I get home, I'm just wiped out. Just a minor inconvinence is how I'm looking at it. Hopefully within a month, this will all be a thing of the past.

One good thing through all of this though, is that I've met a lot of great people, both nurses/doctors and patients. Everyone has their story to tell, and it's great to hear where they're coming from and how they're dealing with everything. Everyone has a positive attitude about their outcome. And pretty much everyone has a genuine interest in what you have to say, even if it's a story they've heard a dozen times. Which I think it's good. It's good to get it out sometimes with someone who knows exactly where you're coming from. Great people here that I hope to stay in contact with once everything is over and done.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mid-November Update

Well, this past few weeks have been interesting. Last week, I spent pretty much the entire time in the hospital getting the stem cells collected. The actual process was painless, but just having to be there the whole time and feeling fine was getting to me a little bit. I was getting a little stir crazy. But everything went good, they got more than enough stem cells to continue on with treatment. So now I start the really fun part, chemo. Yay! This week, starting today, I have to take an oral chemo through the weekend. It's kinda crazy the amount of pills I have to take. It's incredible. I actually took a picture of all of them and posted it on my myspace and facebook page. Check it out!

Starting next week, I take the regular chemo, through the central line in my chest. Shouldn't be too bad, as it's the same stuff I had to do before. But just a higher dose. But they're going to be watching me like a hawk for about the next month. If I even get a fever above 100.5, off to the hospital I go. It's all for my good though, and I'm grateful for it. It's just a really big inconvenience. I just can't wait to get better again, and get back to life as normal. But the Lord has been good to me through all of this. It could be a lot worse. And like my step-dad says "I have the best worst luck of anyone in the world." Pretty much rings true. Other than that, nothing else really going on. Just enjoying my Nintendo Wii. I can't wait to get some more games for it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Things going slowly, but surely

Things are still going slowly as far as my treatments, but at least we've made another step. The doctors/nurses were not able to collect enough stem cells once my counts came up. So now I have to do things a little bit differently. I'm now part of a clinical trial for a new drug called "AMD3100", and basically does the same thing as the other stuff I was taking, but more effective. And since it's a clinical trial, once I start taking this stuff, I have to stay in the hospital so they can monitor me. It's not that I have to stay in because it's going to make me sick or anything, but they just have to keep an eye on me just in case something happens. So, in other words, I'm a little bit of a guinea pig for this drug. lol. Actually it's a pretty good drug for it's intended purpose, a little bit better than the stuff I was taking. It's been in clinical trial for a while now, and found to be very safe. It goes up for FDA approval in January, so it's as close to being out of trial as it could be. So, let's just hope this does the trick. Because I don't really want to know what's next if this doesn't work.

Other than that, not much new at all. I've been playing some games on my new Nintendo Wii. Man, that thing is so much fun. I'm so glad I got it. Now I just need to start getting more games. On the not so great side, my desktop computer has pretty much kicked the bucket. I can't even get the cd drives to work any more. I built it up almost 4 years ago, so I suppose it's served well. I could keep replacing the parts on it, but it's pretty outdated. So, I think I'm just going to start "experimenting" with it. haha. But I do have my pretty new laptop (less than 6 months old), which is probably going to be my main computer for the forseeable future. Which is fine with me. It's a great laptop, a Dell XPS 1530. Couldn't ask for too much more.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mid-October update

Sorry for not updating a little bit more often, but things are going slow at the moment. But over the past few weeks, I've had a catheter tube put in to my chest, and had one round of "mobilization" chemo. The chemo I had was basically to get the stem cells moving. But things aren't going as close to schedule as they thought. I was suppose to start getting the stem cells collected, but my counts have been too low. See, I'm having to take these Neupogen shots that's suppose to boost my white blood cell count. But I'm still at the downswing of my counts, and hopefully they should be bouncing back up soon. And I just found this out, that the stem cells are basically immature white blood cells. That's why they have to wait for the counts to come back up. And sense my counts aren't up to where they should be, they can't collect them. So, we (my mom and I) have to keep going back to the hospital every day until my counts come up enough. Kinda getting agrivating, but there's nothing anyone can do. Just have to wait. So, other than that, not much new going on. My last day at work was on the 26th. It's been wierd having all this time off. I'm not use to this. I miss having to go in and see everyone all the time. And it's just a harder burden on everyone else to take up the extra slack, which I really hate to do to them. Hopefully they can get another person in there really soon. Because if things keep going the way they are right now, Lord knows how long it's going to be before I go back. I guess I'm just frustrated with everything right now. I just want to get this all behind me, and was expecting everything to go according to plan. But anyone who's known me for more than a few days knows that doesn't happen. haha. O'well, I can't complain too much. I'm still kicking, so the plan for me is to keep going. And thanks to everyone who's really stepped up to the plate and helped me out. It's been great being in contact with everyone, and the great meals have already started. Thanks so much to you all of you for everything. I pray for you all, and thank God for you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Not much new since last time

So, not much has happened since I was discharged this last time from the hospital.  Just kinda getting myself ready for the next month or so.  The stem cell transplant process begins in a few weeks, beginning with collecting the stem cells.  The doctors will basically give me a medicine that makes the stem cells from my bone marrow move out into the blood stream, where they collect the cells during a type of blood transfusion process.  So, they take those stem cells, and freeze them until they're ready to be used.  From here, I'll start taking an oral chemotherapy, a pill basically, for almost a week.  I guess it's pretty bad stuff, because I have to take an anti-seizure medicine along with it.  So, barring any complications with that, I'll have a few days off, then start another round of regular chemo.  Same thing as I was taking before, but a higher dose.  All of this is to basically kill off the bone marrow.   Okay, so at this point, the marrow is gone.  About a day after the chemo treatment, they will give me back the stem cells.  Somehow, these stem cells know they need to go to the bone marrow and start rebuilding it.  Hopefully it won't take too long for them to do their thing.  So, during this whole time, I'm not allowed to go anywhere, except for the hospital, for about two months.  I can have a few people come over at a time, but I can't be in any big crowds, because my immune system will be trashed.  During this whole time, I have to have a "caretaker" with me the whole time.  So, my mom is coming down to stay with me, for as long as it takes for me to get better.   
 
Well, that's the next few months of my life in a nut shell.  I'm getting pretty anxious about all of this.  Not really looking forward to all of this, but hopefully it won't be too bad.  Also, I'm going to be out of work during all of this.  But the great thing is, I'll still be getting paid.  I'll basically be on leave, using all of my sick and vacation leave.  Well, obviously I don't have enough time to cover all of the time.  So, they have this program with the D.O.D. civilians, where others can donate their vacation time to someone who may need it.  They did this for me, and people have already donated way more time than I would probably need.  Which is a great feeling.  I'm so glad that 1. they're is a program to help others out, and 2. that they're are plenty of people that really care enough to do donate their vacation time.  So, I won't miss a paycheck or anything like that.  It will just be hard for me not going to work, having to stay at home pretty much all the time.  O'well, I'll make it. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Back in the Hospital

Well, I thought things were going good. I finished up chemo last week and finished moving in to my new apartment this weekend. But this past Saturday, I began noticing an itchy bump on my leg starting to form. By Monday, it had swollen up pretty good and started ozzing stuff. So, I figured I would go to the emergency room, maybe get some antibiotics and call it good. Figured it was a spider bite or something like that. Well, after I got to the emergency room, they saw that my blood counts were very low (because of chemo-therapy), and that I had a high temperature again. And the place on my leg, I just found out may be a staff (spelling?) infection. So, I'll be here in the hospital again for a few days. Luckily I thought ahead of time and packed a bag. Seems like every time I'm not even feeling good, it ends up in a hospital stay. Hopefully this little trend stops soon. This is getting old. The thing I don't get is that I feel fine. The place on my leg is sore, but other than that, I feel fine. O'well, I'll survive. I just want to hurry up and start getting well again. So, here I am again. I should get discharged by Friday afternoon, hopefully. If I find anything new out, I'll post another update.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Round three this week


Well, since the hospital stay last week, everything is going fairly good. Can't complain too much, except the hair on my head is falling out. It's pretty weird actually, it hasn't 100% come out, but there's only a few patches here and there. So, I just shaved it down all the way. Also, my facial hair almost completely fell out. I was in the shower, and while washing my face, half of my gotee came out in my hand. I thought "well, that's not cool." And of course, about 90% of it came out then, so I shaved the rest of it off, and haven't had to shave since. Kinda nice actually. But it just looks weird, to me anyways. And since I'm looking like Mr. Clean now, I've even had friends not even recognize me. I'm setting there waving or saying something, and they give that uncomfortable "hey" response, with the look on their face like "what's this wierdo want?" You all know what I'm talking about, we've all been there. I just laugh.

I started my third round of treatment today, another three days of setting here for hours on end. I had my checkup CT scan, to make sure the cancer is responding to the chemo, and thankfully it is. Which means the cancer is on it's way out again. So, everything is still on track for me to get the stem-cell transplant on time. Which that should start in about three weeks or so. The doctor asked me if I was nervous about it, and I told her I wasn't, but that I just wanted to hurry up and get this over with. I'm tired of being so worn down.

As far as non-cancer related news, I'm moving to another apartment this week. It's the same apartment complex, just moving to a 1st floor apartment. That 3rd floor is really getting to be a pain to walk up and down to all the time. Just need to finish packing, and I'll be ready to go. Almost seems like a waist of time to have to pack everything up, because I'm just moving across the parking lot. But it's been good to go through everything and weed some stuff out that's just taking up space.

Well, not much else to report on, I guess. I attached a picture I just took during chemo this morning, so you'll be able to recognize me. I won't dime anyone out for not recognizing me up until now, but after this, no excuses! Just kidding. Hope everyone is doing good. You all have been in my thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm outta here, the hospital that is

Well, I'm finally getting discharged. I'm feeling good, and no sign of fever or infection. They don't really even know what happened. Just some type of infection that got in, and did it's thing. Good news is that I'm better, and getting out of this boring place. Everything went good though, I can't complain. All the nurses were good, and nice. Just the food needs a lot of work. ;-) So, as soon as I get home, I get to come right back for chemo. Yee ha. I guess it's alright though. I would rather try to stay as close to schedule with that as I can. I'm only a few days off, so treatment won't really change too much, if at all. So, I'm going to get ready to get out of here. Thanks to everyone that visited, emailed, called and especially prayed. It definitely helps break the monotony of setting here bored for hours on end.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm in the hospital again

Well, yesterday was my first chemo of round 2. Treatment went ok, and got home around 2 pm. Around 4 pm or so, I was feeling fairly bad with a fever, headache, having a hard time breathing., and some other stuff. So, I checked my temperature, and it was 101. I took some Tylenol, and an hour later, my temp. was up to 103. So, I went to the emergency room, and they did a ton of tests. Haven't found what's going on yet. I'm going to be here for at least 2 days, at least that's what they are saying. They think it may be some type of infection, but haven't been able to figure out what it is, or where it started at. So, here I am in the hospital trying to stay at least a little bit awake. I'll post again when I find something out.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

1st round of chemo down


Hi Everyone,
My first round of chemotherapy is over with. Treatment started Monday, 28 July, with 3 days of chemo. Then starting the next Monday, each day for 5 days I had to get a shot of Neupogen, basically a white blood cell booster. These shots will sometimes make your bones hurt, because it's basically making your bone marrow work a little harder to produce more blood cells. But I didn't have any pain what-so-ever. So I've been pretty lucky as far as that. Overall, I'm feeling pretty good. I haven't been getting very sick, just a little upset stomach and a wierd, metallic taste in my mouth. Strange, but it went away after a few days. And the upset stomach is easily remedied with a medication called compazine. So, as far as the rest of the treatment, everything seems to be on track. I should be starting round 2 of 3 this coming monday. It depends on whether my blood counts are high enough or not. But they should be fine. If everything stays on track, I should be doing the stem-cell transplant in mid-september. As far as I know, anyways.
Other than that, everything is the same for the most part. I'll be moving to a 1st floor apartment at the end of the month, which will be a God-send. I'm getting so sick of going up and down those 2 flights of stairs. But other than that, life is pretty much the same.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Starting Chemo Today

Well, actually I'm having the chemo right now. I was able to hook up to the hospital's free wireless, so I figured I would give the "play by play" action that is a chemo treatment. Fairly un-eventful actually. First I go in and see the doctor, they do blood work and make sure my blood counts are good enough to do treatment. Then, I go to the area where they do chemo. They have a bunch of recliners, and the nurse's station (of course), and a bunch of these IV machines. They start off with giving me a regular saline bag, and also a bag of nausea medicine. After about 30 minutes, it's time for the first chemo drug. At this point, I've been here about an hour already, and each chemo drug has to be given seperately, and each one is going to take approximately 1 hour. So, all in all, I'll be here roughly 4 hours the first day. And I have to come back tomorrow to continue one of the chemos. Then a few days later, I have to come back and start getting shots every day for almost a week long. So, this time around, treatment is going to be a lot more involved. But I have the laptop to watch a movie, or surf the internet in my comfy recliner. I'm feeling ok right now, but I can already feel a touch of nausea coming on. This is what I was dreading, the constant feeling of nausea, and everything just being a little "out of whack". O'well, could be a lot worse, I suppose. Thanks everyone for the emails, and cards and stuff. Talk to you all soon.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Surgery Went Well

I just got back from my surgery about 1 hour ago. Everything went well. Took a little longer than I expected, but there were no problems. The appointment was at 1:30, which included checking in and everything. I thought I would be done and out of there by 4:30 or 5:00. Well, I didn't get home until a few minutes after 7:00. O'well, I would rather spend a couple extra hours there then to have them rush through it and get something wrong. So, I'm a little sore, but nothing bad. Just some Tylenol should do the trick. This means chemo is right around the corner. It's actually a relief in a way, to finally get things going, to get a little bit of progress.

Other than that, everything's the same as usual. Not much else going on. Yeah, pretty exciting, huh? lol I'll give another update as soon as I find out exactly when the chemo starts. Until then, everyone take care. Thanks to everyone for the encouraging cards, phone calls, etc.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Port going in, again.

Well, I get a port put back in, again, this Friday. So that means I'm a few steps closer to starting chemo, and getting the ball rolling again. I'm dreading having to go through this again, mostly because I know what to expect from all of it. Just something I hoped I wouldn't have to go through again.

Not much else to report on. Just doing things as normal, trying not to think about all the treatment and all. But that's easier said than done, as they say.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Six Flags, and other stuff

Well, I had a great time at Six Flags. Got to ride a bunch of rides, played a few games, spent way too much money on lunch, and got a good sunburn on my head. This has been the first time I've rode a roller coaster in a few years. The first one I had a little bit of anxiety, but that was quickly replaced with a big grin. I've always enjoyed riding coasters growing up, and this time was just as fun as it was then. Even though I went alone, I still had a good time. Not too crowded or too hot. I had a good time, and I wanted to go and do something fun before I began treatments.

As far as treatments go, I will be getting my port put in again in about a week, then start chemo the week after. I didn't really want to get the port again, but each treatment is basically going to be about 3 days long, each day being a few hours long. One of the chemos has to be given over a three day period, then after that I have to go in for 2 or 3 days for a Neupogen shot, basically a blood booster. So, this time around is going to be much more involved. After about 3 treatments, or about 2 1/2 months, I'll get ready for the bone marrow transplant. The doctors said I shouldn't get too sick or anything during the chemo, probably just get tired pretty quick. So about like last time.

Not too much more going on here. My last day at the bike shop was last week. I really do hate not being there, as I do enjoy the work. But I just have a lot going on, and soon enough I just won't have the time. So, hopefully when all is said and done, I can go back. But that probably won't even be until next year. We'll see though.

So, until next time, hope to hear from you all soon. Thanks to everyone who's kept in touch. Thanks for the calls and emails.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Plan of Action

Well, here's the initial plan. I will be starting chemotherapy in about 1 or 2 weeks. Do chemo for about 3 months, then get ready to do a stem cell transplant. Ok, so a little class on what Hodgkin's Lymphoma is, and stem cells. Hodgkin's lymphoma is basically a cancer of the white blood cells (that's why you may hear people refer to lymphoma as a blood cancer). A lot of the white blood cells collect in the lymph nodes, and are sent to where they need to be when they need to go. So, some of the white blood cells in the lymph nodes have turned cancerous. Ok, so from here, the bone marrow is what produces all the blood cells, red, white, platelets, stem cells, etc. The stem cells are basically the building blocks for the marrow to re-grow (from what I understand). Basically what's going to happen is: after the chemo, they will give me a drug that makes the bone marrow pump out a lot of stem cells into the blood stream. While those stem cells are out there in the blood, they will do a type of transfusion to collect the stem cells. Once they get enough, they will clean them up from any cancer cells that may be there, and then store them in a freezer. From there, I will get an extremely high-dose of chemo that will basically kill off my current bone marrow. At this point, the marrow won't be able to produce any blood cells, to possibly include the cancerous white blood cells. Once the bone marrow is dead, they will begin to put back the stem cells, and let my body rebuild the marrow. During this time of the marrow rebuilding, I'll be out of work. My immune system will basically be shot, so not much contact with a lot of people for a while. Although a good thing is, I won't have to stay in the hospital unless I get sick. This will be about 3 to 6 months, and during this time I won't be allowed to work. Thankfully, my work is going to help me out a lot with this. I'll have enough time off saved up for about 1 1/2 months, my brother is already going to donate some of his leave to me, and then a lot of the firefighters have already said they would donate some of their time also. So, I won't be out of a job, and I'll still get a paycheck. So, that's a big load off of my mind.
So, that's it for now. I know it's a lot, but I'll have more details later on. I'm not sure when I'll start chemo, but when I do, I'll let everyone know. It's a lot for me to process, but I'm working on it. It's gotten me pretty down about everything, but I know there's light at the end of the tunnel. I just hate having to go through all of this again, and worse this time. But I'm working on keeping a good perspective on all of this. There's a song out there from Justin McRoberts, http://www.justinmcroberts.com/mainpage.html (some christian singer guy ;-)) and he has a song called "Done Living" that has been a really big inspiration for me. The main chorus, which is the part that hits me the most, is:

"You see the question isn't are you going to suffer any more

But what will it have meant when you are through?

The question isn't are you going to die, you're going to die

But will you be done living when you do?"

This just sets my perspective straight each time I hear it. I play it about 3 times each time I'm driving somewhere. It's a very powerful song, and the rest of the lyrics are just as good. These lyrics help me to see that what I'm going through isn't just about me, but when I get through this, what am I going to do with the experiences? What does all of this really mean? Why? And there's no use in worrying about death. Everyone is going to die at some point. But the thing to look at and question is whether I have lived this life to the fullest? So this has been a good thing for me to focus on. Knowing that God is going to be with me through all of this, no matter what the outcome may be, is a huge relief. Even though I know I'll get frustrated, angry, sad, sick, depressed, just about every emotion, I know that God will always be there in some form or fashion. My prayer is that I continue to live this life as best I can. And maybe my story can help someone else. Who knows. We'll see. Thanks everyone for the help and encouragement so far.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Update You've All Been Waiting For...

Well, here's the news. The cancer is back. Same thing as before, Hodgkin's Lymphoma. This time, as of right now, it's at stage 2. But this time I'm going to have to do chemo, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant. And the cancer center I was going to can not do the marrow transplant, so I have to start going to another hospital, Northside Medical. And I basically have to start all over again with the tests and everything. I don't know all the details yet, but this time around is going to be a lot rougher than before. The chemo-therapy is going to be a stronger dose, radiation for 5 days a week for about a month or two (I think this is how it will go), and the marrow transplant. I'm not sure on how the marrow transplant will work, but my first doctor told me they would take my current marrow, harvest the stem cells from it, grow a new, clean batch of marrow, and re-introduce that through an IV. At least that's the basics. This might change a little bit once I get started with Northside, but for now this is all I have to go on. It's definitely going to suck, but I'll survive. I really don't know what else to say at this point, but I'll get through it the best I can. I wish it was better news. Once I know more details I'll fill everyone in. So, if you all could, say a prayer or two for me. Lord knows I'm going to need it. As far as the LiveStrong challenge, that's not going to happen for me now. At least not this year. Maybe next time around. Thanks everyone for the support so far.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Update

Well, I just got the results from CT scan. A few of my lymph nodes have come back swollen. The doctor doesn't know if it's cancerous or not yet, so I have to get a PET scan next week. So, it may be back. If it is, the LiveStrong ride for me may be out of the picture, for this year at least. We'll see though. If it is cancerous though, the treatment probably won't be as bad as it was before. It just depends. I'll give another update as soon as I get the results from the PET scan. So, keep me in your prayers.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Six Month Checkup

Not much going on here. Just working like crazy. I'm getting on average 16 hours of overtime each week, which sounds nice, but it's burning me out quick. I haven't had time to do much of anything else, but hopefully that will change soon. Other than that, I had my six month checkup CT scan yesterday. I've been seriously stressed about that. I just can't shake the feeling that the cancer may have come back, either as Hodgkin's, or something completely different. I know I shouldn't worry about it so much, but I just can't get it out of my mind. What if it has come back? I feel fine, but then I felt fine when I was diagnosed the first time. So, who knows. I'm just trying to prepare myself for the worst, and hope for the best. I should know the results sometime next week. If it's not good, I'll know really soon, like monday or tuesday. So, if you would, please send up a prayer for me. I could use it.

Other than that, nothing else is going on. I don't get much time to ride my bike, but I'm trying. For the next 3 or 4 weeks, I'll be working day shifts at the base, so hopefully that will help out to give me time to ride. Lord knows I need to. But again, we will be doing a lot of overtime for June. I think it will be easier to ride then, as I won't be so tired from working these midnight shifts. As far as the LiveStrong challenge, I've set out some information pamphlets at the bike store, so hopefully a few people will want to donate. I still haven't received any more donations, other than the one from Keith. But I have until October, so I'm not worried about it. I look forward to going to the challenge. That will be a fun time, I think.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Nothing much new, yet...

Well, not much new going on. Still haven't had much time to ride. Although I finally got my mountain bike ridable again. I was having a lot of trouble with my brakes. Finally had to rebuild the front brake caliper, which solved pretty much everything. I was getting so frustrated with it because everything I did before rebuilding it was doing absolutely nothing. So, I got it running again, and went for a short ride. Everything's good for the most part. I'm still having a shifting issue with the crank, but I think I know what's wrong. We'll see.

I started some online classes this past week. I'm finally getting off my butt, per se, and getting it done. I'm enrolled in a Graphics Design course with the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online. Basically it's computer graphics, which is what I always wanted to do, but due to multiple set-backs, it never happened. So, now's my chance. And I'm taking it. I'll probably be experimenting some with this website, so it might look different in the future. I also got a new laptop so I can do my schoolwork while I'm at work. The computer at work won't let me load the needed programs on to it, and I wanted to do the majority of my homework at work. Lord knows I have plenty of free time there. Needless to say, the laptop is extremely nice. And I got a screaming deal on it. Everything else out there that's even close to comparing to it is at least $500 more. So, I think I did good by getting it.

Well, nothing much new other-wise. Still trying to work on getting on the road bike more. The weather is finally starting to get nice, so hopefully I have a chance to get out and ride more. It just needs to stop raining so much. All in due time though. I'm also going to get a class with a personal trainer at my gym. I know I have some specific things to work on, and have an idea on what to do, but not very well defined. So, a trainer should be able to get me on the right track. I'll write back and let everyone know how that goes.

P.S. If anyone is having any problems getting to my LiveStrong donation site, let me know. A few of you have had problems, and I have no clue on what's going on. So, shoot me an email or leave a comment and I'll help out.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Small update

Well, nothing much new going on. I admit I haven't been riding as much as I should be. I know that I've put a lot of effort and time into building a good and reliable road bike to do the LiveStrong challenge, but haven't been out actually riding it much. I'm just a "fair-weather" rider. It's just been too cold to go and ride when I have the time. I don't have cold weather gear, and bulking up with sweatshirts and such doesn't do too much when the wind cuts right through it. Hopefully, though, the weather will warm up more, and I'll get out and ride in some different locations. Right now, I've only been riding around the neighborhood, and it's getting kinda boring. I've been to the gym a few times also, only to do cardio. But I'm finding that my right leg is still significantly weaker than my left one. This all stems back to the West Nile Virus I got back in 2003. Some nerve damage had occurred and just simply can't push my right leg as much as my left. And this is very pronounced when trying to pedal hard up a hill. So, I'm going to start doing some specific leg weight lifting to try and balance it out again. It was alright for a while, but it's starting to show up again the more I'm riding. It didn't give me any problems when just walking around, but the more I ride, the more I'm using my left leg, and the strength difference is starting to show again. The other week, a friend and I walked to a restaurant for lunch, and he noticed me limping a little bit. I knew of the strength difference, but didn't think it was noticeable. Well, I know now that it is. So I'm going to start working on that, along with everything else.

So, I've been signed up for the LiveStrong challenge for a while now, and have received my first donation. Thanks a ton, Chris. It's a big encouragement to know that people believe in me enough to make a donation. But it's not really about me, it's to help others that are in the same (or worse) condition that I was in. Now I'm going to begin requesting donations from businesses and such. Lets hope for the best, and that I can rise to the occasion.

Friday, February 29, 2008

3 month checkup

Today I had my 3 month checkup with the oncologist. I was originally suppose to have the checkup last week, but somehow the appointment either got deleted from the system, or simply was never entered to begin with. So, I was a little miffed about that, but I felt fine so I figured I could wait until the next week. As expected, everything was ok. Probably the only thing that's bothering me now is not having much energy when I wake up in the morning. She said she wasn't too surprised. Said that it would probably be about a year from the last chemo until my endurance fully came back. But the initial blood work came back good, and if there's any cause for alarm, they will call me next week. Pretty re-assuring, huh?
Other than the lack of endurance, my bicycle training is slowly coming along. I haven't been riding as much as I would like, but I'm trying. I'm working on going to the gym about 3 times a week now. Now that my work schedule is half-way straightening out, it shouldn't be a problem.
Not much else going on with me. Same old thing, day in and day out. I know I know, my life is too exciting and that i should tone it down a bit. I'll try and keep it to a manageable level next time. Ok, until next time.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

My Road Bike



As promised, here's a few pictures of my road bike. Not the best pictures, they were taken with my cell phone camera. I might do a few more upgrades between now and when I do the LiveStrong Challenge, but not much. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

LiveStrong Challenge; Austin, TX

Well, I'm registered for the LiveStrong Challenge in Austin, Tx. No turning back now! I signed up to do the 65 mile ride. They had a 90 mile ride also, but I don't know if I'll be up to that much by then. Who knows, maybe I will. I can change it later on if I want to. Here's the link to my own little web site for the fund raising. So, if you would like to give a few dollars, it would be much appreciated. ;-)

http://austin08.livestrong.org/chadmeeh

Friday, January 11, 2008

Port Removed

Wednesday, January 9th, I had my port removed. Thank goodness! That was the last thing to have done to say "I'm done" with the cancer treatment. If you don't know what a port is, this is it: http://www.powerportadvantage.com. It goes right underneath the skin, usually on the front upper section of the chest. They wanted to put it on the left side, but I figured "I'm going to be doing a lot of driving, and the seatbelt would go right over that. That may hurt." So I had them put it in on the right side, mostly out of convenience. Anyways, everything went well. I'm still a little sore, but it's nothing. A little Darvocet and EVERYTHING is fine. Haha (Not really. I am having to take it for the pain though.)

It's a huge relief to be on the other end of treatment. I have a lot to look forward to this year. My friend Amanda and myself have pretty much decided that we are going to do the LiveStrong ride in Austin, TX. It's not till October, so I have plenty of time to get ready for it. She's already a good rider, fitness wise, and she has experience doing charity rides. So, that's part of my motivation to get good on the road bike (so I'm not too embarrassed by being this big guy on a tiny bike with no clue on what he's doing). Some other people have expressed some interest in doing the LiveStrong ride with us, but I don't know if they will do it or not. I'm excited to be going to Austin. This is the main event, if you will, of the LiveStrong rides. It's spread out over a few days, with a lot of stuff going on in the community. I think it will be a blast.

Well, as soon as I heal from the surgery, my training begins! I won't be following a training plan yet, as I'm basically coming in to it as a beginner. Chris, the general manager at the bicycle store I work at part-time, advised to just start riding for 30 minutes at a time to begin. That way, I get use to it first. Every week or 2, begin increasing the time I'm riding, by about 10 minutes each time. I figured once I get up to about 1 to 1 1/2 hours at a time, I should be good to start a training plan. We'll see though. I'm excited to begin training. I have a good amount of extra weight that I need to get rid of (partly due to the cancer), and I know I'll start feeling better once it starts coming off. All in good time though.

I'm going to post a few pictures of my new road bike next post. It's a 2007 Lemond Alpe De'Huez. Good looking bike, in my opinion, and extremely comfortable. It's been rated as a very good bike for longer distances and people who have had back troubles, so this suits me almost to a T. There's still a few things I want to upgrade on it, as most of you know I can't help myself when it comes to putting money into a bike. It's just that I really enjoy doing it. So, be looking for those pictures here in a week or so.

God bless,

Chad