Dec 292004


I don’t know how I missed it when it happened this summer, I guess I was under the weather, under the covers, and out of the loop. But Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France for the 6th time.
I never really thought that some straight white boy from Texas would serve as some kind of inspiration for me, but then I got cancer and I found all the rules had changed.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Lance Armstrontg was an up and coming cyclist when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Things looked really bad for him but he became really involved in his treatment and go really good medical help and he beat the odds.
He has been cancer-free for 7 years now.
If you want to learn more about him, go here.

I think it’s great that he is out there, raising money for cancer research and also showing people what they can achieve after cancer.
I think he is the coolest straight white guy to come out of Texas since Lyle Lovett.

Damn straight.

 Posted by at 12:46 am
Dec 212004

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It’s a long story, gushing with lots and lots of details.

Here is a wee bit of the story.

My co-workers got together and sent me and the gf away to Tofino. To the Wikaninnish Inn.
We were picked up by a limo.
We were flown there in a plane.
We were picked up in Tofino by a fellow driving the fanciest, most tricked out van I have ever seen.

The hotel is basically a world class resort and they make a point of looking after you.
We had a jacuzzi in our room, and the tub looked out onto the ocean.
Our bathroom was huge!
After oozing out some of those old chemo toxins in my jacuzzi, I would then hop in the rather spacious shower.
Nice, nice, nice.
I spent a lot of time in that jacuzzi.
Oh, and the room is stocked with a bunch of Aveda products.
And everyday, the housekeeping staff come by and put more Aveda products in the room. I was kind of kicking myself that I was under-utilizing the shampoo.

The restaurant was spectacular.
The food is really, really delicious. And ask anyone who knows me, I am a food snob.
The food in the dining room was comparable to the food at Sooke Harbour House.

And the spa.
I arranged for a spa visit for Elaine.
It was a surprise for her. So, obviously, she didn’t know about it.
So, imagine my horror when Elaine was still lounging in the tub in our room a few minutes before her appointment. I had to ask her to get out of the tub to come on an adventure with me.
She came willingly, even if it was a bizarre request.
I took her downstairs to the spa and dropped her there and she returned, and couple of hours later, all googley and mushy.
It was really good.
It was so good that the next day I had to go for an appointment myself.
It was all kind of a trip.
The staff have you select the scent for the oil they are going to use on you, all while your feet are soaking in a warm water bath with marbles to smooth out the crinkles.
My massage was great.
And afterwards, I sat in the steambath for about an hour and a half.
I’d been sitting in the steambath for about an hour when another guest, an older man who was on the same plane as us, came in.
We started chatting, because that’s what you often end up doing in a spot like that when there is just the two of you.
I mentioned I hadn’t been at work for the last few months.
He asked if I had been off doing chemo.
I said yeah and he told me about how he had had prostate cancer. We talked about treatments and attitude and Lance Armstrong.
He said cancer people have to stick together.
He said he is ‘involved with’ a company that is doing the first stage of clinical trials on a drug that has been developed to treat prostate, ovarian, and lung cancer.
It was all kind of amazing how he went from the old guy on the plane to the kindred spirit that I like gabbering with.
And when we got back to Vancouver, he and his wife hugged me good-bye.
And I let them.
And I don’t really do the hugging thing much, but it seemed like the right thing to do.

And, beyond that, we spent quite a bit of time on the beach.
It was really quite mild for December, so we could go for nice long walks. The photos should make it to the gallery soon.

Then the time came to head home.
We checked out and got back in the tricked out van.
We got to the airport.
The plane that was supposed to take us home couldn’t land, because he was having some visibility problems.
He took 3 swings at it and then took off.
We stood around, with our new-found cancer allies and kindred spirits, and tried to understand what happens next, after your plane abandons you.
It ended up that they sent us by cab from Tofino to Nanaimo.
I guess it was handy that our airport check-in fellow also doubles as the cab driver in Tofino.
At the last minute, this hippie gal showed up and she was on her way to Vancouver too so there were six of us, including the driver, in an SUV, driving Highway 4.
I love that drive and I had been missing it, even though flying is great.
Unfortunately, hippie gal sat in the SUV and coughed the whole way to Nanaimo and now my girlfriend is sick (for the first time in almost a year.That really sucks, especially on the week of Xmas.)

A few hours later, we arrived in Nanaimo.
Our pilot was there, waiting for us.
We hopped into the plane, and we were back in Vancouver lickety-split after that.

It was nice to get home.

Then we hopped in the bath, splashed around and got out and went to my staff Christmas party.
That was a rather startling contrast, but it was really good to see some of the folks again.

It was an amazing week and a fabulous experience.
Really, it was the trip of a lifetime.
Thanks to all the people who made it happen.

And now, I have to go take my Vitamin C, since I have a strange tickle in my throat, and wouldn’t that just suck if I got sick too.

 Posted by at 11:48 pm
Dec 192004

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Me and the woman just got back in town from this rather spectacular vacation that my wonderful co-workers arranged for us.
See, a bunch of my co-workers got together and got us a 3 day vacation here.
It was all kind of amazing, and we have tons of pictures and mini-movies that we will plunk into our galleries soon.

It was an amazing trip.
And I am going to sit down and write up the event in a way that can hopefully do it justice.
In the meantime, I just want to say that it was amazing.
And thank you to all the folks who made that happen.
It was totally incredible.
You guys are amazing.

 Posted by at 11:41 pm
Dec 122004

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Okay, it totally sucks to have cancer, and to have had cancer, to have gone thru having cancer, whatever way you want to describe it.
But I have to say, I have been the recipient of some spectacular kindness since I got sick (not to imply I was terribly hard done by before).
This last week, I got to go to Hornby Island for a few days, and it was really, really great. I just got back this evening, and I am still getting settled, but it was really great.
If you are looking for a quick getaway to the Gulf Islands, you should really consider going here . I did, and I had a really good trip.

I realized a while ago that I have just been marching through this whole experience and I have just clenched my teeth and white-knuckled it through this whole experience, and I haven’t taken the time to think it all through. I know that may sound strange, given how much time I have spent laying around in my pajamas over the last few months, but I wasn’t really ready or willing to ponder the whole thing till I was finished.
So, now I have a bunch of thinking to do, and I was lucky enough to get hooked up with the Hornby trip.

Thanks to everyone who made that happen.

By the way, look at that hair coming in, eh?

 Posted by at 12:06 am
Dec 022004

Well, I met with my oncologist earlier this week.
Everything is looking really good and, as he would say, I am in the group that has the highest likelihood of beating this thing.
And my CA125 level has stayed at pretty much the same spot and that’s good news too.

Now my job is to try to get my life back to normal, and get things back on track.
And also deal with the fact that it could come back.
I am still trying to figure out how this post-treatment phase goes.
Like, when I started doing chemo, I got kind of freaked out by the whole thing.
Then I thought about it and figured that, in all likelihood, I would live through the chemo process, and it would be the aftermath of that process that would be where I ended up being bitten on the ass or not. And now I am in that process. On one hand, I just want to get on with everything, and on the other hand, it’s all a bit eerie. I think I just need to make it through the next chunk of time with everything going well and then I can start to relax some.

I have been extra lethargic this time. I don’t know why. I was much more active after the other treatments. I don’t quite know why I am dragging my ass so much this time.It’s been really grey and rainy and dark, and that hasn’t been helping to motivate me, that’s for sure.

My acupuncturist says I don’t seem like someone with low energy, and he also says that I am doing better than some of his patients who haven’t done chemo, so that is good news.

My hair is starting to come back in, slowly but surely.
Right now, I am covered in little dark brown baby thin hairs, all about an 1/8th of an inch long. And it really is like the hair that babies grow, really soft and fine.

It’s all kind of weird. After my last chemo, I was all jacked up and wanted to celebrate. But we didn’t celebrate. And now I am kind of in a weird state with it all and it doesn’t feel like something to celebrate anymore, or something…
It has been weird to go through something so huge and not wrap it up somehow. But I am no longer clear on what I ought to do to wrap it up.

On other fronts, we had to change the site a bit because I kept getting about 35 spam entries per day in the comments section. We had to upgrade to something that lets me approve comments before they show up, because the old way was becoming ridiculous.
We will get the whole look back on track soon, just you wait.

 Posted by at 4:24 pm