Cancer Blog

August 17, 2017
I routinely encounter folks dealing with serious illness (mostly cancer, in my circumstances) who accept whatever the first doctor they meet tells them, even if what…
August 17, 2017
April 3, 2017
April is head and neck cancer awareness month! Be aware of the causes and symptoms, summarized in the graphic at the bottom. For me, it was…
April 3, 2017
March 23, 2017
Clinical trial math example: Monday + every two months = time to start worrying about my scan the following Monday. Tuesday + pain below my right…
March 23, 2017
February 25, 2017
Last year, I was in the hospital from chemo for my birthday, not knowing the cancer would blossom again months later. This year, I’m walking around…
February 25, 2017
February 16, 2017
The every-other-week treatment schedule has become habit at this point. In at 7:45 am, IV and blood draw, discussion with the trial nurse, meet with Dr.…
February 16, 2017
January 15, 2017
I’m exhausted and stressed and sad and angry. I try to keep my posts here focused and positive, but it’s really hard at this point. I…
January 15, 2017
December 14, 2016
When we first started talking about whether we would move or renew our lease, I said on Twitter that making the decision felt like placing a…
December 14, 2016
December 5, 2016
Today was scan day! After only five treatments (including missing four weeks of treatment), all the cancer is still gone from both lungs and now the…
December 5, 2016
December 4, 2016
A few people privately shared this article with me out of concern, so I wanted to say a few words about it. Dr. Ani said, at…
December 4, 2016
November 28, 2016
Someday I’ll hit the jackpot and have a whole week without having to go to the doctor or have unexpected procedures or scans. This isn’t that week.…
November 28, 2016
November 24, 2016
It’s easy to figure out what I’m thankful for this year. Four years ago on Thanksgiving, I was recovering from head and neck cancer. A year…
November 24, 2016
October 13, 2016
I had the first trial progress CT scan on Monday. I didn’t go into it feeling great, either physically or mentally–I’ve been having increasing pain in…
October 13, 2016
October 5, 2016
I haven’t updated my blog in quite a while. I haven’t been posting to Facebook or tweeting much either. In fact, I’ve been pretty quiet even…
October 5, 2016
September 7, 2016
I’ve really fallen behind on this blog! It’s partly that I’ve been busy, and partly that I’ve been dealing with a crazy parade of side effects…
September 7, 2016
August 15, 2016
Turns out the pathology results from the core needle biopsy last week didn’t make it to The Angeles Clinic by late Friday, so they pushed back…
August 15, 2016
August 3, 2016
I’ll say up front that I’m an impatient person. It’s a character flaw I’ve been working on for many years. I hate waiting. Unanswered questions drive…
August 3, 2016
August 2, 2016
I have a post in my head called “Where Have I Been?” I may still write it, because I feel like I’m gradually coming out of…
August 2, 2016
July 20, 2016
We all get in the habit of saying it: “Someday…” Life keeps us busy. We wake up thinking about what’s on our calendar for the day.…
July 20, 2016
July 17, 2016
The most interesting and promising trial I found in my research is at Baylor College of Medicine and Houston Methodist Hospital. Called HPV-16/18 E6/E7-Specific T Lymphocytes, Relapsed…
July 17, 2016
July 14, 2016
Now that I’ve explained cancer drug types in general and specifically immunotherapy and the clinical trial process, I can talk about the choices I had and…
July 14, 2016
July 13, 2016
This is the second background post to cover information on some of the treatment options available to me. The first post discussed the different types of…
July 13, 2016
July 13, 2016
I’ve been reading up on the experiences of other folks taking the immunotherapy drug(s) I’m likely to be given, on a variety of forums. It made me…
July 13, 2016
July 12, 2016
There are a variety of different types of treatments offered to cancer patients these days. It can be confusing to navigate, even with the assistance of…
July 12, 2016
July 11, 2016
A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about my three month PET scan results. Toward the end of the post, I told a story…
July 11, 2016
June 16, 2016
After being on a slightly lower dose of steroids for almost four weeks, it seems to be holding steady at a point where I’m not as…
June 16, 2016
May 13, 2016
I’ve been on high dose prednisone for almost a week now. I started noticing a difference the second day, and by the fourth it was a…
May 13, 2016
May 5, 2016
I met with my medical oncologist last Friday–she handled the chemo side of treatment. She confirmed that the PET scan showed the cancer is all gone,…
May 5, 2016
April 21, 2016
I had big news a couple weeks ago. Astonishing news, really. I told a close circle of friends immediately, and posted to Facebook and Twitter later…
April 21, 2016
February 11, 2016
Now that I can eat normal food again, I’m able to maintain a more normal calorie level and I’m feeling better. Actually, I’m feeling more than better: I’m…
February 11, 2016
February 2, 2016
This will be a short update, just to close the loop after I posted about my anxiety for the higher dose chemo. I’m four days past the…
February 2, 2016
January 28, 2016
I participate a bit in a few cancer forums. The CSN forums has an active and awesome community for head and neck cancer, and it was…
January 28, 2016
January 20, 2016
Today marks three weeks since I finished chemoradiation. Objectively, I can compare where I am now to where I was last week and say that I’m…
January 20, 2016
January 14, 2016
When I was going through head and neck cancer treatments in 2012, Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys died of head and neck cancer. It was…
January 14, 2016
January 13, 2016
Working with my medical oncologist, I’m now off all of the anti-nausea medications except one (and of them all, it’s the one that was least troubling…
January 13, 2016
January 11, 2016
I had a weird experience last night. We decided to go see Star Wars at a 2:55 pm showing. Charlie asked several times on the way…
January 11, 2016
January 9, 2016
I’m the frog in the pot of water. It’s furiously boiling around me, and I still think I’m just hanging out in a nice hot tub.…
January 9, 2016
January 5, 2016
I said I would come back with a post about ringing in the new year… but unfortunately this is not that post. I wish it were…
January 5, 2016
January 1, 2016
I said I would post both good and bad things, and I also said I’d post on New Year’s about the road ahead and what I…
January 1, 2016
December 31, 2015
I had my last radiation treatment on Tuesday… so what’s next? You can look at that question from two perspectives: how I feel, and next treatment…
December 31, 2015
December 28, 2015
Tomorrow morning at 8:40 am, I report in for my next-to-last radiation treatment. After that, I have a two hour hydration. Tuesday, I have my very…
December 28, 2015
December 24, 2015
In my previous post, I talked about being offered the opportunity to cut radiation short by three treatments, to try to minimize further radiation burns in…
December 24, 2015
December 20, 2015
It’s hard to know what to say right now besides “Ouch.” The esophagitis is suddenly severe and it hurts a lot to swallow. Sometimes it hurts a lot even…
December 20, 2015
December 18, 2015
Chemo’s a lot easier to explain than radiation, because it’s simple from the user point-of view. Every week I plop my butt down in a recliner, get…
December 18, 2015
December 16, 2015
Last time I went through cancer treatments, I had a PEG tube. A PEG tube is an external feeding tube that connects directly to your stomach.…
December 16, 2015
December 15, 2015
It’s Tuesday, and that means it’s back in the trough. “Trench” might be a better word to describe it: lower than usual, dark, with the sky…
December 15, 2015
December 14, 2015
I’m open to answering any questions folks might want to know about going through cancer treatments. I figured I’d take on a couple of the central…
December 14, 2015
December 13, 2015
I’m surprised I never had a post on this blog talking about chemo brain. It can be a major issue for some cancer patients, and it…
December 13, 2015
December 10, 2015
There’s a pattern to cancer treatments, once they’re underway. You become accustomed to the cycles–not just the appointments, but the cycle of how you’ll feel. Each…
December 10, 2015
December 3, 2015
So now I’ll make good on my promise to post more often even when I’m not feeling great! I tend to be pretty healthy, other than…
December 3, 2015
November 30, 2015
I have a confession to make: it’s hard to post to this blog sometimes. The same thing happened last time. I would go silent for a…
November 30, 2015
November 26, 2015
I’ve been wanting to shave my head for around a week now. The original plan was to do it ourselves, then Charlie talked me into trying to…
November 26, 2015
November 24, 2015
I’ll start this blog post with a quote from a 2012 post: So it turns out that what I thought was oddly early response to the…
November 24, 2015
November 22, 2015
I remember a story my Mom told me about when I was very young. I questioned everything, and always wanted to know why. Why, why, why? How…
November 22, 2015
November 21, 2015
I woke up early this morning, earlier than I get up for weekday radiation… and it’s Saturday. At first, I wasn’t certain why I was so…
November 21, 2015
November 19, 2015
It’s not a coincidence that I have an older post by the same name. I’m still lucky, and still grateful. I’m writing this post as I…
November 19, 2015
November 13, 2015
I started treatments this week, and figured I would describe the experience briefly for folks who haven’t been through this before. They’re generally more mundane than…
November 13, 2015
November 9, 2015
A friend suggested one experience from the past couple weeks might help other people if I wrote about it. It wasn’t something I was planning to…
November 9, 2015
November 5, 2015
I haven’t been updating the site much in the past few days, partly because it’s been quiet but mostly because the days have passed with me…
November 5, 2015
October 30, 2015
I had the CT sim today, which is one of the last steps in preparing for radiation. Modern radiation machines usually deliver the beams in shaped sequences,…
October 30, 2015
October 28, 2015
Zentangle is an abstract art technique that falls somewhere between meditation and creativity. I started today with the plan to create one Zentangle a day.
October 28, 2015
October 27, 2015
…but telling people you have cancer again is even worse. Right after I heard about the mass in my lung, I thought about how you deliver news…
October 27, 2015
October 21, 2015
There are lots of different diagnostic tests for cancer. I encountered some that were almost the same as last time, and some that were different. None…
October 21, 2015
October 21, 2015
When I first sat down to write this catch-up post, I started talking at length about the weeks that led to where I am now. After…
October 21, 2015
October 21, 2015
…same as the old blog. This is a separator post, the dividing line between posts from the last set of treatments (in 2012) and the new…
October 21, 2015
August 27, 2012
This will be a quick update, since I only have a few minutes. I stopped in to post good news, but then I noticed that my…
August 27, 2012
June 24, 2012
Yes, it’s been a while since I posted. Where have I been? The short answer: sick. For some people, the weeks after the last radiation are…
June 24, 2012
May 30, 2012
Hello again, insomnia! Yes, it’s chemo day which means I had the steroid… which in turn means I’m up at 1:00 am to update my blog.…
May 30, 2012
May 30, 2012
When I talked to people at work about what I expected from my treatment experience, I said they all keep up their blogs until about week…
May 30, 2012
May 30, 2012
I’m way behind in updating my blog, but I promised to talk about this so I’ll post it first. Just after the scope showed no signs…
May 30, 2012
May 16, 2012
I have a fear cage post that’s going to come out of order, because it happened a couple days ago and I’m past it now… and…
May 16, 2012
May 14, 2012
I went a week without blogging, and I blame the lack of two things: focus and sleep. You’d think I’d be sleeping all the time, since…
May 14, 2012
May 8, 2012
I’m writing this during chemo, as I sit in the recliner and receive my weekly dose of Cisplatin. I’m actually sitting here with a big smile…
May 8, 2012
May 6, 2012
The past few days have been an interesting and challenging transition. My throat is being very clear that it only wants liquids. The best way to…
May 6, 2012
May 5, 2012
It’s come up a couple times, and I’m sure it’s purposely not been brought up even more times by friends who didn’t want to mention it because…
May 5, 2012
May 5, 2012
My radiation treatment usually happens every day at around 7:30 am. I’m a morning person so once I got used to it, the time suits me…
May 5, 2012
May 3, 2012
Going through cancer treatments is a little like living in Oppositeland, where everything you know–all your little habits and patterns–get turned upside down. Today as I…
May 3, 2012
May 2, 2012
Here I am, up at 3am again. This makes it the third night in a row that I’ve woken up around that time because the thrush…
May 2, 2012
April 30, 2012
So it turns out that what I thought was oddly early response to the radiation–trouble swallowing, a burning in my mouth, dryness in my throat–is actually…
April 30, 2012
April 29, 2012
Now that I have my final treatment schedule, I expect things to settle down to more of a pattern for the remainder of my treatment. The…
April 29, 2012
April 25, 2012
Tuesday started week two of treatment, and now it’s Wednesday so I’m officially  20% done with the radiation treatments, and 29% done with the chemo! They…
April 25, 2012
April 12, 2012
When I’ve described my treatment to people, there were certain parts of it that caused strong reactions. When I got to the part about the feeding…
April 12, 2012
April 10, 2012
I’m writing this while waiting for my radiation planning session. Science is creating some really interesting opportunities for new or improved treatments for cancer. Here’s what…
April 10, 2012
April 8, 2012
Since my diagnosis, I’ve made some important decisions. Some of them were easy because they closely correlate to my personality. Others have been really challenging. I’m…
April 8, 2012
April 8, 2012
My medical oncologist’s health questionnaire asked a simple question: Some people prefer to have full information about their treatment so they can make choices. Other people…
April 8, 2012
April 8, 2012
This is the last of the posts to catch up to current. The posts after this will come in quick succession, since I’ve had them in…
April 8, 2012
April 5, 2012
I’ve had all kinds if thoughts I wanted to blog about for the past few days, but there were a few personal things I had to…
April 5, 2012