Monday update.

After a couple of days of pumping me full of antibiotics and fluids they decided that whatever had caused the fever had passed and the sent me home.

The rest of the week was about learning the message of pain management. I’m used to thinking of pain as a transient phenomenon that will go away in some relatively short time. But in my current situation the pain will not go away until the treatment is over, so the trick is to learn how to live with it. The combination of narcotics (oxycodone in my case) and topical anesthetic mouth rinses every few hours make it possible to keep the pain at bay, at the cost of being rather spaced out (the docs made a strong point of telling me no driving while using oxycodone).

Yesterday (Sunday) I checked back into the hospital for the third week of the combined chemo/radiation treatment (out of five total – getting there!). I wasn’t feeling great when I checked in, and sure enough it turned out that I had a fever again, along with some low blood counts. I spent last night getting pumped full of more antibiotics, idly watching snoozing through the Oscars (Billy Crystal again?), and once the fever had come done they started giving me a couple units of blood. This is the first time I’ve ever had a transfusion – there’s something a little creepy about the idea, in a vampirish sort of way, but I’m trying not to dwell on that!

Hopefully they’ll get me back within normal ranges this morning so they can start the chemo and radiation today. And I’m hoping that having missed a night of chemo doesn’t mean I have to spend an extra night in the hospital before going home at the end of the week. In the meantime, I’ve got some work to do, season 1 of Portlandia to watch (as well as the season finale of Downton Abbey which I missed while in the ER), and some new tunes to listen to (Miguel Zenon’s Alma Adentro, Oz Noy’s Twisted Blues, and Lee Morgan’s Cornbread).

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13 thoughts on “Monday update.”

  1. So this is hump week…things are looking up! Pain is quite a personal unique experience for each person. Knowing that there will be an end does make a difference in your brain and does help make it more tollerable even when you might not think so. You are constantly in our thoughts. And we send lots of love to you and yours!

    Tricia & Mike

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  2. Heya Oren! I’ve been reading your updates as they appear on my Facebook page and wanted to jump in and wish you well. Thank you for sharing. You’ll love the finale of Downtown Abbey–wish I could watch it again for the first time! I hope your weeks ahead provide relief when you need it most and the little things bring smiles and happiness along the way.

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  3. Oren, I hope you can have the treatment tomorrow and then feel you are more than half way through the regimen. Sounds grueling. Downton Abbey will be a good distraction. Sending all my best wishes your way.

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  4. It is good to hear that you are hanging in there. It is such an inspiration to follow the trials and tribulations of a cancer fighter. All the best Oren!

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  5. Hi Oren,
    So sorry to hear you’re battling cancer. I’m sending love and good thoughts your way. I have to weigh in on the Downton Abbey finale and say you are indeed in for a treat! (If you haven’t already watched it.)
    I appreciate you keeping us up to day with the blog. Hang in there.

    Susan (Mathis) – and old Sassparilla buddy

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  6. Oren, following your updates and your journey. Hope your treatment goes well this week and you get home on time.

    Have you seen Breaking Bad? There are three seasons available to view instantly on Netflix. It got me through a bad health patch last year, something to take your mind off things especially when the pain is sticking around.

    Very best, Mairéad

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  7. Good to know you are totally on top of this process. Keep it up. Glad you melted one of those tumors.

    Perhaps not coincidentally, Ry Cooder showed up on my song list too last week – Jesus on the Main Line. Here is a story you might enjoy.

    Another friend, one I had not seen for 20 years, just joined the club you did not want to join. I took my Regal Resonator down to see him and another buddy in Portland. We played 9 hours of old-timey, gospel, country and Appalachian melodies in 24 hours total. All G-C-D. When his nurse asked about his religious beliefs, he told them “I believe in Bluegrass”. When asked if he had any special cultural practices, he confessed, “I believe in the healing power of the banjo.”

    My old friend, who is an MD, convinced me. When one stands up with a Deering ringing out and sings “If you’re sick and ya’ wanta get well, Just tell him what you want…” everybody feels better. We just laughed and sang and laughed and sang and sang some more.

    Bear hugs and love to you.

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  8. You’ve got grit, my friend. I don’t think we know how strong we really are until we get tested. You’re passing the audition with flying colors.

    When you lose your interest in listening to new music I will start to worry. See you soon! Love.

    PS. Portlandia is a hoot!

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  9. I’m so glad you are watching Portlandia! Laughter really is good medicine.
    I’m sorry you are going through this. I’m thinking of you often.
    Melissa

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  10. Pain is an illness onto itself. Until one experiences it as a chronic condition, they cannot appreciate the energy and the attitude it takes to attend to that while also attending to the condition that causes the pain. My pain management doctor has made a strong point in trying to teach me to manage my pain instead of letting it manage me. I am still learning. Some days I do better than others. I wish you less painful days ahead. Love you!❤

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