Janet and I had a bunch of question for Dr. Hedley. They cantered primarily around the need to continue the Chemo Sessions if they were no longer effective. What were the repercussions of taking a Chemo Vacation at this point, or at the end of August as he was planning> Taking a vacation now would allow us to enjoy the summer.

We are slowly realizing that a lot of decisions are ours to make. If we want to quit the Chemo Session, than quit it is. We are in charge of our treatments. The doctors are there to guide and advise us. The ultimate decision is ours. This is a bit freaky. We are never sure if we are making the right decisions or not. Do we have the right amount of information to make a decision? Is it the right decision? To make matters worse, the doctors themselves are not sure either.

Every body reacts differently to the drugs. We were at a small party celebrating Kali’s birthday the other day. One of the friends has a brother with very advanced lung cancer. The gave him one Chemo session to which he reacted very badly. All the stuff they keep expecting me to go through. So sorry to disappoint. They removed his brother from any further Chemo treatments. So are you still on Chemo, he asks me. Yes. How long have you been on Chemo. Almost a year now, since last October. He was dumbfounded. I do not look or behave like a Chemo patient. Except for the afternoon naps. We are all different.

My blood work showed more positive results than last time. My liver enzymes are closer to where they should be with one indicative being totally in the normal range.

Dr. Hedley brought up the fact that we have not had a break since this thing started. I started feeling the pains in June 2009. By August 1, the diagnosis was fairly complete and certain. Operation on September 2, Chemo in October. Yikes. A year without a break. The doctor saw no reason why we should not stop the treatments right now and take our vacation. A CT-Scan was planned for Friday (today) to set a baseline for the future. Next CT-Scan in two months. Chemo would only start again if my situation deteriorates. A steady condition will result in a longer vacation.

A two month Chemo Vacation is on the books. Cannot believe it. I am in a bit of a daze. Basically what happens when you receive bad news or terrifically good news. You cannot believe your ears and shut down. Two months with no Chemo.

Janet and I stared at each other. What do you say? How do you react?

Doctor Hedley wanted to feel my stomach to make sure all was right. I suggested that things were still a bit tender. I can lift heavier bags now, but feel some discomfort if I overdo things. I am sure the healing process will speed up without the Chemo getting in the way. He appeared to confirm this. Good news. I am looking into going to the pool on a regular basis to strengthen the stomach a bit. I get bored swimming. Back and forth, you go. I will have to do it nevertheless.

Can we start eating raw meats again? I miss my steak tartar, sushi, and oysters. I was given the green light for sushi. Say it ain’t so. We decided on the spot that we would have that for dinner to celebrate. Diana, Nancy and her daughter Lily are coming over. Makes for a grand celebration.

Dr Hedley mentioned that we are in really good hands with his nurse, Shahnaz. We truly are. She is magnificent. She mentioned how much the nurses in the Chemo daycare like me. I walk in with my big laugh and cheer them up. The doctor just shook his head. All the nurses love him he says. Then gives me a gigantic hug before leaving.

Janet and I were left alone for a few minutes in the consulting room. She high fived me. This is the first time in almost a year were I could a glimmer of hope in her eyes. She seemed ecstatic over the news. She had a bright smile and a glitter to her eyes. That was enough to make me happy.

I phoned Fetneh and Fo’ad that night. It is always good to talk to them after news like this. It helps air my thoughts, clear the cobwebs a bit, get some perspective. I eMailed them of course, but that was not clear enough for them. Fetneh was jumping for joy. She made me promise to not withdraw from life because of this. The are chances of withdrawal symptoms creeping in if you are not careful. The hospital has been a home away from home, as it were. A very safe place to spend time in. You get sort of attached to these things. The routine. However horrible the Chemo experience is, you get used to the routine. The people. The support.

I assure her that I will not regress. I will keep the blog going. I may have a bit of trouble adjusting to the new freedom. We will see.

Fo’ad was just as supportive, of course. How does this change life? I don’t know. My curly head of hair may even make a comeback. I see no negatives in any of this. I become so much stronger when I am off Chemo for even a week. This can only be good.

We have lots of plans. We have been invited to all sorts of places. Long trips are out of the question. One day excursions within the vicinity of Toronto can be done. We are going to see Anne and Frank in Pickering, John and Sharon have invited us to their horse farm, Heather and Neil want us to go their farm. Heather reminded me that it is almost a year to the day when we went to their farm to share the news. Their friend Beth was there, also a cancer patient. She had a long conversation with me about what to expect. Strange to think of that now.

Devin is leaving us to go pursue a master degree in Change Management at the New School in New York City. We should be flying down on August 21. Sadness and happiness combined. I am ever so proud of him.

September will see me visit Montreal again to spend some time with Hong Lan. Janet will be attending the film festival in Toronto. My visit to Montreal will take some pressure off her. I have to talk to Hong Lan a bit more about what her remedies are. Stuff that includes acupuncture to increase energy levels. She deluged with so much information that I had trouble absorbing it all. A revisit is a must. To say nothing of spending time with Fetneh, of course. I will try and stay in the same apartment as before, taking advantage of Steve Mykolyn’s generosity. It is good to have a space of your own, specially when you are in my condition.

I lay down when we got home. All this stuff is a bit overwhelming. We had dinner and I returned to bed and made my phone calls.

Yesterday was my very first day of this vacation. I slept for a couple of hours in the afternoon. I also wandered around the house a bit lost. I have so many things to do, so many projects on the go. Where to start? Sleep of course. I am having lunch with Kali today. Looking forward to that. Planning the trip to New York when I get home from that.

Tomorrow is a new day. Taking us back to another sense of normalcy. Can’t wait.

I am going through a bizarre set of events. I keep thinking and thinking and the thoughts provoke new thoughts, and I reverse my position don’t care about this or that, come to new conclusions, confuse myself to all high hell. What else do I have to do?

It turns out that I have a lot of options.

I went for my Chemo session last Tuesday. That is Tuesday the 11th of May. My blood count was. The admin staff were helpful. Quite a change from the previous week. More on that in a separate post coming today. The nurse let me know that this was my 14th session. I am a walking talking Chemo boy. The drugs came, and I was topped up. Got the Neulasta shot on Thursday. I slept for a week. My energy levels returned yesterday. I am all excited about New York where I will be tomorrow at this time. Things are good.

We were at the Fraser’s farm a couple of weekends ago. I designed a couple of new camera bags. I have to render them, sew up a couple of examples. Yes, I can sew. Learned from my mother. Then attempt to find a manufacturer, put together a business and marketing plan. The usual routine. The market is short of good practical camera bags.

I have also decided to start designing web pages for small business. Nothing fancy, no flash or anything complicated. Simple four to five pages of static stuff. I will also offer to maintain the site, update the software, make sure it is running, do the marketing for it and so on. I have revamped my photo site at farokh.ca. I will be creating a template of sorts in the next week or so. Then start calling or sending eMails out to some prospects that I already know might find this useful. I can do this from home, and be totally online, and at my own pace.

My friend Steve Mykolyn suggested the other day, that I start writing camera and related equipment reviews. I have thought about that. I am coming up with a template for that as well. I will probably focus on the every day user who is pondering buying a point and shoot camera, or an upgrade. None of the professional stuff. Professional, or semi-pros such as myself are pretty well versed. There are sites that pander to us. No one seems to be looking after the casual user in a meaningful and fun way.

We are re-doing our garden this year. Thinking of building a new pond, a shed, plant some new local plants. We hired a gardener to help out. I do not have the sustained energy to carry out the changes.

Busy? Just a bit. It occurred to me the other day that I am trying to find myself – again. I have no idea which of these projects will come to fruition. Maybe they all will. Maybe only one of them. It is becoming an interesting exercise. I am concentrating on the web design first. Once the template is set up and the eMails are sent, there is little left to do, except maybe a bit of marketing. Might even be fun.

I was told at the beginning of this adventure that I have some time to live, anywhere from tomorrow to five to ten years. Or more. Or whatever. I told Fetneh the other day, that I have to modify the numbers a bit. I had my operation about 9 months ago. I now have between four and nine years to live. I can be so funny. Five to ten sounds like so much more time. I could go one for the next five to ten telling people I have between five and ten. No one would be the wiser.

You go through life expecting to die of ripe old age. No one really expects to die sooner. No one is out there saying things like, Oh yeah, I expect to be fall out of a building by the time I am fifty. Cancer hits. The doctors do not like to give you a time frame when you would expect to die. Bad vibes there. The problem that appeared this week in my ever so feeble brain is that you now expect to die earlier, but when exactly? Not that you knew before. Expectations are now set for an early passing on. But when? This is getting stupid.

I went to the hospital yesterday, home away from home. It is amazing how quickly you adjust to your new surroundings. I went to spend a bit of time with a friend who was doing blood work and meeting with the palliative care people. She does not have much time left. She gave her blood to the vampires, and we went for lunch. Her husband was there. He keeps calling me the other man. The goal is to just talk, laugh, eat. We are going out for Ethiopian food when we come back from N.Y. I am going to cook Persian rice for her one evening. We do what we have to do.

I also ran into my lady with no nose. The cancer has spread a bit. She is due for more surgery on her cheekbones. We talked a bit. She was on the verge of tears. Don’t know what to say.

I look amazing. Everyone is saying that, so it must be true. My hair is growing, albeit (great word that!) slowly. I have apparently developed immunity to hair loss. Which is a good thing. I just read today that losing the hair in your ears results in losing your hearing. I am saved, I tell you, saved.

I am seeing my psychiatrist in June. A good talk is to be had. So much stuff to discuss. So many thoughts, so much stupidity, confusion. It will all pan out.

Thanks for listening. Thanks for being there.

© 2010 I Have Cancer Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha