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Week 2 is in the Books

May 19, 2013

Well, week 2 of radiation and chemotherapy is a wrap…just one more week until I only have three more weeks of treatment. Woot woot! In all seriousness, I’m already almost halfway through treatment; the countdown to cocktail hour is 21 more treatments…I can begrudgingly live with that. On a positive note, I am not yet experiencing many of the negative side effects of radiation/chemo yet…no nausea or mouth sores or anything like that. Up until the tail end of this week, I wasn’t experiencing any major fatigue either. However, Thursday’s radiation hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to take a nap and went to bed at 8:30 at night. I don’t think I’ve done that since I was in underoos. Interestingly enough, the fatigue comes and goes. Since the first wave hit, I was expecting to be tired all the time. However, Friday I was relatively fine. But Saturday, I was exhausted all day.

One thing I forgot to mention in my last post is that I have a new treatment plan. I met with Dr. Seng last week, who is my oncologist for the rectal cancer. Dr. Seng, by the way, looks a lot like an older Jon Hamm…I keep picturing him smoking cigarettes and drinking martinis during his lunch hour, Don Draper style. Anyways, he said that after I am done with the brain tumor treatment, that we will wait about a month for my body to recover. Then, we are going to start radiation and chemotherapy in my rectum for 6 weeks. After that, we will wait another month, and I will have my rectal surgery. Another month will go by for recovery, and finally I will go through the last 6 week portion of my radiation and chemotherapy. According to Dr. Seng, the results are better for rectal cancer if I have treatment both before and after the surgery; there is  less likelihood of recurrence or metastasizing after the fact. As I have written about before, I am a big fan of laying out a plan, so having this path laid out in front of me feels quite good; I now have a 5 step plan to remission:

1) Brain surgery, check;

2) brain treatment, in process;

3) rectal treatment 1, TBD;

4) Rectal surgery, TBD;

5) Rectal treatment 2, TBD.

I will be making a wall poster of this, by the way. With check boxes on the left hand side.

I also received a very interesting call from the geneticist, Sherrie Baldinger this past week. She called me to let me know that she found the culprit of my genetic disorder, Bi-Allelic Mismatch Repair Deficiency. The lab report is back, and the people who I envision look like Dexter Morgan have found 2 alterations on my PMS2 gene. For the record, this gene has an odd name, and has nothing to do with the PMS that women experience from time to time. Anyways, this is fairly definitive proof that I have Bi-Allelic, but the true test is if my parents and my sister have the same alteration. As a matter of fact, the lab will pay for the costs to get their lab work done in order to find this out – the cynic in me believes that the lab is being this generous because someone is going to get a paper published based on the results, but hey…free stuff is always a good thing. Just to be clear, it does not mean that my family has the same disorder if it is found that they have the alteration on their PMS2 genes As I understand it, because they have lived this long without an incidence of cancer is probably definitive proof that they in fact do not have my disorder. The presence of the alteration on the PMS2 (it still feels weird to call it that) simply means that it is a genetic disorder. Specifically, my parents’ genes combined in a weird way when they asked the stork to drop off a baby at their house.

Before I close, I want to end this post on a relatively more serious note. Since I was diagnosed with this latest bout of cancer, a lot of people have come up to me and said ” I don’t know how you do it” or “I can’t even imagine,” or something else along those lines. Although I appreciate the well wishes, honestly, I don’t think that I am doing anything that amazing….these people shouldn’t either. To date, I haven’t been able adequately explain this sentiment to those who approach me this way. Luckily, I am friends with a true wordsmith named Nora. She explains everything that I’ve always wanted to say on the subject beautifully here, in a blog post entitled “About Strength”. We all have problems; my problem is that I get cancer a fuck ton, but this is no better or worse than any other person’s challenges, just different. The only thing that I do which is truly amazing is using cancer to justify eating two helpings of ice cream after dinner; I’ve gotten pretty good at that, actually.

As an aside before I end, I have a funny story to share about Nora. We became friends in high school, and on prom night senior year, a large group of us got a block of rooms at a nearby hotel. I don’t remember all the details from 12 years ago, but I do remember that the two last people standing that night were me and my friend Chad, and we spent the last part of the night smoking cigarettes and drinking what I’m sure was a horrible mixture of alcohol (no judgements on either of those actions please…remember, I was a stupid teenager). The next thing I know, it’s 8AM and I am awoken to Nora repeatedly slapping me in the face…apparently at some point in the night, I decided to use her prom dress as a blanket. The last time she saw it, it was neatly hung up in the hotel room’s closet. Luckily, this story has a happy ending. First, Nora eventually forgave me and we are still friends. Second, Nora recently shared with me that she still has the dress, and it is hung up in a storage closet, just waiting to be worn by her future daughter at her prom. That said, now she is going to be mad at me again for sharing that last piece of information. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Onward and upward,


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  1. if you’d like to continue your train of,
    “honestly, I don’t think that I am doing anything that amazing”
    thinking, knock yourself out.

    we, out here on the interwebs know better.

  2. s#%t that eddie says

  3. Just so everyone knows, this wasn’t just ANY prom dress…it was a knock off of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar dress. And when I DO have a daughter, that dress will be VINTAGE! VINTAGE!

  4. T-Rock permalink

    Showing up to work less than 2 weeks removed from brain surgery is unheard of. Don’t sell yourself short Eddie. Your tough as nails, and a very special person. Keep fighting!

  5. Jacqui permalink

    Okay, so I am ashamed to admit I just started reading your blog this morning (when I probably should have been booking a deal.) Once I started, I could not stop. I read every single one today from top to bottom, after which, I realized it would have made more sense to go chronologically forward instead of backward. I just couldn’t pull myself away from your wit. I’ve always known you were funny (hence many a Toastmaster table topics,) but you have a gift for storytelling. I kept waiting for more Mom and Dad moments as they were making me laugh until I had tears in my eyes. In all seriousness, Matt and I are thinking of you often and sending good vibes your way 🙂 XOXO The Patels

  6. andy mullin permalink

    nora and eddie “about strength” great post

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