The past 5 weeks, I have had some rough patches. I started Xeloda and then went to Steamboat Springs CO to explore with my family. At the end of a very slow hike, I got back in the car with my family and started to drive back to our hotel. 300 yards into the drive, I blacked out. My vision held in a gray color for about 2 seconds. Just long enough to hit the brakes and Sharette threw the car into park from the passenger seat, James held my head still and Joey was outside the car helping Sharette. She said I was unresponsive for about 2 minutes. I didn’t seem to a-fib for very long so I just rested for about 5 hours. The next day I also started getting a pain in my neck above my port. We got back to Boise Friday night and the pain was still there and it was through the weekend too. I went to the VA Hospital Monday and they found that I had a blood clot in my left jugular vein. They put me on blood thinners and said I will be on them for 6 months. I also had to give myself a shot in the stomach for 14 days in a row. BTW, that sucked!! The blood clot prevents a lot of my weight training. Four days after finding out about my blood clot, I started the next chemo round of Xeloda. On the 10th day I when to the ER because of blood in my urine. It was attributed to the stomach shots, and since my blood was at the right level for anti-coagulation, I got to stop taking the shots and the blood wasn’t visible the next morning. On the 12th day of treatment, my 7th round total of different chemo treatments, I blacked out again and my heart went into A-Fib. I went to the VA Emergency room and they confirmed I was still in A-Fib and admitted me for observation. 5 hours later, my heart went back into a normal sinus rhythm. They even started talking about heart surgery if my cardiac enzymes didn’t drop. Fortunately they dropped. My Oncologist came to visit me and took me off Chemo. He also consulted with my PMP specialist and they both agreed that I have done all I can and this chemo is life threatening to me. It worries me because I only completed 7 of the 12 rounds recommended. The plan now is that I fly to Omaha this week and get a full MRI scan and go from there. I am still having chest discomfort which I think are more anxiety related but will get that checked too. I also still have discomfort and pains in my belly but that comes with the type of surgery I had.
Despite all the problems, I am focused on when I can hike, ride my bicycles, swim, run, go boating, kayaking, and rafting, gold prospecting, snorkeling, and scuba diving. I still think about cancer a lot but I don’t want it to keep me down.
THE GOOD NEWS so far is that I have been walking fast for the past 10 days and I went for a very controlled bicycle ride 3 days ago. 2 nights ago, I went for a walk / jog with Sharette. It was the first time I tried to jog since the surgery. I only jogged 100 feet or so at a time and then walked fast until I could jog 100 feet again, but I did it. 2 years ago, I ran 1.5 miles in 10:30. Two nights ago it took me double that time to do 1.5 miles. I averaged 14:25 mile pace but am happy I could even do it. This looks like a long road ahead still but with plenty of hope.
I will post the results when I get back from Omaha. I am really hoping for good news. I would like to thank everyone who called to see how I was doing, who commented on FB posts, texted me just to check in, visited me in the hospital, met me for a glass of water and some food, donated, and any other way you have helped me along the way. I really have a great support network of family, friends, and even the folks at the VA call me to see how I am doing or if I need anything.