Sunday, March 3, 2013

OH, goodie!

A bonus round of doctor visits seem to be in the works.  While I have been doing just fine on my latest treatment of Mutated Mouse Antibodies,  there DID seem to be a bit of a "side Effect" creep up on me. Mostly,  the drug is as advertised,  very low in side effects.  A bit tired for a couple of days,  and a strange effect of filling up my throat with goo like I have a low grade head cold.  That was about the only obvious effects I had seen,  until a few strange "heart rate" events appeared during several rides.

I was Just Riding Along,  nice conversational pace,  when several times I had a sudden strange feeling, almost light-headed.  Very brief,  but then noticed some rather "unusual" numbers on my heart rate monitor.  I have not seen Heart Rates over about 170 as a max in a LOT of years,  but was suddenly seeing 190+ values in these brief moments.  Yikes.

Ended up seeing several of these over a few rides.  Kinda unnerving,  and APPEARS to have started just after starting the Rituxin infusions.  Not every ride,  and never off the bike.   Hmmm.

Mentioning such "events" to a Doctor triggers exactly the kind of reaction you may expect.  Immediate forwarding of your broken hide to another specialist.  Next week I'll get to spend most of my Thursday getting Mouse Juice as usual,  THEN get to go talk to a Cardiologist later that day.  Yee Haw.   These little episodes were pretty strange,  and seems reasonable to check things out,  as I have never had such "events" in the past.  I predict a stress EKG and getting to carry one of their little monitors around for a few days in my near future.  Will be really cool if it turns out it is just a version of the 1% of reported reactions to Rituxin that involve Tachycardia.      

The other side of the "Cancer Sucks" equation that does not get the story told as it should,  is what happens not to the Cancer Victim,  but those who care for them.  This disease hurts a lot more than just the victim.   I was forwarded the story below from just such caretaker.  I think that the stories from the loved ones are just as important,  and so I am happy to help vent for them.  Thanks for sharing,  Cameron,  and I am so happy your story has a good ending.

Learning to Care: Lessons You Don't Expect from Cancer
I really felt that my life was perfect in the fall of 2005. My wife Heather and I had just celebrated the birth of our daughter Lily. She was our first and only child, and we couldn’t have been more excited to be new parents. However, that all changed on November 21st, 2005. On this day, I went to the doctor with my wife. Sitting in the doctor's office, we learned that Heather had malignant  pleural mesothelioma. It was a very rare and extremely deadly form of cancer.  We were shocked and terrified, and neither of us knew what to do in that moment.

I started my life as a caregiver for someone with cancer that day. It was a hard journey and something that took a lot of patience and work. You have to learn so many things. The first of which is how to make tough decisions, not just with taking care of someone while sick in bed, but someone who really needed you to be there as they went through cancer treatment. I remember being in that doctor's office and knowing that our lives were changing. We had to make a choice about where to go for treatment. There were a few hospitals nearby that didn't have the right program. That was the first choice that I had to make as a caregiver. My wife was going to get the best treatment. The doctor suggested we see a specialist. His name was Dr. David Sugarbaker from Boston. I knew that if Heather had any chance at all of beating this terrible disease, she would need the best care available.  I turned to the doctor and told him, “Get us to Boston!”

For months after, I felt my emotions rising and falling on a daily basis. On the days when I had to work, I felt conflicted, staring at the clock wishing that I was at home with my wife and baby. There were so many things to do, and I had to be the one to do them all, or so I thought. It wasn't until much later that I realized I was taking on too much.  Our community of loving friends and family were eager to help, and I needed to learn the strength to accept this help.  Perhaps one of the biggest lessons I learned throughout this experience was that in a battle with cancer, there is simply no room for pride.  Other’s will be there.  Don’t be afraid to ask them for help.

As a caregiver, you will have bad days.  This is inevitable and even necessary at times.  The important thing is to never give up hope, and always keep fighting for a better tomorrow. 

Over the following months, Heather underwent extensive mesothelioma treatment in the attempt to beat this terrible cancer.  Against all odds, she was able to accomplish the near-impossible, and beat mesothelioma.  Today, over seven years since her diagnosis, she is cancer-free, happy and healthy.  We hope that by sharing our story of success against this ugly cancer, we can help others currently battling today.  Always hold on to hope, and never stop fighting for the ones you love. 


  1. You weren't using that 'Digital EPO' program to massage that HR data, were you?

  2. Nope... Digital EPO only lets you REDUCE our heart rate data....