Eight days.

Met with the local oncologist today and it went well, all things considered.  I mean I still have cancer and it wasn’t all some elaborate hoax, but the meeting went well =/  We chose the CyBorD treatment option, which is apparently a ridiculous amount of pills once a week as well as a Velcade shot, a monthly IV infusion of zoledronic acid for bone strength and “survival advantage,” and 1000 units of Vitamin D and 1 to 1.5g calcium daily.  On top of that I have two strengths of anti-nausea medications and an anti-Shingles drug (at high risk due to the chemo treatment, apparently).

So I start in 8 days, next Friday.  I guess I just take all of the 3 chemo drugs in one day, not sure on the rest yet.  I have a “class” to attend early next week to go over my chemotherapy, side effects, etc.

“Joygasm.”

I feel remarkably calm about all of this.  If I were to guess I’d attribute that partially to shock, resignation, denial, the surreal nature of this all, etc.  I was sitting at the schedulers desk setting all of this up today and I said to her how odd it felt to be scheduling chemotherapy, and it’s true — seriously what a bizarre feeling.  I would imagine next week will be an emotional roller-coaster as well as CHEMOTHERAPY DAY looms, but while just next week it feels like a lifetime away.  I guess that’s the problem with having cancer with no symptoms — none of this is real to me right now.

Been researching hemp- and cannabinoid-based treatments for cancer in the last few days.  Obviously there’s very little research out there but a lot of anecdotal evidence that there’s a lot of potential.  I had been hoping, living in one of the most liberal medical marijuana states, that this would be an easy avenue to pursue.  Unfortunately in the last week it turns out the MMJ database maintained by the state is apparently being shared with law enforcement, and with a toddler at home I have no desire to have my name on any lists connected with a Schedule I narcotic.  It’s fucking shameful that this is the case.  You can’t throw the proverbial rock at the Internet without getting 1,000,000 hits of real stories about people who have had success combating all sorts of terminal diseases (including cancer) and critical conditions with marijuana-based therapies like hemp oil.

But as long as the willfully ignorant make the rules (and can send Child Protective Services to your door) it’s just not worth the risk.  Here’s to hoping it isn’t the missing component of my success in beating this goddamn disease, I guess.

Slightly more ‘hurry up and wait.’

Talked to the local oncologist’s assistant here and have an appointment Thursday afternoon to get things rolling with the chemotherapy.  A little nervous about how that will go but fingers crossed — I’m at a pretty high stress level and it would be nice if something would go my way with all of this right now.  Unfortunately my original hope, which is to be able to do my weekly chemotherapy treatments at their Sky Ridge location but keep him as my local doctor, sounds like it’s a no-go.

Still going to push for it since a weekly trip to Rose is a good 1.5 hour round-trip commute at best, while Sky Ridge is 20 minutes round-trip.  Seeing as how I’m having a doctor at the Mayo Clinic direct my care anyways I’m not sure what the benefits of just finding a doctor at their Sky Ridge location is … I guess Rocky Mountain Cancer Center isn’t a group the way I thought it was, but we’ll see.

Meeting a therapist to work through the emotional and mental issues related to all of this Friday, waiting to have a endoscopy scheduled with my GI guy to rule out some things they saw on the CAT scan that the oncologists want checked out.

Through all of this I actually feel really good (most likely a function of a vastly cleaner diet for the past 4-5 months), which makes this all so hard to swallow.  I’m on the precipice of embarking on a very scary, very serious road and I don’t feel the slightest bit sick.  Kind of broke down for a moment on the couch last night talking about this with Amy … there we are, sitting and having dinner on the couch and watching some Food Network show similar to our usual routine for quite a while, except it’s all different now because the sense of normalcy is just an illusion, is just us pretending for a moment that this isn’t all happening.

Makes it hard to enjoy even a peaceful moment.

Waiting for the sentencing.

Today has been bittersweet.  Talked to a few friends today about everything that’s going on, but waiting for the local oncologist who will be handling my day-to-day stuff to get back to me regarding starting chemotherapy.  The doctor in charge of my care up at the Mayo Clinic in MN (Dr. M.) talked to him yesterday but I have yet to hear from him, and I’m antsy about it.  She emailed me yesterday that they got along great but that he preferred another cocktail of drugs to what she recommended … Dr. M. at the MC thinks I should start chemotherapy with CyBorD (cyclophosphamide, bortezomib/Velcade, dexamethasone) while apparently Dr. F. here locally is going to make a case for VRD (bortezomib/Velcade, Revlimid, dexamethasone).

Dr. M. had noted in our visit with her that given almost equal success rates with either treatment, that she’d rather save Revlimid (the big and newest “gun” in the MM arsenal) in her back pocket for later down the road.  That makes sense to me.  Either way I woke up at 3 am last night and the first thought that entered my head was how to deal with this discussion and I didn’t get back to sleep the rest of the night.  I’m sure it will go well but having never dealt with referrals and all this, and being wired to not want to step on people’s toes, I’m just anxious about it.

Anxious about not hearing from him yet either.  Not like I’m all psyched up to start chemotherapy, but I would let to get this show on the road now that the thinking, meeting and testing is mostly done.

We had the pugs put down yesterday which has been difficult for Amy — one of her friends came over for the day at my request, and I’m hoping her good mood carries through the rest of this week as things get a bit more serious.  As infirm as they were right now she just felt it was time, which I understand but didn’t make it any easier.  I took care of it with my dad’s help.

One of the harder things about something this traumatizing is the immensely wild swings in emotions that just slam into you like a car accident — at least so far there’s no smooth, predictable emotional wave whatsoever.  Knowing that, and knowing we’re not even into the meat of all of this yet, makes it tough to fully engage in life right now, if that makes sense, sort of like holding onto the side of the boat on perfect seas for no apparent reason but doing so because at any moment you expect a huge wave to hit.  I’ve been nailed a few times out of the blue just sitting at my desk and I’ll think of Ariana, or see someones kid doing something on Facebook, and just brutal waves of despair overwhelm me.  Kind of nerve-wracking, to say the least.

Have an appointment with a therapist this week that I did a consult with last week.  Never been a giant fan of the concept, but I fully recognize that I am just not mentally and emotionally equipped to deal with what’s coming.  Hoping she can give me at least some tools to cope with it all.