life deferred

Yesterday was supposed to be my first day of chemo. It wasn’t.

On the Monday of the first week of each cycle, I am supposed to be sent home with a small pump in a fanny pack that slowly infuses Taxol into my body over a 24-hour period. Unfortunately (much like tiny instruments needed from El Paso on Seinfeld), they did not have the proper type of pump. Dawn and I waited about two hours while my assigned chemo nurse Pam (they have a different system now — I will usually have the same nurse everyday I’m there) searched for a pump somewhere in Madison. She did not locate one, so instead I began my treatment today.

This hiccup was not entirely unfortunate, since it enabled me to go into work and deal with some of the issues that were cropping up at the load-in of CTM’s Fall show, which began that day.

So, they started me on the pump this morning (Tuesday), first filling me up with side-effect controlling drugs like Benadryl — which sent me from fully awake to asleep at a moment’s notice. Later in the day I surprised some folks — especially our Lighting Designer Matt Kerr — by showing up for tech rehearsal with my pump and orange tubing pumping Taxol into my body.

Today Dawn and I also met with the oncology therapist while we were in the chemo ward to talk about the ways we’re struggling with this recurrence. As I believe I’ve said before, this time the emotions are much higher, they feel more real, scarier. I think the therapist helped us understand some things, and was pleasant to talk to — though I’ve never done it, I found it reassuring to talk to someone trained to be detached but compassionate.

Those of you whom I’ve spoken to on the phone about all of this know that there are lots of unanswered questions: are we going to Indiana? Are we planning on the high-dose/stem cell support option? Will I still need an RPLND? What are my odds? What happens if the cancer doesn’t respond to chemo? Well, since I don’t really know the answer to any of those, I won’t try to write about them — they are complex, and we have to take it one step at a time here. The one thing I can tell you is this: we are planning on going to Indiana University to be treated if they accept me. But first, I must determine my eligibility.

Thank you all for your support, and keep reading.

Oh, and for those of you who like visuals (like me) — here is a self portrait of my “take home” meds. A patient in his own home…

Mike and his Taxol infusion kit - 10.07.08

Mike and his Taxol infusion kit - 10.07.08


3 Responses to “life deferred”

  1. It’s nice of you to go shirtless on my birthday, but I really don’t think of you like that anymore–that was so high school.

  2. Will you go shirtless on my birthday too? (Happy Birthday Tara) I was just thinking the other day about the deck building party a few years ago at my house on my birthday. I think about you & Dawn often & what you are going through. I have a couple of other friends going through similar circumstaces. I will keep sending the happy & good feelings your way.

  3. I’ll take my shirt off anytime!

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