Plastic is the “New” Silver

One of the little side effects of one of the drugs I am taking is that silverware and pretty much anything metal leaves a metallic taste in my mouth which sometimes affects the way things taste. Because of this I don’t drink anything from a can and I use plastic ware. Not a big deal at home, however it can be annoying having to always ask for a plastic fork whenever I go out for a meal. To their credit so far, every restaurant but one has been more than accommodating.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a big Walt Disney World fan and usually I gush about how wonderful they are at most everything. At a recent visit to one of our favorite eating establishments there, “Via Napoli”, I requested plastic instead of silver because of my condition. The waiter went to the back and when he returned he informed me that the manager said that they could not accommodate me due to the fact that they did not have any plastic at all. Now “Via Napoli” is a great restaurant and I love the food but it is not a 5 star establishment. Plus it is inside the Epcot resort at Disney World. I would think that they are probably one the biggest users of plastic utensils in the world. My daughter wound up leaving the restaurant and walking down to the next eating establishment and getting a plastic fork and knife for me.

This is the only restaurant that this has happened in. I still love “Via Napoli” and I will go back again, but it seems odd that any major restaurant wouldn’t plan for people with a special request such as mine. I’m pretty sure I’m not the first one to make such a request and I won’t be the last. So for future reference for anyone planning to open or who currently owns their own restaurant, consider having a supply of plastic ware on hand for those of us who are metal intolerant. And it may not be a bad idea for those of us with this condition to carry an extra set with us.

I plan on sending a letter to Disney and the manager of Via Napoli to encourage them to consider the metal challenged like myself, but I’ll do it in a magically Disney type way. 🙂

The trip to Disney itself was an overall success. It was my first one since I started my chemo treatments so I was a little apprehensive about it. I was able to move around the parks all day without the aid of any wheelchair or scooter (I will have to be in pretty bad shape before I do that). Plus I was with four boys under the age of 5. Not what you would call a stress free vacation for my first post chemo trip to the Kingdom but it showed me that I was able to do things that I previously had not been doing for the past three months. I did take plenty of breaks however because I am still kinda weak and I have not yet been able to get rid of the shakiness in my hands. Still, I was at Disney and everything seems better when I’m there, especially when I’m with family.

“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin

Megestrol the Mighty

About four weeks ago I was in pretty bad shape. A lot of things were happening but one of my chief concerns was the lack of food and water I was getting into my body. As you may or may not know, chemo as well as the cancer itself, will tend to take your appetite away. For me this was a big deal. I love food! And during this particular phase of my illness I got nauseous even thinking about eating anything. I wound up dropping down to 141 lbs. , very weak and sick, and had to take two trips to the ER just to get some liquids in me.

In the meantime, I had been taking a drug my doctor prescribed to me for a couple of weeks called Megestrol. It was supposed to help bring your appetite back. Having a name like that of a Transformer I was expecting some serious turnaround soon. Well the stuff didn’t really start affecting my eating habits until about three weeks down the road. Oh but when it did…… Now I am eating everything in sight. During the two weeks that I was off chemo at Christmas, I gained a whopping 20 pounds! Even after my two latest chemo sessions I am still eating and gaining. I’ve told my wife that no one is going to believe I have cancer with the weight I’m putting on. Now I’m gonna have to go on a diet. Sheesh! And it’s not necessarily that I stay hungry, it’s just that when I see food I want to eat it. No matter what it is. So now it’s time to start in with the self discipline and begin eating what’s good and healthy and less of the terrible trifecta of Lays potato chips, peanut butter M&M’s, and mom’s chocolate oatmeal cookies.

To sum up, if you are having problems with eating, talk to your doctor about Megestrol . I’ve read where it began helping people get back their appetite within a few days of taking it. It did take me however about three weeks. It really does work.

“I am not a glutton- I am an explorer of food!”
– Erma Bombeck

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”
― Julia Child

Does This Cancer Make My Colon Look Fat?

I’ve decided that I will use this blog to keep anyone interested up to date on my journey with colon cancer instead of weighing down my Facebook account with some of the less than humorous updates.

As to the title of this blog, well it has to do with a joke my daughter and I have shared with each other in various forms for a few years now. She would ask me in front of her friends if her shirt/pants/dress made her look fat. I would always respond with “No, it’s your fat that makes you look fat.” Her friends wouldn’t be sure how to take it which made it that much funnier to us.

Those of you who really know me, know that humor is how I deal with anything. When you first hear news that you have something as serious as colon cancer, being funny isn’t the first reaction that usually comes to your mind, although I did manage to crack a few jokes while I was being told. I think I handled the initial prognosis quite well. Shock probably had a lot to do with that considering I went in to the ER thinking I had a kidney stone and within a couple of hours was told, and I quote, “Well , it’s not a kidney stone, it’s cancer.” My doc could have used some bedside manners from House. (This would be sarcasm. I use it a lot.)  After he explained exactly what it was he was seeing on the CT scan and what he wanted us to do next as far as tests and scans were concerned, he asks do we have any questions? My wife is still trying to keep from losing it and I’m still essentially trying to stay cool so she won’t break down.

The drive home was interesting. What goes through your mind when you are given  bad news but not enough information to really tell you how bad it is? Every emotion seems to hit within those first few hours; fear,confusion, and anger the most prevalent.

That week was the worst of mine and my wife’s life. I am not usually an emotional person, but every emotion came into play that week. After all was said and done, the news was not too good. I had stage 4 colon cancer that had metastasized to the liver. Surgery was not an option due to the amount of cancer cells spread throughout the liver. I would need to start an aggressive chemo treatment in hopes that we can eventually get enough of the cancer cells in the liver destroyed so there can be a possibility of surgery to remove part of my liver.

So far I have had 3 sessions of two types of chemo. Since I was having quite a few problems with the oral chemo (Xalada) and it’s side effects, my doctor has now switched me to a replacement treatment for the Xalada. I have had one session of the new regiment. So far so good on this one.

The side effects are the toughest thing to deal with so far. They range from the expected bouts with constipation and diarrhea to hand and foot (where they literally get burned). I’ve dealt with loss of appetite although that is not a problem due to a drug called Megestrol. After getting a little too thin, I have gained 20 pounds in two weeks. Now I’m gonna need to go on a diet! The chemo treatments themselves leave me very weak. My hands shake all the time and now one of the pain meds that I am taking is giving me hot flashes. Major hot flashes. I wake up most mornings soaking wet, and they hit off and on all during the day.

With all this being said, I am very fortunate so far. I still have my hair (yay), my meds are keeping me from getting nauseous or feeling any stomach pains that occasionally want to rear it’s ugly head. And my blood work results keep coming back great. My last CT scan showed some shrinkage in some of the larger cancer cells in my liver. Good sign. I’ll have my next scan in February after about four more treatments.

I promise that most of my posts will not be this long. And hopefully there will be a tad more humorous things to report on. If anyone going through anything similar has any questions about some of the meds or side effects I’ll help with what I can.

I want to sincerely thank those of you have been faithfully praying for me and my family. You’ll never know how much it means to us. They say a strong support group is one of the keys to defeating illnesses such as this. If that is the case, then this cancer is already beaten.

“I believe in God like I believe in the sun, not because I can see it, but because of it all things are seen.” C.S. Lewis