Finding Chemo

Marlin: If this is some kind of practical joke, it’s not funny, and I know funny. I’m a clownfish. (Finding Nemo)

I don’t know where to find a fairy godmother at this late hour.
Giselle (Enchanted)

My last scheduled appointment for chemo in Philly wound up being a mixed bag of nuts. I was supposed to go into the center, meet with the nurse, and then begin my three days of chemo. After meeting with the nurse, we decided to set up an appointment with the quality of life people (ER), the doctor, and the wound specialist (doctor Sal. If all doctors had his personality the world would be a much better place). My incision from my April operation just won’t heal (thanks doctor Crocket). Once everyone took a gander at my wound, the consensus was to stop the chemo and send me home with some anti-biotics and clean and dress the wound daily. They all believed it would heal from the inside. This was the first time that all my numbers took a positive turn so I was very disappointed that I was going to miss a chemo session.

We wound up leaving the very next day which turned out to be good seeing as how we had a engagement party to throw for our son that weekend and we were going to have a house full of people.

We did as the medical staff instructed with the incision. As Dr. Smith from the old tv show “Lost in Space” used to say, “Oh the pain, oh the pain.” After the second day we began to get worried. The incision had re-opened and was deeper. It looked like an inch deep hole in my stomach. We knew we were going to come back to Philly that following Monday for an evaluation on how the wound looked. If it was better, I could resume chemo. If it was worse, they would have to do surgery which would keep me from getting my chemo treatments for who knows how long. And just when things seemed to be getting better on the cancer front for once. Needless to say this would be a big setback.

Thankfully however, the wound began to close the next day and by the day after that it looked a lot better. We had the party (I wasn’t feeling too well but I made it through ok) and it turned out well. Everyone seemed to have a good time. We caught a plane to Philly on Monday, which as I’m writing this happens to be today, and after my blood work was done I saw the first of my medical team. Dr. Sal thought the incision looked much better and he believed I could resume my chemo treatments. Dr. Jensen agreed with Dr. Sal and so all that was needed for me to resume my treatments is to get the ok from my oncologist. Unfortunately he was booked up and can’t see me until Tuesday afternoon. So that’s where I stand as of this writing. Odds are I will get back on track tomorrow and won’t have to be searching for my missing chemo treatments anymore. Who would have ever thought I would look forward to getting back to those nauseating treatments.

The Changing Face Of Chemo

“Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.
Eminem

My trips to Philly seem to always be fraught with drama, be it dealing with a surgical wound that won’t heal or passing out on a bus. This latest trip however seemed to be devoid of such shenanigans….almost.

Our trip began early on Tuesday morning, and by early I mean the roosters would peck your eyes out if you woke them that early. Getting up at 4:30 am to catch a flight is not my idea of fun. Me and the roosters are simpatico on this. We arrived in Philly where we were taken from the airport straight to the cancer center where we stayed until we finally were able to go to our hotel around 8:00 pm. A very long day. The remaining days were non-eventful.

Now my chemo sessions have pretty much gone without incidents. There are a lot of side effects that can occur but so far I have been pretty fortunate. My hair has thinned out considerably but then I had so much to begin with that I still have a good bit left, although that could change at any moment, I still get tired after the four to five hour sessions and a little nausea can sometimes kick in. This time however, the chemo kicked my butt. I stayed nauseous the whole time I was in Philly. Thankfully the center has good drugs so I was able to somewhat manage the nausea. This third round also gave me a new side effect, acid reflux. I found that I could not stop hiccuping and belching. The belching was the worst especially at night. I had a couple of incidents that first evening after chemo that I will not go into detail here but needless to say it woke me up several times. The nurses at the center said that this can be a side effect of the drugs I’m taking sometimes. So now I take Pepsid to counter the reflux.

It amazes me how chemo’s side effects can change every session. Just because you don’t experience a certain side effect one week, doesn’t mean it won’t zap you the next week. Chemo kills everything, the good and the bad. The longer you are on it the more effects you can wind up experiencing. Unfortunately this is a necessary evil because of the things chemo can do to many forms of cancer. Many more people are surviving cancer than ever before. Those of us battling just wish some doctor could come up with a treatment that can be as effective as chemo with a lot less serious side effects.

On a good note, all of my numbers from my blood work are either better or stable, including those associated with my poor little liver. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

A Hole In One

In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and snap! The job’s a game. –Mary Poppins

Do a good job. You don’t have to worry about the money. It will take care of itself. Just do your best work. –Walt Disney

Carl Spackler: Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac… It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!
Bill Murray (Caddyshack)

I do not golf. Not because I don’t like it. It’s because I am horrible at it. The last time I played I believe I shot a 90 on the first 9. I laid my clubs down and began taking pictures. Golf is a beautiful sport. Standing out on a beautifully landscaped course with the sun shining and a nice breeze…..very serene. Then you hit that first slice into the trees and everything changes.

My brother is a good golfer. He loves the game. A week ago he, with the help of my family, organized a benefit golf tournament and silent auction for my cause. It was an awesome thing to do and very humbling. I met people I haven’t seen in quite a while and some I had never met. They all talked about what an inspiration I have been to them. Very humbling. If they saw my golf game their tune might change.

We had a great turnout. 21 teams of 4 showed up for lunch, golf, and the silent auction. Woodfin Ridge golf course in Inman was beautiful. The staff was very helpful. There were quite a few good players there as well as some duffers. Everyone had a great time.

Afterwards a silent auction was held with some great prizes such as a guitar donated by “The Advice”, artwork, golf clubs, books, gift baskets, a Clemson and USC hand made wreath, and my favorite a Clemson football signed by the football staff including Dabo Swinney. I joked around that if no one bidded on it, I would put my name on it. The money would just be coming back to me anyway. Fortunately my cousin Eddie ( yes “Vacation” fans, I have a cousin Eddie) bought the football and then gave it to me. I have the best family. Thanks again cuz!

My niece Katie made lollipops that said lets lick cancer and she also created the bracelets ” Does This Cancer Make My Colon Look Fat Scott Land Benefit 2013″. She sold nearly 300 so far. Fantastic job Katie! Everyone did such a great job volunteering, donating, and playing. My thanks and prayers go out to anyone who was involved in this wonderful event. We raised over 12,000 dollars for our cause. Incredible!!! The outpouring of love and support just blew me away. We are truly blessed. I believe my brother is trying to plan some more events. Thank you all so much for a very blessed time. As bad as the cancer is, it has allowed me to connect with so many wonderful people. I feel truly blessed by this.

Maybe next year I will be healthy enough to hit the course myself. Watch out for the birdies ( I’m talking about real birdies. No telling how many I may accidentally kill).