Sunday, October 7, 2012

Halftime report

Well, it’s halftime, folks. After the opening two weeks, the home team holds a tenuous lead, but the opposition still has tricks up its sleeve that could tighten up the score in the second half.

I was back to the Providence Cancer Center in Portland on Friday for the second of four infusions of ipi, the same day I completed the tenth of 20 radiation sessions. It’s good to be halfway through the arithmetic progression of this four-week siege of treatment without a geometric increase in side-effects. I’ve been slowed a step or two, but not yet sidelined.
The sky says summer, but this
vine maple in front of our home
tells us that fall is definitely here.
So far, the fatigue I’ve experienced is not nearly as bad as I felt after my interferon infusions four years ago. I nap in the afternoon, but otherwise keep a normal schedule. The brain fog I experience can mostly be worked around. The worst side-effect at present is the severe itching caused by ipi, which I treat with hydrocortisone cream and oral antihistimines. My vision has blurred, but not so badly I can’t read when I want to.

The craziest thing I’m dealing with is that my hair hurts when I touch it. When I shower, I shampoo my scalp gingerly. There are spots on my scalp that feel like they're on fire. I can only attribute this sensation to inflammation of hair follicles, caused by radiation. It may be the precursor to the baldness I’ve been promised. Once the hair goes, so presumably will the hair pain.
A really good bit of news is that I’ve been able to run most mornings over the last two weeks. It’s possible that these three- and four-milers may, in fact, help reduce fatigue. I’m most energetic in the mornings, and the extraordinary fall weather we’ve been experiencing makes it easy to get out the door. There’s another 10k in Corvallis this Sunday I’m thinking I might run, just to prove once again that while I may have cancer, cancer doesn’t have me.

I’ve been fortunate to have come this far without the totally debilitating side-effects to what I’ve previously described as harsh and risky treatment. This isn’t to say that cumulative and/or delayed effects won’t take their toll, but we’ll deal with those as we must. I’m encouraged by my first-half performance. Now, after a weekend of the prettiest autumn skies you’ll ever see in Oregon, it’s back to the gridiron.


Nancy said...

Hey Peter, from the tone of your writing, it sounds as there was an infusion of football this weekend. Good allegories and I am liking the score and your performance so far.

Maybe God is behind this amazing fall weather that is encouraging you to run beneath these amazing clear and sunny skies. Keep running and I'll keep praying for your good health.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Peter. I discovered your blog through your MPIP post. I love your writing style and your spirit! You are blazing a trail down which others may follow, so keep up the good work and the tons of useful information. I sincerely hope that all continues to go well for you.