Saturday, May 23, 2009

Is the Opera over? Because we saw Heart perform tonight...

...and Ann Wilson was singing up a storm. [ba-dum dum]

There is a weekend music, food and...err....possum? belt buckle? moonshine?...festival this week. It's on the river here. A festival on the river. Care to guess the name?

So we bought tickets to the Riverfest yesterday because there were some interesting nostalgia bands playing (the B52s, Heart, etc.) and tickets were $12.50 for THE WEEKEND. Last night we saw three songs of the B52s -- enough to see that the short woman had gained about 150 pounds but was still gamely capering around, while the tall woman was unable to move. Only the weird Fred guy was his old (and I mean old) self, prancing around and blowing on a slide whistle on one song. That was about all I could take.

I let Jill drag me to the other big stage near the Clinton library to see Willie Nelson. Willie, unlike the B52s, looked exactly like I remember him in the 1980s. Which is to say, impossibly old, frail, and smelly. But the audience was very much into it. I felt like calling out for him to perform a little known Manowar* song (like Bridge of Death, or Blood of My Enemies) but there are only two people reading this blog that will chuckle at the brilliant irony of that, and there certainly would have been nobody at the Willie Nelson show that would have understood or laughed. Blood of My Enemies could have been construed as a country song about the ay-rabs, though. In fact, I can see it now...Nick screams "play Blood of My Enemies" and some huge redneck in bib overalls turning around and saying "you dumbass, that's a Toby Keith song!" or something.

Anyhow, tonight Heart performed and I have to admit, they were awesome for the four songs we saw after the Lakers game ended (go Lakers!). They did a very good cover of The Who's Love Reign O'er Me (one of my favorite songs). Although from the looks of Ann Wilson, deep dish pizza has been reigning o'er her for some time now. Still, her voice was amazing.

I looked around and realized this is probably the last outing of this sort I'll be going on for a month -- I could almost see a thick halo of germs swarming around every drunk, unclean and/or smoking person there...which is to say about 98% of the people including security. They'd had about 12 hours to get to whatever state they were in by 11PM, so good for them, but it's no place for somebody whose immune system is about to fail. I went home and practically took a bath in the antiseptic handwash I have. a movie with too much exposition before the opening credits, here at last is the medical meat of this blog entry.

I took my 10 little dexamethasone pills this morning, and went back to the 7th floor at 9AM to run the gauntlet again. Labs were drawn, and some weird things were observed. White blood cells were low -- 2.7 -- but I was told this is because I started the Levaquin. Phosphorus, of all things, was low, and I was given a list of foods to eat. Uric Acid is a bit high, not sure what that is from. CRP needed to be below 10 to proceed with the Melphalan and it was 9.8...which is about what I expected given the cold that is still lingering but as I write this almost done. Red blood counts are holding steading -- still slightly anemic but a lot better than before.

The Melphalan went down without a hitch. I got my Kytril and Emend for nausea, which as of the time of this writing are fine. I did NOT get Zofran / Ragalin this time...and reading up on Zofran there are some side effects that can elevate liver tests, so I wonder if that's what did it? We shall see. There seem to be a lot of medicines that are doing that. So I will stick to my "if I don't need it, I won't take it" program. I got Zofran in the hospital and my liver numbers were fine...oh well, we'll figure it all out.

I also got a shot of Lovanox in my belly again, which was tolerable but not something I want to repeat. Sadly I need to do so 3-4 more times. So far, I'm sluggish but otherwise feel good. Three more days of this, and I'll have hopefully dealt the death blow to the cancer.

Pill rundown:

Levaquin (antibiotic, 1/day)
Acyclovir (antiviral, 2/day)
Tamiflu (antiflu, Swine and other, 1/day)
MetaNX (buncha prescription-form B vitamins as a prophylactic for neuropathy, 2/day)
Thalidomide (poison, 2 100-mg pills each night)
Protonix/Pantoprozole (ameliorates heartburn associated with all this other stuff plus the chemo)
Kytril (antinausea, 1/day)
Emend (antinausea, 1/day)
Atavan (required to combat dex to let me sleep, 1/day)
Senna (as needed to make sure I don't get the abdominal cramping problem, 1/day based on last transplant experience)
Fluconazole (antifungal, 1/day, they put me back on it)

Amazing there's room for food with all that, but there still is, at least until the chemo clobbers my appetite (which would be fine as I'm back up to 177 pounds which is about 12 more than I want to be carrying around). So since we needed to eat, I went to do another thing I won't be able to do for the next two weeks -- sushi! We found a very, very good place called Igibon. Shockingly fresh fish, and about half the price of what a similar place in LA would be. Something to like about Little Rock!

Well, it was a full day, given that I got the liquid mustard gas this morning. I expect the next few days will be progressively less full, until about a week from now when I will probably crash outright -- but I'm hoping the elevated red counts will enable me to have a little energy even then.

That's all the news that's fit to print and then some. Good night all!


*Manowar is a very obscure heavy metal band that dresses up like vikings, who take themselves wayyyy too seriously, and who had a number of decent albums in the mid 1980s but who are now widely considered a joke in the US even though they continue to be worshipped in Europe. Spinal Tap has nothing on these guys -- one of them accidentally struck the singer with a not-so-fake sword on stage in the 1980s and they had to stop the show to get the guy to a hospital. It may not be a drummer exploding spontaneously like Tap...but then it really happened.