So not much to say about today. I am at moment not at the Beth Hart concert that I had hoped to attend when I bought the tickets last December, but that is OK. The risk of getting sick from being in a large crowd of people is just too high. I am hopeful that she will play somewhere near here again after I am through all of this, and you can be certain that I will be there. On the plus side, my friend Dana was able to take her mom to the show instead and they will certainly have a great time.
I detected an early barrier failure today so I only got 1 day out of that one. I attempted something different to see if it would help, but that experiment failed quickly. I don’t consider that second failure today to be a normal failure since it was a risky experiment. Hopefully I will get my three days out of this one.
I made the Butternut Squash soup. I learned a lot in the doing, mainly to skip using the cheap stick blender that I have and just go to the blender. I ended up running it through the blender anyway just to get the right texture and remove the lumps. It tastes really good, but I may just buy a carton of the Trader Joes Organic Butternut Squash soup next time.
Tomorrow starts a new week. This week I have an appointment with the Surgeon, and my normal Wed. treatment. I will meet with the Oncologist when I have my Wed. treatment and get the results from the extra blood tests taken during my last treatment. I feel good and strong so I am hopeful that those numbers will be good also.
I accomplished most of my Saturday goals today. First I cleared space in the garage for my new Home Gym and moved my dumb bells from my bed room to the garage. Then I spent about an hour assembling my new weight bench and workout mat. Finally when that was all done, I set the commuter bike up on my trainer and rode for 30 solid minutes, after which I did some light work with the dumb bells on the bench ( just biceps and a little chest). I was tired afterward, but it was a good tired.
Following the workout, and before my shower, I removed the old appliance that had been on for 3 solid days at that point. Those of you that have been following this blog know that I have had difficulty getting my 3 days out of these things, so it was really nice to remove one at the 3 day point without it having failed. I inspected the one that I removed to see if or where it would have failed and am pretty confident that it would not have lasted another full day. Maybe it would have if I had not done the workout, but it seems unlikely. I took advantage of a relatively calm stoma to shower without the appliance on, after which I installed a new one, hoping for another 3 days. That hope was shattered a few hours later when I detected leakage from the new one. I believe that the problem with the new one was related to not waiting long enough after the shower to do the install, and the skin where it failed may have been either damp, or polluted with moisturizer from my shower soap. The failure point was actually where I would most expect one as my stoma is not even height all the way around due to the curvature of my belly, so this was the lowest point of the stoma. I paid particular attention to getting a good seal on location with the new application and hope it gets me to Tuesday.
Otherwise today was pretty relaxed. After my workout and shower (but before the failure), I hit Peet’s coffee for a decaf Cappuccino and some reading, then Trader Joes and Stater Bros. to pick up the missing ingredients for the Butternut Squash soup that I will make tomorrow (Sunday).
Today came at just the right time. I worked from home the whole day which really helped keep my energy levels manageable. I still had several meetings and many phone calls, but the work is progressing and it is good work, so that is nice in itself. By the end of the day I was tired, but not nearly as much as the last few days when I had gone into the office. My vitals are all still good and I am holding my weight, so the Oncologist will hopefully be pleased on Wednesday.
The dietician came today and we chatted for about an hour. She didn’t have any great revelations for me, mostly much of the same things I got from the first briefing and reading online. Mainly I need to avoid going too heavy on the insoluble fiber, and increase the soluble fiber intake. In honor of that goal, I will attempt to make Butternut Squash Soup tomorrow.
Not much else to say about today. My weight bench came so tomorrow I should be able to set up my gym in the garage, relegating my car to the spot in front of the garage door. My only other weekend goal is to spin on my bike for at least 30 minutes, do some light resistance work with the dumb bells and bench, and if I feel motivated, try to run the Ethernet cable between the Living room and office. I think using a hard line will help with my VTC issues when calling into meetings, since those things are notoriously finicky over WiFi.
There isn’t much to say today. Things continue to be good. The fatigue is real, but mainly it hits pretty late in the day. It looks like I may have managed to avoid the majority of the plague carriers this week, thankfully folks are wisely taking their sick time and staying home when they have the Flu.
Tomorrow I meet with the dietician so I have that to look forward to. Otherwise it looks like a pretty uneventful Friday. I hope to get my bike on the training stand on Saturday and do some light spinning in the garage. Otherwise, Tuesday night saw the recording of Rick and Morty Season 1 Episode 1, completing my full Rick & Morty collection, so now I can start to watch it. Hopefully I won’t binge through a marathon, but rather doll them over time.
Today was good generally. Some minor side effects cropping up, mainly fatigue (my voice gives out about half way through the day if I am hosting meetings and doing much talking) and another bought of the dreaded Montezuma’s revenge over night. The main issue with that of course is lost sleep as I wake up several times in the night to empty the pouch, and the liquid content had bad effects on the barrier, so I was sure going into today that I would be changing out the appliance at some point. I managed to make it until lunch at which point I could feel the slight burn as the skin was being contacted. I headed home (thankfully I live 2 miles from work) rather than conduct a field change at the office, and managed to get there before the outer adhesive had started to fail. That kind of barrier failure is normal and to be expected, so I am not sweating it for now. Hopefully the Imodium and bananas (the B in the BRAT diet of Bananas, Rice (white), Apple sauce and Toast suggested for dealing with the trots) will make tonight less of an issue.
The work day went well, but so many meetings and such an early start left me pretty tired around 3:30PM (which considering my 7:30 start was almost a full day) so I headed home and took a much needed nap. The nap did wonders and after about 90 minutes of that I was feeling much more like myself.
I finally heard from the dietician and have an appointment on Friday. I am really hopeful that she can help me come up with a diet plan that will accomplish all of my current goals.
First I have a left over item from Monday. Monday’s blog post almost didn’t happen. When I went to write it, my wordpress pages would not load. I logged into my hosting service (Hostgator) and found that the backend database server was not running. Thankfully, I was able to use the online chat with hostgator support and they were able to fix the issue pretty quickly. This is almost a shameless plug for their service since my experience using them for the last several years has been all positive. Things happen and having the database server go down is not out of the question, so I appreciate that they gave good and quick service to correct it. Now on to Tuesday.
Today was pretty uneventful. The good new is that the barrier I applied yesterday has so far held up. On top of that, my shipment of spares arrived, so I am good to go for the time being.
Work went fine. I started my day working from home, then headed in around lunch time to attend a few meetings. I am pretty happy with the teams that we have working our program right now, so things are pretty positive all around. Tomorrow morning will start early since I scheduled an 8AM meeting to work out some design issues with the team. Even so, I am looking forward to having that group collaborate on the next design piece. My vitals are all still good. My weight is mostly maintaining. I did drop maybe a pound in the last 2 weeks, but I consider that a good thing. The nurse told me on Monday that she did get approval for the dietitian consultation, so I am looking forward to getting that on my calendar. So far the only notable side effect of the chemotherapy is still the increased cold sensitivity. I am really glad to be living in SoCal since I don’t think I could handle a North East winter right now.
Nothing special about today. I had a visit from the nurse and everything seems to be going well. My only issue is still the adhesion of the Ostomy appliance barrier, which I hope to get a handle on soon. I received confirmation that my order of backup supplies shipped and should arrive tomorrow, so my stress level remains pretty low, but I would like to understand this problem better.
Other than that issue, I am still feeling well and the only effects that I can see is that my voice is not as strong. I don’t know what this is related to, but hopefully it will pass. In the meantime I am limiting my speaking which is giving folks the wrong impression that I am a good listener.
A good day today. The appliance held up, so the “caking” of the powder with the barrier spray must have done an adequate job of protecting the skin. My sizing of the barrier opening along with using only part of the ring to focus it on creating a good barrier, but not too thick also seems to have helped. I can see that the skin outside of the barrier is still raw where the previous barriers had failed, so I will definitely have the nurse check that out and get suggestions.
Otherwise today I did a little bit or work on a side project, and some house keeping in my home office. My All-in-one Printer/Scanner/Copier/Fax is now online and working great. I also moved a half dozen old computers to the under stair storage along with other miscellaneous boxes and gear. I still need to get the Ethernet run from the upstairs (living room) to the downstairs (office) which will allow me to get the work computer off of wifi which should yield a much more reliable connection for both work and the video conferencing.
The new MacBook Pro is working fine. I purchased on Amazon.com a Thunderbolt 3 to dual Displayport device that is driving my two monitors really well. I also picked up 2 USB-C to USB-A adapters that allowed me to connect that laptop to my switched USB hub ( It can support up to 4 different computers, provides 4 USB-A connections and has a button to select which computer is connected). This serves as a basic hub for far less cost than the $300 docking station I have my eye on. I also cleaned off a larger spot on my desk for Isabella to occupy. Despite that, she still wants to sit right on my mouse pad.
Today I received an envelope containing cards from the students in my niece’s first grade class. They were all very nice and I was happy to get them. If well wishing and positive thinking is the key, I certainly have that in abundance now. Thank you Jessica for the warm thoughts, and thank your students as well. You can tell them that I don’t really have a favorite color, I find them all quite nice. The students are all quite keen on seeing the now famous Isabella, so here is a picture:
Otherwise, today was mostly uneventful. I am still not feeling any of the dreaded side effects from the chemotherapy, but am still experiencing a degree of consternation with my Ostomy appliance. I tried 2 different ones today (samples sent by the vendors) and both failed within hours. I hope they were just the wrong size, but my normal one has been causing problems again, so I will make sure that the nurse checks it all out on Monday, and hopefully she will have some suggestions. I went online and pushed an order so hopefully I will get that in before I get into another stressful situation. So far my reserves are still looking fine, but that is not guaranteed if I have multiple failures in a single day.
Today was pump turn in. It ended the 46 hours of 5-FU infusion. So far the only side-effect from the second treatment has been the expected cold sensitivity. I am hoping that it will end soon since it is quite a nuisance. It is mostly noticed if I drink something cold since it feels like ice in my throat. Beyond that my hands are very cold sensitive so I need to make sure the water has warmed up before washing them.
Today generally felt good, but I was a little tired this afternoon. All things considered though, every time I go to the treatment center I feel like I am actually getting off easy. Some of the patients are in great pain and having a much harder time of it. I am grateful for the good health that I started out with and am determined to do what I can to keep that edge.
My ostomy appliance still serves as my most troublesome thing. I made it until this afternoon without any leaks and am grateful for the 2.5 days that it lasted. I swapped it out with another only to have that one leak almost immediately. Since I had gotten samples from another vendor, I tried out their appliance. It was a different style. Instead of cutting it to fit, you are supposed to mold it to fit. I think they sent a size too small though. My first attempt to apply the barrier failed when the barrier material sprang back before I had it applied and it was too tight around the stoma. Removing the barrier left it in a dubious condition, so I tried again with the second one (they sent 2). This one seemed to apply fine but I felt that itching indicating that the barrier was compromised a few hours later. I swapped it out for one of the ones I had from the nurse which have a larger barrier than I usually use, and i am hoping that the increased surface area will provide a better seal. I am holding out on trying the other vendors product until next time. If this one makes it until Monday, I will try to wait for the nurse to change it again and have her check out the condition of the skin and stoma. I don’t have too many visits planned from the nurse so I want to take advantage of this one. I think the best thing that I can do to improve my appliance adhesion is to lose the remains of my gut. It is difficult to apply a flat barrier to a round belly.