Thursday, November 5, 2009

new website

THis is the last post to this blog although I will keep it active. I have a new site which offers more flexibility and should be easier to use.

be sure to check the photo section.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What a ride.

Sunday was a bad day. I blamed it on alcohol the night before. I was determined to at least give the impression that things were okay because Chris and Tammy were arriving late Sunday night.

Monday morning was slightly better. It was chemo time.

After giving blood, I spoke with my oncologists. Chris and Tammy were present and ready to drill the doctor with questions.

I told the doctor that I wasn’t feeling well and asked if alcohol was the cause. He said not likely and that the nature of the disease typically caused random pain. It became obvious to him that the meds weren’t doing the job so he wrote new prescriptions. He then proceeded to go over the following for everyone’s benefit.

The diagnosis: Pathologic stage T4 Nx M0-unresesectable. Mucinous cystadenocarcinoma of the head of the pancreas, status post biopsy –disease appears to be T1-2,N2,M1.

Treatments: Gemzar 1000 mg/m2 started 10/19. We discuss other treatments to include cybersurgery but until I have another CT (o/a Dec 14) no decisions will be made.

The third treatment almost wasn’t given because my white blood cell count was very low. The doc decided to proceed but he scheduled me for Neulasta shot on Tuesday. Sounded simple enough.

Steve also came by for a visit on Monday. Having the kids here makes a huge difference in my morale.

I slept l Monday afternoon. When I woke I wasn’t feeling too good but I tried my best to put up a good front.

Steve had to return to work Tuesday morning. Chris and I went to the rifle range. I was able to hang in for about an hour and half.

The afternoon was spent in our lawyer’s office making arrangements for a family trust. I thought I had everything in order. Not so. Not bad but still lots of organizing of information required.

At 4PM I went to the clinic for my shot. The nurse sat me down and explained all the side effects that I was likely to experience. She repeated it many times. In essence she said that I would feel miserable for 3-7 days. My interpretation was “if you want to live, you will feel like you are dying and may wish you could.”

Now get this. The shot cost $7000-no mistake, seven thousand dollars. Fortunately my insurance covers it.

Well it’s Weds; she was right. I feel like sh..

I will put a good foot forward; even plan to fish this morning. My new meds won’t be here until Friday.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's Tuesday...election day

Sunday was a really crapy day. The drugs didn't seem to work.  I had chemo yesterday and a meeting with the doctor.  I'll have more to report later in the day but I'm headed to the rifle range with Chris and some friends from Lakeway. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Alcohol: Bad

Last night we had dinner with Ken and Suzanne. The meal, company and conversation was great. I made a mistake however of having a Mexican Martini. It cost me. This was the second time I had a drink at dinner. The effect is the virtual clamp on my pancreas  seemed to tighten, i.e. more pain.  I survived the night but I won't make that mistake again.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Had a sub sandwich last night.

I have  very little interest in eating these days which probably accounts for the loss of 33 lbs. Last night was different. I had a craving for a Basilotto Special- a family specialty. For those of you that don't know, the Basilotto Special is a derivative of the Basil's Atomic Sub sold by my uncle Mickey at his south jersey sub shop in the 1950s.

I made a big sandwich which in earlier times, I could have eaten by myself.  Steve was here so he ate most of it. Pat also ate a good piece. I ended up with a small section but it satified my desire. This is rather significant because I'm not suppose to have processed foods and raw veggis. I was concern with how I would feel when I woke this morning. Suprisingly, I woke up feeling better than usual. I guess that is why they call it comfort food :-).

I'm off for a walk than a trip to the gym. Still counting on a miracle!.

Friday, October 30, 2009


I called my friend  this morning and he sounded much better. It turns out that the two officers who showed up after my call were his friends.

Another typical morning,however, I do wake up each morning hoping that the pain will be gone or that the nightmare will end. I sometimes believe I am in a dream-a bad dream but then I come to my senses.

Steve will be here tonight  to give me my periodic pep talk. Chris and Tammy will be arriving late Sunday  evening and will be here through Thursday. Chris and I plan to do some fishing and shooting. I know Pat is looking forward to spending quality time with Tammy.

Yesterday's meeting with old friends was great. We agreed to get together regularly. Our next meeting is next Thursday.

It's hard to believe it's almost Novemember.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Interesting morning

Started today like most days with a medium level of pain in the pancreas. Within about 30 minutes the pills I took when I got out of bed kicked in and I was ready for the rest of the day.
My typical morning consist s of a light breakfast, read the newspaper, check email and listen to ham radio. Some mornings I get on the air but I prefer to listen more than transmit these days.
This morning was a little different.
I received a call from a friend whose life is in disarray. He called to check on me but I think he was looking for someone who would listen to him. He ‘s getting a divorce he doesn’t want, taking care of his father who can’t take care of himself and will most likely lose his job. It was obvious he was at his rope’s end. I told him he needed to get help immediately. He said he had tried therapy but it didn’t work. I suggested that he call a neighbor or friend but he said he didn’t have any. I asked for his phone number and told him I would call him back to check on him. As I hung up, I could hear him crying in the background.
I immediately called 911 in his home town and asked them to go to his house immediately. They said they would. I will check on him later.
The irony of the situation this morning is he can do something about his situation, I am at the mercy of cancer that has engulfed my pancreas. Yet, he is clearly in more pain.
I guess we all have our problems, some small, others not so small.
I am having lunch today with today with a previous employer when I was doing consulting work. We use to have weekly lunches to discuss world matters. I enjoyed those times and hope today will be one of those times again.
Tomorrow, I am having lunch with my boss when I was president of the radio network. He’s a great guy and showers me with praise for saving the radio station every time I see him. He exaggerates my contributions but it feels good.
Went to the gym this morning which I’m sure will take its toll tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BM soooo good!

I remember my father saying that a good bowel movement was very important to one’s health. How right he was. The problems leading up to my cancer were all GI tract related. Constipation was and still is a real problem for me. This morning however I had a very good BM, which immediate improved my disposition :-).

While writing this update I received a call from Pete Celentano. Pete and I have an interesting history going back to kindergarten. Pete is arranging for a reunion with some of the gang I went to elementary school with. The first weekend /week of December is shaping up to be real adventure with reunions including family and another with my college buds in Atlantic City. And of course, visits with other close friends.
Just the idea of seeing guys that I haven’t seen in awhile is a morale boost.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Round Two

Second chemo infusion went well. Spent afternoon in bed. Good spirits but tired. Don't get as much done these days but then there isn't that much that's important.

Went to classic car show this weekend. It was probably the best car show that I've been to in a long time.  It was a good thing they were show cars and not an auto auction.  My little Porsche is crying out for a big  brother muscle car :-). Anyone know where I can find a 1965 GTO silver with black top?!?!?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Better today

I managed to get a full night sleep in part due to better drug control. I woke up with some pain but with a good attitude. Popped some pills and I'm good to go for about 6 hours before I have to take more pills.

My morale is very high after hearing this week from college buddies and other friends from my youth. It was sure good to talk with them.

We recently got new neighbors-Suzanne and Ken, who are terriffic people. Yesterday they went to a Half-price book store and purchased about 30 books from my favorite or soon to be authors after learning of my interest in sleuth/special agent novels. I find that losing myself in a good novel goes a long way to temper pain.

Steve and I are going to a car show at a local mall later today.

Tomorrow is round two of chemo. I'll provide an update tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday morning

I didn't want to get out of bed this morning because of the pain. I thought if I slept longer maybe it would go away. I wasn't surprised that I had pain because I didn't take any medication during the night.

I was really feeling sorry for myself. And, for the first time I was felling like "why me, will I really get better."

My first stop was the porcelain throne-still very constipated from the drugs and because the tumor is preventing my pancreas from creating bile.

Nothing happened, damn. I did manage to read another chapter from Brad Thor’s The Lions of Lucerne. The book is about a secret service agent, Scott Harvart, who is caught up in a plot to kill the president and blame it on Muslims. Scott is having a bad day but I think would rather be in his position right now.

I took my medication and within 30 minutes I started feeling better. My challenge will be remaining positive.

Steve will mentor me today in the use of an I-touch and particularly how to load stuff from I-tunes. We’ll also probably clean some guns. At the moment Pat and Steve are participating in a 5k fun walk. Later this evening we may even try some salsa dancing.

Earlier this week, Bob Hutter -a college room mate called. Bob is a very close friend who always makes me laugh. We decided that we, along with Frank Jacobs –another college roommate, would meet in Atlantic City early Dec. I also asked Steve to join us and will ask Chris to come also. [After my father’s funeral in May, my immediate family went to AC-it’s a place where you can escape reality.]

For the next hour or so, I will be playing ham radio. My ham radio buddies have been very supportive.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thank you

Just want to thank everyone for their emails, comments, advice, etc., especially those from friends that I haven't spoken to for years.

Pat and I are researching the many recommendations that we have received. There appears to be some very promising procedures out there.

My current treatment plan calls for 3 weeks of Chemo, a one week break, then 3 more weeks of chemo, then a reevaluation. Assuming the results are positive (noticble shrinkage of the tumor), I will probably get more chemo and maybe radiation.

I am hopefull

Better this morning a

I'm feeling better this moring. Got a good night's sleep-up only once to take medication. I think I have a handle on the drugs. Going to the gym later today to test endurance. Steve is coming for a visit tonight-I really enjoy it when he visits.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Havibg a lousy day

Had a rough night, not sure why. Trying to get a handle dispensing medication. Feel like I have the flu-one of the side effects of chemo.
Bought an I-touch yesterday (I already have a Blackberry Storm so I didn't need an I-phone.) In the process of adding my email account to the I-touch I somehow deleted messages I hadn't read and ones I wanted to keep. I set out this afternoon to mail a packaage FEDEX at Office Max-after waiting 30 min it was determined they their computer was broke. So I took the package to the UPS store and paid a third more to have UPS ship it.Got the mail, in it was the title to the Porsche with my name spelled wrong. I had to take it to the dealer for resolution.
had to call the hospital where I had my biopsy because my insurance company wanterd me to pay $7000 for the outpatient surgery. Apparently the hospial botched the paper work. Seems to be on track now.Call a former employer to check on some life insurance matters-got great assistance but learned that the former head (Greg) of HR died from cancer. Greg was 53; he had colon cancer but it spread to his liver. The surgery was successful but when the blood moved through his liver, he had complications and died. Greg was a good guy. Makes me wonder about surgery should I become eligble! I hope rest of the day is uneventful.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chemo effects

It is Tuesday evening...just finished dinner. No nausea; however, I'm very tired. Pain is about the same. The fatigue may be from gym workout. managed to get a long ride through the surrounding hills...put the Porsche through a vigoros workout on winding roads. Love that car.

I'm down to 209 that's 30 lbs below my high this year. I'm ready to drop another pants size-my goal is 175. The last time I was 175 was the late 60s.

I plan to adjust my medications, which I don't need like blood pressure and some diabetic and colesterol drugs. Taking more drugs then needed may also be responsible for my fatigue.

Still have a positive attitude although I tend to be a bit grouchy


Lat week we went to Disney World with family.  Being with family is very comforting. I can't belive how lucky I am to have such great kids (and grandkids)  and an incredible loving wife.

I started chemo on Monday. It was relatively painless and uneventful. I was told that the chemo I am receiving typically doesn't cause nausea and things like hair loss.

I have loss over 30 lbs and about to drop another pants size. I haven't looked this good in quite a while.

During the next three weeks I plan to get my "things in order."  After the first round of chemo we will go to Wash. DC and perhaps to NJ to visit with friends and family. 

I am still active with ham radio and look for every excuse to take the Porche for a spin to satisfy my need for speed :-)

I am headed for the gym-got to tone up the body.


I have inoperable pancreatic cancer. The major symptom is constant pain in the area of the pancreas. The pain is being controlled by narcotics. I am taking Chemo-Gemsar once a week. The goal of the treatment is to shink and stop the growth of the tumor.

I am in relatively good spirits. I am bless to have the greatest wife and family in the world and many good friends. I intend to beat this thing but it will probably take a micracle which I believe is possible.