I Usually Don’t Write at 5:36 AM

I am awake. Why not? I’ve been in bed mostly for the last 30 hours. Welcome to my final post-chemo weekend.

It actually hasn’t been too bad. Mostly fatigue. Mostly treated with bed rest.

My stomach acted up for a little bit, but a pill delivered by Nurse Helaine fixed that.

We really go at this in a much more organized and thoughtful way than when we first started. The idea is to keep me from dehydrating or having my blood sugar go too low. I’m already weak. Other problems can spiral quickly.

Tipped off by the sound of an upstairs flush, Helaine checked on me every few hours. I survived the weekend mostly on English Muffins with strawberry preserves and ice water in a red cup with a straw.

I’ve been up close to an hour now but my body is giving me the signs to pack it in. It’s not just my eyelids getting heavy — everything is! My arms and legs are a burden to move.

So far this weekend I’m down around 6 pounds.

I’m not going to miss chemo one little bit.

Creativity For Father’s Day

My dad’s picture frame, seen here with prop children.
My dad is tough to buy for. He’s 91. Skiing lessons are out.

The past few Father’s Days we’d gotten him a high end shave and cut at a place not far from his apartment¹. He liked the attention.

This year we went for hardware. The family bought my father a 15″ digital picture frame. We liked it because of some special features.

His “Pix-Star 15 Inch Wi-Fi Cloud Digital Photo Frame FotoConnect XD with Email, Online Providers, iPhone & Android app, DLNA and Motion Sensor (Black)” is equipped with WiFi. Once the frame is on the Internet anyone with its email address (or an app) can place pictures without my dad lifting a finger.

Voila! New pictures appear as if by magic.

So far it seems to be a hit. Our family has no shortage of photos to share.

¹ My father’s apartment will most likely be found mistakenly one day by a heat seeking missile. He normally keeps it in the 80°s.

The Post Chemo Surprise

We were ready for my post-chemo weekend. Everything was all planned out.

It wasn’t as bad as anticipated. Maybe we scared most of the effects away?

Make no mistake, you don’t want to have a weekend like mine. Most of Saturday was spent in bed with sporadic trips downstairs. I would nap a few hours and be ready for more sleep in 20 minutes.

Beyond that was the full body fatigue I’ve tried to explain, probably not effectively, before. Sometimes just standing and sitting are tough to do. Each step is labored. Concentration or deep thought are not recommended. It’s more than just being tired. That’s the part I’m not sure I’m explaining.

It’s just past midnight Monday morning. I’m not near 100% yet, but enough pep has returned for me to be functional. The worst has passed.

Thursday is my last chemo treatment. It is followed by a Neulasta chaser the next day. That has not been a fun combo for me. We’ll be ready again next weekend come what may.

Father’s Day Approaches

Harold and Toby

This weekend is Father’s Day. It’s a time to honor your father, sometimes with a gift.

Here’s our problem. My dad’s 91. What exactly could he use that he doesn’t already have?

I asked for help. The chosen suggestion comes from LaTonya who watches over my dad like a hawk… and won’t say anything.

Don’t say anything, LaTonya!

It’s on its way from his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. It will arrive Thursday.

Knowing my father it will also be opened Thursday. An unopened package is irresistible.

Now what the hell do we do for 92?

Please, Let This Be The Home Stretch

I wouldn’t wish cancer on my worst enemy. Actually, I really don’t know what cancer feels like. What grief I’ve suffered is 100% a product of my treatment!

This weekend was particularly tough. We time my chemotherapy so the side effects don’t show up until Saturday. Helaine and I were prepared.

We did the best we could in a shitty situation. I was fatigued in a way difficult to explain. Any motion meant great effort.

Helaine kept me hydrated and with enough food in my belly to keep my blood sugar up. I can’t imagine doing this solo.

It’s Monday now. I’m mostly recovered, certainly enough to be functional and working.

Two more of these to go. They won’t be easier.

All through my journey I’ve claimed I’m doing nothing special. It’s nothing more than following doctors orders, right?

This weekend I traded emails with my of the folks shepherding my care. “Aren’t I the norm,” I asked?

No, it’s not what everyone does at all!! Unfortunately, many people don’t go through this with your attitude or outlook, no matter how excellent or poor their prognosis is. Don’t get me wrong, I meet a lot of inspiring and courageous people here everyday, but, attitudes and outlooks like yours are not plentiful. I agree you are doing yourself a huge benefit by choosing to be positive, I wish everyone could find that within themselves, it’s invaluable during these trying times.

Total surprise. I had no clue.

Some of you reading this are in a similar situation to me. Having the right attitude will help you get through it easier. Make the commitment.

The treatments are still going to suck, but it’s Monday and I don’t remember much of what transpired (mostly sleeping or laying in bed). And after nearly a year the end is in sight.

Make no mistake, I can handle this. Anyone can.

The Complexity Of The Atmosphere

There is nothing on Earth as complex as the atmosphere. I’ve said that many times, but it’s probably meaningless words to most. Here’s where time lapse video (below) makes the difficult easier to see!

The atmosphere and humans run on different time scales. We don’t notice the atmospheric changes constantly taking place.

A few things to note. The low clouds that dominate the beginning of the video are associated with the marine layer.

A marine layer is an air mass which develops over the surface of a large body of water such as the ocean or large lake in the presence of a temperature inversion. The inversion itself is usually initiated by the cooling effect of the water on the surface layer of an otherwise warm air mass – Wikipedia

This is a very dynamic layer. Clouds are forming and fading constantly.

Usually the marine layer leaves my part of Orange County around noon, which is what happens in the video. As the low clouds fizzle they expose a high deck of cirrus clouds, formed mainly of ice crystals.

This higher layer looks much more stable. All the atmospheric physics that produced the clouds happened upstream. We’re just seeing transport as the clouds are propelled by light upper air winds.

It’s very cool to see this laid out before us.