Chemo+2: Not That Bad

Today is the second day after chemo. On three of those second days the Gemzar dripped into my system 48 hours earlier brought me down. Imagine sleeping over 20 hours in one day accompanied by an upset stomach.

We scheduled my treatments to account for this. Thursday is chemo day. Saturday/Sunday are blocked off just in case.

It’s not going to make a difference for a while. This was my last chemo session before six weeks of radiation. There will be more, but not until spring.

I was a little tired this morning. I napped. I’m good.

I ate a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich lovingly prepared by H. Seriously, Helaine cannot make the pedestrian. She minds it carefully until the sourdough rye turns a beautiful gold and the cheese has melted across the tomato slices. It is a thing of beauty and then you bite in. Wow.

My day has gone well. Much better than anticipated. I’m smiling.

Need my strength for tomorrow. Big weather day in Nebraska. Four stations. On all day.

What I Told Them In Nebraska

For those who’ve never seen an ice storm, EVERYTHING gets coated. Forget about driving. Enough ice will bring down trees and power lines. This is not the same as sleet which falls as ice pellets.

I just sent an email to our reporters who’ll be covering the weather Sunday in Nebraska. An ice storm is coming and for parts of the state it will be very bad.

Hi Everyone –

Here’s where things stand tonight. The storm begins to enter Nebraska Sunday morning, moving in from Kansas. Raindrops will fall into subfreezing temperatures at ground level.

For those who’ve never seen an ice storm, EVERYTHING gets coated. Forget about driving. Enough ice will bring down trees and power lines. This is not the same as sleet which falls as ice pellets.

By noon the freezing rain should be lightly falling through our Southern Nebraska cities. The past few model runs have ‘favored’ the Grand Island area with the most ice, enough to do significant damage. Meanwhile Beatrice, Fairbury and the Missouri Rover cities see a bit less, but still substantial.

Columbus then Norfolk get the ice in evening. It should be lighter in Northeast Nebraska. Based on current guidance it looks under 1/4″, but pretty close.

Weather forecasts have improved greatly in my 30+ years, but this is a particularly gnarly forecast. Ice storms demand many more parameters be accurately predicted. A small shift in the middle of the atmosphere can bust a forecast. And it kills me!

By tomorrow the High Resolution Rapid Refresh model will pick up the storm. It updates every hour, looking at the next 24, with spatial resolution that’s a little crazy. It will guide me as we draw closer. It literally does the physics for individual raindrops (we call them hydrometeors) as they free fall through the atmosphere.

Be safe. It is easy for a storm like this to get ahead of you.

Questions?

Geoff

Ice Baby, Ice

Ice storms aren’t rare, but they are unusual. That’s because so many parameters in the atmosphere must be exactly right at the same time. For me it means extra forecasts to follow the drops and take their temperature from cloud to ground. A few degrees change anywhere in the atmosphere could mean sleet, snow or even rain. So many places to go wrong.

Now I remember why I hate winter. Winter weather forecasts! They are difficult, demanding and you don’t forget when I’m wrong.

You don’t. I live with it.

There is an especially difficult forecast coming this weekend for Nebraska and much of the Plains. A low pressure system moving in from the south will wedge a pocket of warm air above very cold air at ground level. The result is raindrops hitting the surface, freezing on contact.

It’s an ugly setup. The ice weight can bring down trees, power lines, (and my boss’s fear) even radio towers. It coats road surfaces eliminating most traction. You can’t drive on ice.

Ice storms aren’t rare, but they are unusual. That’s because so many parameters in the atmosphere must be exactly right at the same time. For me it means extra forecasts to follow the drops and take their temperature from cloud to ground. A few degrees change anywhere in the atmosphere could mean sleet, snow or even rain. So many places to go wrong.

A good ice storm forecast starts with a reliable QPF (quantatative precipitation forecast). It’s our Achilles heel. The morning and afternoon NAM model vary by a factor of six in how much liquid will fall over Norfolk, Nebraska. That’s not helpful.

A few days ago it looked like Grand Island might get all snow, easier to deal with than ice. Now they’re progged to get the most ice!

There are 66 forecast hours before this storms makes Nebraska. The precipitation just moved into the time domain of the NAM, so along with the GFS a chance for more numbers… more consensus or confusion. In the last 24 hours the HRRR (high resolution rapid refresh) adds to the fun. They seldom all agree.

This is so confounding at times NOAA puts out bulletins with their advice on which model seems most trustworthy: when and where.

Sunday’s ice storm is likely. The question is who gets the most and will it rise to “State of Emergency” status or be much ado about nothing?

Chemo Number Six

Net result: chemo means peeing! It’s a bit of a chore because you stay hooked up. If you keep your eye toward the hallway you’ll see a steady stream of patients walking to the loo pushing tall metal poles on which the drugs hang.

Today was ugly in SoCal. We’ve come out of our drought the same way a roller coaster goes down that first hill–too damn fast!

Hillsides are sliding. Some roads are blocked by boulders others water.

I was ready for a bad drive, but traffic was light as I headed down the 405 and 55 to Newport Beach. Today was my last chemo in round one. Radiation is next, then round two.

My catheter port (the alien in my chest) still gives me the heebee jeebees. Before I left home I applied numbing cream over it then covered it with plastic wrap from the kitchen.

Either it worked or my port has enough scar tissue that it’s become “senseless!” Zero pain.

The first step on chemo day is a couple of vials for my blood test. Am I healthy enough to get poisoned?

While Nurse Kelly took it to the lab I fell asleep. I would have slept through the entire session except she came back to hand me the results. I napped more through the steroids and my chemo drug, Gemzar.

Through the session bags of liquid were being dripped into my body. Net result: chemo means peeing! It’s a bit of a chore because you stay hooked up.

If you keep your eye toward the hallway you’ll see a steady stream of patients walking to the loo pushing tall metal poles on which the drugs hang.

Tomorrow is my Neulasta injection. I’ll probably leave the doctor’s office with an order for more blood tests before radiation begins.

If the chemo leaves me fatigued or sick, it probably won’t happen until Saturday.

I’m cancer free. You just can’t tell from my treatment schedule.

Another Visitor From The East

Barry Schulman came by today. It was another in our series of “as long as we’re in California” visits.

Don’t stop. I love them. People visit California a lot (though this is rainy season).

I know Barry because he once tried to hire me and once succeeded in hiring me. He was director of programming at SciFi who brought me on for Inside Space. You might have seen Barry’s name flash by on Great Performances and other PBS cultural programs where he was a network executive.

Like so many in ‘the biz’ we have mutual friends. That means good gossip. And I got to show off my studio. I like doing that.

We went to In-N-Out. That’s where I snapped the selfie. We even learned what “animal style” is.

Barry’s one of those people I sense could easily enjoy life out here. He heads east in the morning.

What I’ve Learned So Far

A lot of you say you’re benefiting from my posts about my life during cancer treatment. That makes me feel good. I like doing a service.

On the other hand, every time I feel a pain or suffer a brief setback your Facebook comments make me feel like you’re seeing this worse than it is.

Let’s put everything into perspective for my case and probably others. Cancer treatment sucks. It hurts. But the pain doesn’t last. The indignities are brief. By the time I’m writing about my crappy day most of the crappiness has passed.

The same goes for my post-chemo weekend. No one wants to feel absolutely exhausted before taking a step. I knew it wouldn’t last. I even expected it. My shitty weekend was already on-the-calendar.

I felt bad, but there’s a difference when you know what it’s about and you expect it. And certainly there’s a difference when you know it will be short lived.

You have no idea how much I appreciate and value your prayers and support. They have meant the world to me. What has happened so far is exactly what you prayed for. Thank you.

I am headed in the right direction to live a long life. Speed bumps along the way don’t warrant additional worry on your part.

Everything’s good. I do, however, love the attention. I won’t lie.