Sunday, August 28, 2016

Change of plans

Here's a quick sketch of my pears done Thursday on hot press. Kinda fun.
Well, last Tuesday I ventured to UCSF by private limo (which was a hoot) to see a Dr. who is a specialist in my rare lung cancer mutation. The bottom line is he spoke strongly against my having the robot radiation. He was convinced that the area at the bottom of my left lung which other doctors thought was fluid or infection, was indeed metasticis from the tumor at the top of the lung. You can see that I don't even know how to spell metasicis, let alone understand it. He ruled out any kind of radiation, chemo, or surgery. As hard as that was to hear, Catherine and I felt for the first time we were talking with someone whose knowledge was trustworthy. So that was a warm relief. I came home and cancelled the extensive plans for radiation and staying at the Mikado. A ct scan up here on Thursday seems to validate everything the UCSF doctor said. So the only possible treatment seems to be a drug which is not yet approved by the FDA and costs $11,000 a month. Moreover it is a drug which can only be taken for a year, as it harms the liver. At 86 I am not stressed about my diagnosis, but I do hope that I will soon get a handle on pain management. Right now it is a challenge. Most pain drugs make me loopy, and I am loopy enough without adding to my agenda.
On a lighter note, my asian pear tree is producing vigorously, and I can't give them away fast enough.

My gardener finally hauled away the summer growth of flowers and with Indian summer coming, I may get a new harvest. Yeah.
Around Sonoma county all of the grapes seems to be harvested and the tourists are pouring in to taste the latest.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Winding Down, or UP?

Summer days now are shorter, and a little cooler, which is appreciated, though the fire around Lower Lake makes for dramatic orange sunsets and moon risings.  This author with compromised lungs does not appreciate the hazy air. The authorities are pretty sure they have the arsonist in jail who started this, and seventeen other fires.
On the home front I've been pestering my gardener to prune back the perennial  plants, which he usually does in July, allowing for a radiant second bloom of everything in September, but my pleadings seem to be ignored. The garden looks forgotten. Now he is coming

next Wednesday with a big truck to haul away the dead stuff, and who knows if I'll get a second bloom. I guess in the larger scheme of things, this is inconsequential, but it bugs me.
Tuesday morning at six a.m. a professional driver is taking me to UCSF in the city for a second opinion on my rare cancer mutation, and he will hang around for the two hour appointment, before bringing me back home. A new kind of adventure. Cross your fingers that his diagnosis and treatment plan agree with the one I already have in place. Otherwise, like the flowers, I will be in a confused state.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Progress. Finally.

Looks like I will hang my hat at the Kabuki hotel in San Francisco's Japantown for radiation the week of August  29-Sept 2, and Sept 5-8, with my fifth and last radiation Sept 12.  I'm relieved to have it all scheduled, that is if the robot does not go on strike or the earth shake.
Meanwhile, in sunny Santa Rosa I have not found any more rats nibbling my asian pears or sending me indoors shrieking.
All over Oakmont the crepe myrtles are showing their stuff. They come in as many colors as in my water color palette, but I love the intense pinks the best. Some are thirty or forty feet high. but I keep my three (sample shown) at about eight feet, so as not to obstruct the mountain view for my neighbors.
Driving to Boyes Hot Springs yesterday for fish tacos, which is twenty minutes East on Highway 12,
 I noted all the grapes have already been picked. Its a very early crush,they tell me.
Excuse me now, while I catch Face the Nation. I have to see what new tricks Trump is up to.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

I Am Unique!

I'm really tired of writing about my lung cancer, but its about all that consumes my life right now, other than the proliferation of rats that have invaded everyone's garden in Oakmont. Since the fruit of my large Asian Pear tree started dropping, two six inch long critters have set up shop in my yard. They think they are household pets, and so far have ignored the traps set by my gardener. They are so tame I could name them, and they'd probably eat out of my hand, but they give me the creeps big time. They look and act nothing like the wood rats I had in the Oakland hills, which primarily lived on wood, including my rafters. These guys are very light grey, and have white tummies. They look like they escaped from some child's pet cage.
So, there is much news on my lung cancer. Friday I saw my oncologist here, Dr. Brett. He informed me the mutation studies were back and showed I had a very rare mutation., called Met. Now all cancer is a mutation, but this is a mutation on a mutation. No one on his staff has ever heard of it. In such cases the cancer is treated not with radiation or chemo, but with a pill which changes the gene.
So he thinks in the meantime we should go ahead with the Cyberknife at Sutter, SF, and then deal with the mutation later.
On the phone I ran this decision by a therapist, Angie, who leads the women's cancer support group here. She is adamantly opposed to my pursuing the radiation, as is my neighbor, Linda, who works for a company that manufactures a   robot in competition to the cyberknife.
Yesterday Catherine and I spent four hours on the internet researching MET. Seems that there are a few places in the world, including Northern Italy, where they are seeking volunteers for clinical trials.
So don't be surprised if my next blog comes from a foreign land.
Meanwhile, Brett ordered a lung xray because I was in so much pain. It seems that the simulation for the robot two weeks ago which failed because I was screaming with pain, caused two more ribs to fracture. Thats all I needed. Previously 10, 11, and 12 were fractured in my fall last Sept. They are almost healed, but now 8 and 9, just under my diaphragm, are newly fractured. Brett gave me stronger pain pills, which help.
In a way, I'm glad I am unique. But decisions would be easier if I were a plain old roof rat. Wish me the wisdom to make the right decision.