Dear Cancer…

So I’m not entirely sure when you moved in honestly – but your stay is coming to an end. Tomorrow we start 2/4 chemo – and I am thinking you are going to disappear more and more.

May have knocked me down some, but I’m slowly getting back up, I’m slowly working to recover life, may not always do it well or have the energy to do everything I could do before, but one step at a time – little more energy each time.

In 2 more treatments, I’m looking to hear the words “remission” or as I call it “eviction” your stay will be done. You’ve changed my body, my hair, my daily life – things will be better. Restored. Renewed.

So farewell cancer. This hairstyle will be great to be rid of and go back to my amazing red locks 😀

Cancer Update

Seems like a million years ago this all started with pain. A solid 7 months now and counting but cancer markers in the blood as well as size of the mass are all down!

Now sadly doesn’t mean I am out of the woods yet, just means we are getting it under control. Did another round of chemo this past Monday full dose this time and no radiation. Feeling better ish compared to full weekly radiation but still fairly puny as chemo has side effects and one of the meds side effects is joint and muscle pain. Tylenol and Advil do very little, I have stronger meds but sadly nutrition wise, not a good idea to be knocked out.

This week we visit City of Hope to ensure we are on a good path, not too concerned but first big trip and weary about the pain mainly.

What a journey! I mean from pain to cancer to treatment …. Crazy. Writing this on my phone and not much more to say thus going to call it a blog and hit post. Thanks for checking in!

Nearly a month later.

So here we are, nearly midnight on week 5. So the rundown of what I have had thus far is:

  • 5 Chemo Treatments (1 reduced 20% due to low white blood count)
  • 29 Radiation Treatment (2 missed due to port placement)
  • 2 Hydration Treatments
  • 1 Port installed for easy treatment setup
  • 1 Feeding Tube Installed for Ease of Nutrition.

Crazy really. Just all so quickly done. Just like one day its “So treatment….” then “So feeding tube…” then “So this port thing will save your veins”  – so 2 surgical procedures which even now is still something I’m getting used to – the port alone is weird because it’s under the skin and that’s just … weird! The feeding tube you can at least see and know its there, Lilly says the tube is soft, so its Lilly approved.

I think we are finally getting nutrition under control, I am grateful for the new formula we finally got switched to, no dairy! Milk has been my enemy sadly and I didn’t realize it, Esophagus cancer produces mucus like nothing else, so the milk doesn’t help that, thus we got to a veggie/fruit based shake, and it goes down easy and has made life a bit easier! 

Was able to see my fam as you can see in the photo on the side, for mothers day, was nice to get to see my brother and sister, crazy how much weight I’ve lost in all of this, nearly 30lbs down, a few shy of my lowest as an adult, but crazy how much fat has eaten away in all of this! But was good to see fam and celebrate mom, Lilly took Daisy to lunch so thankfully I had cash to allow Lilly to pay for lunch – not my usual Mothers day plans I try to follow through with but was nice to give something to my wife for mothers day, and my mom getting to just spend some time talking with my siblings all in one place.

Hair is starting to go slowly. If we are indeed wrapping up then I may make it out with something still on my head, but honestly beard and head both are loosing, but not super noticeable simply because my hair is fairly thick to being with, but it was always a possibility, but they figured I’d make it out with no loss, but body is going through a lot, so not entirely surprised.

My rotation of life is pretty standard, long Monday’s, Tuesday through Friday brief morning visit, try and function for a bit, then end up crashing after some minor work, but honestly can’t complain. Swallowing has mellowed added in some extra meds to deal with the risk of infection, and to deal with mucus production, but all in all today I feel a lot better. I slept like 14 hours on Saturday alone! Just another week on the horizon this week, then one more possibly 2 simply because I missed some, but praise God for my amazing family, Daisy and Lilly taking it like champs as it has changed our dynamic quite a bit, but they are both supportive, and Lilly let me know my 100 doctors will make me better!  My mom and dad supportive in occasional supplies mid-week including but not limited to Tuna Fish Sandwiches. 🙂 Sis and Bro both on call if needed, but nothing to bug them about at this point, but as we come around to re-test and such, may need some more fam on deck to plan a shindig to celebrate this being done! 

So that’s really it on my status, been slow to update as some bad days, some tired nights, but today was better, and just wanted to really document a bit since its been about a month. Hopefully, another update soon once treatments are done and I get 3-4 weeks break before re-testing. A break would be nice! Thanks all for your prayers, support and love you are sending my way. Good night!

Day One – Done.

Day one was going to be at last I knew just Chemo. Radiation had a snag last I knew and something was holding it up but that would change.

I got there early after a rough night with an anxious Lilly I think picking up on Daddy & Mommy being anxious, its Chemo, you hear stories of vomiting and general sucky activities. So the Brown house was quiet, but a little girl kept asking about why the train was so loud when people were sleeping, what the neighbors were doing up and letting me know I was going to be okay and holding my hand.

Sleep didn’t come for me till around 3ish, and the alarm was 6:45 am – so not a ton of sleep leading in, but we got up, we got ready – my breakfast choice of the day via feeding tube: Vanilla (it’s always vanilla lol). We headed out.

Arrived and got all my usual intake goodies, weight, check in on changes, diet/meds/pain/mood/fatigue – every visit, that’s the rundown, then met with the weekly “Doc” visit and got a rundown of what was next in the day, and we waited till my name was called – Daisy and Lilly hit the cafe determined to wait until I was done, but Mondays are always my long day, today was nearly 8 hours in total.

So got all my paperwork signed, went through another survey, blood draw, and vein finding (first poke, go hydration!) and then we warmed up the veins and started the first hour, which is the lifesaver as I’m calling it the pre-meds for handling nausea, reflux, pain, and making you relax the second bag is actually just more long-dose nausea meds to really keep that going after all things, so by the end of it I was in heaven strangely – you have to understand this all started because of pain, and I think the steroids may have been enough to cut the pain and Benedryl made me a wee bit sleepy (I may have dozed off).

Then it was the main event, chemo med #1 – 3 hours (felt like less) and I met a nice older gent next to me named Henry – we chatting, the guy across from me we joked with his home nurse, and I prayed as he had a few seizures, but he made it through and went home smiling and told me Good Luck and have a blessed day – overall a great time chatting with people and having only some mild flashes of nausea which went away almost as quickly as they came.

Then it was the second bag which was 1.5 hours chemo drug number 2. By that point I was a little more functional, still occasional wave of nausea, but was able to write up something for customers to let them know what was up with delays & things going on, but then my lovely RN Sheri came and said: “Hey after this, Radiation wants to have you!”  – So this day was now Chemo + Radiation again.

So we wrapped up, I sort of mapped out a better plan in my head of what was to come each Monday and going to better build out my go-bag for the long days, but next was down the hall, waiting for I think 5 minutes and they brought me back to the radiation waiting room.

When I was called back the room is HUGE. 3 nurses got me prepped and had me lay down and they got me positioned, and had me have my arms over my head, asked me to remain still, they’d be out of the room, and the machine whirred to life and did its thing – now for me it was supposed to be 30 minutes – Dry Run -> Production. However it really didn’t feel that way, but then again I may have fallen asleep lol – but they came in over the speaker saying “You’re doing great, keep staying as still as you are, we’ll get you out of here soon” then after a few spins of the machine around me, doors open, lights came on and a nurse tells me “I’m going to give you your tattoos now.” she put on some ink, then a tiny pinch, another, and one more – 3 dots are now on my skin for life! 

Now you have to remember every ounce of this is new to me, some in my head I’ve mapped this out of the stages and I figured “Okay they finalized the map in the dry run, now with the tat’s I’m ready for the big show” so I asked “So now radiation?” they said “Nope, you’re done for the day, go home and rest.” That was done. I was finished!

So on the way home, we stopped by and got the anti-nausea meds, both Chemo & Radiation teams said “I know they told you only as needed, you need them, take them before bed.” and I must say strangely? It helps feeding on the tube. My stomach doesn’t get upset anymore, I was able to do my evening feeding and not feel like I was going to throw up! So win.

Next, I hit the mailbox hoping for a check or two that are a week or two late, but no such luck, but some boxes arrived and my Instagram request was granted – I was gifted a Nintendo Switch! You are all amazing, I’ve also had others offer money, anything I want, got a gift card to Amazon too – just insanely awesome outpouring of love & support to me and my entire family, it’s just flipping awesome.

Now while the nerd in me said “Oooo set it up” I didn’t, most I did was put in on the charger and then I passed out. Daisy and Lilly stayed at her parents for the night so I could not have to worry, try to take care of them, and let me rest – I did, only been up about 3 hours now and going through over 1k in emails, maybe 4 tickets, looking at a performance issue on a server, and ate. Sleep will come again soon!

Today I do my next treatment of radiation – so the journey continues, and every day my prayer is the entire team’s hands are guided by God and I’m expecting amazing miracles!

Thanks for reading and thanks for support & prayers!   

The Reason Why.

So after months of trying to sort out my back, we have an answer. It’s not my back directly, but it does really hurt.

After continuing to complain to docs about my throat and the inability to swallow and PT really just kicking my butt and leaving me in more pain, GP’s PA sent me to a GI, GI said “Well it’s in your throat… I can’t see in, so we will do a scope.” We did a scope, in which he did a biopsy of a “blockage” in my throat, so for one, score – I wasn’t crazy, I couldn’t swallow for a real reason – but he also ordered a follow-up of a CT scan to see how big. That was the weekend before last, and the CT scan gal said: “It’ll be done today, it was ordered stat.” So apparently he wanted it quick.

This past Monday we had our follow-up with the GI, he said “It’s cancer.” he said he hadn’t gotten the biopsy back yet but was fairly certain as to what it was, he’s seen it before, and quickly got us scheduled with CBCC to follow-up however before we even finished scheduling and talking about the next steps – Biopsy results came back. Cancer confirmed.

So we went on Wednesday to talk with the Oncologist in the morning, great entourage support of my brother who came into town, mom and wife, they let mom and wife back (limit 2) and he said type of cancer he felt we could treat, shrink, etc. but before we knew 100% we needed a PET scan – insurance sometimes moves slowly might be a day or two. Well, Daisy called and didn’t really have to chase anyone down (too much), the crew at CBCC is awesome. They got us in the next morning before 7AM, worked with all my issues like blood sugars were low, etc. they looked after us, got me in, scanned and tried to get us in the same day, however earliest was Friday morning. 

So Friday morning, Me, Wife and Mom returned, going to find out where the cancer was, how bad stage-wise, and work on “the plan” – Stage 3 Esophageal Cancer – he laid out the plan, and I must say this doc just insanely peaceful to work with, laid it out, gave a plan, he’s supporting my family too not just me which makes me feel better and he gave us the next steps.

What are they? Well Monday we meet with the Radiological Oncologist about the shrinking this junk, Tuesday I get a feeding tube put in to let me give my throat a rest, keep my sugars/nutrition where it needs to be, and make life easier, then if all goes well first of 6 weeks of treatment may start this week.

4 months of being on my back, taking it easy, trying to rest and feel better, PT, etc. to find out my body is handling a lot. They’ve given me some stronger meds to handle pain, but they leave me at the point of sleep, but I’m not giving up, not likely to be the easiest road ahead, but even in just the few who’ve followed up privately and talked about it, and family who’s heard through the grapevine, amazing love and support. I can say enough how much it helps to have that love and support and folks standing beside me in prayer.

So 6 weeks of zapping this thing back to the stone ages, then removing what’s left down in LA – God is good. I can’t complain, He’s given me a peace I truly don’t understand so far through all of this, and really working hard to keep Lilly’s life normal. She knows daddy is tired and works late, but she’s loving on me telling me to feel better, we talked the other day and I told her how the doctors are going to work to make me feel all better! She’s praying for me too! 

That’s the rundown of where I am. Not exactly the cause of back pain I expected, but I feel confident in the doctors, my brother and a friend are working to find me a spider for radiation treatment times… so might come out with some new abilities 😀 but God is Good, even in the crazy storms of this life, just expecting his healing and to see him use this ol man for some amazing things throughout. 

Thanks for reading and checking in! 


Ball dropped.

So in the first time in all my professional career I find myself with a project that has been completely nearly ruined by my health. Never before have I have a prolonged health issue set like this to where I can’t even think.

It’s Sunday but the customer decided to call the company I’m doing the work for and give the likely final coming to Jesus talk. They aren’t happy.

I have tried my best to meet the customer’s demands and desires, but when you can sometimes not even find the right work word in conversation, to even do completely straight forward code has become insanely difficult. I wish I knew more PHP developers to work a deal, get help, have someone else do it.

Just been a really rough couple of months in which on top of it all, I’m just really getting depressed about things. No progress, Monday I make a call to my GP again to see if we can do blood work, going to fast tonight so I can hopefully just go in and get some blood draws and see if anything can be found. Just at the end of a rope and there is no end in sight. 

This project would of have been insanely helpful to complete, it would have fixed up budgets as I haven’t had any real side work for 4 months now so that usual steady flow is dried up – but I have tried 3 times so far today in trying to get the code out, but sadly just get to a point I want to cry as I’m frustrated that I can’t even think.

Then to get a call in which I got even more stressed out, just not a good time in life right now, and while I know even if I fail, its not the end of the world, I just don’t like this stage of life, and wish to move on to the part where I get hugs and briefcases of money. 😀

For now going to finish up this rest session and try again I even cut it into smaller pieces to not overwhelm myself so going to focus up and see if I can knock out small things and maybe get more accomplished – just praying my brain can hold out and frustration over being exhausted and unable to think will be at bay and I can knock out this last leg.

Chromebook Devbook?

My time upright the past week has been very minimal. 20 minutes here, 20 minutes there – whatever this pain is coming from is getting very old.

Since I am not at a stable desktop I am working on Laptops and while the Macbook is great – it eats through battery pretty quick, and the Chromebook – well its not built for dev. out of the box it lacks solid applications unless they are web based and codeanywhere and a few other web based IDE’s are nice, just not the same flexibility I’m used to with Atom or another editor.

Enter Chromebook Linux support. A nice addition.

I managed to get Filezilla & Atom both running – I’d love to see sshfs running so I can mount SFTP as a drive, but for now a working PHP editing station with really good battery life is a nice change of pace.

Going to fire a few more minutes between waves of pain, but hoping to get to sleep soon if the pain can die down a bit – not ideal but Monday I get a chance to see a GP and maybe get some answers as to what is going on with this old cranky body of mine.

Night all.

It’s Monday … Everyday.

Lately I’ve been in a rut, for lack of a better work.. a rut of suck. 

Several projects ended up overlapping, each of which came with their own brand of crazy, and it seems like I can’t catch a break… or I did and that’s why my back hurts *rimshot* 

But today was the part I hate. I have customers who are complete jerks sometimes and in both cases I think I’ve lucked out and both are fairly understanding but today I got the talk about “trust” and that’s something I hate to not build with customers but this issue with my back has really kicked me to the curb and it’s been completely out of my control.

I understand a customer’s need for it done yesterday, and while the first knee jerk reaction is to return blame being placed upon you, I owned it. I explained that I was sorry I’ve been non-functioning, and honestly in the last few days I’ve been hammering away at debugging and getting things finalized and working even while in a considerable amount of discomfort – but thankfully at the end of the call they were a bit more relieved to hear we are closer and closer, and even suggested a few options for Doc’s in the area and nearby areas who could help if I still can’t find relief.

I can’t wait for this season of suck to be done, I’d love to get back to 100% functioning and really get things going, get projects that I put off for these two for around the house, for growth and company ideas, for even just getting back to the Gym and enjoying a delightful and much needed walk, lift, massage session 🙂 (That’s my order of events at the gym) but sadly that’s still a ways away.

Got a new GP, so hoping we can sort things out, maybe hit the Chiro again and get back to feeling good and functioning! 

Dislocated Rib?!

So it is about as bad as it sounds. So far the dislocated rib option is sounding the most like the cause of the issue – reason? The back brace I am wearing is up along my ribcage and it provides pressure on the ribs, while this might seem painful, its keeping things in place I think! 

This is something so far my wife, chiro, and mother all are thinking might be the actual issue as this helps and I’ve been a bit more functional the last day or so with it, than I have in almost 2 weeks.

Still some pain, but posture is one of those things which can cause it and my posture and fairly out of wack back are both things which can lead to this, so nice to feel more productive in the last day or so then I have in again like 2 weeks.

Code is coming along nicely, once the customer signs off and its public I’ll post a link, but just a lot of projects lately, last night included some big eComm updates which went by far the easiest I’ve ever had over the years, it just worked so what we hoped was going to be around 30 minutes, ended up being an hour (waiting on snapshots to be taken) but in the end it worked!

Today has been coding galore with my coding project, and fixing up some hiccups between dev box -> cPanel box – I do like cPanel for hosting, but sometimes coming from Vanilla-ish Linux setups some PHP configs don’t work well in a shared setup, but so far so good, ironing out bugs, and if I can stay upright a few more hours today the front end will be 100% done, and I can move on to finishing the backend similarly on the cPanel setup and customer on Monday can really start kicking the tires and I pray it works just peachy! 

For now, going to swap to the bed for 30 minutes and l let my back/lungs rest a bit, then come back in for more worktastic fun!