So far, So good

The first night in a hospital for me in over 38 years and it wasn’t too bad.

They are giving me so much fluid that the worst of it was frequent bathroom trips (try peeing in a jug–they have to monitor my “output”–at 3 in the morning). Oh, yea, and there was the woman down the hall moaning for help at 4a.m.

This morning I had an ultrasound of my heart which was really cool to watch.

Otherwise, not too much excitement here.

One step closer to lymphoma-free.

How to Use a Blog (or Welcome to the 21st Century)

Since I will not be able to speak to all of you every day, I welcome you to Bald Mike’s Blog, a place where we can communicate via the amazing technology of this new fad called the internet. Contrary to Alaska Senator Ted Steven’s, the internet is not actually “a series of tubes.” To hear Sen. Steven’s actually call the internet a series of tubes (I’m serious about this), click this link:

So I post… then you all respond to me, to each other, to your imaginary internet friend, and we create a happy little virtual community where we can take care of one another (kumbaya), make fun of my soon-to-be shiny head, share meatloaf recipes, and make fun of the quickly fading Boston Red Sox.

You can do all of this by clicking on the “comments” button below each of my blog postings, and writing a-little something.

So there you have it. See you online.

Time to Slay the Beast!

After a twenty-four hour wait, the call finally came, and a lovely room with a view of the Penn medical school campus opened up. Jacqui and I are now at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (6014 Rhodes Pavillion), there’s an IV in my arm, and it’s time to continue the process of de-lymphomatization, or, in other words, time to get this nonsense out of me.

So here we sit, having just told a nurse the time of my last bowel movement, waiting for my first chemo order to be filled. The chemo will be “delivered” twice a day in a two hour drip. The nurse doesn’t expect me to feel too bad this cycle, and is sure that we’ll be on Cape Cod late Saturday night for a little R&R.

Most of you probably think that either a) I am completely insane for joking my way through lymphoma OR b) I am in complete denial for joking my way through lymphoma. I would suggest, instead, c) that the best way for me to slay this beast is with determination, optimism, and laughter. I have no doubt in the outcome, but I do recognize that there are peaks and valleys ahead, and that sometimes the space between the two may seem vast. But with my wife by my side, with a baby on the way, with my side kick Otis making me laugh, and with all of you standing by, the ride will be much smoother than it would be if I were facing this alone.

Soon? Maybe?

Have seen enough reruns today of Quantum Leap and Star Trek to officially qualify myself for world’s largest uber-nerd. Just got a call from the doctor, should be called in in a few hours.

Oprah’s on, will update later…

Treatment – Day 3

August 28, 2006

Rituximab 1, Lymphoma 0

Today I received my largest dose of rituximab. Rituximab is a genetically engineered monoclonal antibody specifically targeted to the CD20 antigen on the B-Cells involved in my lymphoma. Just over an hour into the treatment I started to cough uncontrollably, which was followed by a spike in my temperature and severe chills that left me shuddering for almost thirty minutes. It was not painful at all, and, because the reaction meant that the drug was doing its job, it actually felt good to be coughing and shuddering like crazy.

As soon as the infusion ended, all the effects wore off.

After the treatment, Jacqui, my mom and I went shopping for baby furniture. We bought an adorable set, and can’t wait to meet the little Yudell/Rick that will sleep in it. The baby is due in three months, and despite all of this lymphoma nonsense, all I feel is joy when I think of what is to come.

Treatment – Day 1

The First Treatment: A Blow by Blow

The first hookup was 25mg of benadryl, followed by 50 mg of rituximab. For a few moments at the beginning of the benadryl, I could taste the medicine. That passed quickly. The benadryl made me feel like I weighed 300 pounds and was moving in slow motion. No reaction to the rituxan after 10 minutes or so. Hopefully, it stays that way…
20 minutes in and all I feel is tired from the benadryl. Nothing uncomfortable so far… 40 minutes in. Ready for a nap… 15 minutes to go. Benadryl is mostly worn off. Not feeling so tired. No adverse reactions to the drug.

All of this is so bizarre.

How can someone feel so healthy, yet be sick? If I hadn’t been such a neurotic freak, poking at a slightly swollen lymph node in my neck, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here right now, and the lymphoma would just be doing its thing without me knowing it was even there.