Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pre Race

First of all - so many thanks for all the positive thoughts from all of you, it means more than you can imagine.  Well, one week of radiation down and there seems to be signs of success.  My proptosis – the bulging out of my right eye – seems to have gone down significantly and I do not feel the pressure any more.  My vision this week was changing daily because of the poking in the sphere and the bending of the optic nerve was probably changing daily with whatever reduction in the tumor.  Today, my vision in my right eye is pretty poor but hopefully it will adjust.  I have not lost my eyelashes, eyebrow or the hair at the back of my head where the radiation comes out, so that is good because I have at least one or two more days in the office.  Five more treatments to go.  The lymph mode removal surgery formed a seroma – a fluid filled sac where the node used to be – and it is annoying.  Its like having a tennis ball stuck in your armpit, not too painful but annoying.  I hope they can aspirate it on Friday before I start biochemo.  The seroma is like all my previous experiences with doctor’s estimates in that they said a small sac that will hardly be noticeable will go away by itself in short order.  In my estimation, it’s a very large protrusion under my skin that is impossible to forget that will take 1-2 months to go away.  Not that I’m bitching, just that it worries me about the biochemo I start on Friday.  Doctor’s have been at a loss for words to explain how bad that will be to go through, but it’s universally agreed that it will “kick my ass.”  So what’s it really going to be like?  I have to think about what it will do for me and not what it will do to me, and it is a long distance race.  I keep thinking back on great bike rides where I outlasted other riders, pushing myself far beyond where I even thought I could go.  One time I was with a really strong group of a handful of riders who broke off the front of a casual Saturday 65 mile ride.  We were all pushing each other faster and faster and I knew we were biting into our ability to keep the pace over the whole ride, this was a showdown until somebody broke.  I also knew I felt stronger that day then my estimate of how the others felt, I’ve ridden with them enough to read them.  I started showing signs of flagging, sticking out my tongue and wagging my head with the effort.  In the corner of my eye I could see they allowed themselves to do the same.  Then I started to sway my hips slightly, pedaling more square than circles, grabbing my water bottle a little too hastily.  They did the same.  I knew ahead in the road was a slight rise followed by a flat section then a right turn up to the beach.  If I could break away on the rise and stay away until I turned out of sight I doubted they would chase me.  Once someone is out of sight it psychologically very hard to keep up a chase.  I fast forwarded my iPod to a motivating song – “Undead” by Hollywood Undead and, at the start of the rise, stood on my pedals with every last ounce I had.  When I topped the rise I got down in my drop bars and pedaled for my life, never looking back.  When I hit the beach after the turn I was alone, and for the rest of the ride.  I think this biochemo will be the same, me versus cancer to see who will outlast each other, who will push it to crazy limits of suffering until somebody drops.  I’ve been training for this race my whole life.


  1. William - you have what it takes to totally kick this thing. With your attitude, biochemotherapy will be your team-mate instead of your adversary. We are pulling for you!!!
    -Michelle & Rob

  2. Chemo affects everyone differently and you won't know until 'you know'. Whatever happens you can be assured that you will be kept as comfortable as possible. Go easy on yourself and think positive thoughts about getting back on that bike! You're #1 priority is you and our #1 priority is letting you know that we're behind you all the way. Go Bro Go!!!

  3. William- So happy to hear the eye is making progress already! I continue to be amazed at your strength and your attitiude as I read this blog. I agree with Michelle & Rob that this biochem is your team mate--another soldier beside you with a complementary strength to aid you in winning this war. I will be thinking of you this week and sending positive thoughts and prayers your way. Cheering loudly in Ohio....

  4. Mein lieber Sohn.... You know we are fighting with you. I know you will beat this and all the prayers that are being asked for you can only help.
    All our love and support,

  5. We know you are going to win this race. Your family and friends are there cheering you to victory! Our prayers and thoughts are with you. Your attitude is inspirational. We love you.
    Love Molly, Drew, Taryn, and Kendall

  6. Happy B-day Bro! Thinking of you as that first chemo cocktail starts taking effect. Hang in there!!!