Despite what it may look like, I respect the readers of this blog so much that I like to bring something decent to read to the table each time I post. Generally, the lapses in information coming from me means that I’m happy, well and going about my life. Sadly, this is not one of those times. I am 50 shades of miserable and I haven’t felt like I could write something that anyone would want to read. I know, though, that our friends want to hear from us to get a feel for how I’m doing. Another reason that I’ve been reluctant to post is that I don’t want to be one of those pitiful people that just sits around and whines about all the stuff that is physically wrong with them. But, let’s be real, this blog might have started out as the life blog of a relatively healthy mid-fifties magazine publisher, but it has become more of a diary of a kidney cancer patient. So, I slog on, and especially with this post, I’m writing just so people can know what is going on. I don’t feel like writing. I don’t really feel like anything at the moment. Well, an empty husk might aptly describe how I feel.
If memory serves me well, I was given the 9th dose of high-dose interleukin 2 mid-morning on this past Thursday. Because some of my electrolytes were out of whack, I received a few infusions that got me ready to travel and we were released on Saturday afternoon. With only a part of a day to drive, we went as far as Kannapolis, NC for the overnight and then came on home on Sunday afternoon. I have been trying to recuperate since.
This illness and my own personal foibles have dealt me considerable one-two punches. You might recall that about a year ago what started as a good turn from my brother in the form of a tainted scrambled dog left me with five days of vomiting and diarrhea in addition to the normal difficulties of getting over major back surgery. Although, one of my most physically demanding weeks, I got through it and survived to write another day.
This HD-IL2 therapy was extreme, in every sense of the word. Every eight hours your body is infused with the HD-IL2 drug and this cytokine therapy is supposed to wake up your body’s natural immune system to fight the cancer. Getting the treatment is tough enough, but the week or so of downtime is even more difficult because you’re awake enough and alert enough to know you are just miserable. But I got another whammy and developed the worst case (of three attacks) of gout I’ve ever had. In addition to the awful itching and peeling, the crippling gout pain has made my life very difficult over the days since we’ve returned from Duke.
Itch update: So far, my entire face, ears, eyelids and neck have completely peeled, leaving behind the nicest skin I’ve probably had as an adult. My torso, legs, feet and scalp are sloughing off skin now, and because I cannot have any type of steroid on or near me, I’m dealing with this using bath treatments, lotions and drugs. The itching is maddening and coupled with gout pain in my right great toe, I’m a hot mess right now.
I know this is going to pass, but damn, I’m like to just get it behind me. Jill has been a constant, patient angel and she goes about keeping all our various balls in the air with grace and courage. I love her so. Hopefully, the gout will be gone shortly to leave me to finish recuperating from the HD-IL2 in peace. Then we’ll be off again on Sunday for the second half of the treatment and have to face this all once again. The prospect of a cure looms bright in my mind and helps make all this misery worth it. Thank you all for continuing to support us through this difficult time. Your prayers and notes of encouragement are continued fuel for the fire of my healing.