Friday, August 18, 2017

The Priest: Progress Report 1

The Priest
2,800 words

I took some time off while the chemo drugs worked their way out of my system, but I couldn’t remain idle forever. The Priest is an idea I’ve had for almost 20 years and I’m happy to finally be able to share it in a presentable form. It’s not quite ready yet, but it soon will be. The idea for it has always been The Warriors meets Saint Seiya, or for those of you who don’t know Saint Seiya, just imagine real, physical gods occupying a city with their priesthoods serving as the gangs. Here’s the blurb:
The Last Times have come and all of civilization has been boiled down into a crucible, one last city where religions scramble to claim converts and affirm their Truth before the end arrives…
This is intended to be a shorter one shot, either a long short story, or a short novelette. We shall see.

Friday, July 21, 2017

4th Cycle

I finished up my 4th cycle of chemotherapy about 10 days ago now and am finally starting to feel somewhat normal. I still tire very easily, but the nausea, which was pronounced this time, has finally abated. My blood counts are not bad. Thankfully, after a transfusion during my hospital stay, my red counts are higher than they were following the 3rd cycle, so no constant headaches. I have one more blood test to do before being scheduled next week for follow-up CT Scans (pelvis, abdomen, chest, and head), and hope to be back to work by Monday, July 31st.

Overall, this has been a very interesting experience. I don't doubt or question the efficacy of chemotherapy, but I don't want to have to go through it again. It was pretty unpleasant, and that's even with having a low occurrence of side effects. They did seem to be cumulative, though, and made a really bad recipe for depression. For those who have to endure additional cycles of treatment and/or suffer more from the side effects, you have my sympathy and respect.

This may be a bit premature, but I feel like I've been very lucky: first, both my urologist and oncologist were very good; my cancer was a type that is very treatable; as I've said, I've done fairly well with the chemo side effects; and, assuming all goes well, I can get back to a normal life in just a few months.

Fingers crossed for that last one!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

3rd Cycle

I finished up my 3rd 5-day treatment a week ago on Saturday and just had my follow-up appointment with the oncologist yesterday. All my blood counts were low, the red blood cells more so than usual, which explains the breathlessness and the pounding in my head with just about every step. Luckily the mouth sores mostly stopped being a problem a few days ago.

This has been a bit of a rough go. I had some... uh... digestion trouble once I got home, which, strangely, contributed to some nausea. Feeling much better in that regard and am now just hoping my red blood cells will propagate through sheer force of will. I know white blood cells and platelets are important, too, they just aren't as intrusive into simply being as I'm finding the red blood cells to be.

Something else that resulted from my hospital stay is an unfortunate case of phlebitis. The first IV I got—I've only had peripheral lines so far—burned a little and was sensitive to pressure/throughput. Even so, I pushed and pushed for them to keep it connected as long as there was blood return. I've been through 2 IVs each cycle so far and have been worried about my veins holding up to the end. Anyway, they switched it after my arm had gotten pretty swollen and all was well. The swelling didn't seem to be cause for too much concern and did go away, but after I got home—over the course of a week—the vein started to harden and swell beneath the skin, to the length of about 2 to 3 inches from the insertion point. It's red, sensitive to the touch, and feels like it just might snap if I completely straighten my arm. Not fun. I'm heating it several times a day now and hoping that the occasional outbreak of itching is a sign that it's starting to work itself out.

I've got another follow-up with my oncologist on July 3rd and hope to be admitted for the 4th and final cycle on July 5th. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

CT Scans

If I were sticking strictly to schedule, I'd have been readmitted to the hospital on Wednesday, the 7th, for my 3rd cycle of treatment, but since, my white blood cell count was low and my oncologist wanted another round of CT scans, I'm now scheduled to go in on Tuesday, the 13th.

The CT scans were done on the 8th and brought good news: the affected lymph node had grown to 4 cm by 3 cm and is now, thanks to treatment, down to about 2 cm by 1 cm—almost normal—and no longer producing detectable amounts of the telltale chemical marker. Yay!

Overall, besides tiring quickly and easily and being super susceptible to infection, I'm feeling pretty good. Hope that holds for a week from now!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2nd Cycle

Finished up the 2nd 5-day cycle of treatment a week ago, Tuesday, and had my follow-up appointment on Friday. The treatment itself was postponed a day due to low blood levels. A shot of Zarxio and some excruciating pain later and my blood levels were back up to snuff. This time, I had less of an appetite and started experiencing some nausea, both of which persisted after discharge from the hospital. Was really tired and weak for the first few days back, and my blood levels had sunk quite low again by my follow-up appointment, so my doctor said to “hibernate” and “be very careful”. Check.

As of today, though, my energy level has increased, along with my appetite, and I’ve gone two days with no nausea. Most of my hair is gone, except for a hardy strain of fuzz. I go in for a blood test on June 3rd and get the results on the 5th. I’m hoping that feeling better is a sign that my blood levels have improved and that I’ll be ready for readmission on June 7th or 8th to start the 3rd cycle. Very ready to be done with all this and get back to a regular routine.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tragic Providence: Progress Report 19 (FINAL)

 
Tragic Providence is live and available for download from Amazon.com!

In spite of everything going on (I'm off to the hospital in a few hours to start my 2nd cycle of chemotherapy),  the first King Yellow book is complete!


Thank you, everyone, for all your support!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Tragic Providence: Progress Report 18

King Yellow: Tragic Providence
2nd draft complete @
116,600 words

I've been back from the hospital for a week and have been feeling mostly good. I cannot thank my wife and daughter (and parents) enough for all their help and support. I've been eating with no trouble, and even had an increase in appetite for a few days there. I've been pretty tired and have noticed some hearing loss already, but today in particular has been a bit iffy. For the first time, I think I'm starting to slip into the realm of the weakened immune system. Been headachey and a little dizzy.

I have been able to proofread, though, and can proudly say that the 2nd draft is complete. I'm very proud of Tragic Providence. It is exactly what I wanted it to be. I want to make one more proofread run and then I'll try to start work on the eBook formatting. If I continue to feel like I did today, though, that might be a challenge. As always, fingers crossed!