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Archive for July, 2008

It’s just like that

When Friday Night Lights used to air every week on NBC, I used to profess to Elise, “Man, that is just like Bellville.”

Last night as we were eating dinner at Galileo’s Mexican restaurant in Bellville I thought to myself, “Man, this is just like Friday Night Lights.”

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The Swing

http://www.maly.tv/video/20080727_swinging.flv

20 Bonus Points to anyone who can name the song and artist that was playing on the radio as we walked through the garage!

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Kitchen buyin’ and headbangin’

Elise found a Little Tikes kitchen clubhouse with a picnic table on Craiglist today that we just couldn’t pass up. So we drove up to north Austin this evening to pick it up. The nice couple had it in their oasis of a backyard for their grandchildren who have since grown out of it.

Kitchen clubhouse

It took us half an hour after chatting with the sellers, reveling in their backyard, disassembling the kitchen and trying to figure out how to fit it into the Murano. We had to put Maly’s car seat in the front seat (Whoa yeah… she was stoked about that). Elise had to sit on the back of the forward-reclined rear seat with her chest pretty much pressed against the back of my seat. It was tight squeeze.

Since Maly was my copilot, we had to indulge in a bit of headbanging air guitar a la Metallica. I cranked up Orion. Sounded awesome and boomed on the Bose. John and I recently cultured Maly and Jack a couple weeks ago in the ways of drum, rhythm and lead solos, specifically for Orion on a recent car ride out in Lakeway. Maly remembered, and with her sitting next to me in the front seat, headbanged and even pulled off her own air guitar solo! It was so unbelievably funny. She was right on queue, and what’s interesting is that she chose to play air guitar left-handed! It was so stinkin’ awesome… My little prodigy.

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Bruise

photo

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PBSC donation

http://www.janicek.com/video/20080724_PBSC.flv

Photos can be seen here.

Please, become a marrow donor by going to www.marrow.org

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Arrived in San Antonio

Elise and I just checked into our hotel. I bought a pack of Tylenol PM at the front desk because I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight.

I guess my Pain Management Strike is over.

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Neupogen: Day 3

Headache (probably cranial swelling), fatigue, sore bones – mainly upper body, especially my chest and back ribs. My right humerus started aching on the way home from work this evening. I’ve found it laborious to breathe at times. And the best part, diarrhea! Squirt for a Cure.

I went in for my Neupogen injections at 1 p.m. sharp this afternoon. As always, Rosie and Laurie’s spirits were high — mine, not as much this time. I’m still really excited, but I’ve been really run down. I tried to joke and laugh and talk, but I just kind of wanted to sit in the chair, have my vitals taken, answer questions and get my shots.

Rosie asked if I’d been taking anything for the pain.

“No.”

“Oh, but you should. You’ll feel a lot better.”

“No. Y’all know I’m on strike.”

“Okay, but no more sympathy from me.”

“That’s okay. I’ll still love you.”

The rest of the afternoon was kind of ho-hum. I got back to the office in time for a meeting, which meant I didn’t get a chance to eat until after 2 p.m. I’d only had a piece of ezekial bread for breakfast from a loaf that Julie had made and given to us, so I was starving. I walked over to Jimmy John’s and ordered a Gargantuan with peppers. I ate half and gave the other half to John.

Last night I took 1000 mg of calcium, which I’m wondering if that might have helped with the aches in my skeleton. I also ate quite a few Tums today, which was recommended by Rosie yesterday. She told me that during the donation, my face and lips might start tingling, which is a sign of calcium deficiency, so I should start eating Tums like candy. Another perk of donating PBSC – guaranteed zero heartburn! So there’s your excuse to join the National Marrow Donor Program.

Elise and I had a difficult conversation last night. I guess was a little self-absorbed in my PBSC donation and had somewhat lost a connection with the fact that my wife will have to endure a miscarriage or a D&C soon. She’d called the doctor’s office yesterday morning, trying to get some kind of closure, or some answers to questions she still had. She waited in anguish until the physician’s assistant finally called her back late in the afternoon. She pretty much confirmed the inevitable, which took a big toll on Elise.

So we talked about it last night. She was really upset, and to add salt to the wound, she said she felt bad for not being enthusiastic about what was going on in my life.

To make a long story short, Elise talked to her mom today and decided to go to San Antonio with me tomorrow night and to be with me during the donation on Thursday. Originally she hadn’t planned on going because of scheduling conflicts and because we didn’t think we could entertain Maly at the hospital. Elise called my mom today and asked if she would come up tomorrow to stay with Maly at our house so Elise could be with me.

So I’m happy that Elise and I will be together all day on Thursday. We’re nervous that she could have a miscarriage while we’re at the hospital. So we’ll just have to wait to see what happens.

In the meantime, Maly was extraordinarily happy to see me when I got back from work tonight. She ran up to me and gave me a huge hug as I’d barely the chance to get through the door and kneel down. She’d forgotten about the boo boo band-aid conversation we’d had earlier that morning. After I settled in, I called Maly into the dining room and showed her my band-aids, which I intentionally left glued to my arm all day. She thought that was the coolest thing…

“Um um um um um, uh, Daddy work! And and and um, shots! And um um boo boo band-aids?!?”

“Yep, Sugar. Boo boo band-aids.”

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First post using WordPress for iPhone

This is my first post sent via WordPress for iPhone.

http://iphone.wordpress.com

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Shots and boo boo band-aids

I kissed Maly on the forehead this morning as I was about to leave for the office. We had this quick exchange.

“You going to work?”

“Yes, I’m going to work?”

“You getting shots?”

“Yes, I will be getting more shots today.”

“And boo boo band-aids?”

“Yes, I’ll be getting boo boo band-aids.”

“Okay.”

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Neupogen: Day 2

I woke up this morning and had to force myself out of bed. My neck, lower back, hips and femurs were really achy. I hobbled around the house getting ready for work. I had a lot of lower back pain while driving into the office. By the time I got to the office, I was in quite a bit of pain. During our weekly company meeting, it had gotten to the point where I had to lay down on the ground in our conference room. The rest of the morning left me shifting in my chair and taking frequent short walks to try to get the pressure to subside.

I had my second Neupogen injection at 1 a.m. today. I walked into the blood & tissue center slowly and stiffly. I didn’t realize it, but Rosie had returned from lunch a was walking in a few yards behind me. I walked up to the receptionist desk and Rosie walked by my, laughed and said that she didn’t recognize me because the way that I was walking. She then asked how I was feeling.

“I feel like I’ve been run over by a bus.”

She laughed. And I was okay with that. At this point, I consider Rosie a friend who is helping me through a really great time in my life, and her lightheartedness reminds me of that. She said that it’s mostly men that experience pain and pressure from Neupogen injections.

Laurie from the Cancer Center came in to administer the Neupogen. She did her evaluation by asking about how I was feeling. I told her about the pain and pressure in my hips, lower back, neck, legs and now my chest, shoulders and arms. After vitals and my work-up, I got the two Neupogen shots in my left tricep.

Shots and Hulk-like bone growth aside, I think the worse part about this process is ripping off those damn band-aids. I swear the Central Texas Bone & Tissue Center has their band-aids special-ordered with JB Weld adhesive.

By the time I got back to work, I was feeling surprisingly well. I think it might have been because I had been moving around. Or maybe because it was mid-day, perhaps when my body is its strongest. But around 4 p.m., I got another wave. It would double me over in my chair. I had to focus on my breathing and then find a way to get myself out of my chair so I could walk around.

Focusing on my breathing helped a lot. That’s something I’m going to have to be mindful of over the next few days.

As I type this (10:45 p.m.), I’m really achy. The pain isn’t twice as bad like I had expected, but it’s definitely elevated. My skull has also joined in the marrow expansion project which makes for a kind of headache that’s totally new to me. Fatigue set in around 8 p.m. tonight. I generally don’t get fatigued.

As I was driving back from getting my shots this afternoon, I decided to go on a strike. A pain management strike, aptly given the acronym PMS, meaning I’m not going to take any pain medicine. I see this as a rite of passage and an invaluable life experience. I’m sure he’s had to endure so much pain and my strike is my way of trying to take some of his pain away. If I could take it all away, I would.

I thought a lot about something this afternoon: Over the past two years, I’ve lost my dad, my grandpa, my brother and a child. If I could have done anything to save them, I would have. Now I have the opportunity to help someone.

Marrow.org

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Sweet jumps

http://www.janicek.com/video/20080718_Sweetjumps.flv No comments

Neupogen: day 1

I met Rosie and Laurie at the bone & tissue center this morning. First Rosie drew a vile of blood. This vile will be compared to another vile taken on day 5 to make sure my stem cell count has increased to whatever it is that it needs to be. Rosie is, by far, the best vein-finding needle sticker I’ve ever had. I honestly could not feel the jab, and I’ve been jabbed many, many times over the years.

Laurie, who works at the Austin Cancer Center gave me the two Neupogen injections after a quick medical work-up. I learned that they can’t give over 1 cc in one shot, hence the two injections. Both of them right into my tricep – where I’m aching the most these days.

We sat there and chatted for 10 minutes or so. They needed to observe me to make sure I didn’t have an allergic reaction to the Neupogen. I was reminded, and had explained to me in normal folk terms, why I was donating stem cells instead of bone marrow. Peripheral blood stem cells are “blank” cells. They’re really nothing until they’re needed. They can become red cells, white cells or platelets whenever the body tells itself to create more. The patient’s bone marrow has been in the process of being wiped out with chemotherapy and radiation since last Wednesday. My stem cells will be be transplanted to him next Thursday and will (hopefully) form into all of the healthy blood cells that he needs to survive and to rebuild his bone marrow.

Since he and I have identical DNA (kind of scary), this should and hopefully will work. A couple of things that we are concerned about is graft-versus-host disease. This disease occurs when the patient’s body recognizes the foreign cells from a transplant and rejects them. Also, since his marrow is being killed off, he has no way of fighting infections and his blood won’t clot should he get cut.

Neupogen injections every day at 1 p.m. until Wednesday. Thursday is the harvest!

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Lots of pushups

It pains me to write this. Not because what I’m writing is difficult to get out, it’s that my arms are friggin’ Jell-O right now. I just finished Week 4 of the One Hundred Push Ups Training Program by doing 105 push ups. Not all in a row, but that’s the goal.

Approximately two months ago I decided to start doing push ups when I got out of bed in the morning. No real goal, just 10, maybe 20 push ups every morning. A couple weeks after I started my regiment, I came across hundredpushups.com in my RSS aggregator. Seemed like perfect timing so I started out with the initial test. Since I’d already been doing push ups for a couple weeks, I was able to crank out 20 push ups, which put me on the “higher end” of the program.

The program has you do five sets of push ups. You start high, come down a little in the number of push ups in the following sets, then, on the fifth set, you try to do as many as you can (with a recommended goal number). At the fifth set, my arms are quivering pieces of linguine. I’ve adopted the recommended Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule, allowing a day in between for rest and recuperation.

Here’s what I’ve done thus far:

Week #1
June 23
10
10
8
6
10
Total: 44

June 25
12
12
10
10
10
Total: 54

June 27
15
13
10
10
15
Total: 63

Week #2
June 30
12
12
9
7
20
Total: 60

July 2
16
13
11
11
20
Total: 71

July 4
15
15
12
12
24
Total: 78

Week #3
July 7
26
17
17
15
25
Total: 100

Week #3 was a kick in the ass. I could barely eek out the sets above, although I did do 100 push ups total, albeit not in a row, but I was pretty proud of having done 100 push ups. The only problem was that they weren’t all “good-form” push ups; meaning my back hurt when I was done, which meant I was doing something wrong, and probably more harm than good.

So I decided to move myself a level down in the program. There are, what I’ll call, 3 levels. Level 1 for people who have very minimal upper body/tricep strength. Level 2 for intermediate. Level 3 for meat heads. I demoted myself to Level 2.

July 9
22
17
17
15
30
Total: 101

The above was difficult, but I managed to do all good-form push ups while staying focused on my breathing. Feelin’ the burn!

July 11
25
19
19
17
25+10
Total: 115

Week #4
Because of the bad news we’d received at our first OB appointment, I couldn’t muster doing push ups on either day 1 or 2 of week 4. So by Thursday, when I was feeling a little better, I had to double up if I was going to stay on track. That was brutal…

July 17 morning
22
16
16
14
26
Total: 94

July 17 evening
22
17
17
15
23
Total: 94

Yesterday morning I seriously could not use my arms to get out of the bed in the morning after having done 188 push ups the day before. I probably should have hydrated myself more and snorted some whey protein powder.

July 19
25
19
19
17
25
Total: 105

979 push ups since June 23. I think I’ll do 21 more at some point today to make it an even 1,000.

After four weeks of doing this program, I can definitely tell there is an improvement in my upper body strength. I don’t think there’s much of an outward physical difference, but I feel the difference and improvement when I lift up the cars and break oak trees in half. It’s just so much easier to do those kinds of things now.

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