Friday, January 13, 2012

Free Beer and the Answer to All of Life's Questions

Not really. Just checking. Some of these posts -- and it seems to be the ones with the most provocative titles -- have been getting more readership than others. I have noticed that my post entitled "The Axis of Evil" has been getting a lot of love from Russia, and "The 20 mg Solution" (and a lot of my posts about Oxy), have been getting a similar amount of attention from Colombia. And I'm huge in Denmark, Romania and Slovenia, for some reason.

Likewise, an older post named "Psychosomatosis" continues to be perused regularly. Perhaps it's a shoegazer-death-jam band name or the name of a gripping, grocery-store mystery novel that perhaps involves someone waking from a coma... only to name the person that tried to kill them! 

For that matter, I also think "The 20mg Solution" would be a great band name. I might still use that one myself.

I can't see who's reading, but I do have some stats that give me some interesting information about how people access the blog in general. Safari (a Mac browser) is the #1 browser used, with Explorer and Firefox close runner-ups. Chrome (which is what I use, though I have excluded my own vists from the results) is a distant 4th. It's a great browser, people. Really. Firefox? That's so... 1998. A handful use the Opera browser, which is an off-off-off label browser that is simply horrendous. Whoever that is, you *really* need to switch to a better browser. 24 visits came from an a browser named Glue. I have no idea what Glue is.

Windows is the dominant operating system used, and not surprisingly. Windows accounts for 80-90% of all computers used worldwide.  This means that only 10-20% of worldwide computer users have any sense whatsoever. Oh no he di-int. Oh yes he di-id.

Desktops are still the primary means to access the blog. But desktop Linux lags well behind the relatively small numbers of iPhone, iPad and Android users. There is just 1 recorded access using a Samsung operating system to access the blog. Maybe that's my mystery fan from Belarus.

Drugs, and Conversations with Dr. Hunter

The pain has been ramping up to an almost unbelievable degree for me. 2 weeks ago I was on my 10mg 2x a day (20mg per day). Last night Jen and I nearly headed to the ER, but more and more opiates took care of the pain. As of today, I've managed to creep up to 20 mg 3x per day -- 60 mg total, or three times what I was one a few weeks ago. Likewise, the remaining pain is twice as bad as it was, even after the pain meds. At this point I'm feeling the pain constantly. Its like a sedative, and waking up is more like coming out of anesthesia than anything else. It is fixing the pain for the most past. I feel like now I'm at the pain level of people who live with some soreness in their backs. This level of pain management simply cannot continue, though. Right now I've crossed the line back into the "should not drive at all" category because of the pain meds. The side effects are of course ramping up as well, and I'm starting to develop nausea from all the Oxy-tin. I'm starting to feel like I'm in a room with big spiky walls that is is closing is, with decreasing options: pain, or soupy-headed dopiness. Today they may have converged: I have both.

I have an series of doctor appointments set up next week at Mayo, where I'll see a Urologist, an Oncologist and an orthapedist. I just talked with Dr. Hunter (my urologist, who is my primary Mayo doc) and he said that the orthopedist will likely need to request the scans she needs when I meet with her, rather than me being able to do them the day before with my other scans. Dr. Hunter said that rarely will the pre-order scans, since they're not totally sure what they will need or want without meeting with me. This makes sense, though it just isn't what I want to hear. What this means is that I will need to be back down to Mayo soon after our initial meeting to get an MRI (I could also do this locally to the Cities, I assume) and then meet with her again. I had been banking on the idea of finding some relief at this meeting, or at least some direction, but now it seems that I'll have to wait yet again for a different type of scan. 

Dr. Hunter mentioned that if the leg pain is tumor pain, they could do some localized radiation in that area. This might provide some relief, I would hope. 

What has me losing sleep right now is only partially the pain itself. Its also the thought that I may never get out from under it again.

People have asked, but I don't have a Caring Bridge site. Perhaps at some point -- when/if I'm in a state where I can't really take care of myself -- I may break down and set one up or something like it. But I have a feeling that I will resist for as long as I can. I'm just too independent, and I can pick up the phone to have Jimmy John's deliver me a sandwich, or to have a housecleaner over, or have a guy shovel my walk or mow my lawn easily enough. I may have to admit defeat at some point, but hopefully not anytime soon. 

Right now my brain is exceptionally fuzzy because of the pain meds, and my eyes don't quite focus correctly. I have no hunger at all. Please don't take it personally if I'm more forgetful than normal. Reminders are a great idea, and putting things in writing (email, text, etc.) is always best. 

There's really no chance that I could do my grad school classes (especially two intense classes than both involve teaching clinicals) with this level of pain and medication. And my classes are scheduled to start on February 1st. I have until then to decide if I'll cancel classes or not, but I'd rather have some idea beforehand. It may very well be down to the wire.


One bright spot recently is that I've been auditioning new dogs this week. This sounds odd to put it this way (and its not like I'm making them read a selection from Shakespeare or anything) but its a process of figuring out who will best work with me and my house, my life and schedule, who will get along best with Jen's cat, etc. Losing Kaia was exceptionally hard, and tougher still as it came at an extremely bleak time for me. Its been incredibly difficult to have an empty house these past months.

A few weeks ago I volunteered to help ferry a crop of 6 new greyhounds, newly retired from the track, up to the cities. In that vanful of 6 excited and bewildered dogs (everything is new for retired greyhounds) I found two that I felt would be a good match for me, and I was able to observe them for a few hours on the trip back. I met one -- a big shiny, black, mellow, 3 year old boydog -- on Wednesday, and another -- a smaller, clownish, quiet, lovey-dovey, mostly-white 7 year old mamadog -- last night. Currently, the mamadog is my clear favorite. Like Kaia, she was a champion racer and then went on to raise 4 litters of pups. I'll have more information to share here once I make the final decision, but I hope to have a new dog-companion buy the end of the weekend. No one could ever replace Kaia, but it would give me a wonderful added daily purpose to have something else to focus on.

One interesting note: The mamadog has an ancestor in common with Kaia, and also an ancestor in common with my dear departed Woody, who I lost back in 2001 (purebred racing greyhound lineage is clearly documented for each dog back to the year 1820). Strangely (or perhaps not) I can see elements of both dog's personalities in the new mamadog.


Emily said...


Eclector2 said...

I would love to see you with a doggie to cuddle with. My pick would be the mama dog too. I know it will be hard to wait but I think it would be best for you both if you wait until you get back from Mayo to bring her home.

Regarding the Caring Bridge site, I personally don't like this site. It is awkward to use, asks for money all the time and is visually cluttered. I would prefer that Jen and Kevin and I set up a caretakers site for you when and if that is needed.


Wendy said...

I cannot wait to meet Mamadog, or whatever dog is next to be the luckiest dog in the world to get to be your dog!

dogs = joy!

Dave Matheny said...

Also, you asked for hopeful stories. Well, I was channel surfing and came across something on Channel 2 that sounded pretty good. A woman who is about Jean's age was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer back in -- get this -- 1978. She is still chugging along and looking pretty fit and all-around okay as of now, despite having had tons of chemo and enough radiation to make her glow in the dark.

She's also had other cancers appearing, including breast cancer. So there ya go.


Kay said...

Well, I am part of the reason you are read/checked regularly in Denmark...!! I'm sending lots of good thoughts your way from Scandinavia!

Dave Matheny said...

Er. The relevance for mentioning that I was channel surfing was that it caused me to miss the first part of the show, where they said what kind of cancer she originally had. It's not too important, though, because she's had other kinds since, and is apparently not only still around but doing well.

lsikora said...

I like the name mamadog for a dog....I had a cat once named mamakitty.

M said...

I am excited to have the new dog at home now! Dad, thanks for the positive stories, its always nice to hear that they are out there for some stage 4 folks. Hi Kay: I hope you guys are doing well over there, and thanks!

Deborah in MN said...

I was able to read your blog from my new smartphone for awhile, but it hasn't shown me any updates to any of the blogs I follow for several weeks. It's an android type. I have the opera browser on it as it's supposed to be better for phones - they say it uses less data. I haven't really gotten it to work yet. I'm new to the smart phone world and afraid of using too much data, but haven't been close so far. I just caught up on a week's worth of your blog. I don't find it the least boring. You are very transparent and I feel like I'm there with you. I too am glad you're getting a new dog to love.

M said...

I had no idea that you could get Opera for mobile -- maybe that's why it never worked well for me when I tried it on the desktop! It is a pretty skinny browser, or at leasat in terms of disk space used to install it -- I don't know about data, but I could see how that would be the case. Anyhow, glad its working again, and thanks. I hope you're well, sis!

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