Red, splotchy and sore…

The title of this post sounds like a bad law firm name. A few pics from yesterday morning before applying more %#~¥+~?!  fluorouracil 5 on day 8. Not exactly the way you might be used to seeing me on the boob tube. The deep red marks are incredibly painful and grow more numerous everyday…so I’ve got that to look forward to. At this rate I will be ready for a walk on role on The Walking Dead sometime late next week. 

Thanks for stopping by, God Bless

-Ian

Je suis La (I’m still here)…

There it is, on the wall in all it’s digital beauty. I almost hear it yelling at me; “turn me on, watch Netflix 18 hours a day…lose yourself in me”. 
A younger version of myself would surely listen to such sage advice from that black shiny box. But now I am older and much wiser than that youthful sun worshipping tv watching version of myself. I walk away from the television and instead return to my phone. Not to call, not to surf or postulate on social media. No, this is my time to better myself. To study or better yet; je vais étudier. 

I grew up in Canada. French was a daily part of our school curriculum. It seems like I took French every day of my school life. I can still sing that French classic “bonhomme-bonhomme” from 5th grade. I even somehow managed to get my wife and I around France for our honeymoon. But I digress…I want to do something constructive with my time while the chemo therapy does something destructive. I pick up my phone and touch the Duolingo App button and voila…daily French lessons. If only I could get my wife to bake croissants…

 I need to say this again; there are so many people undergoing so many worse things than I am right now. My face feels deeply burnt. The overall red tone continues to deepen with splotchy areas that are way too tender to touch. The burning/itchy factor of my face is one million squared. With that said let me go all kinda moody on you. There is a correlation between your face and your mood. Smile; and you tend to feel happy. Frown; and you feel like listening to Bauhaus while crying in a lukewarm bath (mundane 80s music reference, sorry). At this point smiling or using any overt facial expression is a little bit of a problem, because it hurts to do so. Not to say I can’t do it, but it has varying degrees of extreme discomfort and pain. This creates a problem in that it stops me using my “guitar face” during any air guitar solos while listening to 80s hair bands. Ain’t life grand.

Thanks for stopping by. Fin du jour 7 … merci, bonne nuit

God Bless, remember to smile.

-Ian

Possible side effects…

They are listed on any medication; possible side effects. That long medical sounding paragraph that most of us never take time to read. This post is  about medical side effects but it is also about the stir crazy effects this past week has had on me…and more importantly my family. The reality is that this chemo therapy keeps me shy, close to home and away from sunlight…with that scenario the walls tend to close in. If you ask my wife she will tell you I have 2 settings; get things done at a leisurely pace or my get it all done right now, immediately, do not wait, slightly OCD pace. A few months ago I cleaned the inside of the dishwasher, just because. Like any busy family we still had a few Christmas decorations up around the house, so I them put away…I vacuumed the basement, completely rearranged the basement storage, categorized our collection of post-renovation half full paint cans and added a set of speakers I found in the storage room to the stereo in the media room. But wait, there’s more! Once I finished vacuuming I decided that the entire vacuum needed to be cleaned…yes you heard that right. I cleaned the vacuum, both inside and out. I explained to my wife “how can something clean if it is not clean”…looking back on that statement; I have no idea what it means. God bless my wife.  

Now, about those other side effects. I write this, knowing of course, that there are plenty of people so much worse off than me and I hope they persevere but at this moment my face feels like I have a combination of the worst sun burn/wind burn known to man. The skin on my face is red, blotchy and tacky to the touch. Headaches are numerous and sleep comes and goes, not from pain but from an intense desire to scratch the itch that covers most of my face. Big bummer alert; I have lost my ability to really taste my food. Most everything tastes like dirty potatoes. I had been told that this type of chemotherapy can have that effect on my taste buds and bam…it happened, my tastebuds left. I hope they are enjoying themselves on a beach somewhere eating spicy tacos. This whole “tastebuds on vacation” thing bums me out because I love to cook and my dear friend and co-anchor Kelcey Carlson has loaned me her copy of Julia Child’s cookbook. To that end I have promised myself to make coq au vin, truly an all afternoon escapade. Cooking in the French style will be wonderful. A hungry dog at my feet and an endless array of ingredients on my counter…but it has not escaped me that I may not be able to taste said coq au vin…so I hope my wife and daughters like it as much as I hope I enjoy making it. 

Gotta go, family night tonight…

thanks for looking in; end of day 6. Tomorrow is day 7, picture posting day.

God Bless,

-Ian

We were idiots…

We were idiots…we thought having a sun tan meant that we were healthy. We were idiots…because we would do almost anything to get that sun tan. We would spend hours in the early summer sun to earn our yearly rite of passage, the first red rash sun-burn of the year. We referred to that first sun-burn as “our base tan”. We were idiots…with only one goal, a deep dark tan. Sun block was nasty stuff that never rubbed into your skin. What was the point of being outside and not getting a sun tan. Sun block was something my mother used on her nose, we certainly would not/could not use sun block while water skiing or laying on the dock. We were only interested in using Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil…after all it had a coconut fragrance that reminded us of surfing and Hawaiian beach babes (like I said; we were idiots). Summer was all about the deep dark sun tan. But this was Canada and eventually the snow came. That is when it hit us…sun tan beds. A 20 minute nap every few days in a tanning bed seemed like a great idea. That way we could look “healthy” all year round. In case you missed it earlier, we were idiots. We were young and invincible and we never once thought of skin cancer. 

day one…

The tube of Fluorouracil looks like any other tube of ointment one could pick up at a drug store…but yet it is different.  This nondescript tube holds my chemotherapy treatment for the next 30 days and as I look at it on the bathroom counter I am somewhat troubled…I have seen what this tube of chemicals can do to your face. I was encouraged by my doctor to look up the images on the world-wide web, in blogs like this one I am writing. They are not pleasant images. Certainly not like googling images of tropical beaches with incredible resorts. No, this was my next 30 days looking back at me from my computer screen and it troubled me. I am troubled because asking me to rub this on my face everyday to help destroy my skin cancer is somewhat akin to giving me a needle and thread when I need stitches…and I do not want to do it. I realize that comparison is a little far-fetched and I do have a penchant for the dramatic but anyone who knows me also knows that I am that guy, the one who averts his eyes when needles are shown on TV. It is difficult to describe what it was like to open that tube of Fluorouracil and apply all over my face. It took all of 5 minutes and was rather anticlimactic. I did not feel any different. I did not look any different. But i knew I had started the journey and that was all that mattered; I had started. It is a journey I hope you will take with me the next few weeks. Come with me, let’s open a dialogue about skin cancer…comment, ask questions and share your stories. Before you ask; the answer is yes, I will be posting pictures as this journey progresses.

God bless  -Ian