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BEP Chemo Round – Day 7 – Round 1

12:00pm – O:0 N:3 T:6 P:0

The big thing I have noticed in these two days after hell week is my lack of energy. I can go from being able to walk around to just wanting to sit down and rest. Clearly my body is low on white blood cells. Mike Wade pointed out that I should really be watching my eating and going out at this point. I was going to go into work for lunch today to see my friends and colleagues however it was advised against so I held off. Sounds like I will start to wear one of those “bird flu” masks that you see in the airports sometimes. :)

Hanging in there, but definitely feeling some of the effects of what putting poison in your body for 5 days can do.


BEP Chemo Round – Day 6 – Round 1

11:30am – O:0 N:4 T:6 P:0

I thought I would update a bit while I was eating something. I am working from home today and have noticed that since I am not getting my steroid my body is really letting me know about the tiredness and nausea factor. The other noticeable thing is that I am EXTREMELY thirsty. Since I have been on IV hydration for the last week my body has grown accustomed to this level of hydration. I have been drinking as much water as I can to keep the same level going. Should be fun!

2:00pm – O:0 N:2 T:7 P:0

I got REALLY tired around 1:45pm. I needed to lay down it got so bad. I am also noticing some mouth sores.


BEP Chemo Round – Day 5 (Last day of “hell week”)

7:45am – O:0 N:1 T:3 P:0

Last night I slept very well at the hospital with a slow IV drip of fluids. Notice that everything is pretty much at zero. I put a 1 for nausea just because I burped a few times but they were diet coke carbonation burps (eww, I know). I can see where people would start to get a woozy stomach and it could get out of control. Mine does not seem to have any issues. At 8am they brought be breakfast of half of a Belgian waffle, CRISPY bacon, juice and cereal. They don’t play around here when it comes to a good breakfast.

8:35am – O:0 N:1 T:3 P:0

Got barked at by the nurse and told to stop pushing all the buttons on my bed by one of the Tech nurses. I was trying to see how many positions I could make this bed contort into but I got caught. This is not an easy request to follow since there are SO many settings. Two sets of buttons on the outside of the bed and some basic ones next to the speaker in the bed. I will play later when she leaves her shift.

More controls outside the bed.

Controls inside the bed

11:45am – O:0 N:2 T:3 P:0

I noticed that the nausea could be setting on so I took the Compazine that they give me to make sure all stays under control. I am not that keen on taking so many meds for this nausea but it will have to make due for now. The doctor on call stopped by to see how I was feeling and to let me know the plan for the day; 3pm chemo. This is not my doctor but a doctor that works with mine so he does not know me at all. He asked me if I ever get nauseous to which I truthfully answered, “only if I have been partying WAY harder than I should be and even then I just know how to breath deep to make the nausea go away”. He is guessing that I just may be one of the anomalies that do not get the nausea from the chemo during “hell week”. Although this is an advantage, it also makes me question what my poor liver and kidneys might have dealt with in the past. A very good wake up call for the future.

Here is what the different gloves look like that I mentioned yesterday. The purple is what the normally use but with chemo patients they use the grey gloves since I have chemo in my bloods stream. It is kind of weird to think that the nurses have to be so careful and that they need special gloves, meanwhile they are putting this stuff in my veins for hours a day.


2:45pm – O:0 N:1 T:1 P:0

I had a great lunch visit in the common area of the wing I am in with my sister, her husband and my 14 month old niece before I got started on my pre meds (Zofran, Emend and the steroid). I was very cautious about touching any of them, especially my niece due to the scare that the nurses have put in me about the gloves. I would rather be safe than sorry.

I have now started all my pre meds and am waiting a bit before they give me the Cysplatin. It looks like I will be done today around 8PM. I look forward to getting out of this hospital tonight but not before one more meal possibility here!     :)


10:56pm – O:0 N:2 T:2 P:0

I finished hell week! I am home and so happy to be out of that hospital! I will update more tomorrow but for the most part, aside from some indigestion I am feeling fine. I am actually looking forward to getting back into my work groove so things feel normal again… Work has agreed to be understanding and let me work from home a few of these days after the hell week due to my lowered immune system but I am feeling so bored I am going to try to go in for lunch either tomorrow or Tuesday for sure.

I took Mike Wade’s (http://takingcancerdownoneballatatime.blogspot.com) advice and slept as much as I could while I was at the hospital. I think this really helped me and I suggest that to anyone else going through this process. Sleep when your body tells you it is tired.

Off to sleep now. Thanks for all the great responses I have been getting. It means more than you know.



BEP Chemo Round – Day 4 – Round 1

10:45am – O:0 N:0 T:3 P:0

Today I will be finishing my last two chemo treatments in the hospital because the Oncologists office is closed on the weekends. This will require that I sleep here at the hospital tonight and stay tomorrow for the last day of “hell week”. Not my favorite place to spend a Saturday night but I didn’t have a date tonight so no harm done.

12:36pm – O:0 N:0 T:0 P:0

Even though I have not been seen by a nurse or started treatment, instead just watching TV and playing on my iPad, they came and served me lunch. After taking a look and getting a whiff I passed on the meal but not before takng a photo taking a photo of course!

Turnip greens (gotta love the south), chicken pastry (something or other) in a bowl, biscuit, margarine, and a few more completely unappetizing choices from the culinary wizards here at Wake Med.

Here is a shot of the super exciting menu.

2:35pm – O:0 N:0 T:0 P:0

Still waiting to get my chemo… getting rather annoyed at this point.

The hospital process is definitely slower than the oncologists’ office. At least my buddy Justin came by so we traded war stories and talked about the Phish New Year run which passed some time. Thanks for that Justin.

I have the saline in and am waiting on the special chemo nurse to come give me the “juice”.

Interesting note; since I am not in a special chemo wing or area the nurse brought in a different box of gloves. She said the normal purple ones they use were not strong enough to deal with my chemo blood so now she has to wear some thicker grey gloves.

3:35pm – O:0 N:0 T:0 P:0

My father brought some lunch and stayed for a really nice talk. It was the first time in a while we had that opportunity and it was very much needed. Although I am not concerned about this becoming terminal or anything, it certainly does make you reflect on life and more so start to look at things like a will, power of attorney and such. It was a very good talk. J

6:00pm – O:0 N:0 T:0 P:0

I was finally seen by the chemo nurse and given my steroid and anti-nausea IV. I started to get really concerned that I was going to get off of my schedule that I had been on for the last 3 days because I had not been seen up until this time. My mother, being the amazing person she is, came to the hospital to see if she could get an answer. I was pretty much stuck in the room with an IV in my arm and the IV machine plugged into the wall. I was not in a position to wander the hospital hallways. We finally got some answers (I will not get into the who and why) and I am going to start my Cysplatin in 35mins.

I thought I would share a picture of what one of my tumors looks like since I have some time. This is the tumor that is wrapped around the artery going into my left kidney. The tumor is about 8.5 mm and explains why I had been having some pains in my lower back at night; specifically on the left side.

The tumor is circled in red and you can see my kidney just below it. The other tumor is smaller and basically on the other side of me but in a different slice of the CTscan a bit further back.

10:39pm – O:0 N:0 T:0 P:0

Chemo is done for the day. All went fine and I am about to take my Ativan. Woot! It is like a little party in a pill. Chills you out and keeps the nausea away. I don’t think this new nurse that came on the late night shift gets my sense of humor. :(

I asked her to take my photo while I was sitting here but she just looked at me funny. I will have to get a photo later on or tomorrow.

Dad brought me some dinner from Chick Fillet. I had no issues eating but held off on eating to much in case. Most likely going to get into bed and watch SNL then off to sleep.

One note about the beds here at the hospital – they have air chambers in them and are CONSTANTLY releasing air in some chambers and filling them up in others so that you avoid getting bed sores. This CONSTANT rocking motion gets really old, really quick…. I hope I don’t get sea sick tonight!

More later…


The Sperm Bank Adventure!

So the topic of sperm banking was brought up at one of my doctors’ appointments. Since they have already chopped my left nut off the doc suggested that it would be wise to bank before starting chemo since there is a pretty good chance that the chemo could render me sterile. I discussed it with my mother (I know.. yes, it WAS awkward) and although at this point I don’t think I will be bringing any children into this world, I figured I would give it a year and see where things stand.

So back to the story… my doctor’s office scheduled me for an appointment at 10am the day before I started chemo. I was sent some directions to help me prepare for the exciting day. One was to stay abstinent for at least 2 days prior to “banking”… in other words, don’t fap for 2 days before you go in. Fair enough..

When I arrived at the Sperm Bank they drew some blood to make sure I was disease free (I guess cancer does not count!) and was then led down the hall and told to wait in this chair outside some doors. I was told they wanted to, I kid you not, make sure the room had been cleaned. Now this brought up MANY different thoughts.. Had someone just gone crazy in there and made a mess everywhere??!! What was I getting myself into?! While the room was being cleaned I noticed that the sign on the door was different than all of the others. The other doors said things like “Examination Room A” while the room I was about to go simply had a sign on the door saying “Do Not Disturb”… I was not sure if I should be excited or nervous or what as I was only minutes from entering what was potentially some sort of forbidden sex room with who knows what behind the door labeled “Do Not Disturb”!!

The wait was over; I was led into the forbidden room by a woman who barely spoke English. I say that because I had to make out what she was pointing at and what she was trying to convey through her gestures (no, not that kind!)

Here are some pics of the forbidden room that no one was to disturb me in.

Notice that they gave me water (to hydrate afterwords) and a puppy pad to put on the EZ-Chair seat, which got me thinking about how many guys had sat there doing what I was about to have to do… that plus mild OCD does not work well together. I did my best to block out those thoughts and push on through.

Since I could barely understand the nurse (I am guessing that is what she was) that led me in, I had to explore the room for myself. The first thing I noticed was a sign (paper in a clear binder sheet) on the wall. It was pretty much to the point, however I felt the need to take a photo because I knew people would not believe me if I was to tell them what it said, so see for yourselves.

Here is the whole sign that was on the wall. Notice the instructions for using the remote. I can only imagine the first time (before they had this sign) that some guys had to walk out with his fly down to ask how to use the DVD player. I would imagine this was what prompted the sign, along with the fact that someone clearly was stealing the DVD’s.

A few things really stood out in this note…

  1. Apparently watching porn gives men better sperm samples! Higher volume AND higher concentration!
  2. I like that they tell you not to be offended if you do not want to use the materials… PLEASE, what guy is going to get offended and what would he do if he was? Storm out?
  3. Clearly they have had a problem in the past of people stealing the DVD’s after they are done hence them telling us where we could pick up our new favorite video. Personally, I will not be visiting Frisky Business to pick up this video.

After reading this I, of course, had to check the drawers to see what goodies they had waiting for me. In the bottom drawer I found the magazines…

I was extremely disappointed in their selection! Playboy? Are you kidding me? Does this place not know that I can pretty much see the same thing in the JC Penny’s bra section of the catalog? This is what is supposed to get my juices going? Ugh.. I figured I would check the DVD to see if that would be more fun. I am going to guess that the people who purchased the DVD are not the same people who purchased the magazines; they are on a different team or something…

Here is a pic of the DVD they had..

As you can see from the photo (I did blur out the more graphic parts for those of you who might be easily offended), you can see that this girl (Ami) likes big toys and there have apparently been 25 DVD’s of girls who also like big toys. This got me to thinking, I wonder what other big toys she might like, so I decided to sit down and find out.

I will spare you the graphic bits but I will say that this DVD did not do it for me. Not to say I did not fast forward through it to see all the crazy toys (and some were CRAZY!) that Ami and her friends had because I totally did.

One thing that I noticed about the video and the magazines was that they never showed men and women together. I wonder if this was on purpose? Could this be just a conservative North Carolina thing? I guess I should have asked them when I was leaving but as you will see I was not in any mood to strike up a conversation on my way out. Read on…

The problem was the video was not doing what it was supposed to do. I was not creating “higher volume or higher concentration”, however I was fascinated and rather amused by what I was seeing. Then I realized that I had been sitting there fast forwarding through a movie fully dressed while others may be waiting to get their turn in the room anti-climactic room labeled “Do Not Disturb”.

What if they were timing me? These thoughts were no helping the situation at all!

I decided it was time. I was there on a mission and dammit I was going to complete it. So I came prepared with a fully loaded iPad. This unfortunately created a whole different set of difficulties. What if I accidentally dropped the iPad midway through? How was I supposed to drop it to grab the specimen cup without making a mess? This would be tricky but I put my problem solving hat on and got it sorted. (Email me if you need instructions on how to do this)

Once I was done I figured I would rest a bit, catch my breath and make sure I was not sweating. I should mention at this point that I made it clear to my mother that she would NOT be driving me to the sperm bank. Here were my reasons:

  1. There is just something wrong about your mother driving you to the sperm bank.
  2. The thought that she would be sitting in the waiting room whilst I fapped in the other room was too much to deal with.
  3. The thought of me going back into the waiting room to then get in a car, possibly out of breath (somewhat) and a bit sweaty was the line I was not willing to cross.

Thankfully she agreed not to drive me. :)

Once I was done, I get dressed, washed up, almost spilled the cup as I was putting the lid on it, took photos of the room of course and then headed back out to find the nurse…with specimen cup in hand.

As if the morning was not already embarrassing enough, I was given a strange look and then a roll of her eyes when I handed the nurse specimen cup. I am guessing that what she was trying to tell me in the room was that I was to leave the cup in there. Not me, I hand delivered it to her. :)

So that was my adventure at the sperm bank. For those of you who may have to embark on this wondrous journey, bring your own materials. Don’t rely on Frisky Business or the Sperm Bank to provide you with your “Do Not Disturb” room fantasies.


BEP Chemo Round – Day 3 – Round 1

8:12am – O:0 N:0 T:3 P:0
I decided to start using the rating system (as stolen from Mike Wade at http://takingcancerdownoneballatatime.blogspot.com) on each post since I have been bad about posting this each time. Just as a reminder, here is what it all stands for:

O: Overall feeling

N: Nausea

T: Tiredness

P: Pain

The grading scale is from 0 – 10 where 0 is completely normal and 10 is pretty damn bad.

The tiredness of 3 is based on the fact that I did not sleep that well. I had a rather weird reaction last night that lasted all through the morning; hiccups… I never get hiccups, in fact I cannot remember the last time I got them before last night but they lasted ALL night long. I am guessing that when I fell asleep they went away but when I woke up at 5am they came right back. The nurse confirmed this morning that hiccups are a side effect for some people, guess I am one of those people. The nurses will be giving me something for the hiccups since I am getting tired of eating spoonfuls of dry white sugar.

1:36pm – O:0 N:0 T:0 P:0

I have now had all my chemo for the day, just sitting here for another two hours getting my saline. I have nothing exciting to report since I am still not feeling anything at all. Not even a metallic taste in my mouse. I ate a full lunch and have been doing business calls and emails all day. I will say that I do like working from an EZ-Chair! This is the life! :)

Here is a pic of my setup… Not the most flattering photo but be nice, I have cancer. :)

7:13pm – O:0 N:0 T:2 P:0

The only thing I am feeling that is out of the normal is a little indigestion. I only know this because I NEVER get indigestion, in fact I pride my stomach on the fact that it can handle quite bit before ever letting me know that it is not in the mood to eat anymore. This has turned out to create some weight issues but such is the life of a guy with an iron gut.

The hiccups are gone but it will be interesting to see if they come back later on. I had no issues eating lunch today although I was not really surprised. The nurse and doctor did both mention today that they were rather shocked at how well I was handling the chemo especially since it is the 3rd day. I told them that I had spent the 10 years after college conditioning my body for this type of thing, much like Rocky Balboa did in the training montage.. They did not laugh.

Tomorrow will be at the hospital since the Oncologist office is closed. This means that I will have to spend the entire day at the hospital, sleep at the hospital tomorrow night and spend all of Sunday there getting my last two doses of chemo. I am hoping that they are as nice there as they have been at the Oncologist office. We shall see.

9:16pm – O:0 N:0 T:4 P:0

I can definately tell that I have had poison going through me for the last 3 days. I am feeling like I have not slept but a few hours is the best explanation. I am going to try to sit and watch a movie although I am guessing I will not make it through the whole thing. Had a big dinner, no nausea or taste of metal. Just tired.


BEP Chemo Round – Day 2 – Round 1

9:30am – I did not have any nausea last night or this morning and my body feels perfectly fine right now. I am currently getting my saline fix as well as a drip containing magnesium since the Cystplatin will drain it from my body.

10:30am – I was given my steroid Dexamethasone (Dex) and Zofran via IV. These are both for anti-nausea.

11:30am – Started the Cystplatin drip. Still feeling completely normal aside from having to pee every 30 mins. :)

So I am overhearing the greatest conversation right now… a lady who has been in chemo for a while now, she has already lost her hair and some has grown back, is giving advice and talking about the benefits of losing your hair during chemo. “It is great! You don’t have to shave your legs or anything!” good stuff….

2:03pm – Done with my Cystplastin and still feeling fine, no nausea, tiredness,or pain. Just boredom. Now I just have my saline and magnesium drip for the next 2 hours. My sister brought me a sandwich from subway (thanks Dallas) and I horked that down along with the cookie. I keep waiting for the chemo to curb my appetite.

Sad to think the lengths people will go to lose weight for their 20th high school reunion…. :)

11:40pm – I have not felt any effects as of yet although I did have a really random attack of hiccups three times this evening. Side note: I found out by the way that the best way to rid yourself of hiccups is to eat a spoon full of white sugar. Sounds nuts but it worked! I am not sure if the hiccups were a result of nausea trying to creep in or what but I feel fine. I took my Ativan (for nausea) and then an hour later Zofran (for nausea) as instructed.

I only really took one photo for the day but I thought some people may want to see what the temporary port/hookup for the IV looks like.

I will get a real port in my chest if I continue on with the chemo after this round. I have to wear this one for the 5 days, bandaging it up at night and putting Saran Wrap on it when I take a shower. Sorry, no photos of that here.. (hint: Google “Dane showering with Saran Wrap”)

Tomorrow I will tell the exciting adventure at the sperm bank the day before chemo started… I have photos!


BEP Chemo Round – Day 1 – Round 1

Here is the big day! I am going to blog this using a great rating system that Mike Wade is using on his blog. A VERY educational and motivational blog filled with great tips for those going through BEP chemo.


To quote/paraphrase Mike: “At the start of each log I am going to put a rating of Overall feeling, Pain, Nausea, and Tiredness like this O:0 P:0 N:0 T:0. All on a scale from 0-10.”

8:30am – I was not given a port on my chest since I will only be going through 1 round at first. If chemo works, then I will get a port on my chest. I have been given saline to hydrate me for the long day and boy does it make me have to pee every 15 mins.

9:30am – Steroids and Benadryl were just given before they give me a test dose of Bleomycin (Bleo) one of the 3 types of chemo drugs I will be getting.

10:30am – I was given 2IU of Bleo to ensure that I do not have an allergic reaction to it however there seems to be no reaction.

As of right now I am feeling fine, just a little tired from the Benadryl.

10:45am – 30units of Bleo are done, they are going to add Mannitol, Etoposide and the Cisplatin (a chemo drug, supposed to be a nasty one too!)

There are a 6 others receiving chemo in the room I am in.

3:22pm – Still feeling fine at the moment, so all of my ratings are at zero currently. Although, if boredom was on the rating scale I would have to say that it would be an 8 right now. :)

I am just waiting for the rest of my saline and what ever other fluid they are adding is gone then I get to go home. The only problem I have noticed is that all of these fluids make you pee every 30 mins. This means I get to wheel my IV cart into the bathroom each time, usually creating a scene… :)

I felt nothing at all today aside from the prick of the needle when they put the IV in.

I will update later on how I feel this evening.

Update – 10:08pm – Came home and took a nap as I was pretty tired from waking up so early to get to the docs office. The only effects I am feeling are one small mouth sore on my tongue so I started using a baking soda/salt water mouthwash to get that taken care of.

I have decided to wait on shaving my head until my hair starts falling out. I wanna go for the “I was attacked by a rabid raccoon” look…. :) From what I am told, that will be sometime next week.


So what happened? I thought the cancer was gone!?

It has been quite a long time since I have posted to this blog mostly because I figured everything was gone and out of my system. Guess I was wrong….

After my RPLND surgery in Indiana I was told that the cancer had to spread to my lymph nodes, which was true. In fact my regular checkups (every 2 months the 1st year and every 4 months this last year) looked great. The cancer markers (AFP and HCG) were around 0. In October, my oncologist noticed after taking my blood labs that one of my cancer markers had started going up. Oddly it was not the same marker that was high when I was diagnosed almost 2 years ago.

Although the doctor said it could be an anomaly, he decided that instead of waiting 4 months for my next checkup we should have one in December 2011. Unfortunately, lab showed that the numbers had gone up even more and had almost doubled.

My main Oncologist is Lance Armstrong’s doctor, Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, who referred me to a local Oncologist (Dr. Mark Graham) here in the Raleigh area. After the second labs came back with the elevated markers, we consulted Dr. Einhorn on his recommendation as far as the next step. That next step turned out to be a CT scan of my pelvis and abdomen which ended up showing that I had 2 masses/tumors.

The tumor on my left side is about 8.5cm and is wrapped around my left artery going into my kidney. This would explain some of my lower back pains I had been feeling. The tumor on the right is pressed up against my adrenal gland in approximately the same location except on the right side.

When I was first diagnosed with testicular cancer there were 4 types of cancer cells inside of me; mixed germ cell tumor (immature teratoma with focal malignant transformation, 45% of tumor;Embryonal carcinoma, 30% of tumor; Seminoma, 20% of tumor; and yolk sac tumor, 5% of tumor).

So what does this all mean? It means that 3 of these types above will respond to chemo and 1 will not.

Since the surgery required to removed the tumors is rather delicate to say the least both doctors (Einhorn and Graham) have decided that the best route is 1 round of BEP Chemotherapy in order to see if the tumors are responsive. If they are not then surgery will be required.

Chemo treatment will run 5 days, about 8 hours a day with a followup “blast” on the next 2 Wednesdays following the first week.

P.S. I am writing this with an IV in my arm…..


Staples were removed this week

I had my 44 staples removed from my stomach this week and although I was told it might hurt, it really didn’t. When I was in Indiana I was given a staple remover in case my local doctor here did not have one. My response to that was “If I go to my doctor and he does not have a staple remover already, I will go to another doctor!” What I did learn after the fact was that the nurse that removed the staples had only done it once before and that was in nursing school while practicing on an orange!! I have to give her full props on doing a great job!