Been over a month since i've blogged. My health has taken priority recently, and most other things have fallen by the wayside. I hadn't even realised it'd been this long since i'd blogged until I looked at my calendar for naming my entry. There are so many interesting things that i've been meaning to write about in the last few weeks of which the details have completely disappeared from memory, but I must say that they were interesting and may make an appearance at a later date. Sort of a "blog-of-the-past-but-in-the-present" thing.
I must say that treatment is going well. The main lump that I noticed almost 12 weeks ago has completely disappeared. This is a most promising sign. I seem to have made most of my progress over the last two and a half weeks or so. I really wasn't looking forward to my second chemo - the first was a most horrible experience with three days of being stuck in bed unable to function fading into three days of migraines. The second treatment initially panned out much the same as the first one. The first 24 hours or so I was feeling reasonable (so much so that I went out and bought a digital video camera), but after that events took a turn for the better. Fortunately my body seemed to adapt quite well to the chemotherapy and the second bout didn't affect my body nearly as much. I wasn't feeling the best for the three or so days afterwards, but I was able to do things other than just lie in bed. I wasn't able to read anything, and music was a bit difficult to cope with, but I was able to sit in front of the TV and veg out if I turned down the volume, brightness and contrast.
The third treatment which I just had was a median point between the two other treatments. Physically, I felt as good as the second treatment, however i'd decided to cut back on anti-nausea medication in the hope that it would dampen the effects of the migraines a few days after the chemo. Still no sign on whether it was effective or not, but I certainly know that i'll never be cutting back on those meds again. While feeling wasted on the couch, I came to think about which was worse - the nausea, or the migraines. I've decided it's most likely the migraines as they have nausea and vomitting attached to them, but the length of time the nausea stayed with me made it most uncomfortable. It's all about experimentation. Next time will be better (fingers crossed).
There are all sorts of other interesting things that come with the sickness/treatment though. I've also picked up a fair bit of medical knowledge along the way. On this interesting drug that's similar to what some olympic athletes take to boost their performance. The particular drug that these athletes take increases their red blood cell count, meaning that more oxygen can be pumped around the body. The one that i'm on has more of a legitimate medicinal use, as it actually boosts my white blood cell count. In my particular case my white blood cell and haemoglobin count dropped below normal levels, so they had to give me this thing to get them back up. Back to reasonable levels now. The only problem with the low haemoglobin count coupled with low blood pressure from weight loss is that it's not all that fun to get up and walk around after sitting down - even for only a few seconds. All sorts of interesting dizzy spells, and I almost passed out a few times.
Only other interesting news to report is that i've had a vascular port put in, meaning that I no longer have to be jabbed in the arms and hands for treatment or tests. Instead they insert this needle into my chest which goes into this special plastic device. The plastic device is connected to a vein in my shoulder, meaning that it's a reasonably direct line to the rest of my cardiovascular system. Good because my veins are poor, and it's easy to get stuff into me. Nice scars, too.
Enough of my medical woes!
On the non-technical front, my room is much more illuminated now. I finally got some lighting above my bed so I can now read at night, as well as a new main light for my room. It's possible to actually see objects in my room after dark now. The previous lighting was so piss poor that my room always felt rather depressing when the sun went down, much like a crypt (no bodies, but the smell was always pretty bad). Haven't gotten any new music since I was diagnosed, and all of the stuff that I have been listening to lately has become a bit droll, so i've started going through my masses of stuff that i've collected but simply not listened to. Suprisingly, I actually had some good stuff in there. Been listening to a lot of Groove Armada and other similar style compilation albums such as Cafe del Mar and the like. Good because I can't really cope with loud sounds much anymore as they trigger headaches, so as long as I turn down the bass it's easy listening.
Also having lots of fun reading Douglas Adams' "The Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". A good friend of mine dropped it around to my place just after I was diagnosed, but I put off reading it until last week. I can't beleive that I let it sit on my shelf for so long without me picking it up. I always managed to read the first Hitchhikers at least 5 or so times a year, until I lent it to a friend and it mystically disappeared into a time warp never to be seen again. Adams had such a curious attention to detail that is most enjoyable to read. Curious because in one book a character could be displaying a particular personality, but a few pages away in the next book the character takes on a completely different persona, as well as a new set of clothes.
On the technical front - starting solid work on the ArchLinux PPC port i've been procrastinating about for the last few months this week. Some of the nice people over at Computer Bank NSW are dropping an older PPC machine around mid week, so i'm hoping to have a development environment up by the weekend, and a functional base system by the end of it.
Over the last month or so i've been ripping things apart, too. I managed to completely bork my WRT54G, so I ripped that apart to see whether I could get it going again with the shorting trick, but to no avail. I'm going to have to try some RARP hackery to get an ip address for it, but I really couldn't be bothered at the moment. The other thing I ripped apart was my lappy, but I commented on that in my last blog. I'll actually be putting up the pictures in the next 24 hours this time. :-)