Health Update – Holiday COUNTUP

Christmas is just around the corner. I can’t remember when I’ve been so excited and we’ve had some pretty outstanding holiday seasons in the past. I guess every day I wake up feeling as healthy as I do these days is a cause for celebration. It gets better having something special to look forward to on the calendar. All five children will be here on Christmas Day, along with two spouses, and one fiance plus our first grandchild. It will be joyful Christmas chaos.

I’m just back from Blood Work to ensure my numbers are where they need to be to start Cycle 4 of the chemo drug I’m on called Vinorelbine (also known as Navelbine). It’s been around a long time and although I’m chemo-resistant now, my Oncologist, the brilliant Dr. Wojciech Morzycki, had found it has extended the life span of about 5% of his patients. That has been particularly true of folks that are generally healthy as I am, cancer aside. Hemoglobin (Hgb) aside, my numbers look pretty good. This means my Immune system is defending me against illness as it should or at least it’s operating as it should. Also, I’ve had my third COVID shot so I’ve done all possible to reduce the chance of that new threat.

My next chemo cycle starts with a treatment Monday afternoon, a second treatment a week later, and then a week off. I will have a CAT Scan just before Christmas and that will provide an indication if the Vinorelbine is stalling, or at least slowing the progress of tumor growth in my liver and a handful of lymph nodes. If that’s the case, then I’ll just start a new round of four cycles and keep this up as long as there is a benefit.

The side effects of Vinorelbine haven’t added much to what I already have other than the numbness in my feet is starting to creep up my ankle a bit. I’m wearing compression socks from time to time to counter and I keep my feet raised when I sleep. Both those actions seem to help. As an aside, if it takes me 15 minutes to get dressed, 12 of those minutes are getting the compression socks on. I get close to breaking a sweat with all the pulling and tugging.

I think my brain is starting to catch up with my smaller size. Although I wouldn’t call myself fully in control when I’m on my feet, my balance is better than it was. That makes me feel safer walking around which I see as a good thing.

I’d like to introduce you to the collection of couples, five in total including Janet and me, that I call Funky Friends. We hosted dinner last week at our place (November 30th) to celebrate the start of the holiday season. This collection of fun-loving couples is comprised of Janet and Phil O’Hara, Rob and Christine Strickland, Tammy and Dan Spencer, Andrea and Chris Mitchell, and Joanne and Trevor Long. Most of us have boats which is sort of the connection but more importantly, we fit on each other really well and all of us are cup-half-full types which make every conversation a treat. We plan to gather about once a month for an even of one type or another. In January we’re doing a weekend at an Airbnb in Queensland which will be a food fest with lots of adult refreshments.

As you can read, there is no real breaking news in this update. Overall I’m in a good place and continue to have great pleasure in being alive. I’m good to keep saying that as long as I can.

Exciting Janet and Phil Trip This Week

On Wednesday, December 8th, 2021, we’re boarding Train 15 to travel overnight in a sleeper car to Quebec City. On arrival, we will check into Chateau Frontenac for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

On Saturday afternoon we have a 3:00 pm reservation for High Tea. Janet will love that event. We’ve done one before and it is more about the show with the server than the tea and pastry.

Other than High Tea, I’d like to eat in some authentic French Canadian restaurants and I’m sure we’ll be engulfed by the cultural richness of Old Quebec.

On Sunday, we board a train for the trip home.

So more to come on that trip in a later post.

9 Replies to “Health Update – Holiday COUNTUP”

  1. This is all so exciting, Phil! The Chateau Frontenac’s high tea should be wonderful! Safe travels to you and Janet, and I hope you both have a wonderful time.

    1. Thank you, my friend. May you have a wonderful holiday season down under. I look forward to when our paths cross again but the closest we get might be a Zoom call. As I write that, perhaps we should gather our crew for a Zoom Call in December.

      Lots of love, Phil

  2. January outing will be fantastic, we drive by the Air B&B today en route to a Christmas Tree

    It overlooks the ocean next to Queensland

    1. We spent Thanksgiving there with our five children, two spouses, one fiance, and our grandson. It is a terrific destination for a group.

      How about we try to get together for eggnog when we get back from Quebec City?

      Peace, Love, and Laughter
      Phil

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