Sunday, August 11, 2013

buffalo hump, turkey gullet and now bobblehead BP

Ain’t trying to share about trying to outlive lung cancer grand?

I detour into the science of chemotherapy and blood counts and innovations like palliative care teams for a couple entries … and it’s the weird and unusual named symptoms that turn the tide.

Masked deep in Chemo Week 8, day 3 was a new phenomenon … ‘bobblehead’ blood pressure.

During my second saline drip of Round 3, I reported unusual dizziness when standing after rising, not cookie cutter dizziness but almost more feinting than dizzy … my oncology nurse using a blood pressure cuff noted a 20 point drop in systolic blood pressure (aka top BP number) and a 10 point tumble in diastolic blood pressure (aka bottom BP number)…

… both returned to normal in brief moments of stabilized standing.

When switching from (Cisplatin+Alimta) to (Carboplatin+Alimta) … my oncologist remarked we are switching side effects …Carboplatin may affect the blood more than Cisplatin.

Certainly some circumstantial evidence to that affect as it took just a couple days longer to have such deteriorating conditions through Stage 1 and Stage 2 warrant a ticket to blood plasma…
Yet after only 10 days of (Carboplatin+Alimta) with blood pressure ebbing and flowing when standing and both RBC and HGB blood counts hovering to fall over the cliff I won a blood transfusion ticket in only ... 11 days … to the freezer of chemotherapy … a double blood transfusion … wiser this time I wore my ‘Uncle Buck’ hat and jacket

To me, me not using a cane these past mornings border the miraculous but I know it’s the science cooked with my growing patience … up + stabilize = walking … kind of  catchy isn’t it.

Even better news was a call from Patti’s visiting dentist
… “no cavities, no gum issues!!!” 

Part of why I try to average visiting her facility 3 X a week is dental hygiene. Prompting her with assisting with brushing her own teeth is her final activity of daily living she can physically and mentally participate in … it takes extra work and more important extra time – not something staff can always offer Patti.

Through chemo I have to avoid her facility for my own immune system ... God Bless Patti’s staff they had stepped in even better than I could as a one person show … truth be told I teared up talking with a dentist.

So how do I share trying to outlive lung cancer?

Wednesday we had a family pizza night participating in a Pizza Hut fundraiser donating $2 per pizza sold to Free To Breathe 5k/Run.

Thursday I go in for a saline drip and with red blood counts crashing I win a ticket to double blood plasma.

Friday I’m literally “chillin” at Holy Spirit Hospital with my plasma dressed for Winter in August.

Saturday I’m getting all weepy over Patti’s dental cleaning.

Today my 88 year old Aunt called to check on me … just short of a 5 year lung cancer survivor herself … her very voice inspires!!!

Tonight my daughter and I will watch the premier of the final season of “Breaking Bad” … not only has it become an indirect creative learning tool for us but a shared and riveting ‘cancertainment’ show … cooking homemade dinner has always been a tradition … she’s the cook tonight… menu  = homemade veggie chili !!!

Most important … first and foremost I am grateful to be alive to share ... another week of ... My Lung Cancer Odyssey trying to outlive lung cancer!

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @
MultipleSclerosis.Net @


  1. Hang in there, Patrick... your stories express a unique perspective during a time of great discomfort and pain, but as always, you face life's challenge with courage and humor. I am a Breaking Bad fan... and thrilled to see all the latest episodes. Now there are some great storytellers on that show!! They crack me up. Talk about a character having to deal with challenges! Be well, be strong. You are never alone!

    1. Hi Bea! What a treat to hear from you!... loved the episode last night - the Star Trek fan-fiction story in the beginning almost stole the show for me :) ... plus the show ... for a newly diagnosed person trying to outlive lung cancer and my daughter it became a creative way to learn the difference between fact and stigmas