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Everything posted by flyingfrets

  1. Thank you & God Bless to everyone who's posted. Just came home from another week in-patient. More compression fractures (spine & sternum...feels like some broken ribs too). Meds not managing pain much so they're boosting me up gradually till it's under control. Radiation still ongoing, but getting on & off the table is a real trick with the severely hampered mobility. Still fighting but dear God, it just doesn't seem to stop. Don't know what else to say...
  2. Yes, jdgm, I can lay down...carefully. Getting up is more of an issue right now. I can turn my head without screaming this morning, so there's progress. That's why I said I'm just trying to "power through it." The radiation at this particular spot is excruciating (odd cause it's never bothered me before), but as long as it's killing the cancer encapsulated in this bone, I'm good with it. Figuring the pain should eventually subside and there'll be one less cancerous area to worry about. L8_4thesh0w...it's funny but I don't feel very strong or courageous. I mostly feel scared & angry at this point. Not in the "Woe is me" sense...it's more, "Oh come on - isn't enough enough?" But the anger & frustration is what keeps me going and fighting. But thanks for the concern, advice and thoughts... Don
  3. Hello all! Again, thanks for the thoughts and prayers. Just an update... Began narrow field, high dose radiation at the T7 vertebrae (slightly above dead center between the shoulder blades) last Tuesday. Was thankful that was the next area scheduled for treatment because I'd noticed (particularly when driving) that when I leaned against the seat back, I could actually feel swelling. Not sure if it was expansion in the bone just prior to another compression fracture, or if it was just inflammation in the affected area, but it was awfully uncomfortable. The pain radiating from it spread across the upper back and into the shoulder sockets themselves, so moving had become pretty painful. Since radiation began, the pain has been excruciating. I can't tell if the bone finally fractured, but immediately after treatment, it feels kike someone holding a blow-torch to my upper spine coupled with pinched nerves on both sides. Literally takes my breath away if I move certain ways, so they're throwing more pain-killers at it (40 mg oxycontin 2X a day, 20 mg oxycodone every 4 hours for break-through pain, flexeril for muscle spasms and Decadron, a steroid for inflammation). Folks are amazed that I can even stand up let alone function, but I gotta do what I gotta do and I can't let pain or medication stand in my way. 2 more treatments left on T7 before they move down to T11 and while they're exceedingly painful, I just try to visualize the radiation killing the cancer cells and the pain becomes a little more bearable. Returning to work on Tuesday to tie up some loose ends and get a new shop steward trained and up to speed before I go into medical retirement on October first. In some ways, I'm looking forward to the cessation of battling with central office management, but I will miss my colleagues and co-workers. All things considered though, I think I'm ready to get out of there. God bless all... Don
  4. To this point, no. They do check my blood chemistry frequently and from that, they get a pretty good idea what's going on in the marrow. Yes, I am aware that all the radiation may eventually result in other cancers in the bone marrow, but I'm told that could take upwards of 20 years. I guess they figure the immediate benefits outweigh the long-term risks. Will I even be here in 20 years? Both oncologists and my GP have been asking "why are you still working?" and being a state government employee, there were a lot of reasons (insurance & income to mention two of the most basic), but one of my staff reps (I am also one of the VPs for the union local) and I are putting together the information and documents to notify the state that I am retiring effective October first. Its all gotten to be a bit too much for me to manage anymore and I recognize my own limitations. It'll be nice not having to sweat them throwing fits about the medical leaves. I don't know where they think I'm coming from, but trust me, I'd rather be in the office than fighting cancer, but that seems to escape them. Off to radiation for now. Take care all...
  5. HA! Thanks for the laughs...AND the shooting star .
  6. Well, I'm 5 days into a radiation cycle on my left hip (after 10 days on the lumbar spine from T12 thru S2 as an inpatient). 10 more to go on the hip then we move on to the 3 sites in the thoracic spine and I believe 2 in the cervical spine. Maybe I should change my screen name to "Lightning Bug" cause you'll surely see my A $ $ glowing in the dark by the time they're done with me!
  7. Thanks so much for the healing thoughts everyone. I do believe they're working. For the first time in 3 weeks, I was able to get out of the house under my own power (ok, granted it was for follow-up bloodwork but I digress...). Made it to the grocery store too. Never high on my list of things to do, but I'm proud enough of the accomplishment for today. I'm still unbelievably weak and I have next to no stamina, but I got out, got a few things done and I don't feel like I'm at death's door-step...a far cry from 2 days ago, so I'm guessing my oncologist was correct in that the steroids were being withdrawn too rapidly. I also take that as part and parcel of the well wishes that my doctors are on-point now. So again, it doesn't seem anywhere nearly enough to say "thank you" to everyone, but it's all I can offer right now. And know that my thanks are as genuine as the well wishes and are appreciated more than any of you can know.
  8. Sent me home last Friday. Told them I wasn't sure that was in my best interests, but they did it anyway. Insurance not an issue as mine is very good, so it was the "hospitalist's" call. Deathly ill since I got home. Tachycardic, dizzy, weak in the legs, ruptured capillaries everywhere... Saw my oncologist yesterday. He flipped out. The hospital's oncologist put me on an IV steroid called decadron (4mg, 3X daily). Discharged me with a script for 2 mg tablets to taper me off over 5 days. MY oncologist says there's no way my adrenal glands can compensate that quickly, so he readjusted everything and will taper me as he sees correct. Hope he's right cause I don't feel like me at all. Not even a little bit. It's very disconcerting and just awful feeling this sh_tty. I just wanna play my guitar
  9. Maybe somebody could send one of the "little green guys" down from the Area 51 thread. Maybe they've got something for me...
  10. Thanks again to everyone for checking in & checking up on me! Still in the hospital though (who-hoo :( ). Butch, I have to say, aside from some fatigue, I've tolerated radiation pretty well. I know they've been able to greatly curtail the effects with the more precise delivery in recent years (Varian Technology, Cyber-knife, etc) and mitigating some of it with other meds, so on that front I've been extremely lucky. Chemo was considerably more grueling, and it failed anyway. The radiation at least kills the metastatic cells, but they keep creeping in somewhere else, so when I get out of here, I need to explore other options. Thinking of going to one of the teaching hospitals near me, like Penn or Cooper where they're using some really cutting edge procedures and see if any of them are viable for me. Trying to remain steadfast and true to course, but as I'm sure you know, at this point, the journey indeed grows weary...
  11. After everything you've just been through my friend, I really appreciate you taking the time to reach out. Means a lot. As do all the IMs and messages from everyone, and I will get to them as I'm able. Kinda blitzed from the narcotics right now though. Shouldn't getting older come with a warning label?!!?
  12. Hi all, Still in the hospital. Waiting for results of the full spine MRI. Looking for other fractures. The one I'm aware of is right at my body's center of balance (L4 - L5), so no matter which way I lean or turn there's pain. They're trying to figure out whether to discharge me to physical/occupational therapy or directly back home. Either way, have to finish radiation on the lower spine before I can proceed with anything else. May need it in the upper spine as well depending on the MRI, and they are aware of an uptake in the left hip socket, so we'll see. Baby steps I guess. One foot in front of the other will hopefully take me where I want to be. Which right now would be sitting on my back deck with my son & nephew just rocking' some acoustic. Medicated & bored...superlative combination - NOT...bleahhh....
  13. Having something of a setback here. Went to work last Friday, felt like my back was kinda stiff & maybe a few spasms. Went to stand up to leave for lunch & my legs nearly gave out and felt like napalm went off in my spine. My boss helped me out to the car, went to the E.R. and they admitted me. I'm still here... Compression fractures in several vertebrae from the tumors. Beginning new round of radiation & don't know what lies beyond that. Wishing I had better news, but it is what it is. Thanks so much for everyone's concern. Means a lot and always will.
  14. I still need to finish it up. Been pretty sick the past few months so it's been on the back burner. Not much left to do though. Got the harness built (custom switching - coil-split/coil-tap/series/parallel/phasing). Just need to install it and connect everything. There's a thread that covered what I've got done so far here...My Build
  15. Yeah, building from kits is a lot of fun. Precision makes well engineered kits, so you can't go wrong there. Actually, almost any kit can be built up into a nice guitar if you have the skill to overcome some of the less expensive kits' flaws. These were built from kits: Just a hobby for me as well, so I take my time, no rush & I think they came out reasonably well. Sounds like you've already got experience with finishing so you're already a step ahead of most. Yeah, go for it!
  16. Hello All, As ever, I sincerely appreciate the prayers & "Well Wishes" from everyone. I began the new medication (something called Xtandi) a week ago. As for progress (or the lack of it), I will have no idea for several weeks. The oncologist will be doing bloodwork to evaluate my PSA level and determine if this treatment is succeeding based on those results, but he typically waits about a month to make sure I have reached a clinical level of the medication, and that my body has stabilized and adapted to it. As with most of the treatments, there are some unpleasant side effects that I hope will minimize as I adapt to it. If they don't, Oh well...as I said, they're unpleasant, not unbearable and I am committed to doing what needs to be done. As with all of it to this point, I am hopeful and praying that it works. And that's about all I know at this point. Again, thank you everyone for your care and concern. Bless you all, Don
  17. FZ Fan is right...there is no one "BEST." There's only what suits each of us best. I've used these a few times (haven't bought a set - they're very spendy) and they are the closest to a true PAF I've ever heard. PAF Clone Exceptionally sweet tone, but that being said, keep in mind Les HATED distortion and was always looking for the cleanest tone he could get. These deliver, but their break-up threshold is probably going to be higher than on most PAF style pickups. Still...worth a listen.
  18. Again, thanks for keeping me in your thoughts. I'm beginning a new treatment tomorrow that is defined as a hormone therapy. I already have one hormone blocker in my upper arm, but the theory is that the matastases is feeding on residual testosterone (testosterone being what prostate cancer itself feeds on). So this medication is intended to block the receptors in the PSA and prevent it from feeding at all. Could really use some prayers and energy that this works. Seems to be the least harrowing of the options available to me right now, though the others are still on the table and become more likely in the event the Xtandi fails. Thanks again, Don
  19. Guys, thanks for the good vibes and thoughts. It's just so frustrating since I really believed the chemo would work, and in fact, it did alleviate a lot of the bone pain I had before treatment started. It just seems that the disease is just that much ahead of treatment. I'm told my PSA is now 29, but my bone-scans are unremarkable. And oddly, physically, I don't feel too bad. Just very disheartening to be told that in a few months, my physical condition & scans are likely to catch up with what the PSA is telling them. And while I do try to remain hopeful, it's getting tougher to stay that way. Since the cancer seemed to laugh at the taxotere...("Say, fellas, when ya gonna have some more chemo? Friday? Okay...HEY BOYS, THEY'S A CHEMO PARTY FRIDAY!"), it's hard to believe another hormone therapy will make much of a difference, but I will comply. I'm not giving up by any stretch of the imagination. It's just very hard to convey what this does to your head to somebody with no frame of reference. I realize it probably makes me come across as whining, "Woe is me." I don't mean it like that at all. But on the other hand, it is scary. It is frustrating. And there's a certain amount of anger mixed in there too. It just really screws my head around and that opens a whole 'nother can of worms. But I appreciate the empathy and compassion from a "family" of folks I've never even met. To me, that says an awful lot about each and every one of you, and many heartfelt thanks go out to each of you. Thanks for caring enough to reply, Don
  20. After learning of Chris Squire's passing yesterday, I saw my own oncologist this afternoon. After a radical prostatectomy, having a lung resectioned, scores of drugs with hellacious side effects, hormone therapy, 7 rounds of radiation and finally 3 moths of brutal chemotherapy...I learned that my PSA numbers doubled again - while I was on chemo. He says that is of grave concern and if I don't respond to this last shot at a new hormone therapy, he can't do anything but refer me to his colleagues in Philadelphia. They would attempt clinical trials (which my insurance may or may not be willing to pay for). But it sounds like they're gradually moving toward trying to prolong my my life on the order of months instead of beating this. I was told given the aggressive nature of my disease, eventually it would outpace treatment. I'm just praying this isn't it. Sorry...I'm scared. I'm only 54...
  21. Here's hoping that people will remember his artistic influence extended far beyond being a founding member of Yes...
  22. While I have always been predominantly a guitar player, I can honestly say that Chris was the one who made me want to pick up a bass for the first time back in 1977 (a Ric of course). I've always been stunned by his fluidity, creativity and innovative tone. Not really surprised how hard I'm taking this (aside from my own battle with cancer)...he was one of my musical heroes and I really looked up to the man. Tempus Fugit... RIP Chris...
  23. Always enjoy reading blow by blow accounts how the hunt has lead us to "the one!" Not really a Strat guy (I do have a 2TSB partscaster I'm partial to tho), but like the look of your new acquisition. Dunno why, but it reminds me of the two Mal Evans scored for George & John back in '65 or '66 (those were Daphne Blue tho, not Turquoise). Beautiful guitar in any case. Thanks for posting...
  24. My brother-in-law, nephew, my son & I are off to see them in Philly on the 25th. I'd seen them 6 or 7 times between '79 & '82, and my brother-in-law and I have seen them at least twice on every tour since R30 in 2004. Oddly, I own very little of their recorded work, but as a live unit, I've always been fascinated. Our sons (both guitar players as well) have caught the Rush "bug" in recent years and this will be the third "father & son" Evening With Rush. Always a good time... If this really is their "last hurrah" for large scale touring, I feel I've seen a pretty good cross section of their career and I'm glad to have the tickets.
  25. Unquestionably, for me, it would have to be early John Lennon with the Beatles. The wide-legged stance, the killer vocals and that Rickenbacker 325 just drew me in. As I got older and I could discern his driving rhythm lines from what George was playing, I was hooked forever. Damn! Now I got GAS for a 325!
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