If you read only one blog full of ranting and raving about sports (local and otherwise), movies, TV shows, miscellaneous pop culture, life and other assorted flotsam and jetsam, make it this one!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Trenton Thunder 9/1/15

Last September I went to three minor league baseball games in the span of 8 days, with two being first-time
visits (and the other being the Camden Riversharks, who have since moved out of the area). I started with the Trenton Thunder, and what did I find when I left the light rail stop nearest the ballpark? The New Jersey State Prison!
Thanks, Google! Good to know they're open 24-7.
Wouldn't want crooks waiting outside all night to get in.
And 3.8 stars!
Along the wall of the prison there's a mural...

I noticed that structurally all three parks sort of look the same. Did minor league parks go through a cookie-cutter phase like, for example, the Vet, Three Rivers in Pittsburgh and Riverfront in Cincinnati?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My Sports Tees And Miscellaneous Caps, Part 6

Surprise! NOT about movies! NOT about disco! NOT even about cancer! It's more shirts and caps, in photos mostly taken months ago!

Let's start with the Phils, since they're in season -- and doing surprisingly well! Most of these I got from the clearance racks. First one is actually not a t-shirt.

Some from the recent glory days...

Two from 2008 -- one official, one not...

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Birthday Month Extended: Day 12 (Mother's Day Edition)

I'm telling you, I'm doing 30 of these! But this is only going to contain one song, in honor of Mother's Day: from Philly's own Gamble and Huff, the Intruders with "I'll Always Love My Mama." (From a Soul Train broadcast!)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Neverending Story -- new #cancerisabitch update

(Forgive any typos and the like if you spot them, and let me know so I can edit. I've already edited but I probably missed something.)

It's starting to feel a bit like piling on.

As previously mentioned here, my chemo oncologist stopped my Avastin treatments and referred me to a nephrologist to check on my kidneys because of protein in my urine. I also had a followup with my radiation oncologist the next day (April 26). I updated both on things like the leg swelling and weakness, general tiredness, the return of the focal seizures in my face, and some reoccurring problems grasping things with my left thumb and index finger and speech (stumbling on words, etc.), all which indicated that the glioblastoma was possibly reasserting itself. The two oncologists arranged to have me get an immediate outpatient MRI that very day. Sure enough, the tumor is starting to grow again.

I saw the radiation doc on the 27th. She said that having had two surgeries already, and especially with it not being extremely large yet, another surgery is not really an option now. She (consulting with the chemo doc) recommended another round of radiation, but only for two weeks (Mon. thru Fri.), and in a more limited area of the brain, followed by a different chemo treatment. To alleviate the issues I mentioned above, I was placed back on the steroid decadron. They (and, I assume, the lack of Avastin) have had positive effects. My legs, although there's still swelling, are stronger again, and my fingers and speech (and typing) are improving. And the extended-release version of Keppra the seizure specialist put me on (see last post) has completely stopped the facial twitching. For now, at least.

Today I saw the chemo doc, followed by, finally, because I had the wrong number for the office for a couple days (rolling eyes), the nephrologist.

Chemo doctor said that after I have the radiation (to be scheduled -- phone call tomorrow), I will start on irinotecan via IV. Because of side effects (possible nausea, diarrhea -- OH JOY! -- and lower white blood cell counts) he wants to lessen the amount of each dose and spread them out over a period of time a little. Maybe one dose one week and two doses a couple of weeks later, or something like that. To be determined.

He also said he tried following up with the doctor at Penn to find out if I quality for the immunotherapy vaccine clinical trial, and they haven't gotten back to him. He feels this is a sign that either I didn't qualify based on the genetic testing or they didn't have room, or something, because otherwise they would have likely contacted me quickly to get me into the program. (They also never got back to me after my recent followup. Another phone call tomorrow.)

As for the nephrologist, he really believes that the biggest factor in the protein in the urine is not from a kidney problem but basically some combination of the Avastin, my diet (way too much sodium) and the recent doubling in the dose of my blood pressure medication amlodipine. This is also an issue in my swollen legs. He thinks I have an extra 30 pounds of weight just from that. He has given me a prescription for another blood pressure med (one he takes himself, he said), and told my to cut my amlodipine back to where it was. He wants me to restrict my sodium intake, cut out red meats (NO MORE BURGERS??? NEVAH!!!! but I will cut back a lot), eat more chicken and fish, egg whites, etc.

One week after I'm on the new med he wants me to have blood work done (the fasting kind) and he also wants me to have an ultrasound on the kidneys. I follow up with him in August. If there are still problems at that point, he'll want to do a kidney biopsy, which would be a needle into my body to remove kidney tissue.

Okay, I think that covers the facts and figures, so to speak.

This feels like it's getting more and more complicated. So much to do, so much to keep track of, and I'm beginning to worry about whether I'll actually get to do some of the fun things I was hoping to do during the summer, like a few days at the shore, some Broadway shows in NYC, maybe a Phillies road trip. Sure, going to the downtown parks and festivals and the like are great, but I need more. What I really need are friends to do some of these things with. The people who I know would go places with me all live too far away. The people who live here are just acquaintances, or just Facebook "friends." And my family is great, but it's not the same dynamic. So if any of y'all can help me out here that'd be awesome.

Also, I swear I'm gonna get those Birthday Month Disco posts done.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Birthday Month: Day 11

Some more 70's goodness!

 The Hues Corporation -- "Rock the Boat"

Speaking of rocking, George McCrea wants you to "Rock Your Baby," which would be him, by the way...

P.S. There's a mashup of this with Annie Lennox's "Little Bird." I have it in my iTunes but couldn't find it online.

Carl Douglas (no relation to Carol) says everybody was Kung Fu Fighting! (I wasn't.)

I wasn't doing The Hustle, either, Van McCoy.

Birthday Month: Day 10

What's that, you say? You want more??? The Andrea True Connection (not to be confused with the Joe in Philly Experience because, for one thing, she was doing porn films when she hit with this song) obliges you with 'More, More, More."

And here's a song that sampled "More, More, More:" Len's "Steal My Sunshine". Wikipedia says it helped give Andrea True a few VH1 appearances on their various countdown shows. Classic disco influences 90s pop! Well, not so much for Len, as they, like Andrea, were one hit wonders.

Birthday Month: Day 9

I owe it to myself to see this through, even if it goes well into May! To do that, I'm not gonna put a bunch of songs on one post unless they are from/related to one artist. Here's some early stuff.

Some advice for those of us battling health issues: follow your Doctor's Orders. Or Carol Douglas's. :)

And if you don't, well... Shame, Shame, Shame on you! (Shirley & Company)

And here are two songs from Silver Convention. Each song's lyrics consists of a grand total of six words.

"Fly, Robin, Fly"

"Get Up And Boogie"

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Advice For Candidates, Supporters And Successors

What? A post not about my cancer or featuring disco music? WHAAAAA...? It's true, though. I start with a quote:

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need
(The Rolling Stones)
With Pennsylvania and four other states having held their primaries yesterday, Republican Donald Trump and, especially, Democrat Hillary Clinton are both closer than ever to clinching their party's nominations. FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver says that Trump's sweep of all five states makes it likely that if Indiana wants Trump (whether he can go back there or not) the Cruz-Kasich tag-team, formed much, much too late, will be probably be unable to stop Trump from preventing the contested GOP convention they so desperately need.

FiveThirtyEight also says that, barring a miracle, Clinton (winning 4 of 5, including the big prize of PA) will have more total elected delegates than Bernie Sanders, and adding in the superdelegates (more on them in a bit) makes her pretty much the a certainty to win the nomination in Philadelphia in July. (Side note: if health permits I plan to volunteer at the convention here in some capacity.)

So with that, and the comments I'm reading from supporters of both Bernie and Hillary ranging from angry to smug, bitter to ecstatic, desperate for a miracle to anxious to fast-forward to the fall, and too much it nasty, I've decided to spend a few minutes dispensing some advice -- I'm a little more focused on Sanders, any progressive candidates who may come in his wake, and his supporters, many of whom are younger and idealistic -- certainly much younger than myself and somewhat more idealistic. :o . But I'm nothing if not an equal-opportunity advice giver.

Monday, April 25, 2016

New #cancerisabitch Update: Featuring Pee!

So I found out today that I'm off (at least temporarily) the Avastin treatments.

A couple weeks ago the urine sample I gave them on my regular visit showed some protein in it, although not at a high level. My oncologist was concerned enough to have me do a 24-hour urine collection, which I completed a week ago (at home -- because there was no way I was carrying a jug of pee around with me to work, so I waited until my last work day until this coming fall, which was April 15th). This time the testing showed it had a even higher protein level. So he wants me to see a nephrologist to see if there's a problem with my kidneys. The protein could just be a side effect of the Avastin, though.

I'm still waiting to see if I quality for the immunotherapy vaccine clinical trial through Penn. They had said the genetic testing would take a couple months, and it's been that long since I saw that doctor, so I called the office to follow up, and I'm waiting to hear back from them.

Also, I mentioned a while back that my focal seizures had returned and were occurring periodically. I saw a seizure specialist, who thought I might benefit from switch from the regular formula of keppra (anti-seizure med) to the extended-release version. I've been on that for 3 weeks. At first it didn't seem to help -- in fact, at one point it happened three consecutive nights -- but I haven't had one in the last week-plus. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I'm to schedule my next MRI in May.

Birthday Month: Day 8 (And Phillies -- Really)

When I first got the idea for this series of posts, this song immediately jumped into my mind.  Coinicidentally, this story popped into into my Twitter feed today...

Phils celebrate 40 years since 'Phillies Fever'

But how this other "classic," written about Pete Rose and released the year he joined the Phils, has been lost to the dustbin of history...

Pamela Neal - "Charlie Hustle" (Haven't found it on You Tube but you can listen to an mp3 at this link. The accompanying article at the website is hilarious in that it says this song "anticipates the coming of Blondie..." Ummm, no.)