Dodging Bullets Like Neo

Sorry it’s been awhile, but I did finally make it out of the hospital. The pneumonia kicked my butt pretty hard but I’ll survive. I had a home health care nurse come for the following two weeks to give me intravenous antibiotics every afternoon. That didn’t help with my work schedule, but everything worked out okay. So to say the least, I’m feeling pretty well. I can’t say I’m out of the woods just yet because I know that my immune system is still shaky. I’m still on steroids for my lungs which doesn’t help because they keep my immune system suppressed. I’ve been back to work full time for a few weeks and it feels great. I’ve even started working out again but I’ve been taking it easy; no worries.

Oh, did I forget to mention that I turn 30 today? Bummer huh? Oh well, I have a lot to be thankful for this year. My 29th year was a tough one, one that I won’t be forgetting anytime too soon. But it taught me some big lessons and hopefully made me a better man. It’s a beautiful day outside so I have that as a nice present. I’m going to place my bets and say that this year may be slightly better than last year, but hey I’m not out of the woods just yet.

Thank you everyone for all of your prayers, your cards, and you support.

Guess who is back in the hospital?

Go ahead, I dare ya.

Working on my beardUpdate: I was released on Tuesday Apr 20th in the afternoon from UPMC  Passavant North Hills and finally got home around 2:30pm. At around 2:30am on Apr 21st my face and jaw were all puffed up due to the antibiotics that they sent me home with. So at we got to the Cranberry ER at about 3am. Hives broke out all over my stomach and back while I was in the ER and it was super itchy. I was very miserable. My stomach was in knots which apparently also had to do with some of the antibiotics that I was given over the weekend. Sometime in the wee hours a pulmonary specialist showed up and finally gave us the results of the bronchoscopy wash that they did on Saturday morning confirming that it is indeed PCP pneumonia due to the Bleomycin given to me during the last 6 months of chemo treatment. I was admitted to Cranberry and spent the night there.

I’ve enjoyed a lovely 12 hours at home during the past 6 days. Because I’m having such harsh reactions to the original antibiotics I was given I have to take a very specific and rare kind of chemo/antibiotic to combat the PCP pneumonia which has it’s own set of side effects and complications that I don’t look forward to. I’ll have to take it through my port for the next 14-21 days so I’m not quite sure what that means for going to work. The drug is called Pentamidine.

The most frustrating thing is that I feel just fine. I’m mobile, aware, and very very annoyed at having to be in these creepy places by myself. I’m not really sure where we go from here: I’m waiting on an infectious disease Dr. Romano to see if I can get the heck out of here today and figure out a schedule for giving me this drug daily.

Get Me Outta Here!!!

Woolbert is trying to keep me sane, really he is, but how sane am I for talking to my little stuff lamb buddie? I am going crazy! Four, count em with me, four full days in the hospital. Granted days 1 and 2 I needed to be here. Because I was a really sick dude on a deathwish needing oxygen in the worst way. Day 3 was debatable, but understood. Day 4! What are you guys trying to get me to flip out on someone! Thank goodness for the internet, but it can only take you so far.

For those just catching up if you haven’t gotten your news through Sara’s FB page. I supposedly have Interstitial Pneumonia – WebMD. I’m not really sure what that means but you can check out the webMD link. All I know is that one of the drugs given to me during my chemo treatments Bleomycin – wikipedia kinda jacked me up hard and is supposedly the culprit of this fun weekend I’m having. The doctors still haven’t received the final results on my Bronchoscopy – wikipedia. Which is why they were so hesitant to send me home today. So no test, no nothing, just a lot of sitting around. BUT SARA IS THE BEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD!!! …next to Woolbert 😉

Tomorrow morning I will have a CT scan and hopefully if that looks good they’ll send me home with a list of antibiotics to pick up at the Giant Eagle pharmacy. The Bronchoscopy labs are being done in Shady Side which is why they take so long to get back. So for the past 4 days they’ve just been shooting fish in a barrel giving me all sorts of antibiotics and steroids not really knowing which is working for what I have going on. But some thing is working because I feel great and normal…just a little crazy.

So that’s that. My oxygen levels are holding up well into the upper 90’s and I haven’t run a fever in two days. I’m getting really tired of laying around so I make Sara take me on many walks to see the same “sites”. It’s not very far but it does help to stretch the legs. And the food is forming a massive brick in my stomach, I so need real people food, they are killing these people. Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution help out the hospitals too dude!!!! This is where people are trying to live!

But I digress, have a lovely day everyone in the real world, I’ll just be right here with Woolbert by my side and crazy nurses that try to kill me from time to time. Sounds like fun, no?

Beef Cake to Beef Jerky

-Pinch Tests-
Suprailiac(“Love Handle”):55(-)
Body Fat%:7.3%7.3%(-)
Body Weight:183lbs163lbs(-20lbs)
Body Fat:12.6lbs12.2lbs(-0.4lbs)
Lean Body Mass (pure muscle weight):163.4lbs154.8lbs(-8.6in)
-General Fitness-
Push-ups(to exhaustion)4015(-25)
Resting Heart Rate60bpm85-90bpm(-30bpm)
Heart Rate(1min after 3min Step Test 96bpm cadence)65bpm115bpm(-50bpm)

Above are the results from my fitness evaluation today at the gym. It compares results from last year. My previous high weight was 185lbs with 7% body fat. My low during chemo was 155lbs, that’s a drastic 30lb swing. Now most people would love to lose 30lbs. However I was at an almost ideal body fat percent of 7%. If you noticed, I’ve stayed there. I’ve gained back almost 9lbs from my last treatment due to getting my appetite back and drinking more fluids throughout the day. I don’t feel so dehydrated and I’m not getting muscle cramps anymore. The reason I mention my body fat % and show how it hasn’t changed is because that 30lb loss is pure muscle. I lost 30lbs in 6 months of treatment which originally took me two years to put on!

It’s frustrating and a bit depressing, but I know I can put it back on, and much faster than I did the first time around. For all those doctors, insurance companies, and people that can’t seem to keep their weight where they want to; STOP LOOKING AT IT! I put up my BMI as a joke. The BMI is the most useless piece of information you can give to someone, doctors and insurance companies really need to stop using this, but I digress. For those that want to “lose weight” you really need to be figuring out your body fat percentage, get off of the treadmill, and start lift weights. Yes you too ladies. Body fat % is easily found by doing simple pinch tests with a pair of calipers, such as these inexpensive ones.

If you are wondering why I say you need to stop looking at your weight, it is because your weight doesn’t give you a good idea of what your body is made of. If you look at my chart above you can see that my 7% body fat tells me that I am made up of 154lbs of pure muscle(and a little bit of water, bone, and organ weight). The other 12lbs is made up of fat. This comparison is waaay more important than a silly weight number. If you want to look good you need to pay attention to the relationship of muscle vs. fat or your body fat %. If, and when, you start lifting instead of plodding along on a treadmill all the time to “lose weight” you may actually gain weight! Oh no, you didn’t want that did you!?! Well muscle weights more than fat, and if you gain muscle which doesn’t burn fat per se, but it helps “light your engine” to burn fat, then yes you may end up weighting more. But you’ll drop pant size, you’ll look better, you won’t have flabby chicken under-arms, and no you won’t look gross and bulky. Don’t believe me? Either read this book or check out these chicks who figured out that lifting is the trick, matter of fact do both! I’m not apologizing for this rant, our society has royally screwed the way women think about their bodies and how to actually take care of them. That goes for you too guys: Read and read.

I knew this was going to happen, that’s why I posted this article before I started my chemo treatment. But I’ve started back up at the gym. I can’t lift as much, but it feels good to get back into it. The hardest thing so far has been cardio as you can see by the big change in my resting heart rate. I try to warm up by doing a few laps (1/4mi) around the track before lifting. This short distance is quite a feat! My goal is to try and run the 5k at Race for the Cure on Mother’s Day. I may have a month and a half to prepare, but it seems like a big hurdle for me right now.

The only reason that I pay attention to my weight is because I want to gain it. My body fat % is right where I want it and right where it should be. I’m trying to gain back the 20-25lbs of muscle loss in six months. I’ll check back in and let you know it I hit my goal in October.

And for any of you nay-sayers that think it’s easy being my size, trust me it’s not. I’m a lanky skinny dude that had to work his ass off for two years to gain 25lbs. Don’t tell me it’s easy for me to gain weight and hard for you to lose it. It’s the same work just different goals.