“Happy Birthday” to me

When you have a stem cell transplant, the day you have it they call it you birthday at the hospital.  Today is my 1st “Birthday”, one year ago today on May 17th was my transplant. For the first 6 months or so, we assumed  I wasn’t going to make it to my first “Birthday”, but not only did I, but I am in great health.   So, Teresa was the first to wish me Happy Birthday, as I have no clue what the date was when she said it at first I was puzzled.   Then I looked down at my screen and saw 5/17 and knew exactly what the Happy Birthday was for.  A special thanks goes out to the transplant staff at Mayo Clinic Rochester for getting me this far.


Physically, I am still doing pretty good.   Just coughing in the evenings now for the most part.   But my knee feels better, my back doesn’t hurt, and all the aches and pains associated with my last trip to Mayo have disappeared.   Physically, I feel pretty damn good for a guy who has battled cancer twice (and beat it twice) and all  the other ailments that I have had over the years.  In case you didn’t know, my asthma is back, I carry an inhaler most of the time again and I hate it just as much now as I did back then.  But asthma is not keeping me down.


Depression still is keeping me down.  I have no idea what triggered this depression, but it’s lingering and it’s driving me crazy.  Yes, it could be seasonal (although I have never had a problem in the Spring before), there is nothing situational going on that should cause it, so it’s probably just chemical and we all know that chemical means meds to most people who deal with bipolar.  I will NOT take any anti-depressant, the ones I have tried (many) have all caused MANIA.  And mania is worse than depression in my case most of them time.  So, I will just sit here playing my game while depressed.  At least I get some enjoyment out of the killing of virtual enemies.


My weight has stalled out at 207.4.  I am happy with that but I wish it was 2 pounds less, then I would be reaching my goal of 205ish.  But 207 isn’t 210 or 212 (the post-prednisone weight), so I am content with that.   My metabolism has changed considerably with the stem cell transplant.  I eat pretty much just like I used to, and I am drinking almost exclusively Gatorade (and not the 1/2 or no sugar kind).  So, I should be ballooning up, but I am not.  Not going to argue with it, just be happy that there is less of me to love.


Skyrim:  I deleted the Mage Summoner I played all day yesterday.   She got BORING when she hit level 20ish.  All the fights worked out the same.  Things rarely touched my mage, my  mage would summon a big monster who got all the agro and then my mage would summon his summonable sword and then attack said mob from behind.   It was just the same thing over and dover again.

So, I made a new Orc Warhammer wielder.  If I am going to have a one trick pony so to speak, might as well have a true one attack monkey.   Orc is only just level 7 now.  Might turn out that I get bored with her too around level 20.   But I have a plan, perhaps it’ll keep this one from getting boring.


Yesterday it hit 91 degrees in Des Moines.   Teresa’s car thermometer said it was 96 here in Adel.  Either way, it broke records.  Today wasn’t nearly as bad, only in the mid 80s.  But it thunder stormed all morning and the humidity is way up.   Humidity is what bugs me about living in the Midwest.


I will be getting my blood work for Mayo early next week.  I am hoping I feel better and not depressed.  But I am NOT going to a pulmonologist.  There is nothing wrong with my lungs, my lungs are perfectly clear.  A pulmonologist would order a pulmonary function test and see my lungs are strong.  He would then refer me to a gastroenterologist to see if I have reflux again, which I do not think I do.  The cough feels like it is originating in my throat which is weird.


Sorry that this post is so late today.   I wasn’t going to post today, but I was struck by it being my “Birthday” and thought maybe you would want to know it was a special day for me.


At least physically I feel better

Physically I am feeling a lot better.  Hip doesn’t hurt from the bone marrow biopsy anymore, shoulders are good from the immunization shots, the ick feeling that came with the immunization shots is finally gone, my knee feels mostly normal again, and I have stopped the mouth/facial twitching, so it’s all good.   Everything physical that I had to complain about has righted itself at least to the point where I can’t or won’t complain about it anymore (right now).   So, this may end up being a really short blog entry because I really don’t have a whole lot to say.


This depression is starting to eat at me.  I am not doing anything to fight it.  It’s too overwhelming.  It’s not a particularly horrible depression, just a make Hectic a complete and utter waste of a human being with no desire to do much of anything depression.  All that I want to do all day every day is play Skyrim.  I forget to eat.  It’s not that I am obsessed with Skyrim, it’s just that it gives me an outlet to kill virtual things that isn’t an MMO and I really need that right now.  Teresa gives me a list of things to do every day, I am lucky if I get one item off the list done.  I hate feeling like this, depressions are definitely worse than hypomania.


Skyrim:  Well, I hit level 50 with my Khajitt the other day.  Got the big achievement for it.  I got it while doing Dawnguard missions.  So, killing vampires and collecting anti-vampire weaponry that I couldn’t use (my Khajitt uses 2 swords, so far a got a Warhammer and a Shield).  But it’s all good, lot’s of fun.  I’m taking a break with her though.  51 levels and started to feel a little burn out.

So, I started a new High Elf Summoner Mage.  So far I am having fun with her.  Summon Sword makes her a melee person, she doesn’t have much armor though, so she casts her magic armor before wading in.  Need more magicka though, which means I need more levels, which means I need to play her longer.  But it’s all good, so far she is kicking butt andd not bothering to take names.  I stopped leveling her at level 9, probably has stored up enough experience to be level 12 now and is about to get a bunch more building her first house.  After she builds her house I will apply the level up.  I just didn’t want to worry about Daedra’s Best Friend quest yet which starts in Falkreath at level 10.


My weight fluctuates between 206 and 208.  I can handle that.  I just don’t want to weight 210 or more.  Personal preference.  I still have my gut and my double chin, had those at 180 lbs.  My metabolism changed with the stem cell transplant.  Changed for the better I would say.  26 pounds less than what I weighed going into the transplant a year later.  That is a good thing.   I don’t recommend getting cancer as a diet plan, but I do say I get to look at it as a silver lining.


I’m supposed to get a blood test this week, but I just don’t feel up to going to Dr. Wehbe’s office and having lab work.   I don’t feel up to going anywhere.   Dr. Alkhateeb will just have to understand.  My numbers were not that far off to warrant a freak out.  Dr. Alkhateeb also wanted me to go see a pulmonologist, yeah, right, like that is going to happen.  So Dr. Alkhateeb is going to hear NO for the first time since we met.   I wonder how that is going to go over.  Not well I would guess.


It’s supposed to get up near 90 degrees here today.  At least that was according to the weather last night.  Looking to tie or break records.   Yeah, buddy.  Going to be a hot one.


Almost to level 50 WOOT

The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.  I posted Happy Mother’s Day to my mom here on Mother’s Day and for some reason she didn’t get to read THAT post.  So, last night I got a concerned call from my mom; she wanted to make sure I was ok.  And then she wanted to complain I didn’t wish her Happy Mother’s Day.  I told her I posted it, which you all know I did.  She sees EVERY other post I make, just misses the one where I wish her Happy Mother’s Day.  DOH.   Oh well, I wished her a belated Happy Mother’s Day over the phone as well as my timely post.  It got covered.


I feel better overall.  Hip is a dull minor ache, that’ll go away.  Shoulder’s are just a little tender still.  The crappy feeling from the baby shots seems to have faded.   And even my knee feels a bit better.  And my cough has taken to being a minor annoyance.  So, all in all I feel pretty good.


Next Mayo day is June 7th.  They wrote me a message and actually asked me to pick a day between Thursday and Friday.  Well, since Fridays are less crowded at Mayo, I chose Friday, the 7th.  I have no clue what this appointment is for, that’s a lie, I know that part of the reason for this appointment is to talk to a pulmonologist and to do yet another pulmonary function test.   See if they can figure out why I am coughing.   But my cough is getting better, so maybe I can weasel out of the pulmonary testing and out of seeing the pulmonologist.  I don’t want to see another specialist who won’t hear anything in my lungs; my lungs are clear.  Bah.  Stupid waste of a visit.


210 was a short lived weight, that same day I was back down to 208.4.  So, I am going to assume, I weigh somewhere around 209 when you average it all out.


Now that is thunder.  It’s storming here.   Love spring storms.   Let it rain and thunder.  It’s all good.  Makes things green and batters down the pollen count.


Skyrim:  My khajitt is almost level 49.  Finished the Thieves’ Guild quests, got the Thieves’ Guild back in order,  got the cool Guild Master’s armor and everything.  All that is left, is the Companions questline, and the Vampire questlines.  Think I am going to do the Companions today.  I have no interest in doing the Dawnguard questline again right now.  The companion questline might just bounce me to level 50 and the achievement.  She also has all but 3 of the shouts completely unlocked, 2 from the companions questline ad one from the Dawnguard questline, so yeah, I will do the quests, it’s just such a long questline but I want to unlock all the original shouts.  Yeah, I am still having fun playing this Khajitt.


I hate being stuck in a depression.  Especially a lengthy one.  I much prefer my hypo-manics.  Oh well, welcome to my bipolar.   Every once in a great while I get stuck in a depression and there is nothing I will let them do about it.  Not that I have anyone to do anything about it anyway.  I’m beginning to suspect that I am never going to hear from that psychiatrist and I am going to be sans shrink for a while.


The only other problem I have is the mouth and hand tremors.  I don’t notice the mouth tremors, except the drool.  The hands tremors suck.  Chris (the PA) is going to refer me to a neurologist to see if they can figure out why I have these tremors and maybe do something about them.   I would say, “Yay, another doctor” but I so don’t feel up to seeing another specialist.  He’ll (or she’ll) just put me on a anti-Parkinson’s med and send me on my way.  No I do not have Parkinson’s, but it’s how they treat tremors.  They are going to mess with my meds more.  Yay.


So, overall, life is pretty good.  Things could have turned out a lot worse.  Last year at this time I had a the biggest catheter I have ever seen shoved up my penis and it was blowing water into my kidneys and sucking it out.  It hurt, it was uncomfortable, it was weird, and I never want that to happen again.  Now I am trying to determine if I am going to eat a real breakfast and hold out for lunch (lunch probably).  And my biggest concern is losing Marcurio as my follower in Skyrim and having to rehire him.   LOL.


Happy Mother’s Day

My mom reads my blog, so here goes….  Happy Mother’s Day,  mom.  I wish I could be there to give you a hug and join you for dinner.  You just live a little too far away for a pap over visit.


This is also the 7th anniversary of my dad’s death.  Yeah, he died on Mother’s Day in 2012.


My hip is still sore from the bone marrow biopsy; it will be for several days.  My shoulders are still tender and achy from the baby shots.  And my knee still is giving me problems.  I am the walking wounded.  But I will survive thing only to go thru most of it again in a month (no biopsy in a month).


Went to bed last night at 11:20 and woke up this morning at 5am.  NAPS will occur today, possibly more than one.  Tonight and for the next few nights I am going to take Restoril and try to fix my sleeping pattern.  Waking up entirely too early.  Brutal on my body thru the long days, especially if I don’t take a nap or two.


Well, it happened, I stepped on the scale and it read 210.2.  Depressing, I blame the Prednisone for making me eat so much.  Hopefully I will somehow magically lose a couple of pounds, I don’t want to weigh 210+.  Maybe I’ll go back to walking.  Need to do something to try to shed some weight.


Skyrim:  My Khajitt is still going strong.  She is level 42 now.  Just got to get her to 50 for the achievement.  Leveling is going slow right now.  But it’s all good.  Still haven’t done the Vampire’s or the Companion storylines. But I did the College yesterday, and the Aethium shard/forge quests, and got all the Dragon Priest Masks.  I almost have every Shout in the game. just missing the ones that are quest locked..  And have 90% of them unlocked, still killing dragons.  Both the main storyline and the civil war storyline are completed.  She is a fun character to play.  And I am going to go get Marcurio for my follower for every character I play, he rocks.


I am dealing with a fairly bad depression.  Started about a month ago and is still going strong.   It’s not a doom and gloom depression, but I am down considerably.  That is why I haven’t tried to get a D&D game going on resume my old D&D game.  My heart (and my mood) is just not into the concept of gaming right now.


Right now, I have nothing planned until June when I go back to the Region for a quick visit and Jim’s party.  Still have to buy my bus ticket from O’Hare to Portage and back.  Mom won’t come pick me up at O’Hare, Midway she was cool with but O’Hare is just a little too much into Chicago to convince her to pick me up.   I wonder if I can change my tickets to stay a little longer?  I think I paid for the upgrade that allows that.  Would be nice to spend a few days with my mother and brother again.


Then after that nothing is planned until GenCon in August.  Looking forward to that.


After August, nothing is on the books until Thanksgivingfest the end of November.  Happy to get to go this year.   I miss my Gang family.  I really wish I could see them more often.  But they collectively live further than my mother and brother, so I won’t get to see them except once or maybe twice a year.  It’ll have to do.


Anxiety wise I have none.  At least none I can identify.  Mayo is what it is, so it doesn’t cause any undo anxiety.  School isn’t happening, so no anxiety there either.  Killing things in Skyrim keeps me as happy as I am going to be right now.   Feels nice to not have any real anxieties to worry about.


16 hour days suck

Just got back from Mayo a little bit ago.  The road we live on is being replaced, couldn’t get to our house by car.  Probably still can’t and it is past 7pm.  But the part of the road they have done looks great.  The only thing is they said it would be done by the time people come home from work, well, that’s not the case.   Kind of a pain in the butt to have to park 3 blocks away and walk back to the house.  However, I think they are almost done with the road and then we will go get the car and park it in the garage where it belongs.


Mayo visit was… interesting and painful.  We got up at 3am to get there around 7:30am.  The blood draw place was virtually empty, took about 10 minutes before my name was called and 3 minutes to walk back and have blood drawn.

Then at 8:05am I was called in to the immunization place.  Got 6 shots total, 3 in each arm.  I have to go back every two months for the next 8 months, in order to get them all.  Still won’t get MMR though because it’s a live immunization and it could kill me.  Getting the info and getting the shots took an hour.

By 9:30am I was at the bone marrow biopsy place, waiting for my turn so to speak.   The nurse who put in the IV used my last good vein, and still couldn’t get it right.  So, she called in another nurse who jiggled it a little and got a great drip rate on the IV.   Then I was rolled into the procedure room and woke up 25 minutes later with a new hole in my hip.

11am We met with Gabe the Pharmacist.  Gabe happens to be our favorite pharmacist.  He jokes and laughs with us.   That took a half hour.

11:30am to 1pm, we had to ourselves.  We watched some HGTV and then walked down to the Popcorn store so I could get some Cotton Candy.  Then went back up to watch some more HGTV.

1pm we met Jody, a new nurse.  She was nice but will never replace Teresa (the nurse) as our favorite nurse.   Jody asked all the pertinent questions and promised to relay all the info to Dr. Alkhateeb.  Which is what she was supposed to do.

1:36pm Dr. Alkhateeb came in, we talked about my cough and how I DO NOT NEED antibiotics.  So, I am gonna stop taking the Doxy.  Dr. Alkhateeb wants me to ask for a referral to a local Lung Specialist, so I will call Chris for that on Monday.  —-  Also I have to go to the dentist, but I forgot to ask Dr. Alkhateeb if I needed to do anything special before going to have my teeth worked on.  Might need to take some antibiotic (go figure) before getting the work done.

Then by 2:15pm we were having lunch at Carlos O’Kelly’s.  I have a Fajita steak burrito, and Teresa had a Chimichanga.   We were both very happy with our meals.   Rochester is one of the only places with a Carlos O’Kelly’s left.  There used to be 2 of them in greater Des Moines area years ago.   They have excellent Mexican food.

By 3:15pm we were on the road home.  Got home at 6:45pm, to the sound and smell of new road being laid.  But I already complained about that.

16 hour days are brutal.  And I get to do that probably for the next 8 months at least.


Skyrim:  I am really digging my newest Khajitt.  She is level 36 now I think.    Still haven’t done the Companions or the Dawnguard or the Thieve’s Guild.  But I have done most of Solsteim, and I got most of the Shouts.  She just kicks butt.  And Marcurio is the best follower.  He kicks butt too.   Between them, even the big bads go down quickly.  I am having a blast.


My boring life in words

OK, it has been a few days since I have wrote in my blog and I miss it.  So, here goes me trying to write something out of nothing.


I went and saw Chris (the PA) again yesterday.  This was for the mouth tremors, he was befuddled and is sending me to a neurologist.  Beyond that, he gave me a different anti-biotic for my cough.   I actually coughed a real loud and wet cough in front of him, probably the first time I have done that.  I think it freaked him out a little bit.  I wasn’t there for the cough but he insisted on treating it.  Got to love little town doctoring.  So, nothing for my tremors or my drool issue (haven’t mentioned it before, but the mouth tremors are causing me to drool a little), but new anti-biotic for my cough and nothing for my knee.


Other than that, I have been playing a lot of Skyrim.  Like from when I wake up to when I go to sleep lot of Skyrim.  I have a new Khajitt that is up to level 34.  I found the coolest follower in Marcurio, he’s a Destruction Wizard who kicks serious butt.  He cost me 500gold to hire but has been was more than worth that.  Did the whole main storyline, and the Storm Cloak line.  Currently am on the other continent working on taking on Miraak.  Destroyed the Dark Brotherhood (just wasn’t in the mood to do those assassination quests again).  This might just be the character I play up to level 50.  I haven’t touched my Orc or other Khajitt in a few days.  Haven’t done the Vampires yet nor the Companions.  In either case, I would have to give up my follower, and I am not ready to do that yet.


Teresa made her best tasting chili the other day.   Since I showed her how to make chili, she has modified my original take on chili and has made it her own.  This chili was phenomenal.


The scale says I weigh somewhere between 207.2 and 209.6.  I put on some weight when I was on Prednisone and its slowly coming back off.  My metabolism has definitely changed for the better, I honestly don’t think I am destined for the 230+ range anymore and I am happy about that.


My life is boring(er) now.  I really don’t have much to write about, I’m not starting a new business, I am not going to school.  I am just going thru the motions of life.  So, until or unless something happens in my life, blog entries might be rarer than before.


Tomorrow is Mayo day, which means we get up at 3am to drive up to Mayo.  The mo



ing starts at 7:30am up there.  Blood draw, Bone Marrow Biopsy, Baby Shots, Pharmacist Visit, Nurse Visit, and then Doctor Visit.  All done by 3pm.  We should be home by 7pm.  Days like tomorrow are long days and I kind of hate that.  But this is a big part of my life now.  Long trips to Mayo every month or so.  At least it breaks the monotony of day to day in Adel occasionally.


Oh yeah, I have been getting up with or before Teresa lately.  Her alarm is set for 6am.  For the most part I am taking naps, but yesterday I made it from 6am to 11:15pm without a nap at all.  So it can be done.  Getting up that early makes for long days too.  But the day doesn’t seem so long when I play my game.  When playing Skyrim I kind of lose track of time anyway.  So it’s all good.


Back to an Anxiety free life.

Well, the anxiety is gone.  I am back to being a mellow guy without a knot in my stomach.  I’ve had 24 hours to think about what I did and why I did it.  I feel it was the right choice.  School and I have never gotten along.  With my track record I would start off strong then go manic and things would just fall apart.  Only this time I would owe the student loan people five grand plus.  The decision to not even try was not made lightly, I thought long and hard about it.  I just didn’t want to screw it up again.  Bipolar and Anxiety won the day.


I stayed up till 2am last night for no reason other than Teresa was still up.  And I woke up at 7am to take my pills and write this blog and probably play some Skyrim.  I will be awake at least until 9am when I take my second set of pills.  That gives me some time to kill.  I normally have breakfast during this time, but I am not hungry this morning, so I am going to skip that.   Five hours of sleep and I feel pretty good about it.   Yeah, the weight of the world being off my shoulders is going to let me do crazy stuff like stay up till 2am again.


I forgot to call Chris yesterday about the steroid toxicity.  I had every intention to call himm and just plain didn’t.  It’s a serious issue that can cause serious permanent problems.  The lip tremor is disturbing.  I finally got to see it in a mirror instead of just feel it.  Feels weird, looks worse.  I need to come off the steroid, I will write Jennifer (the Mayo Endocrinologist) and ask her if we can try to cut down the dosage again.  We have tried twice before and had bad results.  Now it is imperative that it happens.


Skyrim:  I deleted every save game.   My Argonian pick pocket, My Elven Archer, and my Orc Barbarian all are gone.  I don’t know what possessed me to do such, but it seemed like the thing to do.  Started over with a new Orc Barbarian who wields a greatsword (Warhammer is too slow I determined).  She is level 8 now and the vampire attacks have begun.  I am bored with the vampires, but if you turn off that expansion, you can’t build arrows.  So whereas with my orc it wouldn’t matter, with say an Elf Archer it would be a big issue.  I don’t know what else came in the Dawnguard expansion, but Arrows are enough to keep me wanting to play it with that expansion enabled.

I know Hearthfire gave the build a steading feature primarily.  Dragonborn gave Solsteim and Mirrak.  Dawguard gave us the Vampire storyline and apparently the ability to make arrows.  All three expansions added a lot of content to the game.  Turning any of them off makes huge changes that I found out the hard way.  So, I am just going to live with the Vampires attacking Whiterun and wonder why the guard isn’t doing anything.


Mayo in six days, next Friday to be more exact.  With the exception of the bone marrow biopsy, I am actually kind of looking forward to this visit up north.  I believe the weather ha finally cleared up there and it should be cooly pleasant outside.  I wonder if they scheduled us a lunch break this time?  They don’t always and it’s kind of a crap shoot to see if we get to eat before 3pm.  I’m sure they did, Shiela always tries to take care of us.


My back is still hurting, carrying trash to the curb yesterday didn’t help it.  I actually took a pain pill yesterday and I will probably take another one today.  Again, I am not sure what I did to cause this specific onset of pain, but hey, I got meds to help me with the pain, so it’s doable.


I wouldn’t be a proper nerd if I didn’t say May the 4th be with you.