Week Ten

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October 28, 2013   This is week ten of my treatment.  As you will see below, I have a couple of items to note about this week and the coming week.  Also, please note that I will begin posting every two or three weeks since my status has not changed significantly.
The biggest challenge for me lately has been leg and foot cramps – extreme in some instances.  Cramping and pain are an unfortunate side-effect of Gleevec. It’s a known side effect, and for some patients the cramping and pain can become so extreme that they have to stop taking the medicine.  My leg cramps – mainly in my calves – come and go, so I try to treat them as I would prior to cancer by stretching, staying hydrated, and increasing my potassium levels.  (In other words, eating lots and lots of bananas!)

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Good Old Days

On October 24th, I attended a happy hour reunion with folks who worked for the old Holiday Corporation and Promus Companies (also known as Harrah’s Entertainment and Hilton Hotels).  I found out about the reunion through the online networking site, LinkedIn.  Over the summer, I had reconnected with dozens of former coworkers through this site.  It was interesting to learn what many of these folks were doing more than 10 years since I have seen them.

At the gathering on the 24th, I got a chance to see some of these folks in-person and share how our worlds have changed – and in some cases, stayed the same – over the years.  It was incredible to reminisce about our jobs and work experiences and feel as though we never left.  Some people appeared almost the same as I remember them, including a former executive secretary who saw me and said, “Mr. Ken, it’s so good to see you.”

These people, those companies, and those days were when I “cut my teeth” in the corporate world and learned – sometimes not quickly enough – what I cared about and what I wanted out of work.  There was a certain comfort level with these people…a certain understanding that we have all been together during a very unique time in our lives, and that all of us belonged, like players on a team, or members of a fraternity, or survivors of a horrific event.  There was – and still is – a special bond we have that others will never understand or feel.

For me it was also a unique evening because while I shared my new work (career?) path, I did not, however, talk at all about my cancer.  Prior to the 24th, I thought a lot about what I would say if people asked about me and my world.  I decided to see how the evening progressed, and, as it did, most of what we talked about centered around work, career, and family.  And that was just fine with me.  Outside of close friends, former high school classmates, fraternity brothers, and family I have not shared my story with many others.  Frankly, it will probably stay that way.

So young!  Yes, that is me!

The evening was fun, but, for me, ended on a rather bad note. While I was getting into my car, I had a massive leg cramp that caused my entire left leg to spasm.  Fortunately I was still parked, and the spasm stopped.  But it was scary and painful.  Once again, a reminder that my world will never be the same.