It's come to my attention that some of you think I'm amazingly upbeat all the time--you can't imagine how I manage. The truth is, I don't. And last week was a fine example. Thanks (or no thanks) to the pneumonia, I was not only tired and short of breath, but I also felt extremely sorry for myself. After the weekend, which had been about as gloomy, weather-wise, as Madison gets (no sun at all for two days), Monday and the rest of the week were gorgeous. But I could barely walk as far as the coffee shop on the corner--and my summer-long goal of riding my bike the twenty miles of the Capital City trail one of these September weekends was totally out of the question.
The two antibiotics I am taking were working, I could tell, but much more slowly than the levaquin I had last time, to which I am now allergic. Several wonderful friends called or e-mailed at the beginning-middle of the week to see if I could come out and play, and I couldn't. Poor, poor me. Not even the knowledge that Facing Fear had finally gone to the printer was enough to cheer me up.
Then a nurse called to talk to me about taking part in a clinical trial of sunitinib, a drug (a pill, actually) that acts to inhibit angiogenesis--the proliferation of new blood vessels that are essential for tumor cells' growth. I had heard and read about sunitinib, which is already approved by the FDA for kidney cancer (for which there is no other treatment) and one other solid tumor, a stomach tumor of a kind I don't have. The trial I expect to be joining looks at whether sunitinib is effective against other kinds of solid tumors. It actually compares two dose protocols--one group takes the pill for two weeks, has one week off, and then repeats that cycle; the other group takes it for four weeks and has two weeks off. But both groups do take the sunitinib--there's no placebo control involved.
Of course, I can't start this until the pneumonia is resolved. Suddenly I realized I'd be quite happy to go to the hospital to get a stronger IV antibiotic, if that was necessary to get into the sunitinib trial. But I doubt it will be necessary; I'm feeling remarkably much better, and I still have another few days on the oral antibiotics.
Even this news (which came on Wednesday, I think) wasn't quite enough to pump my spirits back up to their usual level, though. That required feeling better physically, which happened gradually, and finally really took hold over the weekend sometime. My breathing seems almost back to normal (what passes for normal for me), and I have much more energy, though I can't say I'm actually doing very much with it other than hanging out with friends, drinking green tea or coffee. Which is, of course, great fun.
On Saturday I did get myself deputized to register voters, but the local Obama campaign is really focused on canvassing and phone banks, not registration drives, and since those activities are pretty difficult for me with my lack of much voice, I'm not sure what I'll be doing. Something, I hope. Though I confess to having gone to the gym this morning instead of to the rally with Michele Obama.
Come to think of it, there are a lot of things I'm not sure about! For instance, I still don't know whether Facing Fear will be available in time for my appearance at the Wisconsin Book Festival on October 19, but if you're interested in knowing what that's all about, check out the Book Festival web site :