Greg, How Are You?


drugs of the month

by on Nov.15, 2010, under PPL PLCS THNGS

per oral

Pepcid (Famotidine) – stomach acid control

Allopurinol (Brand names: Lopurin, Zyloprim) – kidney protection

Cipro (Ciprofloxacin) – antibiotic

bactrim – Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole – antibiotic

Ativan (Lorazepam) – antinausea, antianxiety

Compazine (Prochlorperazine) – anti-nausea

Colace (Stool Softeners) – stool softener

Senna (Stimulant Laxatives) – stool softener

Tylenol (Acetaminophen) – analgesic

Diamox (acetazolamide)

Emend (Aprepitant) – antinausea

Imodium (Loperamide) – diarhea control


Lasix (Furosemide) – prevent cystitis of bladder

Decadron (Dexamethasone Oral) –  corticosteroid

Fentanyl (fentanil)  – analgesic





CYTOXAN® (cyclophosphamide) – ruin the bone marrow

heparin – a highly-sulfated glycosaminoglycan, is widely used as an injectable anticoagulant – vein greaser

Zofran (Ondansetron) – Ondansetron HCl – anti-nausea

Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) – knock out


Roller Coaster (of Love)

by on Nov.12, 2010, under PPL PLCS THNGS

Cue the Red Hot Chili Peppers

I get five bouts in the ring with various chemo opponents.  Meet

  • Gem/Nav (2 rounds, outpatient),
  • BCNU,
  • VP-16 and
  • Cytoxin.

Gemzar/Navelbine has special attacks – headache, fatigue and constipation.  In Round One I made it a couple of days before I was lightly peppered with strikes.  Besides, I like naps.  I even had great productive and friendly day at the office the Friday after.  And played some pro keyboards on Rock Band 3 courtesy of toy master Bryan S.

But in Round Two I took body blows without delay and wasn’t even recovered yet when Round Three began.  Seriously, worst headache in two decades, no chemical brought relief.  Days of tequila hangover.  I was pretty withdrawn and anti-social for the hostpital admittance and changing of the guard from Dorene to Bob/Jan aka The Folks.

BCNU only strikes during the infusion but is reputed to be the hardest to take.  Red puffy flushed face due to alcohol solvents, headache, jawache, eyeache and what really eats opponents – itchy twitchy anxiety.  I danced and dodged.  Some benadryl help me stay in a near sleep for the first one of the two hour infusion.  Then it was yogic tolerance and zen patience.  Let the energy move in, through and out.  Pass it away through fingertips and toes.  I did scoot around in the bed a bit by mostly dodged and weaved away from this guy.  My German roommate (my own room comes later) said I got off easy, he was trashed by this opponent.

Now a day of rest before Round 4.  I woke up at 11pm last night suddenly free of Der Hangoffer from Round 2.  Awesome!  I talked to Dad who stayed the night, eventually moving to a room with a couch.  Onto the laptop.  Asking for food which I’d been forcing down by sheer will.  Even reading the menu was repulsive.  Now a cliff bar, some chick-nood soup from a nurse and  bag of chips.  WOLF!   This morning, every gram of breakfast (banana, potatoes, eggs…)  WOLF!

VP-16 isn’t supposed to be bad at all.  Tomorrow.

Cytoxin is a mofo.  Had that before.  This is the scorched earth drug.  Or scorched marrow if you like.  I’ll take the dive on this one and rest on the mat.



Props, Kudos, Love & Gratitude

by on Nov.08, 2010, under PPL PLCS THNGS

I never get tired of saying, “Thank you.”  Gratitude led me to spirituality.  But I do forget to speak up, sometimes.  And a little recognition gives people clout in the community of trust, nurturing in the nativity of kindness.

Thank you to the throng that has wished me well on my adventure.  There’s more pray’n out there than in a revival tent on a hot August night in Georgia.  I can hardly form doubt in the face of the thousand atta’boys and YouCanDoIt’s.  I can do, convinced.

Thanks you to the Bay Area peeps for my hug-a-thon and karaoke party.  I’m touched.  Literally filled up with kinetic love.  Were my bones piezoelectric, I’d beat the Hoover Dam for production.  BIG THANKS to Oliver and Todd for the rental, engineering, invites and fuss.  Thanks to DJ Herbst for the disc.   And to everyone for everything from snacks to booty patts to the bus of drunkards.  YAR.  That was a nice exchange of ‘gestures’ out on the front porch.

Thank you to Brad and the Conspiracy to Support the Hermetically Sealed.  A PS3 arrived today.  For those not in the know, that is a crazy number of hours of entertainment in the form of a game console.  Especially involving Rock Band, a rhythm addiction that took me over around my 40th bday (an endless wellspring of good memories) some three years ago.

From all sorts of times, thank you to Karen for the handmade afgan of Greg Proportions.  To Mother Herbst for the lifetime keepsake personalized handmade Greg History Quilt.  Thank you to Dale for the Coon Hat.  Thank you to Corine and Lissa for the knitted hats.  Erin for the books.  Jennifer for the Wii and books.  Paca for the book.  Thanks to Nicole and company for gift cards, cash for incidentals and nice notes.  Vivian for the long drive.  The number of gifts far exceeds my memory at the moment.  Speak up and I’ll give you cred.

Thank you to Anthem Blue Cross for paying for my Six Million Dollar Man treatment and Mission College Prep for hiring me and getting me on the program.  Dad always said, gotta stay covered no matter where my employment takes me.  Big thanks to my “bosses” and friends at work who have supported me every step of the way.  I’m glad to have a job and community to return to in 2011.

Thank you to Jim Malone and Jonathon Benjamin, super doctors, Tim Souchek and the whole staff at SLO ONC, to Zoe the Glowing Nurse and all the amazing people at Stanford Medical.

Thank you to everyone for the cards and emails and texts of love.

Special mention to Bryan and Erin who have doted upon me as a favorite pet and paid me sustenance, space, affection, toys and company frustratingly beyond any ability for me to repay.   Thank you.

The Ultimate Thank You goes first to Dorene Garvin, my partner in life and love.  Her world has totally altered by this medical journey of ours and she is positive and ready to do-what-it-takes everyday.  Amazing woman, there.

And then thank you to the first circle of caretakers: Dave, Mom, Dorene and Dad.  These people are committed beyond reason to my well being and tolerant, somewhat, of my impetuous approach to this challenge.  And Thank You to the caretaker’s caretakers such as  Jeff Simmons, Grace, Zannie, Pia, Yarrow, Grandfather Jim Taylor, Aunt Carol and y’all.  The well runs deep thanks to you.

Once more into the breach!

— Greg


The machine

by on Oct.20, 2010, under PPL PLCS THNGS, The Days

Here is a closer look at the apheresis machine. Notice the name in the bottom left, “all day sucker.” Top right the stem cells of life can barely be seen: the bag with red in the bottom. The yellow bag is plasma. There was so many tubes it took half an hour to wire it up.

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S.L.O. Rules

by on Oct.13, 2010, under PPL PLCS THNGS

We’re broke but we’re happy in

San Luis Obispo.

Bill Morem comments on an article in Parade.

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Props to Dan C.

by on Oct.11, 2010, under PPL PLCS THNGS

Another SLO fellow fights the good fight.  Meet Dan.  He’s a few years younger than me and has had his fresh start on life interrupted.  Check him out on his blog.  I have a special love for the Coudray family from the distinct pleasure of teaching Dan’s sister, Celine.

He just had a garden party in his honor today but he missed it, being up at Stanford.  I know how that is.  Looks like his family is having a harder time than my own with the “miscellaneous” costs.   Yeah, insurance might be getting the million dollar bills but there are plenty of hundred dollar bills going down for co-pays, parking, food, special medical fuss, telecom, and special needs housing.  Yeah, all that and more.   If you can help him out, cool, tell ’em Greg sent ya.


“F l o w e r s”

by on Oct.11, 2010, under PPL PLCS THNGS

Flowers, such lovely things

The adorable beauties brought in the spring

Delightful to smell, warm to the heart

But before you bring them, take a new start

Dirt is my nemesis, not the carbon you know

But the wee little critters

Who home beneath your toes

Aspergillus, nematodes, protozoa I fear

Are the stuff of my ruin, my defenses can’t bear

Keep your plant genitals to yourself

But let your love self express

Through other means of expression

That will not infect my weak breast



by on Oct.07, 2010, under PPL PLCS THNGS

When you hear us say “Stanford“, we aren’t talking about the university.  Nor Palo Alto though it is so pretty and well groomed.  It much that means one of two buildings in the medical center complex.  Either the Cancer Center or the E1 wing of the hospital.  Check this out.  It looks more like a five star hotel than a clinic.  Wonder where your health care insurance dollars are going?

Stanford Cancer Center

Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving this joint. The people are great, the service professional, events are on time, the chairs are comfortable. I wouldn’t go anywhere else after what I’ve seen so far.  Valet parking, if you choose.  We schleps just park ourselves, for $6.

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