Sunday, July 24, 2011

Happy Pioneer Day!

No better way to celebrate Pioneer Day in Utah than posting my Heart Juices video.

Disclaimer: I am super D duper high on pain pills and had woken up from the surgery the previous hour when this video was taken. So, I can not be held accountable or judges for my words or actions.

Also, it is slightly graphic. So, finish your bowl of marshmallow mateys before you watch it.

here is the link:

You can also search it on Youtube under Dave Chalk's Heart Juices!

Once again Happy Pioneer Day!

Pokes: 18

Pills: 172

Tv show watching: I have started watching Wilfred, Season 2 of Rookie Blue, and two British shows. The first being Whites and watched the first episode of Misfits today. Besides Rookie Blue, I am undecided on my thoughts on the previously mentioned shows. If you have seen them let me know how you feel about them.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lunch at Olive Garden with MAW peeps

Today I was able to go to lunch at Olive Garden with some of the wonderful people of Make-A-Wish Utah. It was Sierra's, a fellow interns, last day so we went out to lunch to see her off.

It was good to se them all again after being gone for so long and although the food was delicious the company was far superior.

I got the Olive Garden Classic of soup, salad, breadsticks. It had been a since I had been to Olive Garden and was unaware that they had a new Gnoochi soup. It was very delicious! I am a big fan of gnoochi so this was a very good discovery.

Here is my smiling with my second bowl of soup. (While Joy is trying to hide from being in the picture.)

Thanks again! It was fun having lunch with some of the MAW girls. Once again I was the only boy, but growing u with just sister I felt right in my element.

I made it back to Utah

After all the medical adventures were said and done I made it back to Utah this past Tuesday. I had a fun road trip with my wonderful mother and little sister Emily. I was quick and uneventful.

I then met with my Utah doctor yesterday and got everything on the same page with my treatment in San Diego and Utah. I continue to take all medications from the heart juice incident and they well start to ween me of those in the next couple of weeks. (I am happy for this because the steroids really messes with my sleep schedule and I wake up everyday at 7:00 a.m. regardless of when I go to sleep.)

I had my blood work done while I was at my Utah doctors and my white blood cells were a little low so he is having me stop my oral chemo until I go back in next Wednesday to get my counts checked again.

Other than that I am just back in Provo trying to get back in to the "normal" groove of life.

Since I have been cancer blogging I have come across other cancer fighters/survivors. One of my favorites to read is by a wonderful women named Caroline. I enjoyed a quote from her blog a while back and wanted to share it with all of you.

Wisdom from Caroline:

First of all, skip the survivor business. To me it is a label and has some negative overtones that imply illness and eventual death. You want to be a person who coincidentally has a cancer diagnosis behind them and is now living with cancer (because, no it doesn't go away).

Pokes: 18

Pills: 152

Netflix: Watched the first season of "The League" (not my favorite show ever...for those who have not watched I would give it a pass.)

I am also always taking recommendations for TV shows and movies to watch as I am lazy this summer letting my brain rest and recharge before I start graduate school in the Fall

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Declassified Files: Operation Superhero

I have once again finished a session of radiation. This treatment plan was only 2 and half weeks. Although receiving radiation is much easier and does not leave you with horrible side effects like the IV chemotherapies do.

Each time I went in for treatment as you saw from the previous pictures I would lay on the flat, hard metal bench thing and be surrounded by machines shooting lasers into my body. I was hoping for something to go wrong and get some sort of super power. ( I was hoping to be either Quail Man, Daredevil, or would have even settled for Undercover Boss.)

Anywho, when you finish treatment all the nurses and technicians come out and congratulate you and you ring the bell of completion.

Here is my Miss Universe pose pre-bell ringing

Ringing the Bell really loud for all to hear....

The great Radiation Staff and me. I am holding a paper the certifies my completing my treatment. Don't worry it will be matted and framed and be hung right next to my Bachelor Degree of all to see. (Actually I think it has accidentally already made its way into the rubbish bin.)

Another chapter of treatment is done and closed.

The next step is heading back to Utah to get back into the groove of "normal" life... Whatever that means.

So all my Utah Peeps get ready to PARTAY!!!!!!! (By party I mean please come visit me while I am at work.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011


This Friday I will have my last radiation treatment...and since it will be a accumulative of two and a half weeks of radiation I figured all you readers deserved an update and pictures about the process.

Why use Radiation?

Radiation therapy is commonly applied to the cancerous tumor because of its ability to control cell growth. Ionizing radiation works by damaging the DNA of exposed tissue, furthermore, it is believed that cancerous cells may be more susceptible to death by this process as many have turned off their DNA repair machinery during the process of becoming cancerous.

How is the healthy tissue not effective?

To spare normal tissues (such as skin or organs which radiation must pass through in order to treat the tumor), shaped radiation beams are aimed from several angles of exposure to intersect at the tumor, providing a much larger absorbed dose there than in the surrounding, healthy tissue.

It is also common to combine radiation therapy with surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, Immunotherapy or some mixture of the four.

Since radiation uses many random beams to target the cancerous site it is important to make sure everything is all lined up so that you do not fry the wrong part of your body.

They do an initial 4..yes four hour scan to monitor your breathing so that the radiation laser will move along with your breathing motion to enable be accuracy at the treatment site.

This is what my chest has looked like for the past four weeks...and I am glad to be able to wash it all clean come this Friday after my last treatment.

There are a couple of picture of me laying on the radiation machine. It is all very very precise and takes about 10 minutes to line your body up with the machine before they can start treatment to double check everything is lined up.

You can see the green lights they use to line up the machine with the markings on my body

Me smiling at myself in the reflection of the machine

The table they have you lay on is soooooo comfortable I think they used tempurpedic material!

All together I received multiple treatments to my right and left lung as well as the are surrounding my left diaphragm.

That is the update as for the radiation. I went pretty quick and brief so if any of you have any more questions feel free to write, e-mail, text, tweet, facebook me and I would love to answer them! (For realz I love answer to questions.)

Complete Update:

Needle Pokes for round 3: 17

Pills: 85 (This number will be skyrocketing due to the heart juices. the numbers of pills I take a day increased from 6 to 17)

Netflix: Finished all six seasons of The Office

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Heart Juices Update

Went back to the hospital today to have a follow-up Echocardiogram, chest X-Ray, blood work, and doctor visits.

After getting all the test done and getting the results a few hours later. Everything is ALL clear in the respects to the heart juice problem. The cancer unfortunately still likes me.

So with that now in the past I am finishing up Radiation and wil be done this Friday. (without any unforeseen excitement.)

That is the update for today.

I hope to post pictures of the process of radiation, since I have been receiving question about what and how radiation works.


Echo: 1

Chest X-Ray: 1

Needle Poke:1

Visit with the most awesome Dr. Schiff: 1

Radiation treatment: 1 hours worth

visit with Dr. Murphy (The radiation doctor:) 1

That is all for today more updates to come.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Photo-journal post of the pericardiocentesis

Arriving to Clinic and the wonder Nurse Sandra putting in an IV for me!

Wearing my three google shrirt! Thanks Ash!

Wearing the oxygen mask that was made for a 10-year-old. Also you can tell the many pain meds are setting in and I am going loopy.

The mask made my nose itch like crazy!!!!

Getting my EKG on the heart to verify that liquid is all up in my heart's business

Me looking very drugged out and although it may not look like I am still happy and enjoying my mother just liked taking pictures when I was not noticing. Love her!

Headed to surgery to insert a catheter to remove the 10 liquid ounces of fluid giving me immense chest pains

Close up of catheter that shot to my heart. It was a nice one. We hung out for a few days.

The Catheter was hooked up to a bad that would collect my heart chest juices. Me finally being able to rest after the crazy day and fighting of pain med coma to get everything ready pre-surgery.

At this point I was Good Night Moon!

I had a video taken of the catheter moving in and out as my heart beat, but I am having troubles.

Enjoy the pictures and hopefully the video will guest appear of the next post.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Home Again Home Again Jiggy Jig

They let me out of the hospital today and so I enjoyed a nice hot shower and not being hooked up to monitors, IV poles, and such,

I am also looking forward to sleeping in my bed tonight and not being woke every few hours by a nurse needing to give me drugs, take my vitals, or blood.

I am glad to be home, but also very thank for the staff at Children's Hospital in San Diego. They really take care of me.

I will be starting radiation again tomorrow and return back to the hospital for follow up tests on Tuesday.

So enjoy the downtime while I can.

Thanks again to everyone for the well wishes, texts, emails, phone calls, thoughts, and prayers!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I thought it was a feeling of Patriotism

Last Monday was the celebration of the day we stuck it to King George! My family and I had a good morning Parade in Coronado and bonfire and fireworks on the beach once the sunset.

In between the two events we went home and took naps during which I started to develop a slight pain in the chest. I assumed it was a small side-effect from radiation so took some pain meds and took a nap.

The pain continued to get worse and and hurt more and more until I finally informed my Doc on Wednesday night and she scheduled me to come in ASAP in the morning.

So Thursday I went in to the cancer clinic I always go to expecting to get some pain meds and to go home and rest.

However....surprises laid ahead.

As the day progress I had an echocardiogram....then a EKG and more and more doctor showed up (most of them I had never met so I started to put two and two together to realize that I was probably not heading home.)

Then all of a sudden I was headed in for surgery procedure called...Pericardiocentesis.

What wikipedia has to say about it...

pericardiocentesis is a procedure where fluid is aspirated from the pericardium (the sac enveloping the heart)

It is generally done under ultrasound guidance, to minimize complications. There are two locations that pericardiocentesis can be performed without puncturing the lungs.

One location is through the 5th or 6th intercostal space at the left sternal border at the cardiac notch of the left lung.
The other location is through the infrasternal angle.

Indications include cardiac tamponade, as well as the need to analyze the fluid surrounding the heart. Cardiac tamponade is a condition in which an accumulation of fluid within the pericardium creates excessive pressure, which then prevents the heart from filling normally with blood. This can critically decrease the amount of blood that is pumped from the heart, which can be lethal. The removal of the excess fluid reverses this dangerous process. Examples of the need for fluid analysis would be to differentiate whether a fluid collection within the pericardium is due to an infection, spread of cancer, or possibly an autoimmune condition.

So since then I have been in the hospital with the catheter hanging out of my moves as my heart pumps that is kinda of crazy but awesome all at the same time.

That is the update...



CT scans...1




Friday, July 1, 2011

Radiation Update

I was supposed to start a 5 day treatment of radiation this past Monday, but due to stupid insurance and a goofy radiation doctors office it was pushed back two days and will now be 10 days instead of 5.

This means that I will have to get 2 more weeks of work. And will be in San Diego until July 14th. This is good news for some and bad news for others. It just depends on where you live.

If you live in the Southern California Area call, text, or email me and I would love to hang out with you.

I will get a better post later about radiation.

Just wanted everyone one to know I am alive and fine.