Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Farewell to nose hairs

So on Monday we met with the chemotherapy doctors.  So, let me start with the good news.  For years JoLynne and I have had a standing joke.  When events like Christmas and Birthdays come around JoLynne always asks "What do you want for _____?" To which I always respond "A nose hair clipper"  The sad thing is that as the years have gone by that request has actually become a lot more legitimate.  It's like I am swabbing my nose with Rogain or something the way those crazy nose hairs grow.   If I left them alone I could almost do a comb over.  So, here is the good news.  The chemo docs informed  us that 12 days after the beginning of chemo I will lose my hair including my eyebrows, lashes, beard and NOSE HAIRS.  It looks like I am finally going to have to come up with a different answer to that question and JoLynne will have a six month reprieve from telling me when I have a stray hair hanging out of my nose.  They say that when my hair comes back it sometimes comes back curly.  That would just be weird in my nose.  Last night we had a Stake meeting with the High Council.  The other counselor in the Stake Presidency was trying to sell my hair to the highest bidder.  With half the men in that room missing hair on top you would have thought that the bidding would have been more lively.

The chemo doctor on Monday was very nice.  He took a ton of time with us.  Reading and talking about different options.  Two drugs are for sure.  One is Cisplatin and the second is Adriamycin.  The plan right now is to have me get a port surgically placed in my chest on Monday and then Tuesday I will be given Cisplatin and Adriamycin.  Cisplatin  is pretty caustic and has to be given slowly so that day will last 5-6 hours.  On Wednesday it will be just Adriamycin for 1-2 hours and Thursday the same.  Then I all have 18 days off and then repeat.  They plan on 6 courses of chemotherapy.  If there are no holdups then I will be done in 18 weeks.  There are often holdups.  Already today I seem to be developing a sore throat.  It is hard to be around so many people and not catch anything.  We will see what that does to next weeks plans.  There is a third drug that the doctors at Mayo would like to have me try called Methotrexate.  The doctor here really discouraged it.  He said that I am out of the age range (usually they don't give it over 35 years of age) and he said it has some scary possible side effects like kidney and heart failure.  Plus, he said that if I take it I will be on chemo every week for 6 months and I will feel like garbage the whole time and basically live at the chemo facility.  We talked to the Mayo doctors again and they tell us that they still think it would be okay to use the Methotrexate, however, it's also okay with them if we delete it.  The participants that talked about my case at the national sarcoma conference were split 50/50 on whether or not to use Methotrexate.  We are going to go to the temple tomorrow and try to get an answer.  God knows what we should do.  He has been pretty good about answering us so far.

I have been back to work the last two days.  It has been very nice.  I have only been working mornings and then I come home and have a long nap.  Who was that guy who used to run 26 miles?  Now I feel proud to walk around the block without stopping.  Last night I was huffing and puffing when JoLynne came in the bedroom.  She asked what I had been doing.  I was embarrassed that all I had done was change my clothes.  Oh well, it seemed like a workout.

I love to talk to cancer survivors.  This evening at a stake YW event I talked to a good friend who is five years cancer free.  Today at work one of my patients told me that 10 years ago she was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma with a really long name.  She recounted to me the miracles that had led to her survival.  What an inspiration.  She looked great and seems so put together.  I want to be a "survivor".  I want to inspire others to have the faith that they can make it too.  I guess there is no way to hurry that up.  Just wait, believe and trust that God will do the rest.  One of my dear friends brought by a rock with a saying that really touched me.  A year ago when my brother in law had a heart attack and 7 bypass surgery we went down to visit him.  He told me at the time something very similar.  He said "I have learned something from the parable of the man who built his house on the sand and on the rock....They both got rained on."

This morning I had a strange dream.  I was in a big room filled with people who were sick with various ailments.  The Savior entered the room and was healing some of the people.  He was coming my way.  Finally, He stood before me and I was so excited to be healed and done with all of this.  I felt like I had the faith.  He looked down at me and said, "I can't heal you yet."  I asked him why and he looked at me and said, "You have so much to learn from this, it would be so unkind for me to take it away from you."  Okay, here is where I reveal my true character, I woke up kind of mad, thinking, "haven't I learned enough yet?" Later I wasn't so mad.  It was just a dream but I need to be more humble.

Okay, I know that I already posted a picture of my new jaw but I took another picture at my office when I got home.  Pretty much I just want to show off the fact that I have a better panorex machine than they have at Mayo Clinic.  There you go, that darn pride again.  Anyway, here is the new panorex.  Notice all of the staples in my neck below the bike chain.  The staples were used to shut off "bleeders" during surgery.  I hope that those arteries didn't supply blood to anything important.  Probably just to my brain or something.

(double click the picture to make it bigger)


  1. Your dream broke my heart... You are such an inspiration to many. You have always been a great example for those around you. Thank you

  2. your dream just made me cry (which is why I need to stop reading this at work) however I have never really thought about how our trials are actually blessings. thanks for that Eric! Love you and still praying for you everyday!

  3. Um, that wasn't "just a dream." There's no such thing in times like this. Pay attention. You are in for such great experiences, we are happy for you. With still more love from the Maglebys...

  4. The part that made me cry was hearing how tired you are after just getting dressed. It breaks my heart to know of all the pain and suffering you are going through right now Eric. You will get through this though! I know it deep down.

  5. That was a beautiful post Dr. Vogel. Your willingness to share this experience in a candid and optimistic way has taught me valuable lessons. I look at my life differently, I cherish my husband more, and I parent my children with more compassion. On a side note, I appreciate the x-ray. Nice dental work, always good to know that your dentist doesn't have perfect teeth.