Greg Johnson | thorgrym
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My Journey to Wellness
  • Here I Go... 2019-04-10T16:59:00.003-04:00
    Tomorrow, I start the next phase of chemotherapy. Instead of giving PCV another chance, the doctors are switching me to Temodar. This seems to be a fairly basic chemotherapy... For the next 5 days, I'll be starting the day with the anti-nausea Zofran on an empty stomach. 30 minutes later, it's the Temodar - 300 mg of one oral capsule. An hour later, I can go through the day as I normally do. 21 days after the next 5 days, I get to go in for a doctor's appointment to get a blood test and a follow up.

    I hope everything goes well...
  • Wow! ...or, Should I Say, "OWWW!" 2019-03-22T14:27:00.000-04:00
    Alright, "Owww" might be a little too intense to describe the current muscle soreness; I'm just somewhat surprised by how I'm feeling right now. "Why?" you say?

    Well, I'll Tell You...

    [music begins playing, the townspeople begin dancing and singing, "He's going to tell, he's going to tell!"]

    ...sorry for the reference to "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
    On Sunday, a delivery was made to my front door... The source was Amazon - the person who ordered it is still unknown. In the box was a 7" Amazon Kindle Fire! Well, that was great! For no other reason, using the tablet meant that I could use my MacBook Pro a lot less! The only downside to the tablet - it doesn't use the Google or Apple app stores. Some of the apps that I would like to use on it just aren't available.

    The Good Thing...

    My 51st birthday - the first year of the second half-century of my life - was Wednesday, March 20. I decided to look into one of the things that I have wanted to do for a long time - yoga! For one reason or another in the past, I just never had the opportunity to really give it an attempt. Well, while browsing the Amazon app store, I discovered several yoga-learning opportunities. One of them - unrelated to the physical yoga - was 'Brain Yoga.'
    "Well! That could be cool!" was my thought. So, I downloaded it. Today - Friday - makes the third day that I have used this app. I'm pleased with the app - even though I really haven't dug too far into it. We'll see how it goes...

    Not meant to be my main focus, Brain Yoga didn't end my search... I also found 'Simply Yoga'. This had 2 versions - Free and Pro. While the Pro is only $4.99 and given my lack of experience with yoga, I didn't feel right - or, ready - to be going with the Pro version just yet.

    Yesterday, I discovered that the app could be viewed on my Fire TV! This made it a lot easier to view the video while learning how to do the different positions.

    The Results...

    Well ...hence the title of this post... I AM SORE!

    I started my day, yesterday, with free range eggs and grass-fed cheese to make my omelet. After doing some chores, I did some calisthenics like I normally do. I am always trying to improve myself physically.
    After lunch of plain yogurt, Garden of Life Protein powder, chia seeds, and hemp seeds along with some KeVita water kefir, I decided the weather was not good enough for me to go for a walk that I wanted to do. As a result, I decided to give 'Simply Yoga' a try. I mean, why would I download an app if I was never going to use it?

    I didn't very far into the 'work out'! Due to my current lack of physical abilities, I was unable to do the 'Sun Salutation' movement. I am just not that mobile to work my way from the standing 'Mountain Pose' through the 'Sun Salutation' and back to the standing 'Mountain Pose'.
    The third pose - and, my main target! - was the 'Warrior II Pose'. As it begins from the Mountain Pose, I was all ready to go. This went really well - except for the shakiness in my hands by the end of the pose!
    The next two poses were the 'Chair Pose' and the 'Deep Forward Fold'. Considering this was the first time for me, I handled them fairly well. I definitely need some work on them, though...
    Sixth in line was the 'Tree Pose'. There were two reasons that I couldn't go through it, though. 1) This pose required me to stand, balanced on one leg, and 2) I was already too tired to even give it a shot!

    We'll See...

    As it goes, we'll see how much more I might be able to handle some of these yoga poses. I'll try to learn more and try to master the ones that I can do. Hopefully, my overall movement and abilities will improve.
  • Recent Update Re: MY Life, the Universe, and Everything... 2019-02-26T17:31:00.000-05:00

    Thank you, Douglas Adams. I couldn't resist using a quote from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series in the title of this post.

    So, on Sunday, I had an MRI to check on the progress from the PCV chemotherapy with an appointment on Monday to review the results... Well, there wasn't any growth from the tumor. The downside is that there was also no reduction in the size on the tumor. The discussion that we had kind of still supported PCV. Basically, it seems to be too soon to really see any positive results.

    However, due to the other things that I had experienced from PCV led my neurologist to switch me off of it and onto Temodar chemotherapy. First off, it seems that Temodar is even more simple than PCV. With this, there is a 28 day cycle, but only 5 of those 28 days involve orally taking the Temodar. 23 day later, I'll repeat the cycle. Of course, during the 28 day cycle, I'll need to get blood tests to monitor the results/recovery from the side effects of the Temodar. Otherwise, there is no IV involved like there is with PCV. As well, there are no diet restrictions like the two weeks of the "P" during the PCV. The only similarity is to take the oral meds on an empty stomach.

    No Rush to Chemotherapy

    Due to the recent (round 4) surgery, we are also not rushing into Temodar. We are going to wait until the stitches are removed before we move forward. Currently, the plan is to have a follow up on 03/15 with the surgeon to do that very thing - to remove the stitches. If it is a go, then I will meet again with the neurologist to plan the schedule for Temodar. Hopefully, once I restart on chemo, I won't experience similar issues with the side effects!
  • Wishes, Dreams, ... Life 2019-02-23T03:24:00.000-05:00
    Here it is. I've been writing this 'poem' for a couple of months - really, it has been since surgery #3. I wasn't too focused on it, but just writing down some thoughts as they crossed my mind. Last night was when I really focused on it and decided to make the video behind it, too.

    So, here it is... Let me know what you think?

  • A Busy Two Weeks! 2019-02-09T00:06:00.000-05:00
    OK, so... LOTS of unexpected events in my life over the last two weeks!  ...and, not for the best.

    Today, I returned home from my surgery (round 4) and hospital trip, but here is where it all began...

    Monday, January 28 - 

    This was day 21 of my PCV chemotherapy - the last day of taking "P" (Procarbazine) during this cycle. Everything had been going just fine - until this point.
    Later that day, I started to break out in HIVES! In addition to that, I got extremely dizzy when I stood up. Twice, I had to let Ginger out to take care of her business. She made it out the door....I made to the floor! I didn't pass out, but I totally lost my balance. Fortunately on both occasions, I didn't hit anything but the floor on my back.  No major pain, but we did call 911 the second time and I ended up at Middlesex Hospital. All they did while I was there was to measure my blood pressure in 3 different positions - lying, sitting, and standing. Due to the major drop in blood pressure while I was standing - 61/40!!! - they determined orthostatic hypotension being the cause. They basically just told me to keep hydrated to compete with the results.

    Tuesday, January 29 -

    After returning home, things went fine - but only for the next day. This time, when the dizziness kicked in, I didn't land as well! As a result, we drove to Yale-New Haven Hospital. They came up with the same diagnosis, but the hives had also really blown up! My arms and feet got really swollen! I was admitted to the hospital, but had to wait for a room. While I was in the emergency, they took a biopsy from one of the hives and started me on Claritin. Things progressed in my visit, got better, and I went home a couple of days later.

    Monday, February 4 -

    This time, I noticed that the stitched seam in my head had reopened in two places - again! Off to the hospital - again! Once again, I had to camp out in emergency until a room opened up, but surgery was planned for Wednesday. Rae, not having to work on Tuesday, stayed with me hoping to see some progress...

    Tuesday, February 5 -

    I WAS scheduled for the IV of the "V" (Vincristine) on this day - day 29 of PCV - but that had been cancelled due to the breakout of the hives the previous week. The MRI that was also planned didn't happen (and, I hadn't gotten the results from the biopsy!) Without any other progress, Rae had to go home to get some real sleep before her job on Wednesday.
    I got the visit from most of the surgery team. The plan was to have the neurosurgeon present, but only would jump into action if there were problems that he needed to work on. Otherwise, the plan was to have the plastic surgeon to remove the titanium mesh that replaced the section of bone and restitch the seam.

    Wednesday, February 6 -

    Well, they moved me out of the emergency division into a room. About an hour later, I was headed to surgery...

    ...a couple hours later, I was back in the room and had a major headache (I wonder why!?!). Recovery began. Considerably uneventful. I had two IV imports, but never had either of them used after surgery. My only negative issues that I experienced during my stay had to do with the seeming miscommunication between the doctors and nurses. Depending on who I talked to, there were different rules for me. No major problems, though.

    Friday, February 8 -

    As I type this, I am back home. I now have the pleasure (please read the sarcasm) of wearing a helmet any time that I go outside! Considering that my skull is no longer complete, serious damage to my brain could happen with any trip, fall, or other hit to my head. Otherwise, everything should return to normalcy. We'll see how things go over the next couple of days.
    PCV round 3?
    As Chicago would sing, "Where Do We Go From Here?"
  • Chemotherapy - Round 2, Day 21 2019-01-28T16:26:00.000-05:00
    Today, I finished with the "P" of the PCV chemotherapy. So far, there really has been no issues with the possible nausea from the medication! I still haven't bothered/needed to take the prescribed Zofran to fight the nausea.
    Next Tuesday, day 29 of the PCV cycle, I'm heading to the hospital for the intravenous "V" and have also scheduled an MRI to take a closer look to see if there is any progression of the tumor - positive or negative.

    I really need to comment on how blown away I am at the simplicity of chemotherapy for a tumor in my brain! Knowing what I did about chemotherapy - not previously having experienced it, personally - I didn't expect it to be so simple. The only downside - that I have experienced - is the time that I have to spend at the hospital during the cycle. The actual IV only takes about 15 minutes. The visits for the IV take about 2-3 hours! Of course, they have to get the vitals - temp (98.4!), blood pressure (124/82!), weight (164.6!), etc. - and draw some blood to test those levels. While the lab checks the blood, I wait...and wait...and wait. Also during that time, my doctor comes in to do a quick check-up. Considering that the IV visit is only twice during the 29-day cycle, I really can't complain.

    Other than the chemo, my focus today was to get some exercise! My goal was to do several sets of the 'kettlebell swing' among other things. Can I just say that I love that particular exercise?!?
    I wanted to go for another walk after my weight training, but it is just a bit too cold. I mean, it IS January, after all!

    With all things considered, it has been a great day!
  • Chemotherapy - Day 10 2018-11-25T14:35:00.001-05:00
    Things are going fine, so far. Rather than wasting your time reading these posts, I decided to only add a 'chemo-post' if things start to go wrong...
  • Chemotherapy - Day 9 2018-11-24T22:31:00.001-05:00

    Day 9 - 


    • Procarbazine (Matulane) - 100mg (for chemo)
    • Doxycycline, 100 mg (for previous infection)
    • also Zofran - 8mg  (to prevent nausea)
    6:30 AM - Again, I didn't take the zofran to prevent nausea. There seemed to be no issue, yesterday. If nausea kicks in, I can/will see if zofran works for me... As it is, I only need to take the procarbazine for chemo, today. I still have to avoid the tyramine foods.

    8:30 AM - I'm supposed to give it one hour after the "P" before I eat, but I wasn't in a hurry - or, terribly hungry. I ended up cooking an omelet - just eggs and shredded cheese - and I'm not having any issues...

    10:00 PM - No issues today. I just took the doxycycline and done for the day. I'm pleased with the way the day went.

  • Chemotherapy - Day 8 2018-11-23T19:17:00.001-05:00

    Day 8 -


    • Procarbazine (Matulane) - 100mg (for chemo)
    • Vincristine - intravenous (for chemo)
    • Doxycycline, 100 mg (for previous infection)
    • also Zofran - 8mg  (to prevent nausea)

    6:30 AM - While I now have Zofran on hand, I don't want to use more than I need. I'm giving today a test. If procarbazine - the "P" - doesn't cause me to get nauseous, I'm not going to take the Zofran. As such, I only took the prescribed 100 mg of "P," this morning. I'm drinking a lot of water with it.
    Today also introduces the need to avoid the tyramine foods. This shouldn't be a major problem, for me. There are many things on the list that I don't like to eat, anyway. The problem is that aged cheese is on the list and I do like to eat a lot of cheddar and Swiss cheese - also, I'm not supposed to eat any beef jerky...

    7:45 AM - Breakfast. Here comes the real test for nausea. It's one thing on an empty stomach but, now that I'm eating, we'll see...
    At any rate, I'm sticking to the keto diet.

    9:30 AM - just got blood drawn for testing the levels before the IV and waiting for the results.

    10:15 AM - I just got the results through email! It's really scary that I have access to the results this fast through the internet! Everything looks normal except the BUN - that's a little high. Still waiting for the doctor to approve the "V" as a result of the blood test.

    10:45 AM - Doctor meeting... Still waiting for "V" - this time, for the pharmacy to fulfill the prescription.

    12:00 PM - Finally heading home. The IV shouldn't have taken so long. Literally, it was a 2 mg dose of the vincristine in 25 g of saline.

    The rest of the day was uneventful. No negative reaction to procarbazine or vincristine - yet!

  • Chemotherapy Begins... 2018-11-16T22:40:00.000-05:00
    Not an exciting title to this post. Sorry...

    Today, 11/16/18, I began the PCV chemotherapy and I decided to log my experience with it. I will be  updating the post as the day progresses and will continue to do so in my real-time.

    Day 1 - prescribed:

    Lomustine/CCNU, 210 mg (for chemo)
    Doxycycline, 100 mg (for previous infection)

    5:30 AM - The only thing scheduled for PCV today is one dose of the "C" - lomustine/CCNU (210 mg). Taken on an empty stomach. I was supposed to have a prescription for ondansetron (Zofran) (8 mg) to treat any nausea caused by the lomustine - taken 30 minutes before taking the "C" - but the prescription wasn't issued in time for me to pick it up, yet.
    I'll brew some pau d'arco/taheebo tea for the day (my plan is to brew enough to fill one of my 64 oz. growlers for later use).

    11:00 AM - So far, so good. No reaction to the "C" but the morning got away from me and I am just getting my breakfast! I was not intending an intermittent fast. I'm taking my multivitamin with my 'brunch.' We'll see how it goes.

    5:30 PM - Just got back from the pharmacy to pick up the ondansetron prescription. Fortunately, I haven't needed it! Prepping/eating dinner. So far, I haven't experienced any nausea. With my dinner, I'm taking niacin (500 mg), potassium (200 mg), omega-3 (1500 mg), vitamin D3 (2000 IU), vitamin E (400 IU), and vitamin K2 (100 Mcg).

    8:30 PM - Snack for dinner. Supplements: niacin (500 mg), potassium (200 mg), magnesium (160 mg), omega-3 (1500 mg)

    10:30 PM - doxycycline
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