Category: Medical

What? I’m sorry I can’t hear you

Two days after my 39th birthday I’m woken by Kendra. She is checking to see if I can hear my alarm. I was sleeping on my left side and my answer was a big fat NO. I got up and realized my right ear was working at about 15% and part of my face was numb. That day’s work was a video shoot in Laredo, Texas. Driving down to the shoot didn’t help my hearing. Dizzy and dazed I did the shoot. I had my bicycle with me so I managed to break into a closed city park and have aa bicycle ride  Things were going great until I had a flat.

Laredo Mountain Bike Trail Obstical

That day I learned the importance of riding a bike with a pump, or how bad it is to not have one. So 4 miles of riding and a half mile hike and I was back to my truck. That evening I arrived in Corpus Christi with a deaf right ear. I would go to sleep knowing tomorrow would be big.

I awake with little to no hearing. Not enough to matter. My ear is not the important thing today, it’s the tumor in my foot. Kendra and I are off to MD Anderson for a CT-Scan and an appointment with the brain/spine surgeon. The Dr. eases our worries and says it doesn’t look like cancer. This is a relief but doesn’t explain my sudden hearing loss. He scopes my ear with the ear thingie and says it’s crooked but looks clean. We make it back to Corpus Christi and I go to sleep with a dead ear.

Two days pass and nothing is changing. I freak out a bit and make an appointment with my ear, nose, & throat (ENT) doctor. After a few days wait I get in and get tested. I have 100% hearing loss. After a triple threat of nasty pharmaceuticals for 6 days, I finally get some resonant frequencies back. It’s just enough to really annoy the piss out of you. My 7 day ENT follow-up yielded a hearing test of 65%. At my two week follow-up, my ear would be functioning at 90%. Incredible! One Dr. said I should go buy campaign while the other wanted to take me to the dog track. I’m guessing I’m lucky to have any hearing back.

Two months have passed since my sudden loss of hearing. I’m not 100% but I’m very functional. The body does a great job of compensating for the loss. Being deaf for a few days was harder than I would think. I’m so thankful I’m back to almost normal. I really don’t think I will get all of my hearing back. Dr seems to think I had a virus that shut it down. I know, not my typical funny post. I just wanted to get the story down in my medical notes so I don’t forget. For now, I’m off the meds and back on my bike training was suspended for a while due to meds making me feel funny.
-Derrick

derrick-perrin 11-18-1981

A foot in my tumor.

Time for a little update on life. I turn 39 next week. After having a small lump in my foot I went to have an MRI.

Results show a nerve sheath tumor that is not a Morton’s Neuroma. I’m getting transferred to a new department at MD Anderson. Looks like I have been updated to the Brain and Spine Center. If that doesn’t scare you a bit I’m not sure what will. This is all perfect timing since all Obamacare plans will pull coverage for MD Anderson starting January 1, 2017. Thanks ACA, you are awesome! I will let you know what the surgeon in the Brain and Spine department has to say about my foot. Sure hope my ass-kicking days won’t be cut short due to this tumor friend of mine.

Back to real life here.

Still been riding the mountain bike a lot. As of this week I have done 959 miles on the bike this year. If you are a Stava workout person check me out https://www.strava.com/athletes/8625592
In October I raced in a 6 hour endurance challenge. Landed in sixth place.

Derrick Perrin on a mountain bike


6 hour dinosaur race – San Angelo, Texas

derrick-perrin 11-18-1981

I have also been copying VHS to DVDs and scanning in old family photos while working on my family tree.
I was thinking of finding out who the descendants of the fella who created the 110 film format so I can go slap them.

The photos and memories are precious. So many great memories and so many people in my life I’m thankful for.

Sogo out there and have a great Thanksgiving. Give me a call if you want to catch up on life and have a cup of coffee.

-Derrick Perrin

Derrick Perrin at MD Anderson.

Scan checkup – MD Anderson

Back at MD Anderson for a quarterly checkup. Looks like my rectal contrast is omnipaque today. Sounds like a a shade or color but it will be what the doctors can use to my back side. Amazing to spend so much money for someone to see the inside of my back side.

rectal contrast

Thursday I will be back at MD Anderson for my follow up

Don’t Ask, Just Do.

My one year diagnosis is approaching and I’m facing my 3rd quarterly (clean) scan. I say clean scan because that is what we have been praying for. My hip hurts some and I’ve been tired lately but very optimistic about the future. Work has been great and plentiful.

Derrick Perrin at work installing cameras

Derrick Perrin installing time lapse cameras in Corpus Christi.

At the start of the month my good friend Jeff Durrwachter messaged wanting to know when my cancer-versary was. I said August 26th and he said great I’m taking you out to eat. Well, he offered a lot more but we settled on food.

Way Back When

Back in 2000 I was Jeff’s best man for his wedding. We have a great friendship and over the past year it has only gotten better. He was on my short list when I was first diagnosed, and one of the first folks who made it to the house. He and his wife were there to comfort us on one of our darkest days. We thank them dearly for that.

Freshman Tuloso-Midway Warrior Basketball Team Photo

Freshman Tuloso-Midway Warrior Basketball Team Photo | 1992-1993

Jeff and I first bonded during freshman basketball trips while listening to crappy rap music on the bus. In the above photo you can see me in the #22 and Jeff in #31 jerseys. You can read about one of our adventures in the post “1/2 drunk and on a bike to Big Tree” Jeff is one of those guys who know everything but isn’t a smart ass about it. He can be an ass about other things, but when it comes to him being a human version of Google he is cool about it. When everyone was asking me,

  • “What do you need?”
  • “How can we help?”
  • “What can I do for you?”

Jeff refrained from asking. I’m glad he did because I didn’t know what the answer was.

I didn’t know what my needs were. Almost a year into this and I’m still not sure what my needs are.

I did know that he was there for my family and he just did things. I also utilized him as a video shooter for Big Box Pro. He jumped right in and made things possible when I was taking chemotherapy treatments at M.D. Anderson.

Derrick Perrin and Jeff Durrwachter on the set of a video production.

Derrick Perrin and Jeff Durrwachter on the set of a video production | Fall 2014

He would let me know he was going to take care of cutting my lawn. He would be at my home anytime I needed to go for a scan and wanted to have Kendra there with me. He took care of my three little ones and we felt very comfortable.

There is no way I can repay Jeff or his wife Sonya for their time and their consideration towards my family. I just hope his example of a friend of a cancer patient can shed some light on what you can do to support. If you know someone with cancer don’t ask them what you can do because they are trying to figure out their new life and might not know what they need. Just go do something.

Each doctor I met mentioned stress was a major factor in folks who got cancer. Go out and do something to relive someones stress.

Other Cancer Angels

There were days when I would open the mail box and a gift-card would be there. Other times there would be get well cards or the occasional flower arrangement.

I just want to go on record and let you know I’m not dead yet and a guy getting flowers only happens at funerals in my world. Flowers might be something to put on a woman cancer fighter list of things to do.

Some gave small cash and others shipped me organic food supplements. It was small, thoughtful and in the end powerful. The little reminders that folks were thinking of me and my family did wonders. You guys and gals stepped up and made me feel loved. Thank you for that.


So a big thank you to to my best friend Jeff D. I will do my best to repay you one day. Thanks for being a better friend than I deserve, and the butt of many photoshop jokes.

Photoshop joke post by Derrick Perrin

Photoshop joke post by Derrick Perrin

badgers - Jeff D

Badgers?

Where to from here?

March 14, 2015
I’m in the purgatory of the cancer world. They call it remission. So I’m in remission waiting to be declared cured.

Where does life take me from here on out?

Not really sure what today holds. To be honest I’m not sure what this life holds. In the last 12 months I have come down with cancer, fought cancer, and as I sit today my cancer is in remission. Sure it took 6 months of traveling back and forth to Houston and putting a lot on hold, but now looking back on the journey it seems too easy. Is this it? Is getting rid of cancer this easy? If that is how it works then what do I do now? A marathon race, triathlon, Everest? Feeling like superman but with the need to go out there and kick ass.

The folks who have supported me and my family during my cancer fight have propelled my ego into rock star status. When I would blog, or talk people instead. I feel like I need to continue on and provide more content about my life.

Cancer has jacked with my head. I find my self looking for the bigger purpose in life. Ridding my bicycle seems to take the mind off of my purpose. I have list upon list of things I need to do but I want to rip them up and go ride. I want to ride, and ride and ride. Ride from here to there where “there” is more than a few hundred miles away. I want nature and bare bones living more and more. Sure as I’m typing this up I’m 25,000 feet in the air riding to Florida on a trip to Costa Rica. I have headphones in listening to a book about 2 ladies and their journey from the West coast to the East coast. So I have a laptop and a phone running audibles talking about simplifying life. Does it make since to you? Yea me neither. I wish to be connected and disconnected at the same time. My work can’t be done without the tools of a digital camera and computer. How could I do work if I get rid of the digital devices? How could you read what I have to type if I give it up.

I have a dream:
Today my dream is tied up to a 300 mile bike ride from south Arizona to Phoenix. The concept of being able to traverse over a long distance while taking care of self and bike to reach a destination at the end of rough/beautiful territory. Sure some scratch their heads and say “I’ve been to Arizona and there is nothing beautiful about it!” but like west Texas’ Big Bend Country, you love it or hate it. The summer before my freshman year in High-school I spent a week in Tempe, AZ. I remember it as 100 plus  degrees 100% of time. That was when the monsoons were not sweeping small cars into the flood channels. It could be the brutal weather, the rattlesnakes, or the prickly desert floor, but I think a 300 mile bike race in the rough back country would be perfect for me at this point in life.

So once I get things in order at home and at work I hope to be out on the trail beating life. The start will be the Arizona trail, then the Colorado 500, and then the biggie on the list will be the Tour Divide. That is the race from Banff Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. It runs for over 2,700 miles and would be 25+ days in the saddle.

I’m still working on this post cancer life of mine. I will let you know how it is going.

-Derrick

Blending Green – Smoothie Time

Yes, I continue to smoothie daily.

A few folks ask me what I put in my smoothies and that is why I put together this post.

Organic Backyard Garden

This fall when I was running my chemotherapy treatments I started to plant steads in out raised beds the night before we left. Well it was more like at 3am right after packing was done.  I would toss it out there so it would give me something to look forward to coming home to. It was a great surprise to get back home and see new baby sprouts growing.

One of my doctors wanted me to stop smoothies until completed my final round of chemotherapy. This was hard to do. I was a smoothie junkie and had made the decision that no smoothie taste too bad. Remember medicine that is good for you taste bad. That line from Marry Poppins pops into mind now. You can thank me later if “Spoon Full Of Sugar” gets stuck in your head.

I really try to vary what goes into my smoothies from week to week if not day to day. I take in 64 oz of smoothie goodness everyday.

Take care and smoothie on.

-Derrick

Ringing out my last chemotherapy round

I completed my 6th, and last, round of chemotherapy on January 10, 2015

As much as I hated starting chemo, it was almost just as bad stopping the process. Sure, I was happy to have my permanent I.V. removed. With the picc line out I would be able to shower without wrapping part of my body in saran wrap. Without a picc line and without chemotherapy scheduled my body is on its own.  By my mid chemo scan we could tell the drugs were working… “What happens when the drugs are stopped?” is a question often floating around in my brain.

We just wait and scan, and after waiting some more we will scan again

I have a pet scan scheduled on February 17th. We will be running the scan and having a doctors visit the same day at MD Anderson in Houston. I have a full plate of editing work between now and then so I don’t have to think about the scan all that much. If I have much time to do so it starts to scare the crap out of me. Yea, go a head and send me a note or a message to “not worry about it” or “wait till you get the results to think what the next steps might be” but that is easy to say. Yea, I’m staying positive and praying every day. I realize in the last 12 months I have had a cancer tumor and it has gone away. I pray that all tumors will forever stay away. I have a lot to do in life and to be honest I really don’t feel like dying anytime soon.

I didn’t have a video post since my last trip for round 6 so I’m posting it here.

I rang the bell

When I started my rounds of chemo I was unaware of the bell. Here is a photo of the bell that hangs in the Ambulatory Treatment Center.
Chemo bell
When you complete your chemotherapy they let you ring the bell. They have the same setup for those who take radiation. I had mixed feelings about ringing the bell. It is there to celebrate an end, but for me it was a beginning. It is a start of no drugs and letting my body take care of itself.
It worked out like this. I completed my chemo and handed in my bag. I received my white blood booster and then was shipped up to the 8th floor to have my picc IV line removed. The process was fast and we were sent on our way. I was never asked if I wanted to ring the bell, but Kendra thought I should. In the end I’m glad she had me ask If I could. Standing there I knew I could not look at her or I would start to cry. It was one of those moments you know going in it will be emotional, and it was. I tried to get in and out, ring a ding and move on. The nurse who helped us celebrate was not satisfied with my ringing so she helped me out. She went on to let us know she has 5 family members fighting cancer.

I run into folks like this nurse all the time. It might be that I’m just in-tune when someone reaches out with cancer care or the fact God is salt and peppering these wonderful folks in my path. Either way I enjoy the love and affection found in the stories that are shared with me.

This road is hard

I try and try like hell to eat right and make the right decisions day in, day out. This is hard, really tough. One can only have so many green smoothies while trying to gain weight. I’m sitting around 195 pounds and that’s good for me. I’m just trying to make all the right decisions and not think to much about it. Wish me luck with that.

On a positive note we have been blessed with plenty of work lately. I have been spending a few hours a day at Keiwit Offshore in Ingleside Texas.

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We crossed paths with the Browns last week at Coffee Waves. They play music and I had the opportunity to record their studio album in 2000. Here is a short clip of last week’s show.

Browns – Live Folk Music at Coffe Waves | Port Aransas from Big Box Pro Wedding Video on Vimeo.

This week I’m shooting their 2 hour performance. I always have a great time when I get to mix video and music in one production. Well off to bed for now. I’m tired of rambling on and will try to get another post out soon.  Thanks for being a part of all this.

-Derrick

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Watch “Chemotherapy round 6” on YouTube

Chemotherapy round 6: http://youtu.be/eL1nE3b2kRw

This video is an update by Derrick Perrin on Derrick Perrin’s 6th and final round of Chemotherapy at MD Anderson.

 

Chemo Souvenirs

On this chemotherapy journey I have picked up some souvenirs along the way. My first came on round one. I was staying inpatient at MD Anderson and they had a reward program for folks who walked. Kendra and I walked a lot so I got lots of colorful dots on my door. At the end I traded in dots for bandanas. Today in my home office I have a red and green bandana hanging from the wall. I’m guessing you could use these to cover your hairless head. Mine were autographed by my amazing nursing staff so they hang on the wall for now.

The next souvenir that has been accumulating in safety pins. I know, not as exciting as nurse autographed red and green bandanas, but trophies none the less. The process of wearing a backpack full of chemotherapy is unique. You have a backpack with IV bags inside and two bungee type umbilical cords that stretch out to my pic line.Without tethering the bungee to your clothing you setup a tug-a-thon with your chemo bag and your skin that the pic line is sutured to.  wpid-2015-01-09-13.07.44.jpg.jpegSo we introduce the safety pin. It attaches to your shirt and prevents arm failure.wpid-wp-1412106258114.jpeg

The safety pins get collected and we start up the next round with a new pin. I believe two pins have done double duty since we only have 3 right now.

Derrick Perrin's safety pin colleciton

My collection of chemo safety pins

Should I keep them or try out what Kyle did? Check out what one man can do with a red paper clip:

http://oneredpaperclip.blogspot.com/

There is always the option to eBay them. I’m just happy to have received my last chemo safety pin and be looking at the end of my treatments. If you have ideas on what can be done with used safety pins please comment below. I’m up for suggestions.
Thanks for the love along the way,
Derrick

Medical stats are looking good.

My blood pressure that use to be high is still holding steady. At the start of chemo I weighed in at 190. This is good. Well off to bed with this noisy chemo pump.

 

-Dp

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