Day 157 – REALLY?

2018-05-05 16.14.54
Day 157

Almost 2 weeks since I haven’t touched base – slowing down. I have been really tired and coming home to dinner and bed.  Tonight is an effort but you all show up and so can I.  It really does keep me up to have the connection.  Pull yourself together and do what you are supposed to.  It never occurred to me that this whole adventure would lead to a change in me. You get sick and expect to be right back to where you left off.  I am not so convinced that it is possible in the short term with cancer treatment.  Yeah there are the “surface changes.”  Glasses, hearing aids, saliva output down, taste diminished, hair loss, but most of those continue to improve, that aside, there are some things you start to wonder about.  My hat is off to the workers of the world.  I have a new appreciation for a lifestyle that involves regular hours and effort.  I am working Monday 10 – 2, Tuesday and Thursday 12 -4, yoga on Tuesday and Thursday, working on my projects on Wednesday and trying to keep the house clean on Friday.  Result – I am exhausted! well crap that is a lot more than I thought it was until I saw it on paper.  No wonder I’m sore and tired, but in my mind it is so slow coming back.  I am still getting an average of 10 hours of sleep a night but the weekend always has a catch-up day.

Last week while Will was in town Kat took off three days and the three of us went over to Ichnetucknee to float on Wednesday.  It was a beautiful day and nobody was over there so it was extra nice.  We got there early enough that we had the chance to go float down

Will at Big Shoals

the river twice on Innertubes.  I bailed on the second trip to nap in the car, then Friday, after I worked Thursday, I skipped their trip to Big Shoals for a hike to stay in bed.  So those are the disappointing things and I have no reason to be disappointed.  God provided a wonderful week with Will and Kathy home and that is enough – I can’t force my way to well, and I keep getting good days.  Today the turning club had an event to attract new members and raise money for “Beads of Courage.”  WoodCraft sells the bowls as Mother’s Day presents and we turn in front of the store to drum up traffic.  My partner in crime Tina and I showed up and rocked. Turning and catching up while talking to members and customers on a gorgeous day.  A new turner in the club came by to learn how to turn bowls so Joel got one on one tutoring from Tina and I – He did an awesome job!

Last Sunday Kat took me down to an Acrylic Pour class by Jami Childers and the Art Center.  We learned some pretty awesome techniques and came home with 4 stunning pieces.  Besides if I am not doing something I am napping or sleeping…LOL

Last Saturday we took Will to the airport about 1 and were home in bed by 2, I napped until 6 and moved to the couch so I could be in bed early to take the class.  Oh, this another landmark month.  I am already at the 6 month work-up.  This month is the 2nd blood work, CT scan and PET scan, but that is later in the month.  Finally we have a visitor tonight.  Kat has been doing classes all day and a friend of ours let her daughter Maria come spend the night and have an art night and day with Kathy. Maria is 12 and they have already done ice dyed t-shirts, resin pours, dyed some wood and are currently watching videos and they just started!

And me? I’m going to bed!  A few prayers, some modified activities and I will get a second wind.  I really appreciate having you to talk to – I told you many times that I don’t always get solid information when I talk to myself and Kat gets to listen to it everyday! So goodnight and I will try to get back on schedule……we will see!



LESSON OF THE DAY – Enough is as good as a feast.     Sir Thomas Malory

Day 70 – Proceed With Caution

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Day 70 – Eating good in the neighborhood!

It’s 1:30 in the morning and I know that it is supposed to be a busy day tomorrow so put down the book and roll over. 1:45 “I’ve had the time of my life” plays in my subconscious and I am worrying whether to go to the shop or work on the taxes tomorrow.  Shut up Don and go to sleep – just clear your mid and relax. 2:30 I really need to pee, but I can do that when I wake up later, I’ve had the time of my life, stop it with the damn song.  Where did I get that? Oh yeah the damn Superbowl commercial.  Go to sleep -3:00 are you really going to read again – it’s 3:00 o’clock and you will probably wake Kat – oh what the hell.  3:30 turn off the book and go to sleep.  6:15 Kat’s alarm goes off – I wish she didn’t have to go to work. 7:15 wake up to her getting dressed – I’m such a slug she doesn’t want to go anymore than you want to get up. 9:00 crap I feel like shit but I really need to get up and get on with it – well just pull the covers over your head to block the light and roll over until 10.  1:30 dammit I can’t believe you slept this late again get your lazy ass up and get at it.  2:00 dressed and through the routine take Finn out and fix breakfast the get to your email.  2:45 take your walk with Finn. 3:15 lunch while you make some phone calls.  3:45 taxes I have all day tomorrow to get to the shop -hahahahahahaha.  4:15 crap it’s already time to take a shower and get to yoga.  You know that you could miss it tonight but that would be really giving in plus Trisha counts on you to get the room set up and God knows you aren’t getting anything else done. Shit it’s 4:30 get in the shower.  4:50 in the truck and off to San Marco call Tina on the way.  5:35 Arrive and start setting up – put on positive happy face to encourage others and let them know how “good” you are doing. 7:10 head home thinking about all you didn’t get done today what a complete slug you are – how the hell are you going to make it through the Symposium this weekend? 7:50 arrive home and starting to get worn out.  Eat dinner that Kat brought home along with the grocery shopping – you lazy ass what did you do today?  Phone calls from my brother and nephew while I’m eating  and watching Kat relax from her 12 hour day before starting her Alcohol Ink online class.  Go to the couch and check the message board to see if anybody else is going through this.  You really are depressed Don it sure is a good thing that you made an appointment with Louise for Thursday.  Wait dummy you just said it you are depressed and in a rut, I know but I’ve talked about it on the blog and made a post on the discussion board isn’t that it? No dummy remember relief = problem+prayer+action+time not relief = admitting.  Okay so you have identified the problem what are you doing about it?  You did make the appointment, you discussed it with your peers, you admitted it to Kat, you have started to get outside walking, you  are practicing yoga.  You are working on the taxes and have talked to the people who need work done and God knows you are praying for the willingness – so how about a break and let the action start to work superman?  You know you are right dummy ease up on yourself. 11:00 brush teeth and get in bed, 11:45 turn off book, 9:45 get up.

Today Finn and I got in a walk, then I made some real tax progress and did not once call myself a slug or lazy ass.  I have eaten 3 meals and a snack and I made some appointments – Guess what? I feel pretty good about myself. Yes I’m still depressed but I don’t have to feed into it. Some of us are blessed with depression and God knows I come from a gene pool that is swimming with it but I have people to talk to, a God to pray to, someone to hold me when I get down and a place to tell on myself. Just because you are depressed you have options once you realize it and get some help.  God knows that I am not perfect, but I’m trying and that I know pleases Him and helps me.  My prayer is still to give me the willingness to walk with grace through this process so that my successes will show others Your power to hold and heal if I truly have faith in your plan and do my absolute best to try and follow the instructions provided by those you put in my path to help me.


LESSON OF THE DAY – I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.  Philippians 4:13

Day 41 – The Beat Goes On

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Day 41

So much has been going on – so little time, mea culpa for my absence.  We left off last Friday on my birthday and I am so glad that it is over and I can get back to some normalcy.  The next celebrations are my mother’s and sister’s birthdays February 9th and 11th and I have already bailed on those festivities.  Jan and I normally head to Louisville for the big occasion but I am going to forgo the plane trip, infectious winter diseases, cold weather and a week of running around for a boring but safer and less stressful week at home.  I will make the trip when I have a little more energy and a stronger immune system.  Saturday we both slept until 11 then got up to go pick up the truck and as with any automobile adventure it was a disaster.  Before we left Kathy transferred money to the checking account and away we went.  Well she drops me off, kisses me goodbye and heads for home while I stroll in to pay Ted and pick up the keys.  I get to the counter, Ted rings me up, I swipe the card and declined.  I say we just transferred the cash and Ted suggests we try it as credit and you guessed it declined again.  So I sheepishly ask if I’m okay until Monday  and of course I am because the Mercury keeps Tubel’s afloat and they don’t even wants me considering going anyplace else.   So with keys in hand and spring in my step I glide out to the truck, open the door, wallow in the magic of sitting in my own vehicle, a free man – no longer dependent on the whims of others to transport me, I turn the key and nothing, nada, no bells, dings or juice in the battery.  So back into see Ted who sends out the mechanic to jump me. As he is jumping the battery the mechanic says “you know you ought to consider replacing that battery soon it’s getting kind of weak” – you would be very proud of me for not raining on his parade – its like you had the *@$% truck for a week, I spent $2,600, why didn’t you just put in a stinking battery???? But I just thanked him for getting me back on the road shook his hand and drove home happy and free.  Oh and after a call to Wells Fargo, I found out I have a $2,000 daily limit and without blowing a gasket nicely asked for it to be raised.

That being handled, we came home and got ready for a birthday dinner at Picasso’s with Albert, Jan, Will and Jessa.  We had a wonderful meal and a terrific time, but before we were done I was ready to fall into my plate!  Kat and I came home, sat on the couch for a bit and laughed about the day.  Needless to say the bed was a welcome respite, so much so that I slept until 3 the next afternoon – and if that wasn’t enough I was back in bed by 9.

Monday, Kat woke me up about noon with a phone call and I immediately went into a funk over all this sleeping.  I started second guessing the whole healing process and what I am going through, well it was short lived.  I called Carlene at the Center and right off the bat she is surprised at how good I sound and I launch into the yeah I sound good, but should I still be sleeping 12 hours a day?  Well, when she quit laughing, she told me she wouldn’t be surprised if I wasn’t sleeping more.  She told me that if was still consistently going on in 6 months we would have a chat, but even then the 12 hour night will often be in my repertoire.  Crisis abated  I worked on some woodturning stuff and got ready for our meeting that night.  It was good to see the crowd and begin to think about woodturning again.  I really miss being in the shop with the smells, the creating, the shavings and the feeling of accomplishment when a job is done.  It will come, but the warming days bring on the anticipation.

Today I got up at 6am for doctor appointments….wooohooo!  It was really good timing because I had Dr. Moy my the ENT and Dr Trish Andrews my dermatologist.  Dr Moy scoped me and checked my ears and found nothing out of the ordinary and several things on the good side.  He says that I am healing well and that I look terrific.  The staff each sat a minute with me and shared that they were all worried and wanted to call to check on me but were so happy that I am doing so well.  It was very humbling and brought tears to my eyes that in some way I have become a part of so many peoples lives through this journey.  I finished the day with Dr Trish who told me the ears, the pealing skin and all the other funky things happening to me are just unfortunate reactions due to having my body pumped with radiation and chemotherapy and that eventually it would all clear up – then she smiled as she froze 3 spots on the top of my head.  Pre-cancer from sun exposure so wear your hat and sunscreen.

All and all it has been four days that have become so familiar in my life and yours. So familiar that I don’t see the forest for the trees all the time.  I forget that day to day this is all about cancer.  Diagnosis, treatment, healing and hoping that we got it.  Food, sleep, ups, downs, people, places, regimes, pains, peeling, are just the things we do for a cure.  Birthdays, Christmas, New Year, love, family, friends, broken trucks, broken lathes, and jobs are the things we fight it for.  God continues to bless me with hope, help, love and understanding – wonderful friends to pick me up and help me fight – a family committed to the cure, and giving, loving wife to hold my hand and comfort me.  And that God of my understanding to guide me.  Thank you.


LESSON OF THE DAY – “Faith ultimately can’t be argued; faith has to be felt.”

Steven Colbert


Day 35 – Geez!

2018-01-03 16.15.13What a short, long 2 days.  I’m still in a down cycle and slept until 2 pm yesterday then until about 10:30 this morning.  The only saving grace is that it is so nasty outside that I am kinda afraid to go out.  Everybody seems to have the post holiday crud and I don’t think that I want to get involved with that so I have been doing laundry, picking up, getting firewood and anything else that you can squeeze into a couple of hours.  I finally had to make a trip to WalMart today because I haven’t I been out of the house since we went to see Bernard and Susie on New Years Eve and I was going bonkers. AAARGGGGGG, the worst thing was that I had to use William’s car because the truck is still at the shop from last Thursday.  I can’t wait to get the bill for that one.  Those of you that have older vehicles know the drill.  You take it in for an innocent oil change and tire rotation, well I have a conscientious mechanic who checks everything because he has the identical vehicle.  Turns out I had a leak in one of the fuel injector gaskets and as long as you are pulling the manifold you  might as well do them all! Next, 2 of the manifold bolts were frozen and had to be drilled out – then to finish the deal, after they got it together they found a leak in the water pump seal.  Well you have to replace that but you have to take most of the front end off.  So your innocent preventative $35, 30 minute oil change turns into a $2,600 five day adventure.  God has a plan, His will be done.

So tonight I made some bean soup, sat and watched Kat do another epoxy pour and enjoyed the warmth of the fire.  I told Kat that I am as much fun as a turd in a  punch bowl, but I know that is going to change soon.  One day at a time and God is in control, so I am going to hit the sack and do what I supposed to.


LESSON OF THE DAY – “We take our relationship with God to a deeper level as we learn to live with our vulnerabilities what ever they may be…. You can throw up your hands in despair from the word go and be overwhelmed. ‘What can I do?’ Or you can recognize that, no matter how difficult your challenge, help will come from somewhere and do your darndest.” E. Glenn Hinson A Miracle of Grace (362, 363)



Day 31 – How Did I Get Here?

2017-12-30 19.07.22
Day 31!

Okay, okay it’s three days, not 2, but I am really having a difficult time remembering what I have been up to.  Oh yes, nothing but sleep.  After we went to Keoni’s and Amy’s Wednesday night I was hoping that I would be getting my wind back – Wrong answer.  Thursday was another day on the couch doing laundry and Friday I had to go back to bed after getting up at 11:30 to talk to my United Health Care Nurse Advocate.  It is a service provided by the Insurance company to follow my progress, make suggestions on care and help me navigate the insurance maze. So after we finished I had a quick breakfast moved back to the bedroom, turned on the bed warmer and slept until 5.  William went to Tallahassee Friday to spend some time with his grandparents so Kathy and I enjoyed a quiet evening at home together.  We haven’t done that in forever, it seems like, and the two of us really enjoyed watching Planet Earth and taking turns stoking the fireplace.

Kathy’s Dad Larry and his wife Dyanne came over from Ocala to eat lunch with us, then head downtown to the Hyatt.   Their plan is to watch the Lighted Boat Parade and fireworks tonight downtown.  They are staying at the Hyatt downtown in hopes of getting a room that overlooks the river so they won’t have to face the cold tonight.  Kat fixed white bean chili for lunch for the four of us and we caught up, feasted and set by the fire until about 3 o’clock.  They headed downtown and Kat and I ran out to do a little shopping to wrap up 2017.  Guess what we are doing tonight?  Yep, sitting on the couch, in front of the fire and watching TV – Party Animals!

This week at rest has given me some time to think and take a look at what is going on. Since all of this holiday fun I have been letting my treatment regime slack.  Sleeping until noon I have been missing a meal a day.  I used to get up, eat breakfast, go to treatment, come home and eat lunch, go to bed, get up for dinner and the evening. Now I get up at noon, eat lunch, afternoon activity followed dinner and evening fun.  I have not been as diligent in my hydrating, moisturizing and food selection.  I have been feeling pretty good and just not paying attention to what has gotten me this far.  I am down to 163 pounds, so I need to get that meal back in, I seem to be more tired, maybe I could go back to getting up and taking a nap in the afternoon.  OR, even better, talk to Carlene, at Shands and see what she has to say – novel idea huh?  I just have to get my mind wrapped back around the fact that my body has been brutalized and I still have to take care of myself.  I have only been done with treatment for 4 weeks and two of those four weeks were the worst that I had.  I am just tired of feeling tired, don’t like not pulling my weight and we have been at this 10 weeks now.  So, back to what always works.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.


LESSON OF THE DAY – “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”  Theodore Roosevelt 


Day 17 – Better Every Day

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Day 16 A little tired!

It was a wonderful day!  Of course I slept until 11:30 but that is expected anymore.  But I got my chores done before Kat got home from her visit to the library and we shared lunch together.  Peanut butter and jelly for her, straight peanut butter for me! I just can’t taste the jelly so I forgo it…lol.  Next we went out and got the Mrs tools together for Zoo Lights.  It a a wonderful thing the turners club participates in every year.  We turn on Friday and Saturday nights during the month of December at the Jacksonville Zoo during their Zoo Light Holiday Celebration.  We turn small items, Christmas trees, snowmen, angels, cars, tops, etc., and give them to children who are watching us turn.  They are amazed to see blocks of wood turn into the object of their choice.  I had not signed up due to the treatment, but after a nap this afternoon decided to tag along.

We had dinner at McDonald’s – woo hoo!  But I could kind of taste the fries and I did eat a Big Mac.  We met Loretta and our good friend Ray at the zoo and the 4 of us switched off turning from 6:00 until 9:30.  It was nice to get out and as I said it is such a treat to be able to make something for a child.  Their smiles and surprise make the whole season a little sweeter.  As I said it was a good day and hopefully I will be able to go again tomorrow night, but it is 11:30 and I need to head to bed.  I hope that you all had a great start to your weekend!


LESSON OF THE DAY – “Some pursue happiness – others create it.”  Anonymous


Day 10 – Really?

I cannot believe that it has been 10 days since I got my last treatment.  I really have no

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Day 10

concept that it has been that long the days run together.  I am back to that that rest, rest then rest.  I did make a trip to Lavilla for fluids this morning and repeated everything that I did Tuesday and Wednesday and it took 3 sticks today instead of the one it took Wednesday.  No predictions or expectations hold true, but on the upside – every day is an adventure and it’s not for the faint at heart!  I do think that today will probably be the last fluid addition as they told me 2 weeks should probably do it, but i will decide that next week.  I came home and the sexy chick was already in the barn creating, but I lured her in the house with Krystal’s and fries for her lunch,  I did eat one, but it was most unsatisfying tasting only slightly Krystalish.  I immediately parked it on the couch and napped and read until my friends Jeannie and Trisha came to visit. Jeannie is my yoga buddy, cancer coach, artist and friend and Trisha is my yoga instructor and long time friend.  It was nice to catch up with them and to share with them the little shop of horrors we call home.  By the time they left I had been up long enough and was ready to put on my pajamas and hit the couch for a couple of hours.  I got up about 6 and fixed chicken and rice soup with a peanut butter sandwich for me and tomato basil soup and a grilled cheese for Kathy.  It was nice to fix dinner for her for a change, she does so much for me and it makes me smile to do something for her.   As I said, sleeping seems to be the only thing I feel like doing lately, but I am okay with that.  I am sleeping longer uninterrupted and the “throat foam” seems to be a thing of the past. I am so grateful for the little things and they are adding up exponentially.

I am struggling with this eating thing.  I keep trying new foods looking for something with a flavor or even a palatable off flavor.  I told Tricia today that I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to find out what the throat coat tea really tasted like because it is still satisfying and the only taste that I can rely on.  I have been falling back on the ensure more and more because it is quick, easy and palatable.  That is why I eat so many peanut butter sandwiches.  It is quick to make, washes down with water, predictable consistency  and good nutrition.  Nothing like spending the time and money making something that sounds exciting only to have it burn your throat or taste incredibly horrible.  If you could have tasted that banana the other day you  would never put another in your mouth again.  I am really going to have to see major improvement before I even try one again!  I am thinking about trying a hot dog to see how that goes.  Warm, moist and meat – I’ll tell you when I get my guts up.  I’m not complaining, just frustrated and looking for answers.  I’ll take no taste for awhile for being healthy and I don’t even mind drinking it or eating the same thing all the time.  I just need to noodle through the right combination.  God love my sister, Monday is Kathy’s birthday and she wanted to know if she could take us to the Cowford Chop House this weekend to celebrate.  I told her that she could take Kathy, but I would just be a waste of money and time!  We laughed and decided to put that trip off for awhile. Enough for today – it is time for me to lay down.  If you have any food suggestions, please let me know.  Stay warm and dry and we will catch up tomorrow.


LESSON OF THE DAY – “The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.”    Arthur C. Clarke