Day 173 – Life goes on!

2018-05-21 17.38.13
Day 173

Hello friends!  Monday night and another wonderful day.  If we could just get over this rain – I don’t think that it is ever going to stop!  We have been just plugging along trying to do as much as we can do while living life on life’s terms.  Two weeks ago I worked for Eric as normal, but as healing seems to go, after yoga that Thursday night I hit the wall and was not able to get up on Friday so Ms Kathy did not get a clean house for Mother’s Day.  She was fine with it and we piddled around the house and shop on Saturday.  Sunday we took a trip to Ft Clinch Park in Fernandina to enjoy Mother’s Day at the beach.  Albert, Jan, Will and Jessa joined us and we celebrated with lunch, shark tooth and shell hunting. The cool thing about the beach at Ft Clinch is that it is at the mouth of the St Mary’s river and with the jetties

2018-05-13 12.01.54
Happy Mother’s Day!

you can have either an ocean or sound experience depending on which side of the jetties you go. Needless to say, we had a wonderful day.  Monday I had my 6 month labs, CT and PET scan and followed that up with a customer visit, a stop at the store and our monthly wood turner meeting.  I left the house about 8:30 in the morning and we didn’t get home until about 9:45 that night.  Between a day at the beach and running around all day I had to call in dead Tuesday because I

2018-05-14 11.27.49
Test Day!

could not get out of bed again!  The not getting out of bed is not getting any prettier, I rolled out about 11:30 to eat, take my meds and get some water down.  I was back in bed by 12:30 and slept until about 5 when I got up to eat again and was back in bed by 8:30.  Wednesday I went to St Augustine to pick up a project, Gate Parkway to deliver a finished job and finally hit the shop for an hour or two to finish up a couple of wine stands for a customer and his dad.  I just just haven’t figured out how to effectively plan my days.  I try to plan for 4 to 6 hour days, but when I lose one or two days it just snowballs. It is a good thing that I am still telling my customers that it may take awhile to get their jobs finished.

We ended up the week Saturday with our bi-monthly SoMMA meeting.  This meeting we had Joyce Gabiou who shared her techniques for collage. You can see Joyce’s work by clicking here Joyce Gabiou Artist.

2018-05-19 11.26.43
Joyce Gabiou

As I was laying around Sunday recuperating it dawned on me that we began this cancer adventure a year ago this month.  We had dinner with Amy and Keoni and I started to feel puny the week after.  We went to Louisville the following week and Kat got sick on the plane and I thought that I picked it up because my lymph nodes had begun to really swell.  After a bought with pneumonia those nodes stayed around and the rest is history.  It is really hard for me to believe that it has already been a year –  diagnosed, treated and getting my 6 month post treatment check on the 30th. What a year it has been, fear, happiness, love, faith, pain, hope, reliance on self and others. My reliance on God has grown 10 fold as well as my reliance on others.  I have had to

2018-05-13 10.12.57
The Daring Duo!

learn to trust that God has a plan and have faith to do my best to accept and implement that plan with humility and grace.  I have had to learn to tell the truth when it comes to my needs and capabilities.  I have had to learn to reach out and ask for help when I need it and to fearlessly share all my feelings with you.  Tonight we share our 103rd chapter so far and I need to thank you for sharing them with me.  I could not have made it this far without you and your support.

Don

Quote of the day – Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

Helen Keller

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

31530451_1791067047616499_6706269301566865408_n
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!

Don

 

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

Day 124 – UGH!

2018-04-02 20.37.02
Day 124 – Tired

Sorry I didn’t make it until tonight but I have just been wiped all week and going to bed early.  The week before just tore the wheels off the wagon, I had to get up with Kat at 6:30 3 days last week for appointments.  The other 2 days I had to get up to work on the table base for Eric and Saturday we had an outing with Jan.  Long story short I am still paying the price for pushing it 2 weeks ago.

Good news – I had my lymphedema PT twice last week and have been released to continue wearing the band and giving myself massages to continue moving the lymph from my neck area.  This will be a fairly long term exercise that will have to be endured.  I dislike wearing the compression garment, so much that Kat found it on the floor on her side of the bed Sunday morning, and I don’t even remember taking it off! But it is no worse than some of the other stuff that I have had to do so I shall trudge on.  Bad news – I had my yearly eye exam.  I don’t know if it was chemo related or not. but for the first time in 5 years my close prescription changed and I graduated to bifocals.  When Dr Russell showed me the chart with and without the distance script I was blown away – so the new glasses will be here this week.  The awesome news – The hearing aids just keep getting better!  Angela adjusted the volume up to normal and removed some high end so Sydney doesn’t sound so sharp when she shrieks. So between hearing aids, compression straps and new glasses it has been and expensive couple of weeks about $5,600.  Besides the fatigue I am doing pretty good.  Taste keeps getting better and my weight is still stable at 160 pounds.  I just have to fight the urge to push, as a matter of fact I have been put on restrictions this week by Kat.

I delivered the new table legs on Monday. As any new design goes, Eric and I had some back and forth on what we needed to do to make it work.  I ended up at Farmtastic Creations 3 days and Eric was here one day to get them right, but they are awesome!  He delivered it on Friday and we already have 2 customers looking to order their own. (If you click on the pictures it will tell you what is going on in each one)

This weekend we got up early on Saturday and picked up Jan to go to “The Maker’s Market.”  It was a craft type show that was held in a really cool venue “The Glassworks”  on Myrtle Ave.  They had about 50 vendors and food trucks and it was fun seeing what is out there.  Next we did lunch at V’s Pizza and had their chicken wings and blue cheese pizza. Both items tasted pretty damn good and really hit the spot.  We left there and headed to Eco Relics on Stockton Street.  They have the biggest collection of reclaimed crap in Jacksonville.  You can spend hours roaming the aisles never knowing what you will find, and after all that excitement we went back to Jan’s, borrowed a bed, and took a nap for an hour and a half!  If that wasn’t enough, we met Tina and her nephew Ben at Hawker’s Asian Street Fare for dinner.  We hadn’t seen Ben since last summer and it has been forever since we had seen Tina.  We ate and yakked for hours.  After dinner we strolled 5 points widow shopping and talking.  At one point Kat and Ben disappeared into a shop only to emerge with a pogo stick.  Ben picked it up pretty quick and I was on my way until I saw Tina wincing every time I tried, and after thinking about it, decided to leave the pogo stick for younger generations…it’s not like I need any new medical problems right now!

Sunday we had a visit from a new turner, Coleen.  Coleen is a member of our Turner’s club and was looking for some help with her bowls.  She and Kat worked while I slept and I took over after I got my exhausted butt out of the bed about 11.  It is so much fun to share what you know with others and you end up learning as much as you share.

2018-04-01 14.06.21
Fish Whisperer

After she left Kat worked on some fish carving and I started rebuilding the table saw.  The mechanism to change the blade angle pooped out on me while I was building that table base so I needed to get it fixed.  We finished the evening watching Jesus Christ Superstar on NBC and it would have been excellent had it not been for the hour worth of commercials.  When Andrew Loyd Webber first introduced this in the early 70’s it really struck my friends and I.  I have seen the live version at least 4 times and the movie well over 20.  It was a magic time for me. Catholic boy’s high school with “enlightened” religion classes, (We studied the rock opera Tommy in one) Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat started laying the foundation of the God of my understanding.  As I sat there last night I was transported to time of my life that I had largely set aside.  The friends, the thinking, the discussions and the the times, it was cool to revisit the memories.  It was also a reminder how much of a role God has played in my life and how much I have been affected, whether I realized it at the time or not.  God has been good to me and a guiding force if I  accepted His presence and let Him guide me.  I wasted so many years trying to run the show without help only to be brought to my knees as the result of untreated alcoholism.  At that point I remembered that God of my early adulthood and asked Him for help me and since that time I have been blessed with everything that I need and given a couple of adventures that I never would have guessed would teach me so much. I think that I will keep trusting and relying on Him.

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY -“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” —Albert Einstein

Day 116 – Coming up for air

2018-03-25 20.03.44
Day 117 Compression Mask

This week I have been trying to get on a schedule – ugh I know – it sucks.  My goal was to get up Monday through Friday at 8:30.  Friday morning I woke up in a daze about 8 and I didn’t know what day it was or if Kathy was home.  For the most part it has been very successful and exhausting.  I have worked in the shop 6 days this week and have some progress to show on Eric’s project.  A bunch of rest breaks and slow progress, but I am grateful.  Now I can’t tell you that I actually made it up at 8:30 but 9:15 was the latest and I am okay with that. I made it to

2018-03-21 15.06.14
Chilly in the Shop

yoga 3 times this week but the downfall was when it came time to share with you – there just was nothing left.  I think the latest that I was up was 10 and that was yoga night. On yoga nights I do not get home until 8 and after I eat and sit down it is all over and when Saturday rolled around I did not get up until almost

2.  I barely had time to eat and take a shower before it was time to go celebrate a friend’s life at a memorial yoga practice.  My friend and yoga instructor Tricia lost her son Max to addiction and each year holds a practice to raise money for Gateway Community Services in honor of Max.  We had 85 people show

29541690_2239549849393400_8622213112271494833_n
4th Annual Practice in memory of Max

up to support her and it was awesome to see some old friends that I had not seen in awhile.  I was in bed by 10 and got up about 9:30 had breakfast and spent wonderful Sunday in the shop and hanging around with Kat.  She worked on “special projects” doing epoxy pours and alcohol ink and started to clean out the flower beds.  She finished off the weekend grilling a rack of lamb and preparing rice, field peas, corn and tomatoes.  I am really glad my taste is coming back!

2018-03-25 15.51.58
New Style Table

I am feeling pretty good!  Like I said tired but it is a good tired and I’m pretty sore.  The taste is still coming back slowly and the saliva glands are working better.  The only time that I have trouble with that is if I talk too much or try to eat to fast.  We grilled hamburgers Saturday night and I ate a whole burger, but it took me an hour to eat it.  I ended up cutting it in bite sized cubes so that I could chew it thoroughly enough to swallow it.  Any bites bigger than that I could not swallow unless I sectioned

2018-03-23 17.56.28
Beautiful Sunday

off my mouth like a squirrel and chewed smaller portions before swallowing.  Yeah I know  – you really needed that picture. I am still drinking the dandelion detox tea at night and have been able to start drinking my normal morning smoothie except I am substituting Ensure instead of coconut milk. I continue to do the daily lymphodema exercises and have been wearing my compression bandage at night.  I am up to keeping it on for 6 hours but it is a struggle.  Because of the toothpaste I have to use at night I cannot drink so at some point I end up with this “paste” in my mouth that I cannot swallow because of the bandage.  That and the itch it puts on the beard I have to get it off.  Weight is holding at 160, but if I keep eating like I am that will be short lived.  I still love the hearing aids and look forward to finding out what else they do next week – who knew!

So next week is another return to doctors appointments.  I have at least one scheduled for each day.  Mostly follow-ups but I do have an eye check-up and I think that I am going to have to buck up and have my prescription changed – ahh the joys of aging and treatment!  I still say both are definitely worth the effort because we have been so blessed by the experience that it is almost indescribable and it has been easier for me to see it especially when I feel better.   All of the efforts are beginning to pay off. I have so much more to say, but it is almost 8 o’clock and I need to still call my Mom and get into bed.  I will try to get with you more this week, but no promises!

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY –  “Thank You” is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”

Alice Walker

Day 90 Grateful!

IMG_20180227_122741_359
Day 90 – Cancer Free!

Okay I won’t even beat around the bush – WE DID IT!  I scanned cancer free!  There are some spots that we are going to watch, but Dr Dagan believes that they are probably not anything.  I will have another CT Scan and Pet scan in 3 months just to be sure.   The swelling he saw when he scoped me  in January is completely down  – yes another scope through the nose.   It must have been a tough day there.  Dr Dagan said if it wasn’t for me coming in, he would have gone home – but he thanked me for being so cooperative and told me that I was high point of his day. I was humbled and proud.

Next stop was Tubel’s to get Kat’s oil changed and tires rotated.  See, she had me take her to the airport this morning because she is attending meetings in Tampa until tomorrow night. So I had to get up at 6:15 to get her there and I didn’t have time to get back home before my appointment.  I had another at 3:45 with Dr Ilene and would have gotten back to the house just in time to leave again so I had the esteemed privilege of doing something nice for my wonderful wife and had her oil changed.  Dr Ilene was pleased with progress and couldn’t find anything else wrong.  After that yoga and here I am with you. Exausted!

Thank God, thank Kathy, thank Jan, thank each and every one of you for helping me get this far.  Don’t worry,  I know it is not over, this story is not done.  I was told by more than one person today to not expect to get back to work for awhile and that I would probably feel pretty close to normal by the first of next year.  But I have seen the light on the way to the mountain! Hallelujah!  Prayer works! I am blessed and grateful for my life, God loves me and you.

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY – “Sabbath observance invites us to stop. It invites us to rest. It asks us to notice that while we rest, the world continues without our help. It invites us to delight in the world’s beauty and abundance.”    Wendell Berry

 

Day 89 – Nervous

2018-02-26 16.39.33
Day 90

It was a pretty awesome weekend!  Saturday Kat woke me up about 7:30 and we showed up at the Jacksonville Gem Society about 9:15 for a fun filled play day under the tutelage of Heather Furman.  We explored the world of glass and heat.  The class was an introduction to fused glass and anything else we could think of.  We designed, cut glass, used torches to make spirals, dots and beads, sluff with a kiln and a bunch of stuff that I have already forgotten.  We did not finish up until 5 and we will get the finished product soon.  There were 7 of us in the class and we had a ball! We came home and Kat fixed this wild Chicken Parmesan Pizza – great stuff!  We can talk about taste and appetite for a minute.  I am have a small appetite and am currently at 162 lbs. My taste is about 80

2018-02-24 20.35.08
Chicken parm pizza

percent there some things are closer than others. Peanut butter and grits are still my favorites.  I have been consistent in my weight for awhile and still drinking Ensure, protein and herb smoothies (mushroom blend, green blend, turmeric, hemp seed, chia seeds, egg white protein and macaboost) and getting in 2000 calories a day and I’ve been experimenting.  I bought some Publix spicy wings today and baby they lit me up!  I was washing them down with milk and my head was sweating, sweet Jesus heat is magnified!  I ate 4 and that’s all I can take, I’ll have to take the rest down to Uncle Tom and Aunt Pie.

The downside to the great day Saturday was a lost Sunday.  We went to bed early and I slept until 1:00pm, ate lunch with Kat, read on the patio for a 1/2 hour before napping, until 5:00, ate and we were in bed by 9:00.  Today I slept until one, but was able to run some errands and feel pretty good tonight.  I did get out for a walk and the blooms are gorgeous.  When you are grateful for your day it is so much nicer and easier to see the world around you. I am so blessed, a God of my understanding, wife, family, friends, life there is nothing else I need.  There is some goofy stuff I want but if I’m supposed to have it  – it will show up.

The nervous part – tomorrow is the big reveal.  I see Dr. Dagan at 10:00 to find out if we

2018-02-26 22.11.38
The love of my life!

got this on the first shot, then I see Dr Ilene for my 1st physical in the afternoon.  It has already been 3 months since the last treatment.  Lots of bitching, sleeping, weird experiences, but I have been carried and loved like I never expected.  The real thing is that I’m curious, I know that whatever the news is it will be what it is supposed to be.  God has a plan and the outcome is really unimportant, what is important is my reaction  to the news.  As my lovely, but smart-ass, wife responded to my inquiry – “What if we didn’t get it? “You go back to treatment – duh”

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY –  “We can easily forgive the child who is afraid of the dark, the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”   Plato

 

Day 70 – Proceed With Caution

2018-02-07 20.18.03
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.

Don

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