Day 46 – Straight and Narrow

2018-01-14 22.30.25Here we sit on Sunday night in front of a fire, bellies full of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots.  A day spent watching the Jags – who knew? – playing with art and of course resting.  I would like it if it was a touch warmer but I’m not going to complain – the sun was out and that is good.

Rewind to Friday, I burst out of bed with the intention of doing the laundry and cleaning the house because Kat has a 3 day weekend and I really didn’t want her to have to deal with it.  1st, I say burst but it was more like “let’s make a deal.”  I’ve described it before, alarm set at 9 with extrication coming about 11:30 – but hey I’m okay with it.  And I did get

the house mostly clean and the laundry done expecting a slow day on Saturday.  We had a great night eating pizza and watching tv finally settling down in clean sheets – life is good!  Saturday my sweetness went over to Leslie’s, her boss, to help with some chores while I recuperated. We spent the rest of the day absorbed in alcohol inks and resin pours.  We worked on my 1st bowl project, some test and practice boards and antler pours finally cleaning up our mess about 7 before relaxing to some dateline and more Planet Earth videos.

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Warm and content

Today was pretty much a repeat but add cooking and a fire!  As I said, life is good.  After my rant Thursday night, I decided to surrender to the recovery and let the day dictate my activities and I can report that it has been met with some success.  I still feel guilty most of the time but I am trying not to give into it.  It is like a free floating anxiety, I can push through it, but when I sit quietly it is still there.  It is that feeling that you have something that needs to be done and if you don’t do it something bad is going to happen – almost a fear.  Of course it is totally irrational and I said it is diminishing, but it is still there.  It helps to do a task -take the cans to the recycling, get some wood for the fire, put the dishes in the dishwasher or pick up a bit.  It also helps to offer up silent prayers for God to relieve me of the bondage of self.  It is a waiting game filled with mental mind games.  Am I withering away? – I should probably begin exercising, am I eating enough greens? – maybe a trip to the store, I do have a job due at the end of February – should I clean the shop? Or should I sit on my flabby ass and get well.  Did I say the committees are in session?  Of course they are – reality – I have cabin fever – and that is okay.  Some changes are in order, but as always I need to reign in the need to exceed.  Kathy helped me to decide to begin setting a new routine. The routine of treatment is long gone and the needs of recovery change so much daily that I have gotten out of one and it does me so good.  Like they say in the program “fake it until you make it” so I will begin establishing a new routine to pass the day. To that end I will try to go to yoga again this week.  I may not be able to get through the practice but each trip will be better and it is a responsibility.  The second thing will be a walk.  I will start at 5 minutes and see how that goes.  And that is it, as you well know, I could easily set myself up for failure by planning every minute so I will start small.  With that I will bid you goodnight and retire with a new sense of hope and purpose.

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY- “Regret is an appalling waste of energy, you can’t build on it – it’s only good for wallowing in.”   Katherine Mansfield

Project time!

 

Day 43 – Ugggg

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Day 43

You are going to get tired of hearing this but I am really struggling.  I know that I have been done with treatment for 7 weeks and I’ll give in to the two weeks after treatment so we are at 5 weeks since treatment ended.  You know me, I went and did some research (this is the place where you say “Crap why did he do that?”) and the average time for return to work for my cancer and treatment is 14.5 weeks after release.  So in hard numbers that 5 weeks turns into 2 weeks and that puts me at April 23rd before I am statistically expected to be at a point where I feel good enough to return to work at a reduced rate. UGGGGGGG.  It does explain some things, but does it make me feel any better?  Not really but I will get through it, relying on God, one day at a time and with your help.

This all started, like I told you, Monday when I slept until my normal noon and called Carlene and she told me I was doing really well.  So, after doing the meeting Monday night and doctors appointments Tuesday, I was going to meet Tina on Wednesday for lunch. With the most noble of intentions, I set my alarm for 9, and after 2 hits on the snooze button remembered Tina was going to call when she left St Augustine, so I turned off the alarm and dozed until she called about 10:15.  Well, I immediately fell back to sleep and woke up at 11:15 – the time I was supposed to meet her.  Much to my dismay, I called and canceled because I could not get up, rolled over, and went back to bed until 2:30.  I finally got up, moved to the couch until Kat got home, ate dinner, soaked in the tub and was back in bed by 8:30. I was totally wiped out, I know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again expecting different results, but it has been 4 days since my birthday – come on I should be over that!

I am human, I need time to repair from chemicals and radiation that have been pumped into my body over a 6 week period. Cancer, lack of sleep, modified diet, loss of hair and beard, change of appetite and taste, having to treat a changing myriad of shifting ailments, loss of physical and mental stamina and yes this is normal, but I don’t have to like it.  But I do have to accept it and live it with the dignity and grace I ask God to show me. And I can do that by remembering that you are out there rooting for me, that Kathy loves me and sees the “big picture” better than me, that Jan and my family are here for my help and most of all that God loves me and will take care of all my needs.  I am human therefore imperfect and every emotion that I feel and situation I encounter is a part of this thing called life given to me by God.  I must learn from my shortcomings and share my good fortune and from that comes contentment, acceptance and happiness.

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY-

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.
Amen.

 

 

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.

Don

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

Steven Colbert

 

Day 37 – Birthday Boy

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Day 37 Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy birthday to me!  In my 63 years, yep you saw that right, I have never really gotten used to having my birthday so close to Christmas.  For me, by the time you get through December with all the Christmas parties, Christmas eve, Christmas day, New Years eve, New Year’s day the last thing that I want to do is celebrate again.  Then comes the whole “what do you want for your birthday?”  To be truthful, not much since Christmas was just 10 days ago and I told you Santa was kind to me.   To her credit Kathy does a pretty good job.  This year she gave me 4 new ear rings…..very cool – a gecko and sword for me and a “swirley dwerly” and lips for her.  Tomorrow night dinner with Jan and Albert?

I am not in a good spot if you can’t tell.  It’s not the

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Birthday Bling

birthday, it is just a bought of my January funk.  The winter before I left Kentucky I was standing at the door looking at the snow and I was crying.  Seasonal depressive disorder.  If it rains for a week, Kathy would prefer that I move to Jan’s than to deal with me.  I have been going down hill all this week and with a little help from Kathy put it all together today.  I was cruising, as as before, until I had a couple of mild setbacks. First the weather has been raining or freezing and I was not getting enough sun, and second my back started peeling and itching and my ear is doing something weird and oozy.  I have been so focused on my neck, I did not realize that my head was so dry.  I just need to ask God for serenity and pay more attention to it all.  It’s hard for me to fight the urge to be “normal.”  I did give myself a break with staying in out of the cold and did rest, but I just gave myself a pity party and I am OK with that, been through it too many times.  I’m getting way better about realizing it, and it doesn’t hurt that Kat knows when I am in it.  It is so much better than was.  God, therapy, and people that love me and ones that see me 7 days a week have taught me it’s okay, it is real and I can do something about it.

So I end a crappy cold week, rested, addressing my new conditions but best of all, ready to get back to it – a little older, a little wiser.  I have my 6 month appointment with my dermatologist and the follow-up with Dy Moy, the ENT that did my biopsies, on Tuesday, so I will buff up on what to expect with my skin and ears.  God, prayers, people and I am OK again.

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY – “Logic itself will not lead me to God, but my love of the world and my gratitude to it will.”   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.

Don

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 33 – Happy New Year!

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Day 33 – Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2018!  I hope that your holidays filled you with love and gratitude for all that you have.  I know it did for me.  Being slowed down gave me the chance to spend time with Kathy.  We have been hunkered down in the house in our pajamas in front of the fire since Friday night.  Sure there have been the occasional getting showered, dressed and out in the world missions but they did not come without discussion.  Do we need it?  Does someone else need it? AND can we get back home in under 2 hours?  Last night we took some white bean chicken chili down to Bernard and Susie and set down with them for a couple of hours only to dash back, stoke the fire and change back into our pajamas! Now there was some

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The hangout

productive time, but more on Kathy’s part than mine.  Yesterday we made designer paper.  I will say up front that I was more technical and moral support, but we started by shredding white paper in the paper shredder.  Next, we pulverized the shredded paper, water and colored thread that Kat’s mom had collected in a blender to make a slurry .  Kat’s mom was a quilter and when she cut away frayed ends of fabric she collected them in a piece of Tupperware.  I made a deckle which is a frame that has stretched screen and a raise top that you pour the slurry onto to form your sheet.  Then you let it dry.  We hurried that process by setting it next to the fireplace.

Today’s adventure was alcohol ink pictures.  I can really see potential projects with both projects.  Tonight we are just pretending that tomorrow isn’t coming because the holiday’s officially end tonight.  At least there aren’t a lot of decorations to put up!  There

is a God!

2017 has taught me quite a bit about myself – again.  I am grateful that God gives me the chance to go through the process of introspection every so often.  Getting sober, losing Sally and finding Kathy, 3 months in Maine and this bought with cancer,  each one has taught me so much about myself.   The magic really happened when I started writing it down in Maine – it has been so impactful and I do appreciate your comments and interaction.  Some don’t sound like a trip that we would like to take, but they have shaped me into the person that I am today and I would not trade them for anything. As I look back on these adventures the thing that stands out is that in each case I walk away with a stronger relationship with God and a better understanding of my role in the relationship.  As I have said over and over during the last 2 1/2 months, do the next right thing, follow instructions, live one day at a time, forgive, love and trust that God’s plan is better than mine.  My life is so gratifying and easy when I live this way, it’s not always fun, comfortable, easy or desirable, but each of those conditions become tolerable when I do. So my resolution for 2018 is to do my best to continue this process. Instead of the Lesson Of The Day tonight I would like to leave you with a prayer that was shared with me by my father during early sobriety:

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
-Thomas Merton