Day 5 – 30 Radiations and 5 Chemos to Go!

2017-10-20 16.27.52
Day 5 181 lbs

WooooHooooo!  Week one done and damned if I’m not OK.  I  have had some problems with my stomach, as i mentioned a little tired and my lymph nodes are getting a bit tender, just a little worn but still standing!   I had 2 radiation treatments today the first was at 8am.  Now, at any other time of the day I can get to the hospital in 30 minutes, but to get there by 8 I need to leave the house at 6:45. Yep – you got it I -10 traffic.  Now normally that would be a problem, but with the new sleep patterns it was a piece of cake.  I have been doing this crazy 2 hour snooze all night long.  You know, you go to bed at 10, wake up at midnight, then 2, etc, etc, etc…. I had set the alarm, but was up an hour before it went off.  While waiting for Hana and Jenn, I was chatting with a couple from Punta Gorda, FL.  John has 4 more treatments to go.  John and Mary are retired and John has prostrate cancer and that entails 12 weeks of proton therapy.  His wife Lori was saying how different their life had become while being here.  She was surprised because they live in a large motor home and, as she put it, “we just unhook it, drive it and plug it back in,”  but even it looks different.  We talked about the switch in direction and attitude that you must adopt to survive. And she commented how positive all the successful patients seemed and that she was surprised how many cried and didn’t want to go home when they completed treatment.  I mentioned the blog and my comparison to new sobriety and Mary smiled as John proudly told me that she just celebrated her 40th AA birthday.  Small world, but she quickly agreed, reminiscing back to a time when she was a sick person, who was presented with a new way of life if she was willing to follow a program and change her attitude.  And she suddenly she understood the change.  There was now hope for a new life together without illness just as John had experienced with her.  As Bob J says – “It’s a God thing.”

Well Jenn broke it up and took me back to strap me down and nuke me and I was on my way by 8:40.  I decided to run by the bank to wrap up some business and stopped by Jan’s to have a cup of coffee and chat.  We hadn’t spent anytime together in about a week and she had some goodies for me to pick up.  The Center  gives Halloween bags to all the kids in treatment and patients donate candy for the bags.  There are between 40 and 60 kids being treated currently.  Dr. Hank Brietmoser, Jan’s boss, generously donated toothbrushes and toothpaste for all the bags! A memory to my dad the dentist who passed out toothbrushes every Halloween, God I miss that guy.  I was home napping by 11 and on time to see Hana and Jenn again at 2:30.  Only to come home for a another nap to get ready for Bernard and Susie instead of cleaning up for them.  See I am getting it! Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

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Bernard and Susie

We had a wonderful dinner of pizza and salad on paper plates with two of our best friends.  Kat met Bernard at a woodturning club meeting several years ago and the two have been thick as thieves since then.  It is funny that each of them are in awe of the other’s talents, they push each other to try new things and explore together.  Susie is the sweetest, most caring and giving person you would ever care to meet and they accepted me into their lives with love and support from the first day.   Bernard just celebrated his 82nd birthday yesterday and shot his age on the golf course the day before.  Gotta get that last 81!  He is the youngest man I know.   We are blessed to have these two in our lives and we love them dearly.

Another day in the books my friends, thank you for your love and support, my life would so different without you. Good Night

LESSON OF THE DAY – Take time to smell the roses

 

Day 4 – 32 Radiations and 5 Chemos to Go!

2017-10-19 10.56.31
Day 3 – Back in the shop! 182 lbs

Hey guys!  I hope that it was a good day for you, I am quickly realizing that this is a game of ups and downs.  Today was not especially a good day.  I woke up about 4am and and lounged in bed reading and dozing until about 8, when I finally got up and fixed my breakfast protein smoothie.  I have a table I am working on and I got dressed and put a coat of stain on it before I went to radiation at 1:50. That way I could put a second on it when I came home.  So after forcing down lunch, macaroni and cheese and hummus, I decided to get cleaned up and lay on the couch to catch the news.  Not such a good a plan!  I awoke at 2:10 and had to call Hanna to let her know that I was late for a second time this week.  It all worked out because there was another

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Bread Board Table Top

patient who got done with his doctor appointment  early and she switched us. Well that didn’t stop the sleepy head jokes when I got there….I got plenty of good-natured kidding from everyone. On they way home I stopped by the store and did get the second coat on the top before I collapsed on the couch.

Expectations are going to have to become a thing of the past if I am going to get through this with my sanity.  I am going to have re-adopt a real “one moment at a time” attitude.  Today my expectations were to get that table finished, not just stained, go to my appointment, run by the bank and the store then come home to turn some acorns, before i went to yoga and writing to you.  As you can clearly see that was a pipe dream.   I have to go back again to early sobriety where my job was to don’t drink, call my sponsor, go to a meeting and perform necessary functions.  I have to switch my expectations to taking my medication and treatments, consuming calories and taking care of myself, then anything else.  I cleared my calendar for a reason.  The problem is admitting I need help….EGO, letting go of the idea that I am not enough.  It seems that this would be an easy thing with all the love, support and offers that I get everyday from people who are happy to do it.  It’s admitting that I am sick and that I need help and being okay with that. Peter and I had a discussion on the phone this morning about what really is humility?  It is defined; the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc. Wow!  My self worth is not defined by how much I get done, the household and world will get by if I don’t meet my expectations….Who Knew?  We have Bernard and Susie coming for dinner tomorrow night and guess what?  They are coming to spend time with Kat and I, they don’t care if the house is picked up or the laundry is done – hell, they would probably do it if I let them, OR even better, asked them! I am acceptable and lovable just as I am, they know I am sick.  The love and caring that I get are not contingent on what I get done, or how my house looks, they love me for who I am.  They know and accept that my only task is to fight cancer and take care of myself.  They are okay with that and so should I.  God will sort out the rest if I ask, have faith, and set aside my ego to humble myself to ask for help.

Tomorrow I am scheduled for 2 radiation treatments, one at 8am and one at 3pm, come home and ice down my neck and apply aloe vera, consume 2000 calories of high protein food and rest if I need to.  That is my job, anything else is gravy!  When Bernard and Susie get here if I don’t feel good I can spend a few moments and get some hugs then go to bed and let them enjoy time with Kat…..It will be okay – they love me and understand.

LESSON OF THE DAY – Remember that you are not defined by what you get done. Let go of your stinking ego and ask for help if you need it. My only job is to get well.

 

Day 3

2017-10-18 19.34.59
Day 3 182lbs

Welcome back!  Today was a day of differences.  I was a little head-achy, my tinnitus was a little louder, but I woke up and was grateful to begin another one. (even though it was 5am)  I know I’m supposed to be eating but I never thought that I would have to force down food!  I have been eating between 2500 and 2800 calories a day high in protein, drinking at least one Pedialyte  and 2 liters of water.  Between peeing and rubbing my belly I use up half the day. Then there are the every 2 hour baking soda rinses for the mouth and after radiation icing down for 15 minutes and an aloe vera rubdown.  But I feel good.  I wish that I could get out to the shop – I have been working on a table that is turning out very nice, but I was on the phone with insurance, finances and doctors all day.  I did take some time to talk to my  friends Mac Brown in the morning and Jeanie Theirault in the afternoon.

The center waiting area is light and airy and full of life. Casey, the receptionist, greets

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Reception and waiting room

you with a smile and your name.  There are art projects, kid’s play room, kitchen, coffee and plenty of families and patients to talk to.  I partook of the weekly lunch for patients, families and caregivers.  It was very cool.  It is catered by different restaurants and today was Zoe’s Kitchen.  There were beef, chicken and spinach, wraps, rice, fresh fruit and a complete salad bar….top that off with chocolate cake-

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lunch

delicious calories plus! When we settled down at our tables they went over activities that are available to patients; dinner at Indochine, a tour of the Federal Reserve, a cocktail hour another night, reduced tickets to the Icemen, and the free events around town.  Next they had a doctor come up and explain his specialty for about 15 minutes, then went around the room letting alumni, and graduating patients share their experience strength and hope to the newcomers.  Then we got to introduce ourselves talking about where we were from, our cancer and treatment.  As I’ve probably told you, we

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chime ringing

Jacksonville residents are few and far between.  In the room of about 40, only two of us were from here.  I made it a point to run down some folks to let them know if they wanted to know where to go or what to do please ask or call….I’m going to have to start carrying more cards! I even sent one guy over to the Dreamette, he was jonesing  for good soft-serve.  When the lunch was over we all gathered in the lobby where to graduates rang the chimes in the lobby to signify hope and completion and had their pictures taken.  It was touching to watch these families say goodbye to the friends that they had shared so much with and the gratitude they had for a new beginning.  Next it was off to treatment with Hanna and Jennifer who tied me down and gave me a sunburn……it is one expensive tanning bed!

Today was very reminiscent of early sobriety.  You come into the rooms a broken person thinking it is the end and you are sentenced to a glum existence.  I was accepted with open arms into a community of experience strength, hope and fellowship. Before I knew it I was getting out of myself and helping others,  I just had to show up and be willing to do some new things.  I came home smiling, happy and filled with love and gratitude.  Who knew so much good could thrive in a place filled with so much tragedy.  Thank you for letting me share – it means so much.

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY – Be willing and take action, you won’t be sorry.