Day 84 – Cruising

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Day 84 Gratitude!

My life is so incredible – what more could I ask for?  Sure there is plenty but what I have is just right.  This morning I woke up with a headache that was bad enough to make me nauseous, so I stayed in bed until 12:45.  Was I happy about it – no, did I have to let it ruin my day – no so I choose to not let it.  So I prioritized the day and got started.  No rushing no fussing just trying to make the best of it.  I choose the shop instead of walking and that makes the second day in a row that I was out there.  Now it took me 2 days to turn a ball cap  that normally takes me an hour, but it is the 1st time that I have turned since the week before Christmas and it is all to spec!

Monday Kat was off and we had lunch at Hawker’s Asian Streetfare.  We love that place.  I had the presence of mind to ask if my favorite, Kim Che Fried Rice, could be fixed with less heat and low and behold they could.  What a difference it was enjoyable – I guess I’ll start asking more…LOL   Next we were off to the tax guy and got 2017 filed then decided to check out IKEA.  We really had a great day for her last day of vacation I was really sad to see it end. 2018-02-09 08.25.07 We did get some cool kitchen ideas for the future.  But as usual, I paid for the day out on Tuesday and that is just a cost of doing business.  What are the choices again?  I have decided that my life is too short to be pissed off or miserable.  I have wasted enough days fighting things not in my control and I hope that I am done.

I finished the day by running over to Susie’s and Bernard’s to check in.  I love spending time with those guys – they are really important to Kat and I. We are blessed by wonderful friends – I could not imagine life without them.  Finally, home to see my wife and hopefully get to bed early.  I wish you all a wonderful night.

Don

 

LESSON OF THE DAY – “When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.”

 Winston Churchill

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.

Don

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

Day 61 – Huh?

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Day 61

2 months since the last treatment – what a blur!  I wish that I could tell you I was better, and I know that I am, I just don’t see it or feel it.  I know that I am better it is just a matter of a different set of evolving issues.  Days come and go highlighted by my time with Kat on the weekends and visits to yoga and the weird symptom of the week.  We did have a visit from my niece Abby. She was in town visiting from Oregon and came over last Wednesday to dabble in alcohol ink, do a bit of wood burning and catch up with her crazy ol’ Uncle and Aunt.  We must have been pretty intriguing because she ended up spending the night. This weekend Kat and I walked together with our buddy Finn.  Jan and Albert went with our friends Julie and Ham to go zip lining over around Ocala and left our buddy with us for the day.

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Abby at Ink Play

I know all of the reasons – cold weather, cloudy skies, rain, the need to sleep, healing, fewer daylight hours, and a propensity toward depression, but I realized that I am depressed and knowing all the reasons doesn’t change the reality.  Now I’m not in a place where I would consider harming myself, but just in a state of general funk, all that I seem to do is just sleep, eat, treat and repeat.  It is strange place for me to be, especially when I don’t feel good.  I find myself second guessing every decision.  When I roll back over in bed at 9am is it because I’m still tired or that I don’t want to get up.  Am I too tired to go to the shop or just depressed? Am I cold or feel the need to crawl under a blanket on the couch?  Now my decision is usually bolstered by my ability to go to sleep but that just makes me want to question why.  Familiarity to the disease and not willing to go there is one of my defense mechanisms and usually results in grasping for support.  1st act was reaching out to my friend Sam who went through this same cancer several years ago only to be reminded that we are all different and I am where my body is supposed to be. Friday was my monthly phone conversation with Chris, my OPTUM Health nurse.  We spent some time talking about where I was energy wise, what I can expect and how do I measure up – you know me Mr Competition.  I always struggle when we have these conversations, because it is always predicated on the premise that we are all different.  Then they tell you you are well and that some people don’t get to where you are for a year!  Sweet Jesus find me a cliff if I felt like this for a YEAR! – Enter FEAR!!  But I did buck up and told her that I was beginning to feel funky and a bit depressed. Her first question – “Are you taking your anti-depressant?”  Oh HELL YES! I would sell Sydney to make sure that I have my Pristiq.  The second was “would you like to talk to one of our counselors? Duh!  After the call I immediately scheduled an appointment with my Therapist Louise who got me through Sally’s illness and death. As a final step I logged on to the American Cancer Society’s discussion boards and chatted with people who are going through the same treatment and recovery.  And as I suspected, I am just where I am supposed to be.  There are people doing better and some not so good but we all understand the mental and physical torture that we are going through. And you can give some tips to the folks that are just starting.

Have you heard it before?  Problem + Action + Prayer = Relief.  So simple yet so elusive, but it works if you work it.  The questions begin to disappear when I admit that I have a problem and seek to relieve it.  Yes it is too cold to go to the shop so do your tax preparation, yes you are tired from your walk take a nap. And from Kathy, a week is too long to wait between posts you do better when you talk about it.

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY – “We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly – spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.”        Susan Taylor

 

Day 56 – Life In The Fast Lane

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Day 56

OK – I know it has been a week – where has the time gone?  Well, as long as we are on the subject, how much do you guys want to hear from me?  We have done it daily, every 2 days, every 3 days and now weekly.  What do you think? The reason that I have been stretching it out is I figured you were tired of the same old sleep, sleep, sleep…LOL

Well I really don’t have much to report, being on a schedule again has helped my attitude immensely.  I have still been sleeping about 10 -12 hours, arise to the morning routine –   Brush teeth and tongue, swish with Biotene, apply body lotion then fix my smoothie.  Next up is answering emails then a walk then I eat lunch and on Tuesdays and Thursdays I take a shower and leave for yoga at 5.  When I get home, it is dinner and every other night I do the epsom salt and baking soda soak before I  do the teeth and grease myself down again and bed.  It works!  Throw in a small task or two and I have completed a day without much time to worry about what I am not doing!  It does present some problems though, the other day I was assigned some neck exercises from the crew at Shands because, as we call it around here, my “waddle” is collecting lymph and I need to exercise my neck to tighten it up and force the lymph out.  I just need another 30 or so minutes a day to “tighten up.”  Not complaining because it adds to my day but I guess that I am going to have to start getting up sooner!  Especially after the weekend that we had.

Saturday the SoMMa meeting was featuring a demonstration by Micheal Grecian and I wanted to go.  Micheal is a rep for paint and brush lines and is an incredible artist.  He was showing us applications for different products and letting us play with them.  So I got up early, yes like 7 am, to get there, because Kat was going to spend the morning with the Wood Carvers.  I had a great time trying the products and getting to see the folks.  I had not been to one of our meetings since October.  Next was home to meet Kat and a nap before a party at Keoni’s and Amy’s that was being held for my niece Abby who was visiting from Oregon. 

We did not leave the party until 11:30 and I did not sleep well because I was so tired.  Sunday I got up about 1 and laid on the couch until 3 to watch the Jaguars and was back in bed by 8 o’clock.  I had a really good time and it cost me 3 days to get back to “normal”  but it was worth it.  I could not do it every day but knowing that I am going to do it and planning for the recovery make it tolerable.  

I know what you are thinking……what craziness has the boy been up to?  It doesn’t stop guys, there is always some train of insanity running between my ears.  Since I started using the moisturizing lotion, hypo-allergenic, fragrance and color free, I have started breaking out across my chest and in my arm pits.  Now it doesn’t itch or hurt so what’s the foul?  It is just one more of the little things that continue to sprout up.  Oh yeah and because I wore my ear rings Saturday my ear lobes started oozing again and my sinus passages are bleeding and raw while the radiated skin sluffs away.  Please don’t feel sorry or take this wrong.   I know that every bit of this is part of the plan. I know that I will come out of this ordeal different –  mentally, spiritually and physically and I, like most people, have fear of the unknown.  But God is good and I know in my heart that whatever the changes are they will be just what I need to serve his purpose for me here on earth.  I pray each morning and God gives me the willingness to walk through the fear not for Him to remove the obstacle.

As always, I am blessed.  I have food in the pantry, a roof over my head, clean clothes and people who love me unconditionally.  All I need is for you to tell me how much you want to hear from me.

Don

LESSON OF DAY – “Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”  Eddie Rickenbacker

 

 

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 24 – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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Day 24

Hey guys sorry I missed you last night, but Kathy, Will and I shared the evening together chatting and binge watching Stranger Things.  The three of us together eating gummie bears and just enjoying the time made all the guilt of not writing melt away.  I preach about living the small stuff and it was nice to take my own advice.  Friday was an excellent day with Dr. Dagan.  He numbed my sinuses and  went in through the nostril and down my throat with a scope to inspect the progress.  He was very pleased with the healing and discussed what he saw with Jan and I – Kathy had to work.  He thinks that everything is going as planned and will see me in 2 months with a cat scan, MRI and blood work.  He did say before we left that I was probably his best patient and thanked Jan and I for all the work that we had done to make it go so well – talk about humbled and proud. It was wonderful to be back at the center.  I got to spend some time with Barbara and her son at the art table, I got to wish all my techs a merry Christmas and share a hug.  It was like coming home to family after you have been gone for awhile, I really could have stayed there all day. But with things to do I kissed Jan goodbye, did some shopping on the way home and headed directly to bed! Our appointment Thursday was 9:30, Friday was 8:30 and I picked William up form the airport at midnight Thursday night – I was worn out.  I turned on the electric blanket and slept until 5.  But don’t you worry your little heads one bit, I was still ready for bed at 10:30 and they woke me up at 11 this morning!

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Kathy showing Will some of her favorite artists

Today was another exceptional day.  The three of us headed out for some good old family fun.  We started out at the UPS store mailing off Christmas presents to my Mom, Brother Joe and Nancy – sorry guys but we are just behind!  Next was a stop at one of our favorites restaurants Hawker’s.  As always, the food was excellent and I could almost taste most of it!  My kimchee fried rice was a bit on the spicy side for me because the spices burned my mouth, but it was nice that I could taste the spices and it burned.  I am finding that if I eat something the instant it touches my tongue I can taste it for about  2 seconds, but as it spreads across the tongue the taste fades.  I find that reassuring because I really believe that taste is coming back slowly but surely.  After lunch we headed over to an open house at Burnt Glassworks.  It is a hot glass shop that is owned by Andy Peters and his wife.  I met Andy’s mom Ruby at yoga and Kat and I did a show with Andy in the next booth.  Today they had workshops to blow your own ornament, great food and wonderful gifts that they made. Check out their Facebook page Burnt Glassworks it’s not to late for that perfect present!  Pictures below After all the excitement I had to have a nap.  Kat has gone to Zoo Lights and Will and I are in our own corners.  I hated to send Kathy on her own, but tomorrow night we have Christmas with the family at Jan’s and I really don’t want to miss that.

It feels good to be me right now.  Heading into Christmas with no expectations or stress.  I am surrounded by family and friends that love me and care for me.  Just knowing that you all are out there fills my heart with joy.  That people really understand how I feel and are getting something out of this selfish effort to get me through this overwhelms me. Seeing Kathy and Will smile, calls from my nephews to invite us to their houses, sharing calls with friends to wish merry Christmas.  Presents will get done when they do, Christmas cards returned will get there – sharing this time with the ones that you love, doing what you can for others with no expectations, celebrating God sharing His son with us is magical. I urge you to slow down, look around, tell someone you love them, call someone that needs a call, spend some quality time talking to God thanking Him for all you do have.  Don’t push to do something that you don’t have to do.  Much as it pains me, you will probably not hear from me tomorrow.  So on that note I wish for you and yours a Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate.  I hope your holiday is filled with all the good stuff and if you want it to be it will.  Love You

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY –  “If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.”   Zen Proverb

 

Day 16 – King of Kings

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Day 16 – Grateful

Today was another good day.  I think sleeping is really helping this beat up old body to heal.  I have been getting between 10 to 12 hours of basically uninterrupted sleep every day.  I am probably getting up twice, but come on I’m still drinking at least 2 liters a day and I am 62!  Today I cleaned the house, well most of it, I ran out of gas when I got to the kitchen counters and table, but I did get the floor mopped. I just hit that 4 hour wall and had to sit down.  Kat is taking another 4 day weekend and said she will finish up while I sleep tomorrow. It is so nice to have her around to pick up my slack and make it so easy for me to heal.  I know without a doubt that I would not be as far along as I am without her and Jan’s help.  I am really looking forward to my soak tonight.  All this activity the last couple of days has made me a little sore.  I am afraid to see what real exertion brings.  Food is going down fine and I am finding that I can eat just about anything.  I tried an apple and a snickers bar.  Both were basically tasteless, but I was able to eat both without additional water which is huge.  I will probably stick to my peanut butter sandwiches as a staple because at least I get an additional glass of water in.  Tonight was scrambled eggs, sausage and toast.

Ok, I am going to share with something with you that some of you won’t believe.  My absolute favorite Christmas piece, or Easter piece,  has always been the Hallelujah Chorus, from Handel’s Messiah.  No matter when or where I hear it I end up in tears before the end of the piece.  I remember being a young child in church singing along in church with the hymnal in hand and was struck at that age with the majesty and greatness of God celebrated in this song.  I don’t care whose version, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Royal Choral Society, or any local choir I am always brought to tears with the majesty of our Lord.  Today I saw a version of a group had gathered in a mall food court and spontaneously started singing and I was bawling before it was over.  I shared it on Facebook and Kat played it when she got home  – you guessed it crying again.  When I see the video I see the joy on the faces of  the singers as well as the viewing audience and the glory of God rings in my heart.  King of Kings and Lord of Lords Hallelujah!  Ok, for those of you as struck as me here is the clip Flash Mob Hallelujah Chorus   oops, I did it again testing the link….lol

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY – “A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”     Bernard Meltzer