Day 15 – 23 Radiations and 4 Chemos to Go!

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Day 15 178 lbs

Whew!  I’m a little better today but reality is setting in.  Mouth and throat are sore.  Not unbearable, but soft food has become the mainstay.  Smoothie for breakfast, ramen for lunch and baked potato with butter sour cream, and cheese for dinner.  Now don’t be sad, I had eggnog and a Little Debbie oatmeal creme pie and some gummy bears for a snack and there is definitely a chocolate malt in the bullpen for later.  It’s just a change and Kat, Jan and I have thought it through.  Potato soup, bean soup, vegetable soup, beans and rice – and for you that followed Woodschool Guy, throw in some oatmeal and this boy is in his element.  They also suggested that I buy a product called Throat Coat Tea, you can get it a Publix and it is awesome. It contains slippery elm, licorice root and marshmallow root add some honey and it is delicious and throat numbing.  2 naps today and I am still a little worn down but I got the laundry done and I’m on the couch with Kat so all is fine in my world.

We have all heard that when we assume we make an Ass out of U and Me.  Well I almost went there today, but someone was watching out for me…LOL!  I keep talking about Hana and Jenn that do my radiation treatments.  I had always assumed that Hana was the technician and Jenn was the assistant.  Nope, when Jenn came out to get me she took me back and introduced me to Mykayla.  After the treatment Jenn was unlocking me and I asked if Hana was under the weather today.  Turns out that UF cross trains all technicians on all the machines in the unit, Proton and traditional.  The machine that I am assigned to is a True Beam and it is not only the newest in the UF arsenal, it was installed in May of this year, but is the Mac Daddy of x-ray treatment, and ahhhh Jenn is the expert charged with training the staff on it’s usage.  I immediately confessed the error of my way and we both had a big laugh over it.  The second bright spot in my day was getting to spend time with my friend Tony and his son Josh.  Tony, his wife Lisa and Kat have been friends for years and they accepted me into the pack with open arms and love.  Tony, Lisa and I share sobriety together and Tony and I have had some great discussions about life, God and how to fix the world.  Tony is our “Landscape Care Specialist” and folks if you need an honest, fair, dedicated and meticulous person to take care of your yard, Tony, Lisa and their son Josh are the guys for you.  They treat you yard like it was theirs and I can’t say enough good about them.  Kat and I look forward to them coming because the place looks so great when they are done.  And I always get to spend some time with them.  God smiled on me when he put them into my life and I cherish having them there.

Finally, warning I’m tearing up, due to the generosity, caring and kindness of all of you we are in the black for the first time since this ordeal started.  So much in fact that we were able to reduce the Go Fund Me campaign by $30, 000. It is not just donations, but gifts, food, projects to be done with no rush and purchases of our work.  It’s the prayers, compassion, the cards that come almost daily, reading this blog, and the encouraging words.  We are strengthened by your thoughtfulness and I want you to know that I am made stronger by what you do for me daily.  Thank You.

Don

Day 12 – 24 Radiations and 4 Chemos to Go!

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Day 12 180lbs

Happy Friday!  I imagine a bunch of you are putting the final touches on your Halloween costumes or if you are a woodturner in Jacksonville – getting your pieces polished for the fair deadline Sunday.  When Kat got home tonight she went out to finish hers up only to encounter a minor snafu and after a some weeping and gnashing of teeth we came up with a solution……I just hate that you have to wait to see it.  Mine needs one more sanding and a coat of juju and I will be ready too.  I had a pretty good day today, it was my “double treatment” day and I learned a few things last week.  On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and Saturday I am now taking an anti-nausea medication and that really helps eliminate the full gassy feeling and I’ve learned to take a nap when I need too.  So after the 8am  treatment I came home ate a snack and went back to bed until about 12:30 then, stoked up with some lunch and a pedialyte, I went out to the shop and worked on my fish for the center until time to go back for my 3:00.  My throat is beginning to get touch sore, my saliva is thickening, gums are a little tender and my lips are dry, but overall I am in pretty good shape!  Nothing to complain about.

While in the shop I got a text from Eric Miller, one of my customers, with a picture of a

collaboration piece that he had finished and it turned out spectacular.  Eric owns Farmtastic Creations here in Jacksonville and they make farm furniture.  I do table and bench bases for them and if I say so myself we do some nice pieces.  Check out his Facebook page   Farmtastic Creations . When I got to the Center I spent some time with the Art person, Barbara, showing her the fish and discussing what they wanted.  It turned out that we knew about 4 artists in common and it was a wonder that we never met.  The world is such a small place when you take the time to to get out of yourself and find out about someone else.  I know, I have a little time on my hands, but this trying to treat everyone you meet with kindness is really contagious. Here are some pictures of some of projects they have done lately and I am really sorry that I missed the masks.

That is about it for me tonight….time to crawl in bed and snuggle up with my beautiful wife.  Have a great Saturday and thank you for checking up on me, I am blessed to have such loving caring friends.

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY – Listen to your body talking to you.

Day 5 – 30 Radiations and 5 Chemos to Go!

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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 2

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I-10 Morning traffic

Another blessed day!  Thank you all for your messages on Facebook, Instagram, text and calls.  They mean so much I can’t adequately express my gratitude.  I did make it through the traffic!  For a normal 25 minute trip I have to leave 45 minutes early for the I-10 traffic and to make matter worse I passed the chemo exit and had to side street it.  But, as usual, God was on my side and got me there 5 minutes early.

Today started my 1st Chemotherapy therapy.  I thought it was

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“Hooked Up!”

going to be a 1 1/2 hour visit but forgot about the weekly exam with Dr Guthrie. Soooooooo it turned out to be 4 hours.  When I finally got to my recliner and John started hooking me up he asked when my radiation appointment was, I told him 12:40 and got the “No way you are making that dude!” so he called radiation and got me a 2 hour extension.  For my treatment they start with 2 anti-nausea medicines and a steroid, followed by the Cisplatin and finished off with a bag of electrolytes.  2 hours, easy as pie!  I passed the time reading, snacking and talking to the nurses.

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The infamous lines!

Next was a quick trip up the street to radiation for another ride with Ms Hanna.  She praised Kat for her restraint of Motherhood in not taking off my stripes and stickers so 30 minutes later I was heading back home to ice down my neck and put on some aloe vera.  I caught up with some phone calls, answered some emails and headed to yoga.

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Trisha starting with her reading of the night

I do yoga with another group of people that are part of my family.  I have been part of the group for about 9 years and we meet at St Marks Episcopal church on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  The practice is lead by a Yogi named Trisha who is also in recovery and she intertwines readings, stories and music to accentuate her life lesson of the day and the practice.  We are for the most part an older group and it is held in an old church sanctuary with stained glass and candlelight and the object is like my other program….progress not perfection.  I consider them meetings for the physical, spiritual and community growth that they provide.

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yum!

Finally, I am at home where my lovely wife made me a pot of Chicken Tortilla Soup, it was AWESOMESAUCE!  I talked to my Mom in Louisville tonight and found out she has a battle with some skin cancer in her leg, but like me, she is in good hands and they will get it taken care of.  She could use some prayers if you can squeeze them in.  It was a great day filled hope, love encouragement and growth.  The “Go Fund Me Campaign” has raised $3,300 in a week and a half!  Thank you all for your help in the way of donations and sharing my posts; every little bit helps.  We can now pay most of the the bills we owe so far. We are so grateful and thankful for having you in our lives – Thank You!

Here is the last picture, my Day 2 morning shot.  Have a wonderful night and we

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Day 2 182 lbs

will catch up tomorrow!

Don

LESSON OF THE DAY – Be cognoscente of and grateful for the people that love you and care

Ready To Go!

 

I don’t want you guys to think the summer has been spent seeing doctors and dealing with cancer.  It has been a great year despite the setbacks.    In May we went to my niece Sarah and her husband Chad’s wedding in Louisville with Jan and Albert, Will and Jessa and Chaz it was a blast!19275333_10100260314820911_4232040575637770647_n  The whole family had not been together in a long time and it was long overdue.  Next up was a trip to the AAW (American Association of Woodturners) Symposium in Kansas City with our sweet friend and Sister Wife #3, Tina.  We drove to Kansas City by way of Dover Tennessee to drop off her 12-year-old nephew Ben. I’d forgotten what 12 hours in a car

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Tina, Kat and I

with a 12-year-old was like!  I can tell you that I am now an expert on fidget spinners.  From there another 10 hours to Kansas City and the wonderful world of woodturning.  We shared a hotel room and had the best time.  The symposium is a frantic, mind numbing experience.  It starts on Thursday night and runs until Sunday afternoon.  There are 4 1½ hour rotations each day that start at 8:oo am and run until 5:30pm.  Each rotation has a choice of 14 demonstrations by 61 of the best turners in the world.  Add panel discussions, auctions, dinners, vendors and the galleries and it is a whirlwind!  Finally Kat, William her son and I took a day to lounge around DeLeon Springs near DeLand Florida.  A nice lazy day with make your own pancakes, plenty of sun, ice cold spring water and a nap or 2.

The rest of the summer has been spent celebrating birthdays, working and playing in the shop, eating Kathy’s amazing weekend feasts, going to art shows, having fun with our friends and family and living day to day life.  I am a lucky man living the dream!  Here are a few pictures:

We had a great weekend this weekend, Kat got motivated and cleaned the screens on the back porch

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Kat at Work!

Saturday morning then we went to a send off party for our nephew Evan at Mellow Mushroom.  He leaves for the Marines in 2 weeks and we are very proud of him.

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Evan, Kat and Me

Today was a shop day, Kat worked on her top secret fair project and I worked on a table top while Sidney watched.  I love spending Sunday in the shop with my girl.  We can spend hours without talking to each other, but just being together making is amazing.

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Kat and her secret fair entry

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow starts treatment, I see the radiation folks at 10:30 am and we are off to the races!  I am excited, scared, grateful and curious.  Thank you for being on this ride with me, I could do it without you, but the company is appreciated.

LESSON OF THE DAY – Make the best of every moment, even the bad ones