If you are reading this for the first time and want to hear the whole story, look under "BLOG ARCHIVE" on the right. Read the oldest blog first, starting with "The Diagnosis" in January 2009 (click on it) and continuing down. The blog you see below is the most recent and you want to read it last.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I won't have any new medical information to report until after next week's treatment so I thought I'd give you another glimpse into the mind of a man facing death. I mentioned before that I was concerned about my dog Oscar. I'm afraid he won't understand where I am and he'll think I abandoned him. Below is an image I keep playing in my head. I should mention that I will miss Oscar, although not more than I will miss my family. But I do sometimes think that he will miss me more than anyone else will.

Friday, December 25, 2009

An Abundance of Gifts

Sine I was diagnosed about 15 months ago I have been blessed with many gifts. I think today is a good day to look at the again. Here’s some of them I case you’d like to share. *Trrrrr *I reconnected with my Godmother, Aunt Jo-ann, or Auntie Eleanor to us Wymans *Fresh contact with my friend Bruce and his wife Rhonda *Frequent calls from my niece Cheryl *Fresh contact with my ex-sister/brother-in law, Sandy and Jimmy *Better relationships with my children *A better relationship with my mother *A visit from my nieces Jodi and Michele *Visits from our friends Denis and Carol *Matt’s dinner *Father Herb and Sister Sylvia *A great oncology team, Dr. George, Patrice, Lynn, Chris, Karen, Sandra, Geri and the new blood lady, all who make the treatments pleasant *Rolinda and Marny, ladies who are still fighting the EC war even though their own personal battles are over *Hearing from so many people from my past *John Hawker, Richard Martin, Mark Richardson, Travis Poll and all the other EC patients who inspire me *Learning what a good friend Jennie is *Realizing what good friends Linda and her family are *Reconnecting with Trudy, Joe and Linda *Chris, Nancy and all the Chemo Angels *Daily conversations with my mother *A visit from my friend Charles *Good PET scans *Hearing from my children’s friends *So many prayers *Little miracles like Sister Sylvia’s visit and Kris’s Rosary *Visits from my children *Grandson Jake *Frequent conversations with my Aunt Barbara *Better relationships with my sister and brother *Great in-laws, Jackie, Camille, Bob and Ma *My good friend Vince who shares many laughs and much wisdom with me *And the best gift of all …… LIFE ….. 15 months of it that most people didn’t expect me to have. And I think I have some more left in me. Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Different Kind of Pain

I had the hernia repair surgery on Monday. It went very well and I felt no pain at all….until Tuesday. Then the pain was excruciating and has been ever since. You don’t realize how often you use your abdominal muscles and every time I do the pain practically knocks me out. I broke down and used some of the pain pills they gave me which I hate to do. On the bright side this is a good pain. It is a healing pain. At least I know that when it’s over it’s over, unlike the pain caused by the hernia itself. With that pain I never knew when it was coming back. So now I’m done with doctors, hospitals, drugs and everything medical. Well at least for another week and a half until I go back for chemo. Carry on. -----------------------------------------------------

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'll Give You a Break

I’m going to give you a break from my death talk. Here’s a medical update. Several weeks ago I saw a surgeon who concurred with my diagnosis. I have a hernia. He said it was a pretty bad one. Since then I’ve had several more episodes with it and each one seems to hurt more than the last. So I’m going to get it fixed. And even though I was the one to diagnose it I’m letting the surgeon do the repair. At first Dr. George (the Chemo Kaiser), did not want me to have surgery. She said she could fix it by doubling up on my chemo doses. Just kidding. She said it was not a good idea to have an open wound while on chemo. But when I explained to her how bad it was she gave in. But it had to be carefully coordinated with the chemo. The surgeon recommended it be done two weeks after a treatment and two weeks before a treatment. So it will be done next week, Christmas week. Some people have questioned my decision to do it so close to Christmas but they fail to realize several things. First, it is very uncomfortable and I want it fixed. Secondly, it has to be coordinated with the chemo treatments so there’s a small window of opportunity. Thirdly, if I wasn’t having surgery Christmas week I’d be having chemo. So now I’ll have 5 weeks between chemo treatments…. Woo Hoo! That in itself is a good thing because I’m at the point where I think I need time off. Unfortunately, while the chemo is keeping me alive by attacking the cancer, it’s also attacking the rest of my body. I’m not sure why, but I continue to lose weight. I’ve now lost more than 100 pounds. Luckily (I guess), I was that much overweight so now I’m about normal. But I’m still losing and I don’t know when or if that will stop. Of greater concern to me however is the neuropathy which is getting worse. Frankly, I don’t see much point in prolonging life if that life has to be spent unable to walk or use my hands. So I’ll have the surgery and then deal with that lousy balancing act between quality and quantity of life. In the meantime, have a great Christmas and holiday season. Carry on. ---------------------------------------------------------

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Another Thought About Dying

In response to my last post, when I listed my final wishes, my daughter Heather commented “What about Oscar? Surely there is a role for him.” Oscar is my dog. Heather was obviously joking, but there is a lot of truth to what she said. I think about Oscar quite a bit when I think about dying. Those of you who are not dog lovers will think I’m crazy. But those who are will understand. I don’t know who I would rather die first, him or me. I know that it would be very difficult for me if he were to go first. On the other hand, if I should predecease him, it saddens me greatly to think that he won’t understand where I am. He’ll think I abandoned him. (Side bar to my niece Cheryl: Cheryl this would be the ultimate violation of the trust factor.) I would never abandon Oscar. Oscar has been with me through a divorce and my family moving out of my house. He was with me as I courted my current wife and worried every night whether or not she liked me. He was with me through the death of his brother Felix. He's been with me throughout this disease. Oscar is love. He is love I don’t want to be without. As I am writing this Oscar is sleeping in his favorite spot; on my lap. -------------------------------------------------