Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday Breakfast

Right now I am concentrating on enjoying the simple things in life. One of those is food. So naturally Sunday morning breakfast is important to me. This morning we had link sausages cooked well but not too greasy, scrambled eggs just right and toast with strawberry preserves. Worked for me.

It's not just that the food tastes so damn good, or the feeling you have on Sundays with nothing to do but watch a ball game and eat. It's not even how much better everything tastes right now. It's more about the time spent with Vicki cooking, eating and just hanging out. 

We are getting ready to retire and maybe, just maybe, we'll make each day special, like Sunday morning breakfast. I look forward to all the breakfasts we can have together.

Hang in,



Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Lost & Found

We spent yesterday looking for my cell phone. Yes, I am suffering from chemo brain. Somehow I managed to misplace it and we looked everywhere, but to no avail. 

It is depressing to be so forgetful and clueless. Eventually I narrowed it down to one last location that I would need to wait until this morning to check. So.. This morning I checked the last garbage bag in the trash can. I did it like a CSI thing. I laid out papers, donned gloves and dumped the bag out. Sure enough the first thing to come out was my phone.

In the meantime we had the line shut down, so it may take a day or two to get it going again. 

Vicki is still struggling with a painful recovery from her surgery. I am hopeful she will begin to get better this week.

Wish us luck,


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Chemo Day

It's a little before 2 AM Saturday morning now. I have not been to bed yet and don't know when that will happen. I think today was my 4th treatment in this round, but I wouldn't swear to it. 

My best friend Jack took me to Chemo today. We don't see each other much these days, but it is always a pleasure to see him face to face and talk. We've relied on the phone these last couple of years for contact. He is still active at his job, travels to Flagstaff frequently for the cooler weather and Oh, by the way still playing a lot of golf.

I admit to living my golf life vicariously through Jack, the last time we played a round (a couple of years ago after my not playing for 5 years before that) I shot a 122. At some point during that round I drank more whiskey and smoked an extra cigar, having given up on a respectable score. The thing is, that's how Jack spends time with his friends and I get it. If you're going to take 4 or 5 hours of your day on a single activity why not golf.

So, I really appreciate him taking that time to sit in a Chemo room and bring me water and a warm blanket. It says something about the guy. We've known each other a long time, something like 32 years I believe. He was first my Boss at Superlite in 1984 and then at 3 other companies as well. At one point during my career he lent me a set of golf clubs and encouraged me to get lessons, which I did. 

I learned to love and respect the game of golf, though at times the rules drive me crazy and most golf announcers give me heartburn. I found myself losing the stamina and time for the game after my heart surgery in 2013 and my clubs sit rusting in a cabinet in the garage. Perhaps after I kick this cancer's ass I will get back in shape and get to play a round with Jack again. Either way it's great to have him as a friend.

He posted an entry on Facebook about his experience today at my Chemo. I was moved by what he said and proud to have someone like him bring me to my treatment.

So.... I am still up at 2:30 in the morning because one of the initial and powerful side effects is how chemo messes with sleep and sleep patterns. In addition to not sleeping, when I do finally sleep I may wake up shivering and covered in sweat. At that point I get up out of bed, get towel to put on the bottom sheet and try to find a dry portion of the top sheet to cover up with.

Still, the several prescription drugs and the homeopathic regimen I started taking again today help greatly in managing side effects.

Vicki is recovering in good fashion, my goal to keep her from doing too much too quickly this last week. I layed off taking anything that would keep from driving last week and did my best to be a good caregiver. It mostly worked that way, but even in caregiver role I can be cantankerous. (Bet you didn't see that word coming) 

Before my next treatment I will be getting a Cat Scan to check on the 5 small masses in my lungs. I am hopeful we will see them shrinking.

Wish me luck,

Oh and  since I  forgot to say it, Thanks Jack for hanging out with me today.



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Unintentional Multi-Tasking

I am in the unusual position of being caregiver and chemo patient at the same time. Vicki had outpatient hernia surgery last Friday. My oldest daughter Bridget took her to hospital that morning and I got myself together in time to go pick her up in afternoon. I have been doing my best to look after her these last few days. I have been able to feed her, help her get around the house and have even done dishes and a load of wash.

In order to achieve these results I stopped the homeopathic regimen that I was taking with my chemo. I will get back into that program when Vicki can take care of herself and me.  For the time being we are just hanging out and doing the best we can. One of Vicki's sisters will bring us supper tonight and that will be a great help. My cooking skills are marginal at the best of times; I excel on breakfast dishes and make a mean chili, but it's hard to be very creative when you're sick to your stomach most the time.

I went to a program today put on by the Arizona Dept of Veterans affairs. It was at the library just down the street from our house. I obtained some info on applying for VA compensation for Agent Orange exposure in Viet Nam. Yes, people are still getting sick from that stuff. I was in an area in Danang that got sprayed while I was there. Some heart diseases and cancers have been linked to Agent Orange exposure, I may or may not qualify for compensation, we will see.

That's where we're at right now. Tomorrow I get bloodwork done and Friday I have my next Chemo. My good friend Jack will take me this week.

It's great to have friends to help when you need it.

Hang in,


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hair today Goon Tomorrow

The title of this week's  blog is a reference to a very old children's joke about  a rabbit in the enchanted forest and also about my hair falling out. There are few things more depressing than having your hair come out in small clumps. I still have most of my hair but every day I lose a little more. My oldest daughter will come over next week and cut it short for me.

In spite of the side effects and general yuckiness of my treatment I feel lucky to have people to look after me when I need it. I have been blessed with family and friends that are there when you need them. 

I am continuing my homeopathic regimen as well and it seems to be helping, though the goal is to kill the cancer in my body. How well that is working will have to wait till my next scan. In the meantime I am hanging in as best as can be expected.

At this point I am more concerned for Vicki and her health than mine. I know the stress of going to work every day and then coming home to take care of me is wearing her out. She is a very strong willed woman, but she has been doing this now for 2 and 1/2 years. I'm sure it has long since gotten old.

Up next for me is  another Chemo this Friday and then the following Friday Vicki has surgery.

Wish us luck,



Monday, September 12, 2016

Out on Short term disability

Vicki has a favorite quote "if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." It has worked out that way for me.

I had planned to keep working and wait on Vicki's next surgery before I went on leave. That didn't happen. I found myself too fatigued to make it to work on any kind of regular basis, so now I'm home for the duration. I don't picture my company hiring me back when I'm done with treatment and could work again. With just a few months to retirement I won't be much of a candidate for rehire.

I miss seeing some of the people I worked with, but not the work. I became the dinosaur in an operation that has 50/50 chance of making it. They tried to turn everyone in the office into data entry clerks and I was sure not that person.

The good news is that I started homeopathic treatment last Sunday as well and am continuing the regimen. It makes me tired and little loopy, but also has mitigated some of the more onerous side effects of the  chemo. I still have them but continue to do my best to manage them with all the resources available to me. Now I am fully focused on beating this cancer.

Vicki will get her hernia surgery on the 30th and we'll figure out with our kids on getting her there. So I may need a ride for my next treatment on October 7th. We'll have to wait and see.

That's the news from here. I remain optimistic that this two-pronged attack on my cancer will be successful.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

The fight goes on

I had the first chemo of my 5th round yesterday. It is same cocktail of drugs I took a few months ago. The oncologist says its the chemo that actually worked. It takes about 4 hours and they fill me full of a variety of stuff during that time. I'm given anti-nausea solution first and then a half dozen other things that are supposed to kill my cancer. 

In addition to these things I have to take steroid pills for 3 days after treatment and wear an on-body injector that gives me a shot 27 hours later. I am being injected by this thing as I write. It' s giving me a shot of prevagen which is supposed to help keep your white blood count from being too low. 

 I am not surprised by the side effects, I know what to expect. It's not like they're old friends, but more like old enemies that I fought before. I manage them as best I can with pills and more pills, food when I can eat (which is almost always even if I am nauseous). I do not want to lose 40 pounds like I have in the past taking chemo.

Vicki went with me yesterday and will probably be there for most of my treatments. If not, one of my daughters will take me or if I'm able I might even go by myself. It's nice to have some one with you but some folks come by themselves every time.

As I looked around the  chemo room yesterday at my fellow chemo patients I thanked God I had Vicki with me and the opportunity to fight my cancer. The scan I had on Thursday showed 3 more nodules in my lungs, small but growing and new. The marker for cancer was up in my blood work as well. I am back in Chemo.

This time I am going to add homeopathic treatment as well. I am waiting to start that treatment till Vicki has her hernia operation. I am organizing a war on multiple fronts against my cancer. I have a lot more fight left in me despite 28 months of treatment.

At this point I've had 2 rounds of radiation, two rounds of infusion chemo through my port and two rounds of oral chemo with pills. That makes this round number 5.

I am still working 4 days a week. I will likely go to fewer and fewer days. At some point I will need to go on short term disability again. At that point I will start the homeopathic treatment in conjunction with the chemo. I intend to kick this cancer's ass.

Well I better go. My on-body injector just signaled it's done and I need to take it off and throw it out. Then a shower and back to sitting in the easy chair watching movies with Vicki.

Life can be hard, but it's not always bad. 

Hang in there,