Status Update.

Doug continues to surprise me with his strength and ability to maintain a sense of well-being.  In stark contrast, I had a really bad twelve-hour bout with viral gastroenteritis or food poisoning while, on the same day, Doug ate a record amount of food.  While his doctors have suggested he maintain a low-residue diet (things like bananas, rice, applesauce) he continues to ingest a fairly good amount of high fiber things like nuts, fresh fruit, salads etc. which have always been a part of his diet; but, he has also eaten weiners and sauerkraut!  While some might argue he stay away from such gastro-atrocities, his doctor has told him he can eat anything he wants as long as it is in moderation.  

He is experiencing some pain, which I’m sure he downplays, and for which he would ever take medication; but, he’s not walking around crying but he sometimes walks in a rather funny manner and we joke that he is just a member of the “Ministry of Silly Walks”.

The sores in his mouth are gone which were a symptom of the chemotherapy; he fended those of with simple salt water rinse.  He’s had some slight digestive issues but nothing a single capsule of Immodium hasn’t handled.  He’s staying active, really just all around amazing considering his diagnosis.  

I remind him (and myself) to live fearlessly and to take deep breaths.  He forges ahead, looking only as far out as a day.  

A special thank you for an uplifting call from our very old friend who lives in France…you know who you are…she is like family to us and always gives the beautiful gift of laughter, the eternal mechanism of healing, faith, and love whenever we meet. 

Where Do Problems Come From?

I am currently reading one of the most amazing books I have ever read entitled “Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing” by Anita Moorjani and wanted to share this quote with you.

“Problems and strife come as a result of our not knowing who we are and not being able to show our inner beauty. We’ve created so much judgment about what’s “perfect,” which leads to doubt and competitiveness. Since we feel as though we’re not good enough, we go around acting out. However, if each of us became aware of our magnificence and felt good about ourselves, it seems to me the only thing we’d have to share is our unique nature, expressed outwardly in a loving manner that reflects our self-care.”

Start reading this book for free: http://a.co/9I8cSXK

 

Fatigue

I’m starting to notice the fatigue…Doug is showing it.  I hesitate to challenge: “Get up, just walk in laps around the living room, get your heart rate up—it will increase your white blood cells.”  That is a very strange sentence to have to say to someone.

Having poison pumped in your veins and radiation aimed through your guts isn’t easy…I can’t know it.  I wish and pray that God would take it away from Doug and give it to me.  He should NOT have to suffer this.

 

I think Wally, Doug’s dad wanted me to share the above video as I stumbled upon it completely by chance…please watch as it has all the power, energy, focus and passion of LOVE.

I can’t tell the whole story; it’s too long.  Doug and I have conquered many challenges together, enough to write a book that Oprah would like.  We have had many joys together…you know what joy is don’t you?  It’s not running around laughing; it’s crying—crying because you know you’ve touched the heart of Truth, the soul of Compassion…joy is a laugh and a cry at the same time.

Once you let go of the ego, the compassion comes through.  Look for beauty and you will see it.

 

The Holidays

I can’t think of any better word to describe this year’s holidays than….well…stunning.

Doug has had his second follow up with the doctor during his treatment plan and is doing extremely well.  He has had very little in the way of side effects other than a couple of mouth sores from the chemotherapy, and some minor pain as a result of the radiation.

His appetite is good, he is staying active…which is becoming harder to do with the increasingly cold weather.  Despite all of the armchair advice he is getting, he is doing very well on his own; that is the doctor’s opinion.

At this point he’s not even half way through the treatment; it is just dragging along…but I don’t think either of us expects anything other than a positive outcome.  We are both trying to focus on the positive no matter what comes at us from the outside.

Thanks for your continued thoughts, prayers and positive energy.

Fury, Confusion and Maybe a Scream…..

We are about a third of the way through the cancer treatment.  Now, I am a liar, BECAUSE, Doug told me that he would not have to use the chemo pump again and that IF he were to have a last treatment of chemotherapy it would be a single injection at the doctor’s office; and that he would NOT have to wear a chemo bag around for four days, sleep in the recliner instead of the bed, sponge bathe instead of shower…not to mention any possible side effects of a second round of pumped in super, awful, horrible drugs!

He said, “I guess it was wishful thinking on my part.” (insert my silent scream here)

Well that’s the kind of statement that might just drive a cancer patient’s partner into a rage of confusion?  Why did you think that?  Did you ask questions?

This is a matter of life and death you know, not Jeopardy!

So:

The pump is coming back, January 11th.
Chemotherapy isn’t over!

Radiation through almost the end of January.  Ugh!

I got so, and i’ll say it here (close your eyes if you are offended by foul language)…I got so fucking mad when he told me about this…as far as I was concerned…new chemo treatments I nearly tossed my cookies (christmas cookies) right at work this morning!  His chemotherapy news (which he should have known all along) made ME nauseous! 

So after a virtual insanity/puking event (at work) on my part, I decided:

  1. I’m not going to ask anymore, “How do you feel?” Not because I don’t care how he feels, but because constantly asking someone how they feel is enough to make them sick.
  2.  I’m not going to ask what the nurse’s said or what the doctor said.  Not because I don’t care but because he is a grown man and should be able to ask the questions himself.  

I told Doug, “If you feel bad, tell me and I will try to help you.”

Honestly, the way he was dancing around the living room this morning and humming some song I couldn’t identify, I don’t think it’s time to worry…YET!

 

Danger

It is never dangerous to be happy.  I thought I had learned this in the last year but I had not.  We lost both of our dogs within five weeks of each other.  Then, Doug was diagnosed with this awful cancer.  Prior to these events of seemingly pointless cruelty and suffering, I had learned a phrase which I was beginning to use with increasing frequency.

“I am really happy right now.”

It was as if I had finally learned the true path to happiness.  Without looking back, or forward, without the qualification of my perceived lack, or my history of pain, or my fear of death, or my inability to see with clarity…I am right now, in this very moment, happy.  I could smile.

Now, it is time to learn again that, despite the current external events, I can rediscover the infinite moment of happiness during which God and I laugh together.

It is never dangerous to be happy.

 

Is it Winter or Something Else? I Just Saw a Robin

I just saw a robin.  It’s December and there shouldn’t be a Robin here; they are a harbinger of Spring.

A phrase came to my mind: “Hope springs eternal”  Then I wondered where the phrase came from; it came from a poem by Alexander Pope entitled “An Essay on Man”.

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”
He cautions that our soul is never happy trapped in the human body, ruled by the human ego.  We never realize that we are one with God and we are already blessed, instead we wait until we cross over to be so; and, he warns to not let your soul be uneasy, resting and waiting to write our story in the afterlife.  Your story is to be written right here and now.
Another tiny miracle…

Goodbye Chemo Pump

Doug is nearly finished with his first round of chemotherapy; miraculously, he hasn’t even had any mild side-effects except for yesterday he did mention he had a “funny” taste in his mouth.  Before all this started, I was fairly confident he would fare better than most when it came to dealing with the draconian methods of modern cancer treatment.  He has been injected with majorly toxic drugs for which he brought home a hazardous waste bag in case there was a spill!  The chemo pump comes off today, however, and puts us one step closer to normalcy (whatever that its?)!

The first day, Thursday December 14th, he was injected with a toxic blast of Mytomycin which has the following possible side-effects:

  • Mouth sores
  • Poor appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting, usually mild
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Bladder inflammation (urinary frequency, burning, cramping, pain) – seen with intravesical (into the bladder) therapy.

Now I suppose these could come on later but we are now at the beginning of day 5 and despite my horrible, repetitive asking, “How do you feel?”, none of the above have occurred, at least in any major way.  I can’t help be on constant alert for something to go wrong and, not being the patient myself, find this position quite troubling, worrisome and just downright terrifying.

He has also been wearing a pump which has been giving him intermittent doses of a scary sounding chemical called Floxuridine  which comes with its own set of possible problems.

  • Mouth sores
  • Diarrhea (may be severe)
  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Elevated liver enzymes (temporary increase in alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase, transaminase, and bilirubin). (see liver problems) This is seen more with the intra-arterial infusion directly into the liver.
  • Hand -foot syndrome (Palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia or PPE) -skin rash, swelling, redness, pain and/or peeling of the skin on the palms of hands and soles of feet. 
  • Stomach ulcers (This is seen more with the intra-arterial infusion).

Now it is still early, and one of the major effects of both of these drugs, and as I understand with most chemo drugs, is the lowering of white blood cell counts which opens a person up to the wonderful world of life-threatening infections.  These are the abstract concepts which cause me to awaken in the middle of the night in a sweating, cold panic.  Doug, however, has slept like a baby through the whole process of cancer treatment, so far.  Perhaps he has the fatigue setting in but I’ll just assume some of the fear of anticipation associated with undergoing all this chemical chaos has worn off a bit, allowing him to be more relaxed.

Last night, we had the most delicious what Doug calls a “Sunday Roast”—a beef roast with carrots and potatoes cooked around it, covered with an au jus.  My God it was delicious and seemed just the kind of hearty thing to eat; the meal was a tradition with his family and it therefore carries the medicinal effect of comfort.

Each day is all we have.  We just keep pretending everything is “normal”,  we don’t openly dwell on the scary concepts associated with the treatment (that is reserved for personal panic attacks on my part) but I do tend to be an annoying watch do ever on the lookout for side-effects.  “How are you feeling?”  Perhaps it’s best to just drop this line; he’ll tell me when and if there is something wrong.

So far, it is nothing short of another “tiny miracle” Doug has done as well as he has with his chemotherapy.  Your continued prayers and positive thoughts have made this all possible.  Thanks to you all on Doug’s and my behalf.