Treatments #16, #17, #18

Good morning…

This post was written over a three day period and covers the past three treatments.  Sorry that I haven’t been able to post each day… but… well… I don’t really  have an excuse.

Let me preface this post by saying that I am writing it at one of my… umm… most unpleasant moments.  So… I’ll just get it out of the way and say that I feel like crap.  I know it is Friday and most of the world is happy about that… but personally… all the days seem to run together any more.  (except for Tuesday of course)…  Yes… I am happy that I don’t have to have treatments on Saturday or Sunday.  For some reason though… by the fifth treatment in a row… I am completely drained of all energy and breath.  If I had to stand before you and speak these words… I could not do it.  I cannot carry on an oral conversation except in very short sentences.  You certainly wouldn’t have to worry about me raising my voice and you won’t hear me calling your name from a distance… Unless of course… you can hear my voice in the wind or whispering through the barren branches of the willow…  Oops… I guess the poet inside still wanders through me no matter how badly I feel.  Thank goodness… It seems to be one of the few assets I have under the current circumstances…

Treatment #16, #17, #18…

I’m just going to combine these three treatments together.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016…

I arrived at the clinic, poured a small amount of coffee into a cup that the staff has so generously placed just inside the entrance for their patients… Thank you so very much… Looked around and found no one at or near the desk.  I waited a bit for someone to show up, but they must have all been busy at that early hour of the morning.  A few minutes had passed when I saw one of the staff down the hall in the main waiting room talking to another patient waiting to see the oncologist.  I waived to her and wandered through the halls to the waiting area for the zappers… I was sure that she would check me in.  I’ve obviously been there too many times because everybody knows my name.  Too bad it’s not a pub.  The waiting area where I go was again completely empty… just me and my cup of coffee.  I know every detail of that room.  Oh… how the mind doth wander…

The treatment went as usual… three x-rays (that is now the usual as opposed to the usual ‘two’ that used to be the usual)… and then zapped from five different angles.  Two of the angles are radiated continuously for approximately 16 seconds… and three at approximately 22 seconds.  Yes… I count.  What else is there to do?  There is a red laser in the ceiling directly above me that penetrates my eyes and draws perfect lines across my lower chest.  It also appears to go around corners… which I haven’t quite figured out as yet.

I left with a slight burning in the chest along with an aching type pain in the same area.  I drove straight home and sat a while.  After about an hour or two I managed to get off my lazy umm… seat and do a few chores… minor ones however.  With the night came the exhaustion.  Did not sleep well, but I think I will stop including that in these posts because not sleeping has become the normal.  Three of four hours total at the most… broken up by four or five awake intervals that last from 20 minutes to an hour in the middle of those three or four hours.  I’m tired…

Treatment #17

Thrusday, January 28, 2016

This was much like the day before except I met two new patients and one very kind and talkative spouse waiting while his loved one was being treated.  He asked where my cancer was and I told him.  He said that he was surprised because lung cancer patients usually don’t have good coloring.  I wanted to tell him that my face was nice and pink because I had just taken large doses of niacin to allow the blood to continue to pulse through my veins and the coloring was due to the flush.  That the embarrassed look was actually due to my skin receiving blood flow that it does not have without the niacin.  I didn’t.  I had just met him.  Some people don’t appreciate my sense of humor.  Although after visiting with him for a while… I do believe he would have laughed.

There are a lot of things that I do pick up on while visiting with cancer patients and their loved ones.  His spirit and attitude were very good, but he was scared.  I hate picking up on that from patients or the loved ones.  I want to jump up from my chair, grab them, hug them tightly and reassure them that everything will be alright.  But you just can’t do that to strangers.  I have enough un-normal behavior already without terrifying strangers with unexpected hugging.  Of course… I also cannot tell them in all honesty that everything will be alright.  But that doesn’t stop the urge to do so.  When his spouse came from the treatment room it was obvious to me that she was more scared than he was.  Her positive outlook was not there.  Her vision of hope was lost somewhere within the fog.  I so wanted to visit with her for a while, but they left immediately.  I hope her path crosses with someone who can offer her their candle to shine a light into her darkness…

I know that there are a lot of people that have trouble hearing the words… you’ve got to have a positive attitude.  I’m one of those people.  But when one faces a life threatening illness or circumstance… what do we have if we cannot find that vision of hope?  I try very hard not to even think of negative outcomes from my illnesses.  God knows… I have every reason in the world to doubt that I will be here tomorrow or next week… and if that is the way I start thinking… then the chances are… I won’t be.  Perhaps I wasn’t blessed with good health… but I ‘was’ blessed with the will and the spirit to survive in spite of it all.  The encouragement, the inspiration, the hugs, and the love I have received from all of you… has helped me in more ways than you could possibly know, to keep my spirit and will strong.  I read my comments from you and I smile… I don’t think that there is any better medicine than a smile…

I know… I wandered off into the lily fields again… The treatment went alright and afterward I went to the store.  This time I went to a smaller store but experienced the same results as the last time.  Shortness of breath to an extreme… chest pain… fatigue… and the burn.  Luckily… I didn’t have to spend as long or walk as far.  I came home and collapsed for a while.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Treatment #18…

The waiting room was empty again.  I haven’t figured out why there are people there before me and after me one day and the next day there is no one.  I’m there at the same time every day.  Where are they?

It was kind of a slow start.  Some readjustments necessary.  Three x-rays… five angles of radiation… except today… one angle was radiated for approximately 30 seconds.  I thought they had fallen asleep at the buttons… Afterward, the pain started quickly.  I think my everything hurts today.  I started thinking about what all gets radiated when they shoot the beam through my entire body at all those angles… Hmm… perhaps I should think about something else.

Following the treatment I had to stop at the store once again to pick up a couple of things I forgot to get yesterday.  Sometimes I think they’re radiation my brain.  Or maybe they ‘should’ be radiating my brain.  Maybe I’m just tired…

This is the worst I have felt during this entire process.  I’m worn down.  I hurt everywhere.  My breathing is labored.  The dark circles beneath my eyes now cover nearly half my face.  I can’t walk across my relatively small yard without considering sitting down in the grass to rest.  I would sit down there but it would be too hard to get back up.  I suppose that three weeks and three days of radiation does have an accumulative effect.  At least it feels like it.

I just need some recovery time.  I’ll be alright.  I’m hopeful that next week will finish this series of treatments, at least until we can find out if it has done the job.  But for today… each step I take is a struggle and nausea is raising its ugly head once again.  I don’t remember exactly how many radiation treatments I received the last time around on my neck… but it was somewhere in the area of forty.  I don’t think I could do that many on the lung.  Maybe the combination of the two in a matter of two years is just a little too much for an old man.

Of course… whenever I sit and dwell on it… my mind nearly always drifts to those who have even more difficult struggles to endure.  There are those that have been told that there is no hope… which of course I always cringe when I hear that sort of thing.  There are many who wander the same halls of therapy as I do, but who carry a much larger burden.  There are those who have cancer in many places at one time and… well… I think a lot about those people… their lives… their loves… their dreams… their hopes… their passions… I wonder what thoughts are wandering in their minds while they sit and wait… sick from chemo… sick from radiation… sick of being sick… That’s when I remember… I don’t have it bad at all.  I have love… I have hope… I have twenty-six beautiful followers… and I can smile… and share that smile with another.

I think I am anemic.  I’m not sure if it’s from the radiation… from the cancer… or from both.  They haven’t done any blood work since treatments started.  Perhaps I should remind them.

The following has absolutely nothing to do with radiation treatments or cancer.  It has to do with what makes me smile when I’m not reading the comments from readers.  On second thought… maybe it has ‘everything’ to do with dealing with the emotions that go along with cancer.

Grayson 1

The story of Grayson…

The picture above is another of my dear friends… Grayson.  He has quite a story to tell.  His mother, who lives some two blocks away, would come here to eat while she was pregnant.  After having Grayson and his siblings, she returned with five tiny, undernourished kittens of about three weeks of age… attempting to follow their momma.  Two blocks was a long journey for 3 week old kittens.  She ate and introduced them to the cat cafeteria that does a good bit of business in my carport.  She and the kittens then wandered away… back toward their home.  It was a slow process.  She would walk about 20 feet and then sit and wait for the kittens to catch up.  A few days later they all returned… still undernourished.  This time the mother cat ate and then began wandering away and when her kittens tried to follow… she would stop and meow at them… loudly.  They would stop in their tracks.  I assumed that she was telling them to stay here.  They did… When she got about a half block away… I walked into the street and yelled… “Hey… you forgot something.  Come back and get your children…”  She ignored me.  She left… They stayed.

The kittens stayed a few days and then disappeared for a few days.  When they returned there were only three.  Grayson’s neck appeared to have sustained an injury and his head leaned and turned to the left.  He held it at almost a 90 degree angle from being straight. His balance was off terribly… he had difficulty just walking and couldn’t really walk straight.  When he tried to jump up on something or jump down… his head would turn and his body would follow the turning and he would flip over and fall.  Not a promising outlook for a tiny kitten.

The vet said that it must be some sort of neurological problem most likely from some sort of blunt force trauma.  He said that Grayson would probably not be able to survive in the real world and perhaps should be put down.  Now……………… all of you know me well enough to know that I wasn’t about to even consider euthanizing an animal if there was even a shred of hope.  So I didn’t.

Grayson spent a lot of time in my lap and sleeping on the bench where he stayed most of the time.  I helped him down from the bench and lifted him up onto it whenever I could.  When he would get ready to jump off to the ground, I would hold him and slowly ease him downward holding his body straight even though his head was turned.  Eventually he began making the jumps on his own… slowly and carefully at first… but now he is a healthy feline that can jump as well as the normal cats because he overcame his disability. Probably because there was no one telling him that he couldn’t.  He still looks at everyone with his head turned to the side… but as it turns out… most folks just think it’s his special way of looking adorable.

Grayson 2 a

Thanks for allowing me to tell you Grayson’s story.  He’s purring… He sends you hugs…

Hope your weekend is filled with many things that make you purr…

Namasté

Michael33

Treatment #14 and #15

 

The weekend was uneventful.  I was just too exhausted to do anything other than the necessities.  The worst part was going to bed on Sunday night realizing that I had to start treatments all over again the next morning. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

So treatment #14 went as it should.  Following the treatment I met with the doctor.  She was concerned about the burning in the right lung and the shortness of breath that I experienced on Friday, but had no answer as to why.  Another mystery of cancer treatment.  She was also concerned about the burn on the back over the lung.  Everything went fairly well except….. I asked when we would know what the results are from the treatments… Her reply was this… When the treatments are over… we will wait eight weeks and then do another PET scan to determine the next step……………..

Really?   Eight weeks?   Really?   Is this just another way to torture cancer patients?  Making them wait another 56 days to check it out and then another few days waiting on the results?  Lovely…  I really had no words to say about it… Well… actually… I had the words in my mind… but couldn’t bring myself to say them… The rules and procedures are not her fault… So, I kept those words to myself.  Now… I bet all of you can get really close to what they were.

Fatigue and a queasy stomach the rest of the day.

On Monday night around 9:00 pm, my heart began acting up.  Blood pressure was elevated considerably and heart beating weirdly… I can hear my pulse in my right ear 24 hours a day.  It’s very annoying.  All the skipped beats… extra beats… atrial fibs… I hear them.  Not a good thing.  When my pressure gets considerably elevated… it sounds like listening to an ultra sound of the heart on an amplified speaker.  Okay… I’m going to give you some of that blah, blah, blah stuff about my heart.  The normal firing mechanism of my heart does not function.  It has somehow relocated itself to the lower center of the heart.  Sometimes it fires in the wrong direction and causes the chambers to beat completely out of synchronization… It doesn’t feel good… I can’t breathe… I am suddenly extremely fatigued and light headed… That’s what it was doing on Monday night.  Off and on all night.  Luckily… it doesn’t stay out of sync long each time… but over and over again takes its toll on me… I’m very tired today… I slept about ten minutes at a time and awake for forty five… but I’m back to just the normal arrhythmias today…     

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Treatment #15

I had to throw myself out the door today to go to the appointment.  Exceptionally tired.  I got there a little early and they were ahead of schedule, so I didn’t stay in the waiting room very long.  The waiting room was empty when I arrived and empty when I left.  I don’t know exactly what was going home.  Maybe I should have stayed at home too.  The staff were all fairly quiet.  So was I. 

I came straight home from the clinic.  I have done very little of anything.  I really don’t feel all that bad this evening… I just don’t have the energy. 

I’ve been cold all day, so I’m wearing an unbuttoned flannel shirt over a tee with a very large cat snuggled up underneath the left side of the shirt… sleeping against my side and partially on my chest.  Another very large cat laying on the center of my chest and stomach on his side… stretching his front legs out as far as he can so that I can rub them and when I stop… he gives me that “Please” look with those big green eyes.  There is another lovely feline on the back of my chair… pretending to be asleep… while occasionally bopping me on the top of my head.

So things are good… love is all over me… and I’m very, very warm…

The picture below is of the head bopping feline… Sophie…

Sophie 33

That’s her innocent look…

I hope all of you have a wonderful Tuesday evening.  Snuggle with your kitty… or whatever pet you have… or your spouse… or your significant other… or all of the above… and be warm…

Namasté

Michael

“It is Love”

Three treatments behind in my posts.  You’d think I was ill or something.  So… Where to begin?

I am writing this on Friday evening to cover the past three treatment sessions.

Treatment #11

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I did have an opportunity before treatments started to visit a little with my new but short term friend.  It was her final treatment or as she says… final for this time around.  Her cancer is stage four and theoretically incurable.  Of course that is just the kind of thing you hear from the established authorities that I have such disdain for… like telling me my prognosis was twelve months with cancer in the lymph nodes and throat.  That wonderful news was sent to me by letter (the cowards) twenty something months ago.  I still say that telling someone how long they have to live according to statistics… is just wrong.  I don’t mind being included in the statistics… but don’t tell me I’ll most likely die within a year.  Perhaps there are those who want to hear that so they can take care of certain business affairs.  It just makes me want to get more involved in a little monkey business.

I know… I went out on a tangent there and got off the subject.  The sweet grandmother… did I mention that she is a very young grandmother?  Anyway… When her treatment was over she came into the waiting room with a tear running down her cheek and her eyes welled up ready to pour.  Well… tears do a real job on me… happy or sad ones… I gave her a very tight hug as we shared our vision of hope with one another.  I have missed her company the past two days.

The treatment went alright.  Most of the beams are shot through the back so the skin on my back over the right lung is very tender and sore.  They do send the beam through the side and from the chest but only one shot each.  The back gets three shots.  Its hurts.  I did fairly well most of the afternoon but became very fatigued in the evening.  Not an unusual experience as of late.

Treatment #12

Thursday, January 21, 2016

I was alone in the waiting room on this morning.  I could hear the techs discussing their previous evening’s events down the hallway in the control room.  I know, through my inquisitive nature and because I pay attention during conversations… that they all lead fairly normal lives away from work… but I can’t help but wonder how they deal emotionally with the process of radiating cancer patients all day long… five days a week.  We’re all really sick or we wouldn’t be there.  I wonder how a truly caring physician deals with treating sick people all day every day… some of whom are scared of what they may be facing with either a known or even worse… and unknown disease.  What emotions do physicians go through when they have difficulty diagnosing a patients symptoms?  How do they feel when that disease turns out to be something very rare with no cure?  They have to be very special human beings to handle all the thoughts that must wander through their minds.  They are faced every day with our struggles while in the same moment… facing their own struggle with life’s peculiarities… Most of their trials and tribulations never find their way into our ears… our minds… or our hearts… yet we know that they are but human beings… facing life’s difficulties just as we are.  I wish that they would feel comfortable enough to share their lives with us as we do sharing ours with them.  I realize that there are some physicians that are very un-compassionate.  But what about those that are?

Okay… I’ll stop pondering the emotions and thoughts of those in the medical professions and get on with my treatment post… but still…………………………….. I wonder…

Things went fairly well again on Thursday.  I received three x-rays instead of the normal two.  I don’t know why and I did not ask… (so unlike me)… The first shot through the back brought a delicious taste of… well… hmm… let’s see… have you ever placed a copper penny and a silver dime in your mouth at the same time and experienced the acidic taste?  (don’t ask why I know this)… If you have… just add a little burned flavoring to that and you will know approximately what I was tasting during the treatment.  Not pleasant.

I did fairly well after the treatment but crashed badly later in the day.  I think my mitochondria are hungry.  The little guys need a boost… I think I’ll feed them some French fries…

Treatment #13

Friday, January 22, 2016

There is a new patient in the slot before me now.  She prefers not to converse at this time, but I suppose this whole scenario is new to her and probably somewhat traumatic as it is to so many who must face this illness.  I did manage to obtain a smile from her with my umm… un-normal behavior.  Monday she will probably place more chairs between us while we wait.  Maybe she doesn’t want me to ask her what color her grandchildren are… (if you haven’t read the previous posts on this site… umm… you might want to just disregard that last sentence.

Three x-rays again today.  Why?  I started thinking about how much radiation I really am receiving.  Primary docs don’t want to x-ray you any more than absolutely necessary to keep your exposure to radiation low.  If I’m receiving two to three x-rays five days a week and then high doses of radiation to treat the lung cancer… how much radiation am I receiving all totaled up?  I wonder if all these people know that radiation causes cancer…

The first shot today through the back caused a burning in my chest.  It wasn’t extremely painful but it was concerning.  After the treatment I went to my car.  By the time I sat down in the car I was terribly short of breath.  My chest had a constant burning inside mostly on the right side but radiating into the center and left side.  As I drove out of the parking lot, my arms began to tingle like there was a lack of oxygen.  I guess there was with the difficulty in breathing.  I had to make a stop at a store nearby so I pulled in, parked and took some deep breaths.  That wasn’t easy either, but it did help the tingle.  Then I had to do some grocery shopping at a larger store and had a very difficult time making my way through the store.  Chest pain, burning in the chest, extreme weakness… breathing hard.  I stopped to put on a nitroglycerin patch just in case.  Not a particularly pleasant shopping experience.  If it hadn’t been for the shopping cart to support me, I’d probably have been crawling.  When I was checking out the checker asked if I was alright.  Of course… I said yes… but I wasn’t.

I made it home and sat down.  That’s all I was able to do for a while.  This evening, my breathing isn’t normal but it has improved from earlier.  The burn in the chest is still present but not as severe.  The chest pain comes and goes even while wearing a nitro patch.  The wonderful queasy stomach has returned.  The fatigue is ridiculous.  I’m a little disgusted with it all at this moment.  A few minutes ago I realized that I was sitting with my head in my hands, exactly like the picture in my gravatar.  I guess it ‘is’ appropriate.

I am spiritually strong… don’t think that I am not… but I must admit that there are times that I do wonder if it is worth the struggle.  I have some truly beautiful followers and readers that are suffering for a variety of reasons.  Some with cancer… with strokes… vasculitis… PTSD… depression… abuse… and the list goes on and on… I know that many… perhaps all of them have faced their struggle with the strongest of spirit and will to survive… but I would venture to say that there are always those moments… when we crawl through the darkened tunnels of our diseases… and ask if it is worth trying to find the strength to pull ourselves from the quicksand.

So what keeps us clawing our way up… what is worth the broken and jagged fingernails as we pull our chained down bodies through the dirt… what gives us the will to lift our bodies from beneath the surface when they feel as though they weigh a thousand pounds?

It is love…

It is love

My heart continues to find the strength to keep beating… because it can feel the love…… …and I thank you…

A beautiful weekend to you all…

Namasté

Michael33

My Basket Runneth Over

 

Treatment #9…

Monday, January 18, 2016

It’s hard to believe that I’m at #9.  Time doesn’t really fly by when you’re in pain, but I think writing this blog does make it go by a little easier…

The weekend was un-pleasant.  Severe pain in the mid-section.  It’s hard to say what exactly was the cause… just too many possibilities.  Lived solely on chicken noodle soup.  Luckily… I like it.  My skin is very bright red and ‘hot’… tender to the point of even soft cotton shirts irritating it.  Hot shower spray on those sections of skin is not tolerable at all.  Even hot water running down across it is unbearable.  My replacement oncology doctor gave me some special cream for the burned skin.  Okay so blah blah blah… enough of the complaining. 

The treatment went fine except for some reason the techs kept having to readjust the positioning of the equipment.  I asked if I was not being still enough and they said that it wasn’t my fault… the alignment was just off.  When I first laid down flat on the table, the pain in the mid-section returned in full force.  I endured… arms over my head and all.  I actually wanted to scream obscenities, but didn’t figure it would do me any good. 

As I was walking out of the treatment room, I encountered the elderly gentleman who receives treatment after me.  Perhaps I should refer to him as elderly-er than me.  But this time there were two more individuals waiting also.  It has always amazed me… and not in a good way… how many people are affected by cancer.  Not just those of us who have it, but those who care about someone who has it.  Sometimes I think it is easier to be the patient than the one who worries about them… cares about them… the ones who have no reassurance that the special one in their lives will be here tomorrow.  It’s not an easy position to be in… to live with… to try to keep their spirit high and their emotions positive.  I do believe that it is as difficult as having cancer itself… at times… perhaps even harder. 

Speaking of elderly… I took several of those ‘what’s your real age’ tests.  They averaged out to give me the wonderful news that I was 94…  Sometimes when I look at my reflection… I can agree with that.  My father and I used to laugh because I would tell him that he was the only person I knew that had a biological son older that he was.  Maybe it wasn’t so funny after all… Not to say that I’ve had a relatively unfortunate life in some aspects, but 94?  Really?  And most of the tests don’t even ask about cancer…

Treatment #10…

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tuesday… My favorite day of the week.  Why?  Because I’m un-normal.   The kind lady behind the desk today said she was looking forward to tomorrow because it was hump day.  I told her my favorite day was Tuesday because Tuesdays were always special.  She looked at me like I was a freak of nature…  If there is anyone out there whose favorite day of the week is Tuesday… Please let me know.  I’ve never found another…

The procedure went fine with the exception again of having to realign the crosshairs on my lung.  I still don’t know what that is all about and evidently neither do the techs… The mystery continues…

The kind grandmother that has the appointment just before me… you remember the one… the one I embarrassed myself with by asking her what color her lab puppy was, when in fact she was talking about her youngest grandchild… See… I’m turning red just thinking about it.  Any way… as it turned out, she has been a very delightful person (and forgiving) to converse with while we wait in the waiting room.  Tomorrow is her last treatment.  I will celebrate here accomplishment with her in the morning, but I will be sad that I will not have her company while we wait. 

This afternoon… I am feeling relatively well.  That’s somewhat of a shock to my system.  I’m still very weak feeling and coughing much more than I have been… but generally… I feel fairly well.  It must be from all the positive thoughts I’ve been receiving from everyone… the inspirations… the prayers… the encouragement… and I am so very grateful to all of you who have stood beside me through all my aches, pains, groans and whining… Thank you. The Vision of Hope 33 must now be ‘trending’… It has now been blessed with 17 beautiful followers… all of whom have been wonderful inspirationalists…  and I am honored.  I feel much like another of my best friends… Miracle… My basket runneth over…(by the way… his name is Miracle because it was a miracle that he survived kittenhood.. too young to be away from his mother… severely injured… starving… and very, very sick… Obviously… He has been rehabilitated…)

See………. Miracles ‘do’ happen…

A beautiful evening to you all…

My basket runneth over

 

Namasté

Michael33

 

 

Treatment #6, #7 and #8

 

Searching for Spring

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Morning…

Today is a beautiful day.  It’s Saturday… cloudy… cold… yet it is a beautiful day.  I awoke this morning after a restful 4 hour sleep… made my way to the coffee pot to flip on the switch to start the awaiting brew… petted the cats and smelled the wonderful aroma of fresh brewed coffee… So it’s a beautiful day.  I’m not nauseated… my pain is variable between moderate to pissing me off… but I can endure with writing new poetry or reading the beautiful comments from those who care… and of course the calming purr of kitties…

Treatments 7, 8 and 9 went just as planned… The resulting burned skin and burning insides is not exactly pleasant.  The doctor gave me some kind of special cream for burned skin.  Now… if I could just figure out how to rub in on the burns on the inside… No matter how I adjust the shower, it is still painful on the burned area.  Hopefully it will help.  The breathlessness improves and then worsens over and over but never really goes away.  The worst part is the weakness.  I’m not good at tolerating weakness.  I was already weak enough due to my heart and this just magnifies it.  Chores are hell… but the chore fairy fell off her roller blades and is recovering somewhere in the Azores… 

Afternoon…

It’s funny how fast things can change.  The morning was pretty decent… the afternoon has gone to umm… well… you know where.  Nearly unable to function at all.  Severe pain in my chest.  The side of my neck (lymph) is swollen and painful and the air I’m able to pull into my lungs is like I am at a very high altitude… thin.  Sometimes I just wonder… There seems to be only three choices in dealing with pain… Let it drive you insane so that you don’t realize you’re hurting… Endure it and suffer… or death.  Hmm………… I’m thinking……….  which reminds me… You should all be sure to check out tomorrow’s post on The Vision of Poets… “And Then I Could Fly…”  It’s un-normal… even for me.

I think my brain is becoming as weary as my physical self in this moment, so I’m going to be searching for spring in a field of wildflowers and enjoy the beauty.  I wonder what the evening may bring………

Evening…

Well… I didn’t get to the wildflower field…

Tonight I was barely able to eat anything.  I have what I presume to be an ulcer in the lower esophagus or a hiatal hernia and it is often extremely painful.  Tonight I have pain in that same area radiating into my chest.  No… I don’t know for sure what is causing the pain.  I have too many variables to pick from.  What I do think is that the area that is already irritated is getting burned by the radiation.  It is in the crossfire of the beam from two different directions.  If you can imagine an already raw area being burned by radiation… you may be able to understand the pain I am feeling this evening.  No food… please…

My rotten afternoon has also carried over to the evening.  My mind is wandering in so many directions.  Do I want to face another three weeks of radiation when it is creating even more pain than what I started with.  Will I be able to endure it or will it send me to the hospital with a ruptured esophagus?  So what’s a fella to do?  I know… I’ll procrastinate like I always do.  That’ll take care of it.  My cancer doctor is out of town.  I don’t blame her… I’d leave town too if I could.  Just think… she has to deal with a whole bunch of people with similar or worse circumstances. 

At this moment I would bet against a good night’s sleep, but I’m still hopeful.  I’m going to look for all the beautiful that surrounds me…  I’m going to occupy my mind with beautiful thoughts… I’m going to search my followers blogs for posts that make me smile… Then I’ll go search for spring in that field of wildflowers and linger… while it carries me into sleep…

Namasté

Michael33

Treatment #4 and #5

Treatment #4

Monday, January 11, 2016

The day started out as a fairly good day.  With the first beam of radiation passing through my back, the right side of my chest began to hurt with the pain being intermittent the rest of the day.  Nausea has been pretty consistent all day and weakness has set in.  I despise feeling weak.

I know that there are many of you who have experienced long sessions of nausea from illnesses or medications… I know that most of the moms know what it is like to try to function when nauseated during pregnancy.  It’s not an easy task.  I wish it would go away.  Eating or drinking doesn’t get rid of it.  It took me nearly an hour to eat a sandwich this evening due to the dry mouth and sick stomach.  I’ll probably be on more liquid foods soon but I’m not looking forward to it.

So far… my weight is holding steady.  During the last radiation sessions I lost nearly 30 pounds.  I gained a little intentionally before starting this session in anticipation of losing it during the therapy.  I know this is only the 4th treatment… but so far… no weight loss.  I think I should drink more beer for therapeutic reasons to keep from getting too thin again.  My heart doc doesn’t seem to think so.  But then, my heart doc wonders every time I walk in his door… why I’m able to do so.  I guess he hasn’t looked beyond the world of statistics… I’m un-normal… sometimes that can be a good thing.

 

Treatment #5

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The only problem I had before therapy today was shortness of breath.  By the end of the treatment I had pain in the right side of my chest and just below the breast bone.  Breathlessness had worsened and I was so weak by the time I got to my house that I wasn’t sure I could get out of the car.  I made it into the house, eventually changing into comfy clothes and collapsed into my chair.  I drank a couple cups of coffee while I casually wrote on a new poem I started recently but hadn’t finished.  Writing is my quietude, my lingering in the silence, my meditation.  Only my brain must work and usually I write better when my brain stays out of it as well.  My heart and soul are much better poets than my mind.

I’m in need of some smile time.  If some of you have some extra ones lying around… drop one in my comment section and I’ll see how I look with your smile on my face.

Speaking of mouths… mine is becoming drier by the minute.  More difficult to eat… to talk… to unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth… (I guess you really didn’t want to know that)…

The nausea is on and off this evening and I certainly enjoy the ‘off’ moments.  The pain in the right side of my chest continues but is not severe at this moment.  Breathing remains a little strained… I think I really need a little oxygen available here at home for those moments of gasping for breath.  But of course… Insurance won’t cover the cost unless you’re groveling in the floor turning blue…

The right side of my back is bright red.,, burned, hot and stinging.  Makes me wonder what the inside looks like… I do know what it feels like.

While I’m searching for smiles…

I’ll introduce you to one of my best friends…

Petals…

Petals

Petals

I hope Petals brought a smile to your face.  Her kittenhood has not been an easy one… but she knows that she is loved… She is a sweetheart…

My vision of hope remains strong even though most of what I have shared in this post is the physical effects of high doses of radiation.  I wonder if I will soon begin to glow in the dark… or perhaps begin to mysteriously appear during the wee hours of the morning around Area 51…

I’m hoping it makes me invisible instead.  I’m a very shy introvert… Although there are many who don’t realize that.  If I end up in a crowd… I often just disappear… I’ve always wanted to be invisible… If your room lights up mysteriously around 3:33 am… don’t worry… It’s just me dropping by to tell you thank you for standing near to me…

The journey continues…

The treatments continue tomorrow…

The dawn will bring us a new day… and a new vision of hope…

Michael33

Treatment #3

Colorful Moments

Colorful Moments

 

Treatment #3…

Friday, January 8, 2016

Hmm… Where should I start?  In the middle of the session today I had another coughing spell and the procedure had to be stopped and equipment realigned.  I expressed my apology to the staff… but how do you keep from coughing… lying flat with your arms over your head… when you have lung cancer?  The guys are very understanding… although they didn’t seem to be in a particularly good mood today, even though it was Friday.

Right after the radiation began, that terrible pain in my mid-section flared up.  It became very uncomfortable.

Here’s an interesting thing… You can’t see radiation.  However… when the radiation was passing through me from my back and out the front… I could see a waving motion in the space between me and the ceiling.  If you’ve ever driven on a long straight highway on a very hot summer day and seen the heat rising from the pavement in a waving motion… then you know what I experienced seeing in the treatment room.  Odd… I didn’t see it from any other of the angles, but I can’t move my head to look in other directions and most of the time the contraption is only a few inches over my face, blocking my vision of anything else.

Nausea set in about 30 minutes after the treatment ended today and continues this evening.  The pain in the mid-section is also lingering.  My appetite has fallen to ‘none at all’… yet I know I will have to force myself to eat something or I will start losing weight, strength, and the upper hand on the situation.  I know that many of you have suffered under similar circumstances and you know how difficult it is to swallow food when you are nauseated, with severe pain, and just too tired to care.  Since the treatments I received in 2014 to my throat, my mouth has been so dry that I can’t swallow much of any kind of food without drinking a large amount of water with each bite.  It gets old… It takes me a long time to eat a small amount of food… It fills you up long before you have eaten what you need for proper nourishment.  My taste buds no longer taste like they used to.  Some foods taste different than they should… some have no taste at all… and some taste like… ummm… cardboard.  Eating is not a pleasure.

I am exceptionally fatigued this evening.  I’m only able to do what absolutely has to be done and even that is getting questionable.  Some of the things I need to do will just have to wait until I gain a little energy… where’s that damned energizer bunny when I need him… Maybe I should just fall down the rabbit hole to find him.  Maybe I’ll find Alice down there and she can share some of those mushrooms of hers with me…

Funny… but embarrassing story.  While in the waiting room this morning, I was visiting with the patient that receives her treatment before me while the staff are setting up the equipment.  She was telling me about her eight grandchildren… listing their names and their ages.  When she came to the end of her list… I mistakenly thought that she said that she also had a baby Lab… Being the animal lover I am and the “curious one”… I asked “What color is it?”… Ummmm…. There was complete silence in the room… You wouldn’t believe the look of surprise she gave me…. then she smiled… and with a slight bit of laughter said, “Well… now… ‘that’s’ a different question.”  In that moment… the moment when the old man realized that he had spoken some of the most un-normal words… asked a very un-normal question… to a poor innocent woman who had just proudly told me of all her grandchildren… and who had actually said… “…and I have a baby Leah”…

…………………………………………….. Okay… my face was red… not a simple pinkish blush… it was a bright crimson from ear to ear…………………………………  There are times when old men should just sit quietly and keep their mouth shut…

I apologized……… I told her that I thought she had said that she had a baby Lab… she laughed… I didn’t… until later… That’s when I realized that… luckily…. she had a sense of humor… she said… “Actually… one of my grandchildren is Colombian and has a really beautiful brown complexion… Then we both laughed.  She also told me that she had a Lab waiting for her in the car… and it was……… “Yellow”…

I am extremely fatigued… but luckily…. I still have a sense of humor…

Hope your day is filled with beautiful moments… and “colorful” grandchildren…

Namasté

Michael33