The Vote

So… the consensus is in… five out of five of my wonderful commenters have voted to continue this blog… five of the ten ‘like’ responders…  five of the now 41 ‘visionofhope33’ site followers… Oh… wait… that’s not a very good percentage is it?  I suppose that means that 31 of the 41 followers either didn’t like the last post or have abandoned me.  I suppose… considering the subject matter of this blog… who can blame them.  Who really wants to wade in the muck and the darkness of one suffering with cancer and heart disease?  Who really wants to listen to the whining of one dealing with the adversity of pain?  Who wants to get all wrapped up in the everyday challenges that one must face with life threatening illnesses?   But……… but I post such adorable kitty pics along with my ‘cat’erwauling…..

Okay… so here’s what I’m going to do.  I’ll just use the American politics method to determine the results… My committee of one… me… has decided to make up some new rules and all commenters votes will be worth 10 votes each… you know… like ‘super-delegates’… so… that translates to 50 yeas, 5 uncommitted and 31 abstentions… So I suppose I have no choice but to continue this blog…  Well… after all… isn’t that democracy?

You can see by the photo below that Willow doesn’t think much of my democracy.  Very often… animals are smarter than humans…

Willow 2

So here’s the update on my recovery and health situation.  I cannot tell you of any changes in the cancer at this stage.  The lymph nodes of the neck, under the arms and creeping down the side of the chest are very painful a large part of the time.  As far as I know, there isn’t much to improve that situation.  My lymph system was severely injured by the cancer in the neck and then again by the radiation treatment.  I don’t really expect it to improve a great deal, but our lymph system has a great deal to do with our immune system… so I am hopeful that the pain is not relative to the efficiency of the immune system, but I suppose that it most probably is… The fluid that is supposed to flow freely within that system does not do that within mine.  I must manually assist it in the neck area and don’t really know what to do for it in the other areas.  I suppose that what is good for one area is most likely good for another.  

My heart is a mess… but I have discussed that in recent posts.  There has been no improvement and I wonder from day to day what symptoms must be endured.  It changes regularly but never seems to give me an entire day, void of serious symptoms.  Some days are better than others and I am extremely grateful for those better days.  Although I seldom experience a complete day without extreme arrhythmias or atrial fibrillation, light headedness or chest pains that require nitros or at least nitro patches… Those times when it beats regular for just a short while is like a little heaven on earth.

I know that there are some of you who read these posts that are suffering.  Some with similar circumstances and some with far different ones…. but suffering just the same.  I know that I am not alone… I am not alone in my vision of hope… nor in my search for strength… nor in my desire to discover different ways to relieve the symptoms… perhaps to unearth uncommon cures.  My deepest gratitude to all of you who have chosen to make this journey with me.  To those of you who have taken the time to share some of those ‘uncommon’ potential remedies, ways to ease the pain and methods to ease the mind… to those who have offered the most beautiful of comments, filled with caring and compassion… I offer you my humbled heart and a very special namasté…

Namaste 2

Michael33

 

The Report

Good evening… Well… yesterday was the appointment with my radiation oncologist to go over the results of the PET scan…  I admit that I was a bit nervous about it all.  I know that my positive attitude goes a long way, but you can’t help but have doubts.  The results were about the same as they were last time around.  The cancer in the right lung has been severely crippled… but it still lingers.  Its size has been tremendously reduced, appears to not be currently growing… but the nodule remains.  Very good news compared to what could have been.  Not the perfect result… but a very good one.

Of course, there is always a negative aspect to results such as these.  After radiation on the cancer in the lymph nodes of the neck and at the base of the tongue, I received a very similar report.  Then… a year later, cancer in the lung appeared.  Cancer is sneaky.  It hides in dark places waiting for an opportunity to strike.  I suppose this is mostly due to the fact that the primary source of my cancer has never been located and of course it travels through the lymph system to unsuspecting locations.  It just lurks…. somewhere… like a stalker in the shadows of the alleyways… laughing without conscience nor consequence…

Am I cured?  Nope.  Was I told that the cancer was in remission?  Nope.  Have I received a most beautiful reprieve from treatment for a while?  Yep.  I shall celebrate this moment… this hour… this day with my deepest gratitude to all of you who have wandered along this journey with me… with your prayers, your well wishes, your support, your encouragement and your inspiration.  I will forever be amazed whenever a stranger will stand near to you with the compassion and caring of the dearest of loved ones… while there are those who profess their undying love and dedication… yet remain silent, distant and seemingly uncaring.  Perhaps that should be the subject matter of a future post.

So what now?  Well… I’m not real sure.  Although I am greatly enjoying the moment in dealing cancer a severe setback… I still have the fact that my heart condition continues to worsen.  Wouldn’t you know…  I can’t be certain of course, but my first thought is that it was damaged somewhat by the radiation to the lung.  After all… shooting radiation from the left side, across to the right lung can’t help but affect the heart in some form.  I was of course hoping that it would actually improve its function instead of worsening it.  So that is one thing I must continue to deal with.  Life in any form is difficult when you get only three or four normal beats in a row before the heart stops beating for one to three seconds, then stutters its way back into a simi-rhythm for another three or four beats and then repeats itself.  That… of course… doesn’t count the number of times in slides into atrial fibrillation.  It’s really not pleasant at all and makes any physical activity of any kind ridiculously challenging.  This is in addition to the original coronary artery disease that first tried to take me to other worlds permanently.  Okay… I’m through whining… 

So… should I continue this site or discontinue it until future PET scans are done in approximately six months… that is… if insurance will cover it that soon.  That is the plan according to my doctor.  Yes, I’m still in recovery from the radiation therapy and that will last for some time.  I’m certain that there has been scarring of the lung and who knows what other organs within the body… and it will all have some sort of reaction or effect on their function.  The coughing has worsened… the weakness is greater… the breathing more difficult… the pain in all areas of the chest and upper abdominal area has increased.  Crap… I’m whining again… Sorry…

I often wonder if we are destroying the cancer while we destroy the patient.  I watch and listen as cancer patients deal with serious surgeries in an attempt to remove their cancer… and as so many suffer through the often horrible effects of chemotherapy… and sometimes… yes sometimes… consider the fact that my life threatening heart disease has been some sort of a blessing.  I know what some of you are thinking… and I know that is a very strange comment for me to make… but look at it from my stand point.  I am too high of a risk to have surgery to remove the lumps… unable to have chemo because of my weakened state from the heart disease… both were in the plan for me until the doctors learned how serious the heart condition was… and yet… I have been able to endure the radiation therapy which… along with the hearts and minds of many caring readers, followers and loved ones… has allowed me to survive cancer of the lymph nodes, the base of the tongue and now the lung.  Do I have a lot to be thankful for?  YES I DO…

Now… do I continue this blog or not?  I would very much appreciate your input.  I do think that it helps me personally to share this information with others.  Sometimes I feel so badly that I am unable to write… even a short post… yet, I am always anxious to return to the pages.  I often wonder if any of this has helped another… if I have been able to offer someone even the dimmest of light in their own journey… if I have given anyone the taste of hope or a reason to endure their own suffering…  or even if I have brought a smile to someone’s face with my kitty pics… I really don’t know if I have done any of those things.  I do know that there are many of you that have given to me “all” of those things… perhaps without even realizing that you have done so.  Please know that your ‘likes’… your ‘comments’… your caring… makes a huge difference in my frame of mind and I thank you sincerely.

So, now I am going to get on with the process of getting well.  I’m going to take the advice of my dear Simon… lick my paws and chalk one up for victory.  Perhaps all of you should join with me in the celebration.  I’ll let Simon show you how…

Simon paw

I hope all you have a most beautiful evening… knowing that you have shined your light upon another and given him “hope”…

Namasté

Michael33

Recovery Update #6

Words have somehow failed me in this moment
Though beautiful the shadows of resistance
I can only speak of hope beneath the darkened clouds
Though they breathe the wind that hides my languid voice

While I look toward the dawn in hues of hope
I see the setting sun in its reflection
What then must become of one’s poetic elocution
When moonlight only breathes in whispered runes

Vanished in the silence tween the verses
I can not feel the touch of poets passed
Parchment growing brittle in the shadows of the moonlight
Though beautiful the brume beneath the rhyme

Friday… I had the PET scan… Yes… on April fools day.  Odd day to have medical procedures. This scan will determine if a reprieve from treatment and anguish is in order or if I must endure more of the shadowy substances of being human.  I was most definitely not up for the occasion.  I have had the worse few days as of late that I have experienced since the radiation treatments ended on February 2… Funny thing though… the medical facility that gives the test has to order the radioactive injection previous to the test day because it has to be delivered the day of the test.  After you confirm your appointment… if you don’t show up for “whatever” reason… they charge you for the medication and insurance will not cover any of the cost.  So… you go to the scan no matter how you feel or you are punished by the medical “system”… Isn’t modern day medicine and its associated politics a wonderful experience?  No.

While the technician was injecting me with fluorodeoxywhatever-it-is… I asked her if the test can show other things going on in your body like fluid in the lungs or scarring from radiation…. She snapped… I mean… bitterly… She said… “I’m not turning on scarring for this test… I’m only looking for cancer.”  Well… EXCUSE ME FOR ASKING.  She then added that she can see the heart, kidneys, and other organs as well but that she is only looking for cancer.  So… her answer actually provided me with what I was wondering.  The test “could” show other factors going on internally, but they choose not to look for them or highlight them because that way… they can charge you thousands of more dollars for another test to look at other things that might be causing you harm or pain or threatening your life… Isn’t modern day medicine and its associated politics a wonderful experience?

Well… the scan is done.  The results are known by several individuals by now… but not by me.  I have to wait until next week to find out.  Although the tech that did the test was different from the one who did the test last time… I could still read her demeanor… I won’t make any predictions at this time because I have chosen to have a positive attitude about the results… but you get the idea… I’m very ‘hopeful’ that the cancer is completely gone from all areas.  I know that there is something going on with my lungs but I’m hopeful that it is just scarring from the radiation or similar associated side effects.  I know that there is something seriously odd within the lymph system in my neck… but I’m hopeful that it is just from the earlier radiation.

I may actually be able to find out for myself before the doctor’s appointment because I requested a copy of the disc that shows the scan.  I have viewed the previous two scans and have done pretty well at determining what’s what all by myself.  I’ll do the same this time.  Yes… I know… that’s a weird thing for a patient to do, but I’m pretty good at it and why wait when you can find out on your own.  I guess it’s the scientist in me that makes me do that… or perhaps I’m possessed by Dr. Jekyll.  I did have to spend some time with the first disc to familiarize myself with all the views and determining what exactly I was seeing.  But I figured it out eventually and the second scan was quite easy to read.  This one shouldn’t take much time to “know”… Of course… I still don’t completely trust my evaluation of the results and will wait for the doctor’s analysis to finalize the diagnosis and before I inform you of the results.

Curiosity is a beautiful thing, but I am not a radiologist and I admit, I don’t understand everything I see on the disc… but I love to explore and to learn.  The adventure of wandering through the inside of your human existence is something that is not experienced by many… but is indeed an experience so intriguing… that one with a curious mind like mine… will always cherish.  What I would really like to do is to view the disc… sitting down with a knowledgeable radiologist and ask… what’s this?… what’s that?… what’s that over there?… why is that there?… why is that glowing?… but so far… I’ve never met a radiologist that would even sit down with you to explain anything.  They just pass the buck to another doctor to tell you what they find.  I know that they are far too busy to spend that much time with a patient, just to satisfy their curiosity.  My oncology radiologist does a very good job of showing me the disc and explaining the cancer related indications… I so appreciate her showing me the results on the disc itself… as she explains in detail what they found… instead of the normal for most docs… reading you the results from a piece of paper that they got from another doctor that you’ve never even seen… but you can be sure… you’ll get a bill from them anyway.

So now we wait.  That seems to be a huge part of the health care system… waiting.  I think I’ll just do what my precious little friend Miracle is doing and crawl into a cardboard box that is far too small for me and just chill awhile.

A Box too small

Perhaps it would be good for all of us… However… I might have to call someone to help me get back out of it…

Hope your Sunday is most beautiful…

Namasté

Michael33