Thursday, October 13, 2016

We Keep Moving Forward

I'm better now, but I had to make it through some very, very dark days.

Well, it's been awhile since I last posted. I just couldn't bring myself to write during the past month or so. For most of that time I didn't do much of anything. No reading, no watching movies/tv. I didn't even listen to music for quite awhile. I just sat in bed for many hours a day. For the first time in my life, I was suffering from depression.

It was awful.

There were some very dark days, days where I didn't think I could go on. Days where I didn't really want to go on. I couldn't eat, I felt horrible, I was still vomiting. I would lay in front of the toilet because the floor felt good and, well, I was close to the toilet. It was truly a horrible time in my life.

I think the main culprit may have been oxycodone. I took it for nine days about every two hours. That's a lot. But I thought I needed it because my throat hurt and while I was taking the oxycodone my throat wasn't hurting.

Then I had to go to the emergency room.

My g-tube was leaking more than usual, and it was a little loose. One of my closest friends came to visit me the day before I had to go the ER, and she and her partner, along with a friend that works at the hospital, stayed with me while I was there.

But I was like a zombie. Not a Night of the Living Dead or The Walking Dead zombie, no, I was apathetic, lethargic, and fairly unresponsive to those around me.

I didn't know it at the time, but it was because of the oxycodone.

We waited for quite awhile before I was called back, so it had been several hours since I had "eaten" (put a can in the tube) or taken oxycodone. Two things I thought I needed to do every couple of hours or so in order to survive. Well now it had been something like five hours and I wasn't really hungry, though I knew I needed to "eat", plus my throat wasn't hurting.

But wait, I need oxycodone to make sure my throat doesn't hurt?

Apparently, I didn't.

So I decided to stop taking oxycodone. Cold turkey.

I didn't know it at the time, but that might have been a mistake.

The next week, particularly the next four days, was the most difficult time of my life so far. Depression, vomiting, apathy ruled over me. I was lethargic and just stayed in bed or by the toilet. It was truly a horrible time.

It was also the first time in my life I had ever thought about suicide.

But I thought about it.

I wanted out.

I wanted my wife and kids to be free of the shit life I all of a sudden had.

I didn't think I'd ever be able to eat real food again.

I was terrified of my life.

If this was going to be the quality of my life then I didn't want any part of it.

So yes, I contemplated suicide. I had it all planned out. I even went as far as writing a letter to my wife for her to read when she found me.

I was planning on doing that on Friday, four days after the ER visit. She had gone to Costco and was headed to pick up the boys from school. I thought this is my time.

Then she spontaneously showed up at the house to drop off the frozen food before going to pick up the boys from school.

She was planning on taking the boys to get ice cream and asked if I wanted to join them.

Up to this point about the only time I had been out of the house was to go to the fucking cancer center or hospital. I guess I was going stir crazy, as well.

I said I'd love to join them and then put my shoes on.

I don't know if I really would have gone through with it or not, but I credit that moment with turning me around. While it has still been rough, I haven't thought about suicide since.

Today, there is no way in Hell I would contemplate it. That's not an option.

I really think the oxycodone was doing a number on my head. I was going through withdrawal. It took a few more days before I figured that out.

Oh yeah, we had a good time getting ice cream, though I didn't get any. Wasn't ready, yet.

Then the tube started leaking again and again became loose. At my next appointment with the oncologist I showed her. She thought it was infected and took a culture. Then she scheduled me to meet with the surgeon that Rachel and I like. The same one that took the tumor out of Rachel's breast last  year.

When I went to the ER, the ER doctor didn't have any experience with g-tubes but this surgeon happened to be working next door so he went and got her. She came over and fixed the tube from leaking, did a McGyver she called it, but it worked. She's awesome.

The culture came back negative but I kept my appointment with the surgeon.

A week or so later I had some ice cream at home. It was the first solid food I ate. I was terrified it would come back up, but it didn't. It wasn't much, and it hurt to swallow, but I ate it and it stayed down.

I slowly tried to eat other things over the next week but it was quite difficult. Plus, I didn't really have an appetite. I had way too much anxiety about eating. It scared the shit out of me.

But I continued.

Then I got to a point where I was eating solid food more than using the cans and the tube. I would use the tube during the night and eat solid food during the day.

Then came time to meet with the surgeon.

She came in and said that my oncologist thinks that she should take the tube out.

I was terrified. This was what had kept me alive for the past two months. It was difficult to think of not having it. I wasn't really eating terrifically and I was very worried about the middle of the night.

With a little peer pressure from the surgeon and my wife, I laid down on the table and she took the tube out. My anxiety was sky high.

Later we picked the boys up after school, and to celebrate me getting my tube out we went and got ice cream. I had a scoop and ate it all. I was very pleased.

Since then, I have been eating more. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pasta are still pretty difficult to eat, but chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey sandwiches, scrambled eggs and pancakes are not.

I started seeing a therapist, because, well, this hasn't been the easiest trip for me. The first day we met we talked about food. I told her I didn't like yogurt but I thought it was something I could eat. She scheduled to meet with me again two days later and I was to bring two yogurts.

So two days later I met with her. I had a vanilla yogurt and a strawberry yogurt. I sat there in that room with her and ate the strawberry yogurt. It took 25 minutes. At the end I told her I was just tolerating eating it. That of course is ok, as long as I eat it.

After I finished she wanted me to try the vanilla just to see if I liked it better. I did, and now I eat at least one vanilla yogurt a day. I actually look forward to eating it. This is a major change in my eating habits.

So eating has gotten better. I've eaten a lot of chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy. Turkey sandwiches are slowly becoming a staple again. I'm even able to eat chips and hummus. Next is tacos!

Eating real food again has made me feel better and stronger. I'm out of bed more and interacting with my family and trying to help around the house. Every day I get a little bit closer to my normal. I am very thankful for that.

This past Monday we went to a restaurant for the first time since May. I didn't know how much of the two enchiladas, beans, and rice I could eat, but I was going to try.

I ended up eating all of it. That surprised me. And I wasn't feeling stuffed afterward. I guess my stomach is stretching back to its normal size.

While I'm still 30 pounds less then when this whole thing started back in May, I think I'll be able to gain some weight now. The cans and the tube just weren't cutting it.

I had a CT scan this past Monday that I'm a little nervous about. I get the results in a week. I am hoping I'm all clear.

So that's the update. Sorry it took so long, but I thank you for understanding. Things are much better now and I am mentally in a much better place than I was.

We keep moving forward.

1 comment:

  1. Thinking of you, my friend. My friends. Slowly, slowly... I'm glad you're eating. I'm glad you're glad you're eating. It makes a difference. Little things. Love you.