Wednesday, November 23, 2016

For Where I Am

On this eve of my 48th Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for where I am.

I have a pet scan next week. Yes, I'm a little nervous about it. Not the scan but more getting the results of the scan which I'll get a couple of days later. I'll probably get more nervous/anxious as that day gets closer.

For me anyway, now that I've been fighting cancer, every new "pain", every new blemish on my skin, everything that is new/different from the day before (both inside and on my body) causes me some anxiety.

It is what it is.

It's to be expected.

My tongue is feeling a little better. It doesn't hurt quite as much as it used to, though it does still hurt to eat. It even hurts when I yawn.

My neck is still pretty tight and tender, though even that has gotten somewhat better. I'm seeing a physical therapist for neck lymphedema massage exercises. Don't want lymphedema, now.

I still get tired pretty easily. Not much stamina to be on my feet for hours, but it's getting better. Last week I was up at campus for two days in a row. I was really tired during the second day. That's all new to me. Not used to being so tired from just being on campus, and not used to sucking air after climbing only three flights of stairs. That's what I climb to get to my office. That all should get better once they again become part of my daily routine. If all goes well with the pet scan next week, then that routine starts at the beginning of January. If the pet scan does not go well, then, we'll see where that leads.

This adventure has been long and, as you know, it has been extremely difficult. I don't know if it is ever truly "over" because there will always be that worry of recurrence or something new showing up during one of the many scans and blood draws that lie in my future.

But for now I'm thankful for where I am.

I'm thankful I made it through most of the chemo and all the radiation treatments.

I'm thankful for my wife helping me through such a difficult time in my/our life and for taking care of the boys when I couldn't get out of bed for weeks. It was very difficult on her, especially since she is still recovering from her bout with breast cancer last year. (Fucking cancer. We've had enough already.)

I'm thankful for the support of my family and friends. It is much appreciated. The texts, the messages, the gifts, the love. You all are wonderful.

I don't miss the days of pacing in my bedroom, literally just ten steps each way, over and over again to get some form of exercise but really just to pass the time.

I don't miss sitting in bed staring at the dresser for weeks. No music. No reading. No watching videos. Just staring at the dresser, suffering through depression.

I don't miss getting around 2-3 hours of sleep every day. If I was lucky I got 4 hours. I had to put a "can" in the tube every three hours or so. That included in the middle of the night. So while that interrupted any sleep I might have been getting, the bigger issue was that I just couldn't get to sleep. For months I had to sleep sitting in an upright position, which forced my wife to sleep in a different bed. I was often stuffy and couldn't breathe through my nose. My throat, tongue, and neck hurt. Badly. And the medication I was on caused insomnia.

Nope. Not gonna miss that.

And I hope I don't have to go through that shit again.


I don't miss having tubes sticking out of my body. I'm reminded of them every time I look in the mirror without a shirt on. The scars are a reminder of the Hell I went through.

But I'm thankful I have the scars.

For without the tubes I would've died weeks ago.

Without the scar on my neck, the cancer would've spread even further than it did.

And even though I'm scared shitless, I'm thankful I'm getting a scan next week. I refuse to bury my head in the sand and pretend everything is ok.

It's not ok.

I have cancer.

Stage-four cancer.

It may be gone now that I've gone through surgery and treatment.

But it may not be.

I need to know.

But for now I celebrate.

I celebrate with my family and friends.

We all have problems. For some it's health related, for others it might be financial, or with their relationships or employment or a myriad of other things that can go wrong in our lives. It saddens me to see such hatred still propagated throughout this country and throughout the world when all most of us are trying to do is to just live a happy life despite all these things that can go wrong.

Life is shorter than we can ever imagine.

Unless we've faced the real possibility of death, we don't really know how short.

Be kind.

Oppose hatred.

And live life to the fullest.

I'll update you next week when I get the results of the scan. I hope it goes well and the cancer is gone.

Regardless of the outcome, though, I am thankful for where I am today.

Take care.