Saturday, August 20, 2016

One Job

I used to have several jobs. I still do, but almost all of them have been relegated to the backseat because now my main job, the most important one, is to get calories in my body.

And that is a job.

Seems easy enough, right? Just eat.

Well it's not quite that easy. As you know, I can't really put food in my mouth with that whole going to make me throw up thing still going on. Although, let me say a few days ago I did walk in to the kitchen and Rachel had a Costco rotisserie chicken on the island, that Nathan had already devoured the two legs from, and I said I'll take some chicken. And for whatever reason, I could eat a little chicken on that particular day. That's been the extent though. And no, it didn't taste the way it should. So, in general, I still can't really eat food. Instead it's those "cans" of nutrition that I pour down my tube.

Several times a day.

This is the "job" part. It's what I have to do. It needs to be done. And it is annoying.

About every two and a half hours I have to get a can down the tube. Thus, I feel like I'm always pouring these cans into my stomach. "Didn't I just do this?" I ask a lot. And, yes, I did just do it, 2.5 hours ago.

That's not a lot of time between "meals".

It makes it difficult to leave the house because I can't be gone very long. Oh, I guess I could pour a can in out in public, but you know I'm not going to do that. Now I have it down to a routine and changing that routine would be a pain in the ass. Plus, no one wants to see me pour liquid into my tube while we're sitting at the local cafe. Not to mention that because of chemo I'm highly susceptible to catching a disease or something minor.

So forget it. I'm feeding at home.

This will affect my teaching job which starts in about a month. I'm trying to figure out how to handle that situation. A buddy of mine and I have a couple of good ideas. We'll see what plays out over the next couple weeks.

I need these calories. It's what my body uses to repair all this damage that is being done to it from the radiation and chemo. It's working, it's just such a pain in the ass to have to put a can in so often. That's really what I'm complaining about, here: the frequency.

I know it won't last for ever, and it's helping me get stronger every day.

But it is a job.

Not a job I enjoy, but it is what it is. I'll get the job done. I'll just be glad when I no longer have the tube and food hopefully tastes like it's supposed again.

Oh yeah, and I'll be glad when the radiation and chemo have eliminated my body of this cancer that I've been fighting.

Yeah, I'll be glad about that for sure.

Then this entire job will be completely worth all this effort.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Odds and Ends

We're finally down to single digits of radiation treatment left. Still have a long way to go, but it's nice to know I only have a few more treatments remaining.

My mouth is swollen and sunburned inside. If it gets too dry then it hurts to swallow water. I try to keep in moist. The tube feeds are going as well as can be expected. I mean, I'm just putting in calories along with everything else these things have that my body needs. I've been maintaining my weight. I think that's good. We'll see what the doctors say this week.

I have four more chemo treatments. Not looking forward to those. They wipe me out. Nausea has gotten somewhat better. I hope it stays that way or gets even better. I think the "feedings" have helped in that regard.

The constipation is better. Almost feel normal in that regard, but still pretty cautious.

Still don't want food in my mouth. Still trying to come to terms with smells. I want to be able to smell food without having to rush out of the room.


The boys wear me out. I can't really stay in the same room with them for very long before I need to seek seclusion from the chaos.

The chemo makes my nose get very dry, but the bigger issue is that it has wiped out any libido that I had. It's just gone. Side effect, I guess. At least for me. It's fine anyway, may not be fine with Rachel, but I don't have the energy for such activities anyway. It should return at a later date. At least I hope it does.

So I'm kind of in a staying pattern at the moment. Which is certainly better than the free-fall I was in earlier.

I do have a lot of work to do for my classes. It'll get done. Somehow. This is the last week of Summer Quarter so luckily that's about over.

In any case, this is just a quick update. I hope you all are doing well.

I'm doing the best I can do at the moment. I'll let you know if things change.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


There is a light.

It's dim.

I can barely see it.

But it's there.

I know it's there.

And it'll get brighter each day.

But I'm not here to talk about that particular light today.

Instead, I need to talk about the dark days.

When I started journaling my cancer adventure, I made a promise to myself to always be honest in my writing. To tell my story truthfully, whatever that may entail. No matter how ugly this adventure may get, I intend to keep that promise.

This is the hardest fucking thing I've ever had to go through. I hate it. I hate the constant disgusting taste in my mouth. I hate that I can't eat real food and have to feed myself through a god damn tube. Smells, and even food in my mouth, make me vomit. I don't like to ride in the car because it can make me nauseous. It's just all shit and I hate it.

I'm constantly exhausted and spend a lot of time in bed. Part of that is probably related to my energy level, part from the actual treatment.

And the fucking treatment. Holy shit, the fucking treatment. It's one of the more rigorous treatments they give people. And it is brutal. It's brutal physically, mentally, and emotionally.

And all three are taking a toll on me.

Physically I don't look too bad. That's good. My neck looks pretty good but the inside of my mouth is very uncomfortable. I'm still expecting the pain inside to increase soon, though. As of today, I have 13 more radiation treatments. They get a little harder to do each time.

We received the "cans" of "food" a few days ago. This is the food that goes into my tube. I'm supposed to have 6-8 cans a day. Well, that didn't work. They don't keep me satiated very long, maybe two hours. Then, if I get too hungry, I get nauseous and have to run to the toilet and throw up. Yeah, fun times.

So I've changed to having a can about every 2-2.5 hours. At that rate, I'm having like 11 or 12 cans a day. And this shit is disgusting. It smells disgusting and tastes disgusting. I didn't think you were drinking it, you say. That is correct. But I've thrown it up. It's disgusting.

Mentally I am drained. Your whole job is to stay alive. That's a lot more mentally exhausting than you might imagine. I mean we do it every day, right? We try to stay alive. But this is different. This is taxing. A tremendous amount of effort is required because all your energy is being zapped away by the treatment.

But you have two options (at least I have two options), either dig deep and get through it, or die. There is not a gray area. This one is completely black and white. And even though the treatment they are putting me through has a good success rate, it is not 100%. So I must dig deep just to give myself a fairly decent chance of surviving. A fairly decent chance is better than no chance at all.

Emotionally I am a wreck. Lately I've been crying a lot. Mainly over how difficult this is on me. I know it sounds like a self-pity party, but that's not it. It's just so overwhelming. All of it. There's never a break because you're constantly battling something whether it be nausea, food, or even sleep.

And I burst into tears every single time I learn of someone, particularly someone I know but it doesn't have to be, who has just been diagnosed with cancer. It breaks my heart.

One of my dearest friends texted me the other day and I took that opportunity to just vent away. She said it was good to vent. It means I'm pissed off and fighting. So, yes, I'm angry.

I'm also sad, frustrated, scared, anxious, and at times depressed.

All of that is mentally and emotionally draining.

Oh, and the anti-nausea medications cause constipation. Yeah. This is the worst constipation I have ever had in my life. I literally put on surgical gloves, dip my finger in vaseline, and break up shit in my ass just to get it out. It's excruciatingly painful. It's getting better but it's a lot of work and pain. I'm hoping the Mirilax kicks in soon.

And of course, some days are better than others. Actually, it's some moments are better than others. There is no preparation for this. They don't teach you how to deal with this shit it in school.

Fuck you, cancer.

You have fucked up my life beyond comparison. You took my dad, you tried to take my wife, and you're currently trying to take several people I know.

Stop it!

And praying does not make cancer go away. If it did, don't you think the world would be free of cancer by now? People have been praying for cancer to go away for several millennia. Well it's not gone away. It seems to be everywhere. It's not going away, either. It's here to stay because every person's cancer is slightly different. That's why there'll never be a cure: because the cancers are all slightly different for each person.

That may be a hard pill to swallow, but it's the truth.

Have no doubt, though, that treatments will get better. So while the world will never be free of cancer, the way we fight it will keep improving and just may not be so bad in the future.

When Rachel was going through her breast cancer adventure, her thing became to tell everyone to check their breasts. At least once a month. And not just women because men can get breast cancer, too. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better. And that's one cancer that can usually be found early. So check your breasts. If you don't know how to do it, then learn.

My thing is if you're in the appropriate age range, then get the HPV vaccine. Both men and women. It can give both sexes several different cancers and we have a vaccine for it. That is awesome. So find out if you're a candidate for the vaccine, and if you are then get the god damn thing. It could prevent you from having to go through the shit I'm going through.

A few days ago I wrote a new short story. It helps to write. I'll post it soon.

I took the title of this post from one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs. Actually, it's two songs combined to make one, and Eclipse is the second part. I feel like I'm in an eclipse, waiting for the sun to come back and shine it's beautiful light on me again.

It will.

And I'll be here, ready to bask in its beauty.