DEAR DIARY DAY ONE,
Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019
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anxious all week contemplating the expected results of the biopsy and
learning a possible diagnosis. I've always been very good at processing
danger, confronting my fears and always soldiering on. I've always liked
to say that I have no fears ... especially of death. I always internalize
anxiety and put on a brave front ... always! What is so bothersome lately
is responses in my body and mind that are involuntary. I'm accustomed to
being in charge! I'm in control here and I don't like outside
forces encroaching on my autonomy! All week long I strove to calm myself,
pray to the Lord, not for a healing, but just to be strong and not let on
to anyone about my fears ... or condition.
not sleep well on Monday night. I was suppose to be at the hospital at
8:15 AM for a 9 AM appointment which I presumed was when I would receive
my chemo with a shot and be on my way. I don't like leaving Chi Chi alone
but I figured I'd be back within a few hours. Little did I know!
Arriving at what's called the Hematology/Oncology Clinic within the
hospital is the waiting room. You stand in line to check in with the
check-in clerks who prepare the paperwork and put a wrist bracelet on you.
I returned to the waiting room and took a seat to fill out a two page
questionnaire. The room is filled with a variety of people, some bald or
wearing head-kerchiefs. Some seem gloomy and some seem to be in a good
mood. I start up conversations with whom I can. Even in the damn cancer
clinic I'm looking to flirt! Shortly after nine I was escorted to the
blood drawing lab. I've met a lot of these girls from before. So my blood
had to be drawn for a work up before chemo, which was drawn from my still
implanted chest port.
then it was back to the waiting room. I thought okay now I'll get my shot
and be on my way. No ... I was escorted to an examination room for a
meeting with my doctor. So there I waited until his assistant arrived, a
cute young woman who's name I conveniently remembered, Sarah and greeted
her such. She was impressed. I think she secretly wishes I was a lot
younger ... even with cancer, I'm a good looking guy! (groan).
Anyway, she did her thing and then my doctor came in to inform me that the
results of the biopsy were not in yet but he "would be shocked if it
wasn't my cancer" based on the CT scan. I said let's move forward with the
chemo to which he fully agreed. If it's not cancer then no harm. That was
not an entirely correct statement!
now about 10 AM and I go back to the waiting room before being escorted to
the chemo therapy infusion suite composed of three open bays each with
four reclining chairs surrounded by a vast array of equipment, monitors and
tubes. Things were not going to be as quick and simple as I had
imagined in my naivety forgetting completely how it was the last time. The
other three chairs in my bay were occupied by two old women and an old man
who looked far sicker than I seemed to be. At first we exchanged glances.
I engaged in conversation when I could. The staff are great, mostly women
of course which suits me just fine.
Trying to make a long story short I was there until 3 PM getting all sorts
of IV fluids and metals (magnesium etc.), hydration and anti nausea meds.
Even before I got any chemo there were three bags of IV fluids dripping
into my port plus taking pills. This day I received two different drugs,
Cisplatin and Gemcitabine. The names of these drugs are oddly pleasant sounding and
sinister sounding at the same time. After leaving the hospital I still had
to run a few errand before heading for home. In my drive home I prayed for
the three people in my bay. I waved and said goodbye to each one as I left
and they gave me each a big smile. I had to stop at the pharmacy of course
to get steroids and anti nausea pills all of which is now flowing through
my blood stream. I got home at 4:30 to the endless kisses of a Chi Chi.
Right now... I feel pretty good! Thanks for your prayers!!!
Dec. 4 - Dec. 12, 2019
seemingly carefree and oblivious tone of my last entry turned out to be
the onset of a cruel tumble into the realty zone. Even though the Rising
of the Phoenix is Greek Mythology not to be associated with any Christian
precept, it nevertheless characterizes my recent rise from the Valley of
the Shadow of Death, where I saw no rod, I saw no staff, no still waters
... except maybe the faint sounds of a stream in the clouds trickling
fancifully towards some Heavenly location in the midst of my deliriums ...
no, I descended into a dark space of pain, weakness and extreme weight
loss interrupted by occasional nightmares.
I had an
infusion on Tuesday. By Wednesday evening I went to bed and was
hardly able to get up to do anything. I moaned and groaned and tossed and
turned hour after hour all the day and all the night long grappling with
stomach cramps and nausea. I never slept. I could not take care of my
animals and continually pushed Chi Chi away. Eventually she wandered off
through the cat doors I'm sure to do her business in some far off part of
the house. All I could do is watch her go and hope she returned. She
called my doctor speaking with his nurse. I sought to convey my concerns
and seek advise. I can't remember if I received any. I spent the weekend
plunging further into a chronic sickness, no eating, no drinking. If I
fell asleep at all is was more of a half-conscious state of obsessive
working out random meaningless charts and data storage systems in
my head over and over and over until I finally realized I was awake and
could stop trying to figure out nonsensical formulations.
the clinic again Monday morning getting out of bed with a great mental and
then physical exertion and my doctor perceived that I was not going to
recover from this severe dehydration alone. He instructed me to the local
Emergency Room where he called ahead and I received two liters of saline.
I was supposed to go for my second infusion on Tuesday but I went
Wednesday by mistake, my mind being all muddled up. Even though I wasn't
scheduled they fit me in for a check up and another hydration putting off
the chemo for another time considering my state. My weight yesterday was
home not yet totally myself but feeling better. I hurried home to be with
Chi Chi. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I had one last cycle of dry
heaves. Then, within minutes, I suddenly began to feel better ... like a
real whole lot better! I was finally rehydrated. I started drinking and
eating everything in sight wondering whether I was going to throw it all
up any minute. I went out for more food. It was like the seasonal river of
waters started flowing through the dry desert and everything suddenly
blooms. I haven't stopped eating and today I feel great. I am back at
doing my chores, cleaning, laundry etc. Chi Chi got a good several walks
already today. It's a good day.
BTW, They let me bring my
video camera into the radiation therapy treatment room. This is one
of my treatments, special effect added! --->
I have to start it all over
again next week.