DEAR DIARY DAY ONE, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019        Back To My Website ---->  JEARB.com


I was 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.  

 

I did 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.

So 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!

It's 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!!!

 

DEAR DIARY:  Dec. 4 - Dec. 12, 2019

 

The 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 always did.

 

On Friday I 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.

I called 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 140 lbs.

I drove 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! ---> HERE

I have to start it all over again next week.

The End

AB