Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Best Medicine Money Can't Buy

Going through my monthly trial of chemo can take it's toll on a me both physically and emotionally. The cocktail of drugs is a both a blessing and a curse.

I have stated in the past how the steroids will drive you crazy, keep you up to the point of total exhaustion and push your emotions from one end of the spectrum to the other. I know this and it still pisses me off to no end. I can go from laughing to crying at the drop of a hat and not know why; I have tried (with zero results) to find a remedy to no avail. My brain seems to be in a sensory overload phase where even a word, a song or a picture can stir memories that I would like to forget.

I consider myself to be very fortunate in knowing that my cancer is in remission, but then feel sad for those that are not. I can not even begin to tell you how much my family and friends have become some of the best therapy money can't buy. My closest friends are some folks that I have never met face to face, but without them I would be lost. To them I am eternally grateful and I also know that some day I will get the chance to give them the hugs that I owe them for what they have done for me. I am also blessed with a very loving family, that may be spread apart by miles, but not by the love they have shown me.

Then there are my kids and their spouses..I could not be prouder of them if I tried. Then there are the two most beautiful, care free little girls that I love with all my heart and soul, my granddaughters. Neither one is old enough to understand what I am going through and I am glad. I got to see them both today and talk about a moral booster. When I saw the younger of the two and kissed her on her cheek, I guess my moustache must have tickled her because she smiled and laughed. Talk about making me smile, wow..gotta love it!

Now, the other one is starting to become a little "lady" at the ripe old age of ohhh, seventeen months. Well, Pops (me) got lucky and won tickets to the circus!! Little Miss Priss, her dad, mom and I enjoyed a nice dinner together at an Italian Restaurant, where let's just say the pasta got tossed around more than the salad, (She has a good arm for her small size).

Then it was off to the circus and I was hoping that the lights, sounds and animals would be something she would enjoy. She did not let me down. She clapped, smiled and pointed at the different things that she saw from the time we walked in the door. I for one was pointing at the ridiculous prices of the souvenirs that they were hocking. I took a picture of her and my son looking at the stuffed "kitties" at $23 and the snow cones that ranged from $8- $12, depending on the cup!! Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, I sent the picture to some friends and family via my phone. A couple of responses back included one from my brother who asked, " Yikes, are you at the circus or at Tiffany &Co.?" and from a close friend, "better be a damn good snow cone". Needless to say, nothing was purchased. Once the show started, I enjoyed watching her small eyes try to take in all of the action. To me, that was better than anything that was going on in the ring. We made it to about intermission and then she started to get tired and restless and we knew the show was over for us. At that point I really didn't care since this little girl had given me a night of enjoyment and fun.

I also need to mention that come this winter she will have a little sister joining us and then there will be three little girls for me to love. I may be dealing with some crap in my life, but I think I am one of the luckiest guys around.....Till next time, be thankful for the little ones in our lives, they can give us the greatest rewards....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Probies at the Clinic (plus a few old timers)

Today was a day of firsts for many, (one is too many), folks. I watched from my chair as the nurses tried to explain the goods and bad of chemo. For me the ritual of I.V.s and the litany of meds is just second hand, but I could see the look of fear in their eyes. I noticed a couple that are about the same age as me with the wife receiving chemo for the first time and the husband for support. Maybe support is not the best word to use with this idiot. All he seemed interested in was.."How long do we need to be here?", "When can she go back to work?", "yada, yada , yada", this guy was on my short list of people that needed a swift kick in the ass..Ahh, sweet justice.."the nurse said "Uh, may want to listen and THEN you can help your wife". I believe he was not used to being talked to by a woman or maybe he was just in denial of this whole situation, but he got up and left. That really helped the poor woman as she sat and listened to the nurse go through page after page of instructions and warning signs.

The young lady sitting next to me is all of twenty one years old and is suffering from leukemia. Twenty young and so timid, with the look of a total despair. She was surrounded by her family, her Dad, Grandfather and older sister. Sometimes I think that having family around is a great thing but there are days that as in her case they can be overwhelming. The dad and sister sat and were constantly texting and calling on their phones. The poor grandfather was working a Rosary so fast that I swear I smelled smoke from the well worn beads that looked as if numerous prayers had been recited over the years..I know that they were there to help support her, but it seems they were more of an issue...As she sat getting prepped for chemo, I felt bad for her..The folks that were there in support had their own "all too important " issues to be involved in, so in reality she was just as alone as I. Never once have I asked my family or friends to attend a treatment with me. What the hell are they going to do? What the hell are they going to say? Some battles I think are best fought alone and by doing this you get to be a better fighter in your daily battles. My family has been there for me when I have asked and never once has turned down a request for help when needed. This being said..if you are going to be with a loved one that is getting chemo or is just going to the Dr. , remember there is a reason they are there and don't add to an already stressful situation..

How many of you have ever been to a clinic or hospital and spent any time in an infusion room? I will try to give you a little perspective from where I sit and am able to see and what I hear..First off, if you want privacy about your condition, your meds and your daily bodily functions and what your insurance covers or doesn't...ain't gonna happen. Twenty five recliners made with the finest plastic that money can buy, twenty five IV trees with pumps.. all the available space is usually filled to capacity. Add in the seven or eight nurses and aids and it gets a wee bit crowded.. Personally I don't give a rat's butt, as I am very open about my lymphoma and not afraid to share. There is a very diverse group of patients and it changes on any given day that I've been here. The same questions cross my mind every single time I come to chemo...How did we become the chosen few? How many like myself will go into remission? How many will die? I can tell the folks that have given up and pretty much "checked out"..sad. One thing I hear from the conversations that is a constant is, with the older folks a lot are ex-military and/or ranchers and the younger are very wide ranged in their types of cancers and life experiences.

I am getting tired and i see a nap in my future. The Benadryl is kicking i always ask...Please pass this blog on to anyone that you feel it would help and Thanks for taking the time to stop by. If you have any questions or comments please let me know. Take Care, Be Safe and Never Forget..

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