Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Déjà vu All Over Again

I seem to recall going through something like this before. Oh yeah, remember the windshield wiper debacle? Yeah, I’m talking about more auto problems.  We replaced Vlad the Impala with a newer version last fall after I T-boned a high school kid who ran a stop sign. In mid-January I started noticing a whine in the engine. Some checking revealed foam in the power steering fluid, so I took it to the local auto mechanic. Diagnosis, it needed a power steering pump transplant which would run me slightly over $200. The whining went away for about two weeks. Taking it back to the shop, they replaced the defective pump with another one. Two weeks later it started whining again. Before I could get it into the shop, I spent a week in the hospital. Soon after being released, into the shop it went again. This time it was diagnosed with a bad rack and pinion…another $500. It’s now three weeks later and, guess what? It’s started whining again. I’m scheduled to drop it off at the mechanic’s tomorrow morning.  Adding in money spent on rental cars to get around in while it’s in the shop, I’ve poured about $900 into this so far. 

I finally got back in to see the oncologist this morning to review the results of my latest CT scan. It was about what I expected, a rather depressing visit. The cancer is continuing to grow and now occupies most of the lower portion of my right lung. I also heard the “T” word for the first time today. I knew it was coming, but I was still a bit shaken by it, “Terminal.” No mention of how much longer I’ve got, I should have asked but I was kind of speechless at the time. The fact is that it’s pretty doubtful that a miracle recovery is on my horizon. The immunotherapy had been put on hold while I recovered from my hospital visit and got weaned off of the steroids. I received another treatment today, hopefully it will resume slowing down the progress of the disease for a while.

People are continuing to pray for me and I appreciate it more that you can imagine. Folks sometimes tell me they are surprised that I can write about all of this with a sense of humor or a modicum of contentment. I have pretty much accepted this situation as just another episode of my life, perhaps the series finale. We all are here for a finite time and none of us know exactly when the end will come. However I now know that my end will be sooner that I had previously thought. It’s like I got a note from the Grim Reaper that I’m on his short list, which is more than many folks get. I’m happy that I have been blessed with 65 years, many more than some. A number of my friends and peers have passed on already, more and more in recent years. I am grateful that I have, so far, been relatively free of any severe side effects from the various cancer drugs I’ve been taking. No nausea or any of the dozens of other nasty things mentioned in the medication info sheets. As for my sense of humor, I see no reason to be downhearted. I want to enjoy what little time I have left, there is no room for self-pity or anger in that equation. God has given me a wonderful life. Nearly 40 years married to my best friend, three tremendous children and two fantastic grandchildren. Certainly there have been some bad times, but through it all I knew that God had my back. Everything so far has eventually worked out for the best. What do I have to be angry about? One of the things that gives me the most pleasure is being able to make someone laugh or smile. Whether it's just a silly comment on Facebook or a Photoshop image of a guy in a turban playing Monopoly saying that he wants to put a suicide bomber on Boardwalk, knowing somebody somewhere might have done a spit take gives me great joy.

It might be the last episode of the series for me but I’m looking forward to the spinoff, I know it’ll be great!

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