Monday, May 23, 2016

Don't EVER Give Up!

When we left off, I was feeling much better but the local oncologist told me that the cancer drug I had been taking was not working and there were no other drugs that hadn’t been tried on me already. He set up an appointment with my original oncologist to see if there were any clinical trials available, but didn’t hold out much hope. He basically told me to go home and die, although not in so many words. While that was far from encouraging news, I was still upbeat at feeling better and happy to have escaped death’s ambush once again. I had accepted my fate months earlier and was at peace with it, but was in no hurry to finish the race.

So I went to see Dr. Whoosh in Gotham City again today to find out about any clinical trials. He came in the room with a frown on his face, which I thought meant that he agreed with the local guy’s opinion. He didn’t live up to my characterization of him today by spending nearly a half hour talking with me. While he was tactful and went to great lengths to say what a fine doctor the local guy is, in the end he thought his diagnosis was, to put it politely, total bull feathers.  He went over a list of items and essentially said that the cancer appeared to be barely different than it was when he last saw me about six months ago. I’m scheduled for a new CT scan in two weeks and a consult. If the new scan confirms his opinion I’ll probably be resuming treatment with the drug I was on earlier…this time under the care of Dr. Whoosh.

I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster for the last couple of months. At death’s doorstep twice, placed in pallative care, talked to about hospice, poked and prodded for countless blood tests, scanned, and told there was no hope for me. On the other hand I’m feeling much better, I’ve lost about twenty pounds, my blood glucose is doing better than it has in several years, and I’ve been told the end is not as near as I was led to believe. Through it all I have had countless people praying for me and encouraging me in my struggle. God has intervened for me at least twice, and I suspect many times more than that. I ended one of my church bulletin articles a couple of years ago by asking God to strengthen my desire to pray. He has done that, and I believe He’s started answering my prayers more frequently as well.

Now for something completely different...

I’ve been promising to resume my humorous anecdotes and sarcastic commentary for a while, so I’ll tell a little tale on myself.  I own a lift chair. It’s like a La*Z*Boy recliner except it’s electric and will help stand you up if you’re unable to stand on your own. I don’t need it to stand up yet, but it does help my back and is very comfortable. I was relaxing in it a week or so ago and we had a power failure. Did you catch the part above where I said it was electric?  There’s no manual override. Battery backup you say? Yes, it does have two tiny 9 volt transistor batteries that are supposed to operate it ONE TIME in an emergency. You guessed it…they appeared to be dead as a pair of mackerels. Did I have extra batteries? Yes. Did I know where they were? Of course not. After spending a significant amount of time bemoaning my situation, I finally discovered that if I leaned forward as far as I could in my prone position, the chair would slowly move an inch or so when I pushed the correct button. After that effort, the batteries had to wait a while to recover. After several minutes of leaning and button pushing I finally had the chair up far enough that I could climb out of it. Do I know where the spare batteries are now? You betcha.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Just a quick note

I keep trying to find time to write another post and get it online but things just keep getting in the way. I've got several humorous things and some health updates to talk about.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Miracles Do Happen!

I know I promised something funny next, but this can't wait...
Two weeks ago I was on death’s doorstep. As darkness fell I resigned myself to not seeing the next morning. I was experiencing uncontrollable spasms and had much difficulty falling asleep, finally dropping off around 2 a.m.. Imagine my surprise when I awoke to sunlight streaming through my hospital room window! I received a transfusion and nearly 2 liters of fluid was drawn out of my lungs. I was discharged a few days later and met with my oncologist.  His news was that the cancer drugs were not working at all and there was nothing else they could do for me. No need for any further appointments and stop the cancer treatments. They did set me up with an appointment with Dr. Whoosh to find out if there are any clinical trials that I might qualify for, but it’s unlikely. 

I was sent home on palliative home care, which is what comes prior to hospice. One of the things that palliative care nurses do is take blood samples. Prior to my visit to the hospital, my numbers were far from encouraging. I had bad numbers for potassium, calcium, sodium and creatinine to name just a few. Several things pointed to kidney problems. The nurse took a blood sample this morning and sent it to the lab. I got a call a couple of hours later wanting another sample. I asked why and was told that the lab had never seen a worse test, something had to be wrong. The comment was made that it looked like they had drawn the blood from a corpse. The nurse promised to let me know what the results on the second test were. I got a call a few hours ago…everything is within range, nothing abnormal. Since coming home I have been shedding weight like crazy, twelve pounds in six days. I’m still on oxygen and now traveling in a wheelchair, but I’m feeling stronger than I have in several months.

The last cancer treatment I had was well over a month ago. There have been no other changes to my medications. The doctors have given up. It is my firm belief that I have experienced a series of miracles over the last two weeks. An astounding number of people say they’re praying for God to intervene on my behalf. It’s working. Is the cancer gone? I can’t say it is, but there have been no x-rays or scans done since before the cancer doctor essentially told me to go home and die. Sometimes you hear stories about life threatening tumors that suddenly disappear. That would be nice, but regardless I feel God has had a hand in this. I might die tomorrow but that doesn’t change my mind. I have experienced something miraculous. 

To everyone who has been praying for me, thank you. It’s working, keep it up!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

A Bit of Melancholy

I just spent ten days in the hospital and have enough material for several posts that should lend everyone a smile or two.  However those posts are for another day. This post is serious, a summary of why I was in the hospital and an update of the status of my cancer. So if you don’t want to ruin your day you might want to move along. Nothing to see here.

During the aforementioned ten days in the hospital I believe I was looking death in the eyes. My breathing got so shallow that I couldn’t even stand up without gasping and almost passing out. Forget walking a single step. I was on supplemental oxygen for the entire 10 days. On the second day I received a transfusion of 2 pints of blood and was put on a massive regimen of diuretics. People came to visit me and I could barely speak. My wife and I were sure the end was coming that night. I fell asleep around 2 a.m. not expecting to see dawn. At 5:30 a.m. I was surprised to still be alive when someone woke me to take a blood sample. I was taken for a CT scan. Transferred from the bed to the CT machine, I panicked due to extreme difficulty in breathing. It took them a good 10 minutes to get me calmed down before they could begin the scan. Later that day one of the gaggle of doctors attending to me drew nearly 2 liters of fluid from my right lung. Back in my room, the oncologist dropped by to let me know that the CT scan showed the cancer now occupied most of the lower half of my right lung and the latest drug I started a few months ago was having no effect on it. The next day I started feeling better but still pretty rocky. It took another seven days before I was good enough to release.

Today I went to see the oncologist again to discuss another drug he had said might help me. On this visit he said he had checked into the data on the drug and found that it was less effective than any of the other medicines that they have already tried. There isn’t anything else to try. He’s done everything he can and the only suggestion he had was to send me back to Dr. Whoosh at the cancer research hospital to find out if there are any clinical trials I might qualify for.

I’m surprisingly calm about this. Maybe I’m in denial, I don’t know. I feel sort of peaceful and accepting. I still feel healthy except for the shortness of breath, although I am now in palliative care (the next step is hospice). Strangely, I look at the news as a sort of gift. Most folks don’t have any idea when they will meet their doom. It might be tomorrow or 50 years in the future. Although I don’t know the exact time, I now know that there is a good chance that it might be around the next corner. Something I don’t have to worry about any more. There are a multitude of people saying prayers for me and I cannot discount the effect those prayers have. Without the prayers I truly believe I would have passed on when I was in the hospital. I won’t say that God won’t bring a miracle. Things happen that are beyond understanding and I still have some hope. But as I said, I’m at peace whatever happens. I’m okay with it.

Okay, enough navel gazing, I’ll have a more upbeat post in a few days.