Saturday, December 3, 2016

It's not enough

    I turned 53 yesterday. The day before that I shaved off my snow white Movember beard. It was good to see my face again. It may not be the best looking face in the world but it sure beats the Papa Smurf look I have been sporting for a month. 
   I know how blessed I am. Each day is a gift and I have enjoyed many more of them than the medical community every thought I would. A man who has been on Lupron and other androgen deprivation therapies should not be able to function in the bedroom but I can. Sometimes, even without prescription assistance. 
It's still not enough!!
   Mandy is no different than any other woman. She wants to be wanted. She wants to know the man she love desires her. She tires of the role of initiator! Mostly she is disappointed, frustrated, and hurt! It's a good thing she is still in love with me. 
   I love my wife. I adore her!! To me, there is no other in this world who could complete me the way that she does. She and my children are the reason I live but she comes before all others. When she is happy her eyes can light the darkest night. The best part of any day is seeing her smile. 
  Lately I see that smile less and less. Often when I look in her eyes I see only hurt. Resentment surely cannot be far behind. It's not enough that I have the ability to make love with my wife if I never make it a priority. How can I make something I rarely think about a priority? 
   Mandy and I share a love that is rare in this day and age. She is my best friend. No matter how angry we get (it doesn't happen very often) with each other, we both know there is nowhere else we would rather be.  Love songs are written about the emotions we feel for each other. Love stories are about us. Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could demonstrate the love I feel in my heart for her with the passionate hunger she needs to validate that same love she feels for me.
   Prostate cancer is a thief. It steals from both Husband and Wife but it is the Wife who pays the price. She is the one left to feel empty and abandoned. Love truly is wasted on the young.  Each day I pray for a cure for Prostate cancer. I pray not for myself but for the sweet girl who has paid the price of my disease. Prostate cancer has changed my life and in many ways I am a better man because of it but the blessings will never overcome the sadness I see in the eyes of the woman I love.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Holidays in the abstract

  Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I have so much to be thankful for. It is 10:00 pm Mandy is asleep on the couch. Michaela is watching her favorite show. Every 10 minutes or so the show breaks for commercials announcing Black Friday deals. They use to open the stores at 5:00 a.m. on Friday. This year they are opening the doors at J.C. Penney at 1:00 p.m. Thanksgiving day. Macy's follows at 5:00 p.m. Really!!! We are suppose to be celebrating a day of thankfulness with our families and corporate America  is asking us to sell our time with our families to save a few fucking dollars. I am filled with disgust. 
   I am terminal but I am lucky. I know what is important in life. When will enough be enough. When will we stop buying into these lies. Is a few hundred dollars really so important that we sacrifice precious time with the ones we love. 
  Mandy and I have participated in Black Friday 2 times in the last 12 years. The first time was prior to our first anniversary. After staying awake until 1 in the morning we woke up at 4 to make it to the mall before 5:00. It was a miserable day. The second time was a few years ago when Black Friday began at midnight. It was another miserable night and the following day wasn't much better.
   Tomorrow we will sleep in. We will have breakfast as a family. We will prepare dinner together. We will share a feast together. We will enjoy our time together. We will put up Christmas lights over the weekend and prepare for our annual Christmas vacation. We will be together and we will not be fighting crowds at the mall. I feel sorry for those who still see themselves as immortal. They are missing so much.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

We get to eat this year

   Before I begin, I must apologize for not writing in almost a month. I actually started to write several times but the blogger app on my phone would not work. Tonight I upgraded to a new app  so hopefully I will be writing a little more consistently.
  Elk season 2016 was a huge success. Not only did I get to hunt with my daughter for the first time but I also got an elk.

     Mandy was a vegetarian when I met her. 
I have always been more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy. The reason for her animosity toward meat was her disgust at the treatment of animals on factory farms. We found a compromise in eating wild game. In our home, vegetarian is "Native American" for Bad Hunter. This year we have meat.
   I love eating wild game and wild caught fish. Elk meat has no antibiotics and no growth hormones. It is lean and is a lot better for your health than USDA approved beef or pork. 
    So far so good on the cancer front. My blood work is due soon and I will share the results when the labs come back. 
   Thank all of you for reading my blog. I am honored. Todd

Sunday, November 20, 2016

My First support group meeting

  Living in a small town has many benefits but also some drawbacks. For instance, there is no such thing as date night without a trip to the supermarket. Sometimes I relate to the mountman. "Heading into town for supplies!" It's not that extreme but each trip to town has to be a multi function event. Another drawback is the lack of human support when dealing with a cancer diagnosis. There is no such thing as a prostate cancer support group in Toutle. I believe the closest support group to me is in Olympia sum 75 miles away.
  Tuesday last, I made the 100 mile trek to Tacoma to attend an "Us Too Prostate Cancer Support Group". I was invited to the meeting to share my experience with Provenge. I arrived half an hour early and was able to listen in on the conversations. I am envious of all who are able to attend support group meetings. What a blessing it must be. I was only able to attend 20 minutes of the open discussion time but that's all it took to see the value of support group attendance. People who live in the city are lucky. Well, they are lucky except for the crowds, the traffic, the noise, and all the other stuff that comes with urban life.
  After the open discussion I shared my cancer story as well as my experience with Provenge. I ended by singing "I won't back down" by Tom Petty. I got home at close to 11:00 pm. Although I will not be making the 2 hour drive to attend another meeting, I would encourage every man with this disease to attend a support group if they can.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Things can always get worse

  Yesterday was a bad day. Not because of cancer but rather with life in general. It started out bad. It never got better.
  We have cats. Actually we have cats and dogs but at one time we had 8 cats and all but 3 were feral. Maybe we have "sucker written on our foreheads but we took in every stray we ran across for a while. As of yesterday morning we are down to 4.
   For the last month we have watched as one of the outdoor cats got thinner and thinner and began losing hair. We gave him worm medication and fed him tuna and salmon but he continued on a downward spiral. For the last week we put him in the bathroom at night with food, water, and a soft blanket and let him out in the morning. We will be needing a new bathroom door. Sunday evening I carried him into the bathroom, set him down, and provided him a bowl of albacore tuna. "The good stuff", not the nasty cheap stuff! When I opened the door yesterday morning it was clear that he had not moved all night. His food and water was untouched. He had to be put down.
   I was late for work yesterday because I had to bury the cat. His name was "Ozzy" He was a big, solid black, "Tom Kitty" and he was a good boy! 
   Yesterday I had band practice and because I was late for work and had to stay late to make up the hours I lost, I was in a hurry to get home. On the way out the door, a co-worker said "Have a good evening" I foolishly replied, " It can't get any worse" WRONG!! It can always get worse! 
  On the way home my old clunker work truck decided to over heat. I let it cool down and for the next 3 miles, I drove it up the hills and then shut off the engine to cool it as I coasted down the other side. I got home but for a while it was questionable if the truck would make it. 
  Practice went great. We played a lot of great music and had a good time doing it. After practice I headed home. The first thing I did was look at the mail for the day. I opened a letter from a company who is in charge of online fishing and hunting license sales in Washington. The letter stated that all of my personal information had been stolen. Yay!!
   After absorbing that blow, I took the camper off of the Dodge so I could drive it to work in the morning. 
  Finally it was bedtime. I showered then brushed and flossed my teeth. While flossing, I popped a crown. $&@?


  Every trial brings with it a gift if we can only distance ourselves from the situation far enough to see it. I did not see any of my gifts until this morning. I wasn't really looking for them. I'm still not but some have become self evident. Sure, my truck needs repair but at least it broke down on my way home and not on my way to work. My personal information was stolen but I have 2 years of free credit and identity theft monitoring. Everything is a matter of perspective.
   Cancer Sucks!! There is no other way to see it but even cancer brings gifts. They are not always self evident. Sometimes we must search for them. Sometimes we must step out of our situation to see the blessings. Is it the chicken or the egg? I had a thought but it died of loneliness. 
   Does cancer cause blessings or is it the blessing. Perspective!
  This morning I had a revelation of truth. It is one of recurrence. I am the happiest I have ever been. I am not proud of parts of my journey but in aggregate they brought me to this place. Embrace the suck! Todd


Friday, September 16, 2016

The caregiver

   Caregiver, Lord, I hate that word. I'm not alone. Statistically, 40% of cancer patients view the term in a negative way or object to it outright. To me, the term caregiver, invokes images of hospice and end-of-life care. Mandy does not fall within those parameters. In our relationship, I be like Rocky Balboa and cancer be Apollo Creed and he be kicking my ass.
 Mandy be like Mickey in my corner. Granted, she is a much better looking, kinder, and feminine version of Mickey, but you get the idea. She is the one pushing me to fight. She is the one who gets me outside and motivates me to live my life in spite of cancer. 
  The problem is not the word caregiver, the problem is my perception of the word. If we did not use the term caregiver then what word would we use. In reality there is really no other word that fits the person or persons in our lives that walk through this journey with us. Amanda is my wife but what about people who are not married. Loved one might work but some caregivers do not fit that catagory either. Another problem is that if we tried to change things up, nobody would know what we were talking about. I guess I will just have to learn to live with the word. I need an attitude adjustment. Oh, by the way, the Seahawks lost to the Rams today so my attitude is in need of much adjustment. Go Hawks!!!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Bad Logic

   I use to be immortal. Life insurance was for an older and much wiser genre. I got sick. Now it is too late. They don't sell life insurance to people who need it. I was kind of like this guy.
  Okay so I wasn't the brightest crayon in the box. Few faux-immortals are. It wasn't a problem prior to Diagnosis.
         I kind of felt like this guy.

So, I am going to die really young they said. How do I provide for my family? "Simple" said my financial guy. "Go heavily into debt on high dollar minimally depreciating items and take out life insurance on the loans." Wow... Great idea. I die, the loans are paid off and Mandy can sell the Items for profit.
   As mentioned above, I am not the brightest crayon in the box. Further more I am not the sharpest tool in the shed. I am a brick short of a load. My elevator doesn't reach the "Top floor", and if brains were gasoline, I couldn't power a sugar ants motorcycle around the inside of A cheerio! I neglected to factor in one possible scenario. What if I don't die?
   For the last ten+ years I have remained heavily in debt hoping to buck the system. Over the course of ten years, I have managed to piurchase and pay off quality firearms, expensive guitars, a very nice boat and several other toys and vehicles. While in doing so I have managed to fill our toy box, it is clear that 10 years later I would have served my family far better by putting that money into short term bonds and long term investments. I am not complaining. It has been a lot of fun. Mandy will benefit financially and we have all benefitted in the enjoyment of our lifestyle but hindsight is 20/20. 
   My plan would have worked quite well had I followed my original prognosis but I guess life really is a crap shoot. 
In summation: "It is time to go boat shopping!!"