Thursday, February 27, 2014

Retirement. Hmmmm!!!

   Today was a tough day of a tough week. Tomorrow is Friday. I can truly relate to TGIF. As I sit in this really uncomfortable chair at the optometrist my oncology appointment an hour behind me plays through my head. Was that today or was it last month. It could have been. They are always the same. Today I am tired. It shows in my eyes and in my posture. Today I feel like a beaten dog. I am not beaten yet the beatings continue. Today I survived. Today,  for the first time I wanted to quit going to work . Today I thought of retirement. I could walk away. I could stay home each and every day. What would I do? Sleeping in sounds nice but then what? My friends are at work. I could afford it. We would get by. I don't just want to get by. I am 50 years old. 55 seems like a realistic goal. In five years I should have built up enough to pay off the house. In five years the bulk of our bills will be paid off and our daughter should be finishing her junior year of college. Five years.... It will pass like a gentle breeze. It seems a long way off. It feels as though it will never get here at all. I have terminal cancer. Realistically five years could be the rest of my life. I can't think that way though. Those thoughts must remain in the shadows. I have today and God willing I will have tomorrow. 
    Cancer is not in control. I am not in control but I must be positive with that which I am in control of. It is a mental masturbation. It is a game played out daily in the depth of my psyche. Some days I am th windshield and others the bug. Today I was the bug. Today I lost the game and yet as I readied for bed I took a moment and looked online to see if my P.S.A. had been posted. As my heart raced and my hands trembled I braced for the worst while praying for the best. My prayers were answered with another 45% drop. My P.S.A. is now at 0.10. I will be in the zero club next month if the trend continues. My spirit was resurrected in that moment and although it was a miserable day that had beaten me near submission there was victory in the end. I know that it will always be this way. In my darkest hour there will always be a light. 
   I always reread my posts before I publish them to edit the content. I believe I will leave this one as written. God bless..... Todd

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's that time of the month again

   I am sorry I haven't written in a long time. We have been doing home remodeling and there just hasn't been enough hours in the day. I love our home but it has issues. The biggest issue is that when the wind blows the draperies move. In the last few weeks we have been trying to remedy the problem. New doors and windows have been on the menu. It is a painstakingly slow process but to me it is fun. We fell in love with our home when we found it but as the new love faded we set to making changes. We are to the point of having only major changes left to make. Doors, windows, carpeting, and hardwood. Painting the house is on the agenda as well as adding covered R.V. space and my personal favorite, enlarge the master bedroom and add walk-in closets and an on-suite
   I see my Oncologist tomorrow and I can feel my blood pressure rising. It use to be that I only felt this way 4 times per year but now with the Zytiga it is a monthly event. Every 28 days I have to brace myself for another P.S.A. test. It is hard for people without cancer to grasp the emotional turmoil a cancer patient must endure every day. We do our best to cope but sometimes it is just plain hard. How long until the medication fails. What will the next one be and how long will it last. They all fail. That is the problem with cancer. The drugs only work for so long. I ache at times. I want life to continue as it is right now. I love my life. It took me 42 years to find real happiness. I want it to last. Reality is that nothing lasts forever. Life changes. We age. We die. Friday I will get my test results. God willing, they will remain the same or lower. Either way I will know something. Next month it will begin again. I never get use to it. I never will. In between I will live. In between I will love. In between I will have a really good time.
  Tonight is the love of my life's birthday. Tonight I forget cancer yet again and devote this evening to her. I can worry tomorrow. Tonight I must live. Happy Birthday Mandy. I love you. Todd

Sunday, February 9, 2014

There is so much more to life than work.

  It snowed this past week. It usually snows here a few times a year but it never stays around long. This time has been different. It started snowing and just didn't stop. There is at present, a foot on the ground and it is still coming down. As I mentioned the other day, with the cold weather comes the long hours at work. Last night I worked 12 hours of grave yard. I was exhausted when I got home this morning. As I relaxed in my recliner after my morning shower I watched the snow falling and it occurred to me that this may be the only weekend this year that I would get to play with my family in the snow. To make a long story short, I called in sick before going to bed for a few hours of much needed sleep. I woke up at 3:30 to six inches of fresh powder on top of the 6 inches of packed snow from the two previous days. It is 11:30 at night and we just came indoors an hour ago. We made a snowman, threw snowballs, rode the snowmobiles,sledded and went for a long evening walk through the white stuff. It was a good day.
   I know we need to work. It is what gives us the life we enjoy but it is not the most important thing we do. I could have made a bunch of money today but it is only money. Money usually goes away faster than the snow but the memories we made today will last a lifetime.
   I wish I had learned this lesson at a much younger age. I wish I had learned it when my adult children were still kids. In many ways they got ripped off. Our daughter, Michaela, is the sole benefactor of my new priority list. We do things with my other kids and my grand children but Michaela lives it everyday. I wonder if she realizes how lucky she is. She is a good kid.
  As Mandy and I walked through the silent night, I was awestruck by the stillness around me. It was as if the entire world had simply decided to stand still. There were no cars, no people, and no tire tracks on the road. The fresh snow sparked in the soft light of nearby houses illuminating the path before us.We walked side by side at times holding hands simply enjoying the moment. Our moment. I could have missed it. I could have put on my boots, packed a lunch, and went to work. I could have missed laying in the snow in the middle of the road with the love of my life. I could have missed throwing snowballs at my father in law and his girlfriends home and heckling them for being too old to come outside and play. I could have missed the laughter and the smiles but I didn't. Not this time!
   How many moments do we really have in this life? Are we so blessed that we can afford to throw them away for something as pathetic as a dollar? To be fair it was actually several hundred dollars but that just makes my point even stronger. It's only money! It has no value!
  I will still work overtime. I like having a full toy box far too much to give it all up but there really is so much more to this life than what we do for a living. It sucks that so many people never get that. It sucks that it took getting cancer for me to get that. I guess it is simply one more blessing given to me by this disease. Yes I said blessing. The true fact of the matter is that cancer has given far more in the way of blessings than it ever took away. Life is perspective. Think about that one for a while :-) Until next time, Todd

Friday, February 7, 2014

Winter arrived this morning.

    I opened my eyes to stillness. The earth was quiet. I knew before opening the curtains that snow had fallen over night. It had been forecast and was falling even before bed time but it didn't matter. Snow seldom stays here for any length of time. In western Washington we have two seasons, warm rain and cold rain. For the last two months we have had very little of either. It has been clear and very mild. Normally we would be spending weekends in the mountains on the snowmobiles or doing some other alpine activity but not this year. This year we have been riding bikes and hiking mountain trails. When the snow began to fall I was elated. The snow brings out the kid in me. I have a terrible cold but I didn't care. I couldn't wait to go outside.
    Mandy was already up and the coffee was brewed when I walked into the living room. We sat in our chairs drinking coffee and taking in the fresh blanket of white. Beautiful! We bundled up and went on a morning walk with the dogs. We were the first to make tracks as we left the drive. Nobody else appeared to be awake. As our boots squeaked on the dry powder the dogs, acting much more like puppies than grey muzzled adults, ran and played in the drifts. I guess the snow brings out the pup in all old dogs. We walked through the neighborhood and out on the dock at the resort. All around us was a winter wonderland. Geese and ducks swam in  pools of  water as others walked the edge of the frozen lake.
School had been cancelled and our daughter stayed the night at a friend's house so at 11:30 I rode a sled over to pick her up. I could have drove and I could have walked but as I said, snow seldom stays here for long. The forecast calls for snow throughout the day today and tomorrow. The temperature is suppose to stay in the low twenties. Rain is predicted for Sunday but we are hoping the weatherman is wrong.
     With the fun that the snow brings also comes the problems at work. Water pipes are freezing and breaking. The machines are not running well. Management ordered 24 hour coverage until Wednesday morning so I got moved to the graveyard shift. I will go to work at 7pm tonight. Bummer!!! I will make it through the night tonight but I am pretty sure that tomorrow this cold will get the best of me and I will be forced to call in sick. I will be sure to put on a good act tonight so the authenticity of my claim will not be questioned. I will go back to work Sunday night like a good boy but let's face it, even the good have to be bad once in a while. Life is not about work. Work simply pays for the living of life. I am all for the living. Todd

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I don't feel well.

Gee I wonder why. I had my infusion last week.
I thought maybe I was getting sick from the cancer. As it turns out I am sick from the cancer medication. Cancer Sucks!

The following side effects are associated with pamidronate IV:
Common side effects of pamidronate IV:
High Blood PressureSevere
Escape of Fluid into the LungsSevere
Bone PainSevere
Low Amount of Magnesium in the BloodSevere
Low Amount of Calcium in the BloodSevere
Water RetentionSevere
Low Amount of Potassium in the BloodSevere
Acute Infection of the Nose, Throat or SinusLess Severe
Inflammation of the NoseLess Severe
Sinus Irritation and CongestionLess Severe
Incomplete or Infrequent Bowel MovementsLess Severe
Urinary Tract InfectionLess Severe
Joint Damage causing Pain and Loss of FunctionLess Severe
Joint PainLess Severe
Muscle PainLess Severe
Chronic Trouble SleepingLess Severe
FeverLess Severe
Low EnergyLess Severe
PainLess Severe
Loss of AppetiteLess Severe
Head PainLess Severe
Trouble BreathingLess Severe
CoughLess Severe
Abnormal Respiratory SoundLess Severe
Feel Like Throwing UpLess Severe
Throwing UpLess Severe
Stomach CrampsLess Severe
Infection due to the Candida FungusLess Severe
Signs and Symptoms at Injection SiteLess Severe
Feeling WeakLess Severe
Low Amount of Phosphate in the BloodLess Severe
AnemiaLess Severe
Low Level of Granulocytes in the BloodLess Severe
AnxiousLess Severe
Infrequent side effects of pamidronate IV:
Visible Water RetentionSevere
Fast HeartbeatSevere
Painful, Red or Swollen MouthLess Severe
IndigestionLess Severe
Symptoms from Chronic Kidney FailureLess Severe
Muscle StiffnessLess Severe
DrowsinessLess Severe
ChillsLess Severe
DiarrheaLess Severe
Mental Disorder with Loss of Normal Personality & RealityLess Severe
Rare side effects of pamidronate IV:
Inflammation of the Iris - the Colored Part of the EyeballSevere
Inflammation of the Uvea of the EyeSevere
Lung Tissue ProblemsSevere
Inflammation of the White Outer Coat of the EyeSevere
Aseptic Necrosis of Jaw BoneSevere
Focal Segmental GlomerulosclerosisSevere
Fracture of Femur Thigh BoneSevere
Inflammation of the Orbit Outer Eye StructureSevere
Atrial FlutterSevere
Heart FailureSevere
Abnormally Low Blood PressureSevere
Adult Respiratory Distress SyndromeSevere
Bleeding of the Stomach or IntestinesSevere
Interstitial NephritisSevere
Feeling FaintSevere
Life Threatening Allergic ReactionSevere
Giant HivesSevere