Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Facing Reality


    Yesterday I woke at 10:30 am in preparation for the 12 hour graveyard shift I was forced to work last night. After coffee, Mandy and I spent as much time as possible biking and hiking before I had to go to work. I got home at 7:30 this morning. Mandy was already long gone by the time I arrived. She started a new job today. She began looking for new employment a couple of months ago. At the time, I was elated. The job at the clinic where she was working provided no future. She received no benefits and no vacation and no retirement whatsoever. I was thrilled when the new employer called and offered her a lead position. Finally she was going to be getting the recognition she deserves. Each day this week she has to drive over 70 miles to the hospital in Olympia for orientation and training. Mandy hates being in the car. Once she completes her training this week her commute will be cut in half. I hope she loves her new job.
  A couple of days ago, I found out why she really made the decision to switch employers. There were of course the aforementioned reasons but a conversation we had a couple months ago really set the ball into motion.
    It was a dark rainy afternoon and I was having one of my not so positive days. I said something to the effect of " there are not too many drugs left for me to take in my fight against cancer". Amanda asked what I meant and I said "the next step for me would most likely be taxotere or some othe form of chemo-therapy."
  I always try to be a few steps ahead of the game. When I was on A.D.T. alone, I knew the names of the next 2 or 3 drugs I would turn to when the hormones failed. I have now exhausted all but the last of those drugs. Keeping with my system, I had planned the next 2 or 3 drugs I would take once Zytiga fails. On this particular day, I had just found out that the next drug I was planning on taking after Zytiga might share a cross resistance and be useless in the battle. The other two drugs on my list are still in trial and may or may not be available when Zytiga fails.
  I was discouraged. One of the bullets had been taken out of my gun.I have since gotten over it and thanks to many friends, I have a full magazine and an extra clip but the damage was done. In a moment of weakness I blurted out something that might not come to fruition and yet, the proverbial cat was out of the bag.  I am going to die from Prostate cancer and it could be sooner rather than later.
  It's a truth that I cannot ignore no matter how often I choose to stick my head in the sand or cruise the Egyptian river. Telling Mandy that chemo might be the next treatment for me got her attention. She needed a better job because if something happens to me she would be in a world of hurt. It's funny how people that need life insurance cannot get it. I have done what I can but the truth remains that my death will provide Mandy a significant financial  hardship to overcome. It is comforting to know that upon my death she will receive my pension for the rest of her life, but it is only a few hundred dollars a month for the surviving spouse.
   I am not trying to be morbid. I have not lost hope. I have not given up. I am simply facing reality.
I have a terminal illness. Many of my friends who have fought this disease have already lost. Many were diagnosed several years after me and had better stats. I have been blessed a whole lot more than I deserve. I am grateful. I hope the blessings continue. Perhaps they will but what if they don't. I don't have a will. I don't have anything that says if nothing can be done that I want them to pull the plug. I do not have my house in order. Mandy deserves better.
  Mandy started her new job today. She left her old job that afforded her a lot of time away from work to attend our daughters sports functions because the reality of our situation demands that she do so. I still believe I will live to see my granddaughters have children of their own but I can't count on that to pay the rent. As much as I wish I did, I do not have the faith of a mustard seed.  
  I was forced onto a rotating shift schedule that is suppose to last only a month. It could end up being permanent. This only cements my decision to retire the first of the year. I need to end my complacent behavior. I need to get things taken care of. I need to look reality in the eye. My family depends on me to take care of them. Todd