twenty-seventeen

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Always laugh

when you can.

It’s cheap medicine.

–          Lord Byron

 

A poem I wrote to end this year.

twenty-seventeen –

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It is another New Year’s Eve

It is another end to a year

Tomorrow is twenty-seventeen

And, I will have nothing to fear

 

For, there will be more days to come

And, there will be more days to go

Tomorrow is twenty-seventeen

But, one thing I tell you, I know

 

For the past, has proven me strong

Even when I felt I was weak

Tomorrow is twenty-seventeen

And, I have yet to reach my peak

 

My life is not over just yet

There is more to come, you will see

Tomorrow is twenty-seventeen

And soon, I will have no control of my pee

 

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Image Provided by: The Great Doodle Project

 

look back

As this year comes closer to an end, I look back at post excerpts from this past year –

Urologist, I need to see you!

My new doctor’s visit was last week and for my urine sample; I provided a sample that was extremely yellowish brown with the largest blood clot I have seen.  This scared me a little!

My Urologist: Dr. F. –

The visit with Dr. F. involved me discussing my symptoms and the result of a hospital visit involving a CT scan I had last month.  He indicated I most likely have a tumor on my bladder and it would need to be surgically removed. 

it’s not a dream

The cystoscopy took place yesterday and the results are I have bladder cancer. 

how I feel and if I can pee

Before I respond, let me update you on my condition.  The bladder tumor was removed and Dr. F. indicated it looks superficial, meaning on the surface of the bladder.

Good News outweighs Bad News; for now

The bad news is that the cancer can easily come back.  Every 3 months for the next couple of years, I will be visiting the urologist and having a scope performed to search for cancer that may grow back. 

The next appointment with Dr. F.

In the past month I have experienced increased burning during urination and in my bladder.  Yesterday I passed a blood clot.  Does this indicate the cancer has returned? 

Dr. F. Follow-up

Dr. F. indicated some cancer had returned and also I have quite a bit of scare tissue from my last surgery in February. 

in a pickle

Across the room I was in, is a small enclave that has desks and computers.  I could hear Dr. F’s. voice and I heard the words “Terry is in a pickle.” 

I will be there soon, Pensacola

At this point, I have no date for the next surgery.  You know the one; where my bladder is removed.  At this point in time, I am assuming I will be having a radical cystectomy.

The roadmap to remove cancer

Dr. P. informed me that the cancer had spread into my abdominal lymph nodes. 

Stage 4

Yesterday, I met with my new oncologist Dr. D. and we discussed my health history and the current condition regarding my cancer.  Upon reviewing my recent CT scan and the related information from Dr. P., she indicated to me my cancer is stage 4.

The number 12

Chemotherapy will begin this Thursday and continue for the next 12 weeks.  Today, I am having a ‘port’ inserted into my body. 

The lab experiment

These scans should help to determine if the nodules on my lungs are cancer or not.  The nodules are small, therefore cannot be biopsied and these scans should help with this determination. 

Bacon Grease

The immediate days following my 2nd chemo session were not too bad as I am handling the chemo better than expected and hope this trend continues.  The nausea is kept to a minimum, basically non-existent; to a great relieve for me.  I am fatigued the immediate days following my chemotherapy treatment requiring me to be less active than I would like to be.  

Where is me?

This cancer is beating me down right now and is taking a once happy active person to someone who is unrecognizable to me. 

those around me

Today I sit for hours taking in those around me.  Today I sit for hours viewing those near to me.  Today I sit for hours receiving chemotherapy amongst others; those around me.

6 weeks remaining

As the weeks continue and I arrive closer to my end date with chemotherapy, I look ahead to unknowns that soon will reveal themselves to me.  Uncertainties will soon be certainties.  Questions will be replaced with answers. 

wear-down

Chemotherapy is kind to me in that I am not experiencing many other side-affects.  But the tiredness, it is hitting me hard; very hard. 

wait and see approach

More than likely the imaging tests will involve another PET Scan to help determine the possible outcomes including complete removal of the cancer in my body, the partially removal of cancer or no effect at all. 

the importance of today

Today I am receiving my last treatment of chemotherapy.

– the time has come

My CT Scan took place this past Tuesday and today I have an appointment with my Oncologist Dr. D. this morning to discuss the results.  The most recent CT Scan will be compared to the previous imaging tests that took place prior to my chemotherapy treatment. 

In today’s post –

Surgery to remove my bladder is a little more than 2 weeks away. 

Me (2)

Year End Boogie

Hello everyone, this post is a Video Log post related to Boogie Blogging.

What is Boogie Blogging – dancing, moving to music, making a fool of myself, creating laugher within you.

I like to dance and I like to move; movement is good for all of us.  Why not have fun while we are moving?

It you like the music with my videos, you are welcome to get up and move or dance with me!

Let loose, let’s have fun, let’s do some Boogie Blogging.

NOTE: I have not made a Boogie Blogging video in many months and for a good reason.  Remember I have a urethral stent from my right kidney to my bladder.  With lots of movement, this stent causes irritation and results in blood and clots in my urine.  I decided with the end of the year, I would do one more Boogie Blogging because very soon, the stent will be removed as well as my bladder.  I want to have one more dance to celebrate ending the year with a bladder.

A Year End Boogie Blogging while on a cruise – (accompanied by someone very special)

‘Faith’

George, you bring tears to my eyes.

George Michael died several days ago, and my tears continue to flow.

Back in January of this year I wrote a post ‘we do know them, and we grieve‘; it concluded with the following –

laurajack.com has an article titled ‘Why do we cry when famous people die?‘ and includes the following –

This begs the question, why do we cry when famous people die?

As they say at the Grief Recovery Institute, we do know them, we just haven’t met them in person.  We all have an emotional relationship with people who we admire, and perhaps even hope to meet them one day.  Therefore, when they die, we grieve because we have a emotional relationship with them that feels incomplete.

Grief is part of our evolution as humans.  Without loss and grief, we don’t grow.  Experiencing sadness, heart-ache, fear or any other emotion, is part of life, as hard as it may be sometimes.  It is what allows us to continue to transform.

So, whether we lose a family member or a person we admired, grief is normal.  Allow yourself and others to feel and be compassionate and loving because that is what we need to heal.

In today’s post, I needed to write the following –

George, you bring tears to my eyes.

George Michael died several days ago, and my tears continue to flow.

As indicated in the above article, I have an emotional relationship with George Michael and I am grieving because he is gone.  But he was just a singer and artist; a person with great talent – there are many others that fit this same description.

I published a post November 2015 titled ‘My Time in a Psychiatric Hospital‘, in which I wrote about my experience in a psychiatric hospital and my feelings and views about this time in my life.  This event in my life occurred in the late 1980s and was one of many turning points in my life that led me here today.  With much time on my hands while in the psychiatric hospital, I listened to music.

I have memories today of that time in my life and the music I listened to was significant to me as I felt at times it was created just for me at that time in my life.  There was a singer and artist of that time who had a very successful selling album titled ‘Faith’.

Depression years led me to attempt suicide that led me to a psychiatric hospital; that ultimately led me here today.

I needed ‘Faith’ back then, those many years ago, and I still do today.

George, you brought tears to my eyes back many years ago.

George, you bring tears to my eyes still today.

George Michael died several days ago, and my tears continue to flow.

My mom, she worries

Today is my mom’s birthday!

Image1What can I say about mom, that I have not already written about here on my blog?

Oh, you may have missed some of my past words about mom?

Well, since you asked?

Here are some excerpts from past posts about my mom, a special lady in my life –

Post: Thoughts From Years Past.18

….I once called my mom pleading for her to leave work and come help me.  Mom was there for me, helping me get through a tough time as I found in the years to follow she would do on a consistent selfless basis.

Post: My Time in a Psychiatric Hospital

I looked forward to those visitations because each time I knew my mom would be there – not once did she miss coming to visit me.

Post: Thanks Mom!

My mom may not have always understood me and my actions; but she has always supported me.  She has never questioned my choices in life even when those choices were bad ones and she has always been there to help pick me up so I can continue to move forward. 

Post: Happy Birthday Mom

She was there for me in the most difficult dark days of my life and literally saved me and my life.  She has never failed to be available for me in so many ways, so many times, for so many years.

Post: Magnificent

My mom is splendid, grand and outstanding.  But more importantly she’s understanding, unconditional, accepting and loving.

In my post ‘Mother Mary‘, I wrote the following –

I made my mom cry the other day.  It upset me that she was crying; she was crying because she knows I am going to go through a major surgery to have my bladder removed and some other organs removed, and that my life will be different.  And, I guess as a parent we don’t like to see our child suffer; we don’t want to see our child struggle and we don’t want to see our child go through certain situations.

In today’s post, I want to conclude with the following words –

When I visited my family last month for Thanksgiving and it was time for me to say goodbye to my mom – I made my mom cry again.  Image3Well, I did not make her cry, she cried because she knew what was going to take place very soon.  Thanksgiving would be the last time my mom and I would be together before my surgery.  My mom, she worries – and so she cried when it was time to say our goodbyes.  I hugged her and told her not to worry, it all would be fine; it is all good, I will be okay.

I write this post, thinking she may never see these words, but she knows how I feel about her – I have never hesitated to let her know.

Love you mom – happy birthday!

Terry

Controlled Drinking

Okay stay with me – there is some time warping taking place here – I write some thoughts today – then there are thoughts from the past – thoughts from other posts – then back to today.

I sometimes will write a post and for certain reasons will not publish it.  I then will go back to an unpublished post and feel it needs to be published because it is important and relevant today.

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Here is one of those posts; I wrote the following words over a year ago –

This will be the last post I write about drinking!  From my post ‘Thoughts From Years Past.18’, I ended with the following –

I was feeling out of control and handled it by drinking everyday as much as I could.  The alcohol changed my behavior from bad to evil.  It was not creating a state of mind that took me away from the craziness I felt: instead it created an evil person that hated life and everything about it.

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In my post ‘Drink, Drink, Drink’, I ended with the following –

Ok, there you have it; I am in the heavy drinking category and have AUD.  On the NIH site I read some questions to ask to assess oneself with AUD.  Of the 11 questions they asked, I answered ‘Yes’ to 1 question.

I ask again “So, am I an alcoholic?”  I guess I may be per the definition of the word – but I answered ‘Yes’ to 1 question indicating I have AUD – I understand the effects of heavy drinking – but I continue to do it anyway.

There is a good article on the goodtherapy.org website titled ‘Stopping at the Buzz: How to Control Your Drinking’ and includes the following –

In my practice as an addiction psychologist, it’s probably the most common question I encounter; when it comes right down to it, it’s what most people who are struggling with alcohol really want to know:

“How can I control my drinking or drug use?”

For some drinkers, controlled drinking or moderate drinking is an option, and for a small portion of the population, about 5%, controlled drinking is nearly impossible. While many people believe “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic,” many people diagnosed with alcoholism can learn to control their drinking and become social drinkers again. That said, if you have been diagnosed with alcohol dependence, most addiction psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, social workers, and addiction counselors would strongly recommend abstinence. This is always a very personal decision that should be made with careful consideration of the risks and benefits of drinking versus abstinence.

Okay there you have it – I am controlling my drinking.  I am aware of the risks of long term drinking use, but unlike in my 20s, I have it under control and do not drink for the wrong reasons.  The depression years are over, the stress in my life is reduced, and yes, I still have a few issues in my mind to deal with, but my mind is no longer out of control.

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I have taken the option to control my drinking and to not use it to take me away from reality.

Today, I write and conclude with these words –

The above words I wrote a year ago, and little did I know; I was totally correct about me and my drinking behavior.  I do have it under control as since my cancer diagnosis I have all but quit drinking.  For a time, a few months ago, I stopped drinking because of chemo.  Since my chemo is over, I do drink again, but limit myself.

Do I need to justify my drinking habits to anyone?  I don’t think so, but I just did.

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(Note: recently no alcohol intake is taking place due to antibiotics and pain medication intake.  With a major surgery scheduled in 3 weeks, the continued practice of not drinking will continue.)

December – Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney

December – a popular holiday song this time of year – Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney

This was recorded during the sessions for the McCartney II album, where Paul once again retreated to his farm and laid down all the tracks himself.

Interesting facts about Wonderful Christmastime & Paul McCartney

This continues to receive substantial airplay every year. “The song is what we in the industry call an evergreen, because it gets played all the time,” explained entertainment attorney Bernie Resnick.

Although the members of Wings do not feature on the song, they do appear in the song’s music video, which was filmed at the Fountain Inn in Ashurst, West Sussex.

McCartney is the wealthiest rock star ever. His estimated worth over $1.5 Billion, and He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful musician and contemporary songwriter in history.

Martin Sheen, John Spencer, and Stockard Channing of The West Wing covered this for the NBC Celebrity Christmas album in 2000. Also Eli Young Band recorded a version on the 2011 compilation The Country Christmas Collection. Their cover peaked at #33 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in January 2012.

McCartney performed the song on the December 15, 2012 episode of Saturday Night Live.

This information was provided by Songfacts.com

 

Steven Hall Grimnes

I searched the internet for him and his story.

I found some information on ‘The National Archives’ website, but no information I did not already know.

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Who is this person, and what is his story?

I know the Name, the Rank, the Branch of Service, the Wars, the Time Lived; but I do not know anything else.

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But there are thousands upon thousands who rest in peace and who are recognized a few times a year for their life and their time serving us.

My husband served and saw some action and my son serves and saw no action.

Many others have served and are serving that were in action; and many died in action – still many never to return from action.

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As I currently live on the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida; I drive by the area of land almost every day.

Upon returning from our recent trip, I once again drove by; but this time it was different – because of the season.

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Rows upon rows of them, garnished with wreaths and bows of red to mark the season.

I stood in awe at the site and it reminded me of the sacrifices these individuals made and still make today.

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Let us not forget about those serving in the military and are away from family this time of the year.

Let us not forget about those that have served and who rest in peace in our national cemeteries across this great land.

Who are these people, and what are their stories?

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My Message

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve – where did this month go?

3 weeks ago in my video post ‘Results‘, I revealed to you my health status and what is next with regards to my care.  Next month, I will have my next surgery.

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Here is a recap of my recent imaging results and what is to come the first month of the new year –

My 12 weeks of chemotherapy seem to have stopped the cancer in my bladder from growing.  The nodules that appeared on my lungs in my initial imaging tests are also no longer found.  With my cancer, the chemotherapy assisted in controlling the cancer by stopping the cancer from growing or spreading.

My cancer is Stage 4 Bladder Cancer, which is muscle-invasive transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder; the percentage of reoccurrence is high.  Therefore, the gold standard of treatment is the surgery Radical Cystectomy.

Radical Cystectomy is the removal of the entire bladder, nearby lymph nodes, part of the urethra, and nearby organs that may contain cancer cells. In men, the prostate, the seminal vesicles, and part of the vas deferens are also removed.  My Urologist Dr. P. uses the robotic-assisted surgery which reduces risks, time in surgery and hospital stay.  The surgery will require the robotic cystectomy be performed via 5 -6 ports and may take up to 8 hours.  Once surgery is completed, the hospital stay is expected to be 7 – 10 days, with a total recovery of 2 – 3 months.

Here are the results of the surgery per urology.osu.edu –

An ileal conduit, also called a urostomy, redirects the urine so it drains into a bag located on the abdomen. This type of diversion will be created by removing a short segment of the small intestine (ileum) to be used as a conduit for urine to flow out of the body. The ureters will be surgically sewn to the wall of the conduit. The surgeon will close one end of the segment and then bring the open end through the abdominal wall creating a stoma.

Once my surgery is completed, a biopsy will be performed on the organs removed to determine the extent of my cancer.  The results of the biopsy will determine the next steps, which could include additional chemotherapy, radiation or nothing at all, except follow-up appointments for future cancer reoccurrences.  Remember with Stage 4 Bladder cancer it is more about when vs. if the cancer will return.

I have several weeks left before the surgery and Christmas and New Year holidays are quickly approaching.  The initial plan for Christmas was Gary’s family would stay in cabins located here at the RV park where we are located.  We planned to spend the coming days together to celebrate Christmas; but these initial plans have changed due to unforeseen circumstances.  Our plans now are Gary and I will spend Christmas with our RV family in the RV park.

Due to this past years development regarding my health and the unforeseen circumstances that have changed our Christmas plans – I have a message – my message.

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Image Provided by: Motherlucker

My message for each one of you, no matter your upbringing, your religion, believes or feelings; life can be short, let us celebrate our lives – and remember let’s be nice to each other.

a walnut-sized gland

Several weeks ago in my video post ‘Results‘, I revealed to you my health status and what is next with regards to my care.  I indicated in that video I would undergo the Radical Cystectomy surgery scheduled for January 5th, 2017.

Prior to leaving on our cruise December 11th, I already had a scheduled appointment with my Urologist Dr. P. to discuss the details of my upcoming surgery – more about that appointment later in this post.

After returning from my Thanksgiving trip to Texas and prior to leaving on our cruise, I started having pains in my abdominal region that I had not experienced before.  I also was feeling more discomfort from the ureteral stent that currently is inserted from my right kidney to my bladder.  I felt the pains I experienced to be tolerable and left for the cruise ready for some fun in the sun and sea.  I currently take medications for several different reasons, but have not been taking pain medications for quite some time.  Gary, the proactive person he is did bring my pain medication ‘just in case’ – thank you Gary!

The pain and discomfort increased to the point I began having problems walking, sitting, standing and laying.  I had to start taking the pain pills, several of them a day and tried my best to enjoy the cruise.  Upon the cruise returning to port, we made an overnight stop at Gary’s brother in Orlando and preceded to his younger brother’s home near Pensacola.  All during this time the pain continued as did the pain medication.

Also upon our return, I had a voicemail waiting for me indicating my surgery date is moved to January 16th, 2017.

Yesterday, I had my scheduled appointment with my Urologist Dr. P. to discuss my upcoming surgery.  The appointment instead was to deal with my current abdominal pains I have experienced the past couple of weeks.  Dr. P. ordered blood work and a CT Scan which came back with good results and nothing new with regards to my cancer.  It was determined that the abdominal pains could be related to a prostate infection.

From mayoclinic.org

Prostatitis is swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland, a walnut-sized gland situated directly below the bladder in men. The prostate gland produces fluid (semen) that nourishes and transports sperm.

Prostatitis often causes painful or difficult urination. Other symptoms include pain in the groin, pelvic area or genitals and sometimes flu-like symptoms.

Prostatitis affects men of all ages but tends to be more common in men 50 or younger. The condition has a number of causes. Sometimes the cause isn’t identified. If prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection, it can usually be treated with antibiotics.

Depending on the cause, prostatitis can come on gradually or suddenly. It might improve quickly, either on its own or with treatment. Some types of prostatitis last for months or keep recurring (chronic prostatitis).

I received an injection yesterday of antibiotics and 10 days of pills to treat this infection.  I also received a higher dose of pain medication to help with the discomfort I am currently experiencing.

I have a follow-up appointment with my Urologist Dr. P. next Tuesday to discuss the details of my upcoming surgery.

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