O-O-H CHILD

I wrote this post prior to my recent hospital stay.

Early morning and I am drinking coffee.

The lights are dim, just the way I like it in the mornings before others have awaken.

The body pain is a little stronger this morning than usual.

And then a song pops in my head.

And I remember the words and the music and I sing a portion of it in my head.

Ooh-oo child

Things are gonna get easier

Ooh-oo child

Things’ll get brighter

Ooh-oo child

Things are gonna get easier

Ooh-oo child

Things’ll get brighter

Some day, yeah

We’ll get it together and we’ll get it all done

Some day

When your head is much lighter

My mornings are usually the same; wake in pain, about a level 5, drink coffee in silence to reflect and ponder about myself, my cancer, my life and my upcoming day.

This particular morning as I was doing my usual morning routine, a song popped in my head for a reason.

Was someone or something sending me a reminder?

That morning, a song that popped in my head is O-O-H CHILD by The Five Stairsteps

It is a good reminder for me and I think maybe a good reminder for the world we live in.

My Feet – A Fresh Perspective

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I am in year 3 of my blog.

In the early days of this blog, there are posts that received little exposer.

I have a new category ‘Reruns – A Fresh Perspective ’.  This category reposts these earlier posts that received little exposer and a fresh perspective on how I feel about them today.

This post was originally posted on May 16, 2015 –

When I was a small child, I would spend time at my neighbor’s house.  The father of that family would always go barefoot and for whatever reason, I remember what his feet looked like.  He had corns, calluses and cracked heels.  As a child, maybe I thought it was a disease or a lack of hygiene or thought it was normal, not exactly sure what I thought, I just remember how ugly they were.  Fast forward about 50 years and I have my neighbor’s feet!

I have the same corns, calluses and cracked heels – just like my neighbor!  But its ok, my feet reflect the life I have lived, the many years of walking with shoes on but mainly walking without shoes.  I like walking barefoot and walk without shoes any chance I get.  My feet reflect who I am as does my face (that’s another blog post).  My feet reflect my running days; years of running and the many years of walking.  It would be interesting to know how many steps my feet have taken in all my years.

My smartphone has a pedometer that tracks the steps I take throughout the day.  The days I go to the gym and use the elliptical and treadmill, I certainly go beyond 10,000 steps, which my pedometer indicates as very good.  I don’t carry my smartphone on my body at all times, so some days my pedometer indicates I have not taken many steps.  When parking at public places, I am the person who parks the furthest away from the entrance, I always take the stairs and I make sure I walk a lot every day.

So, what’s the point of this post?  I think our feet reflect who we are, certainly where we have been and what we have been doing.  My feet let me dance, my feet let me swim, my feet let me see and reach higher.  My feet have brought me from childhood to adulthood and will continue to carry me to my senior years.

I appreciate my feet even with the corns, calluses and cracked heels.

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A Fresh Perspective –

Much has changed since I wrote that post back in 2015 except, I continue to appreciate my feet.  What has changed?  It was only 6 weeks ago I was walking 1-2 miles per day with some discomfort.  I mentioned in several posts about my increased pain and how it was affecting my walking.  Rapidly the pain increased in my right grown and the walking became worse forcing me to use a cane and now I am using a walker.  Then came reduced physical inactivity and most recently a 7-day hospital stay where I remained bedridden for most of that time.  This combination has caused severe edema in my feet and ankles.

My feet continue to function and do their job even though they are swollen and tired – I continue to appreciate my feet.

Father & Sons

So many unexpected events have happened the last 2 weeks; and I was so totally un-prepared for them.

Saturday, June 17th in my post ‘unexpectedly‘, I wrote the following words –

Yesterday afternoon, I was alone resting. 

Suddenly the door opens and there was an unexpected surprise.

I am disabling comments my friends, because I need time away from WP today.

You know my appreciation for you all is great and never ending.

Thank you my friends for allowing me to take a day off.

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Image Provided by: The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

In today’s post, I write the following –

Upon the door opening, my Son #2 and his wife walk in.  I instantly break down with emotions and tears; and stand to give my Son #2 a big hug and a big kiss on the cheek.  “What are you doing here?”, I ask.  “We wanted to come down and spend Father’s Day with you.”  With more emotions and tears I let him know the importance of his unexpected visit and what it means to me.  We spend that Friday evening in the RV because, they are tired having started early that morning and I am not feeling well at all.

The very next day Saturday, I continue to not feel well; I am unable to walk on my right leg without using a cane and many other parts of my body are hurting.  With my pain medications just recently increased, I am tired and drowsy, but do my best to stay alert.

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That afternoon, Son #2 and Gary leave to run an errand and my lovely daughter-in-law spend time together talking about what is going on with me and I open up some about my feelings with her and how I feel about it all.

After some time, the door opens and Son #2, informs me he has something for me.  I look his way, and following him are my Son #1 and Son #3.  Now the water works are flowing full force and as I rise to be at their level, the legs are wobbly and my back is bent forward – but the hugs and kisses are sturdy, strong and sincere.

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What an honor to have all 3 sons here to celebrate Father’s Day with me.

We spend several hours talking and catching up and I let them know I am not feeling well and it may be difficult for me to go out and about.  They respond letting me know they are here to see me, not to go out and about to do other things.  So my 3 sons and 1 lovely daughter-in-law, Gary and I sit in the RV and talk.  The subject matter of my health is discussed and the severity of it.  I expressed many internal feelings to my sons, letting them know I did my best as a father given the circumstances.  I let them know the importance of my love I have for them.  We talk about life, relationships, and my cancer.

20170416_194313 (2)The weekend proceeds with most of our time spend in the RV.  My pain level is high and my right leg is in bad shape when trying to walk.

We all had a wonderful weekend; the best Father’s Day ever!

turning point

I spent the last 7 days in the hospital with doctors trying to figure out the sources of my many different pains.  Back on June 15, I had an appointment with my Radiation Oncologist Dr. M.  Once again as with my all my appointments, I express the severe pain I am feeling and the receiving of very little relief from the current pain medications I am on.  Many days I am living with a 10+ pain level.

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Let’s go back several weeks before this appointment and I am expressing my pain frustrations with my Oncologist Dr. L.  It was just 2 weeks before this time, I was walking on the outdoors track for 1 – 2 miles per day.  Now I am having to use a cane and other activities are being affected as well such as showering and dressing myself.  I also now had to give up driving; something I really enjoyed, but now with pain medications and the pain in my right hip-groin that make its way down to my knee: driving is not in my best interest.

So, in the previous weeks that came and went; more scans were taken, blood work drawn for testing, and then there were Main Management Procedures to block nerves and one more very important appointment.  After several months of Gary complaining there must be something the doctors are not seeing, and with pain level as high as it is, I should be admitted to the hospital to find out the source and to treat it.  At this point in time I currently have no quality of life and my days are filled with pain and tears.

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At this point in time, it all becomes blurring and my brain is not functioning well; mainly because of pain medications and my walking with my right leg is all but gone.

At this point in time, there finally comes a suggestion from Dr. M., to place a referral in to the ‘Supportive Care Medicine’ group.  From Moffitt Cancer Center website –

Patients may be referred to the Moffitt Supportive Care Medicine Program for consultation at any stage of cancer, including at time of diagnosis. The program works collaboratively with other health care practitioners to provide the extra layer of support that patients often need while undergoing anti-cancer treatments. While others are working to treat the disease, Supportive Care Medicine focuses its efforts on relieving the physical and emotional distress caused by the disease and assisting with planning ahead.

Upon having my initial appointment with the Supportive Care Medicine, the main doctor, Dr. C., immediately wanted to place me in the hospital due to the extreme pain level and the lack of quality of life.

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Image Provided by: moffitt.org

So, after waiting several hours just to be admitted that were becoming unbearable for me, finally a bed became available and the start of my 7 days would begin.

This is a turning point that Gary and I were looking for that would change the course of my treatment.

More to come my friends in future posts to explain so much more.

Time Marches On

There is a country song by Tracy Lawrence with the title ‘Time Marches On’.

The song is about a family that through the years they grow into different people and everything changes.

Everything changes, nothing is constant and time marches on.

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Here are some lyrics from the song ‘Time Marches On’ –

The south moves north, the north moves south

A star is born, a star burns out

The only thing that stays the same is

Everything changes, everything changes

It is interesting to think about everything changes, nothing is constant and time marches on.

With my health, Gary takes care of me because everything changes, nothing is constant and time marches on.

Gary is retired from the military after 22 years of service and uses the VA (Veterans Administration) system of all his health care.  His home VA hospital for many years was in Dallas, Texas.  When we moved last year to temporally live in Pensacola, Gary was not ready to change his location.  Now that we moved my healthcare to Tampa, Florida, Gary has now changed his VA hospital to this location as well.

Gary recently has been having some health issues of his own because everything changes, nothing is constant and time marches on.

Recently Gary had an appointment with his Primary Care Manager Doctor at the VA hospital.

From that visit, referrals were placed for him to see specialists for conditions he suffers from.  He rarely complains about the way he feels; unlike me.  He may not have health issues as significant as me, but they are just as important.  He needs to take care of himself while also helping me.  I need to take care of myself while also helping him.

Because we both have changes in our body, health and lives, we recently had a conversation about us changing over the years.

Our lives are much different than what we thought they would be.  Our bodies are much different than what we expected them to be.  Everything changes, nothing is constant and time marches on.

(NOTE: I am expected to be released from the hospital today.  Look for upcoming posts about the events of the past 11 days.)

October 1973 – The Joker by Steve Miller Band

October 1973 – a song popular in this month – The Joker by Steve Miller Band

Miller is one of the most inconspicuous rock stars in history.

Interesting facts about The Joker & Steve Miller Band

Miller drew associations to some of his other songs in the lyrics to this one. The line, “Some people call me The Space Cowboy” is a reference to Miller’s 1969 song “Space Cowboy.” The line, “Some call me a gangster of love” is a reference to his song “Gangster of Love.” The line, “Some people call me Maurice” is a reference to Miller’s 1972 song “Enter Maurice.”

This finally hit #1 on the UK charts in 1990, thanks to its inclusion in a Levi’s jeans commercial. In the spot, a guy rides a motorcycle into an office building and rolls up to an attractive worker, who puts on a pair of 501s and gets on the back of his bike as he takes her away.

Miller was born in Milwaukee and raised in Dallas. In 1966 he moved to San Francisco and formed The Steve Miller Blues Band, which was shortened to The Steve Miller Band when they signed with Capitol Records the next year.

In the TV show Friends, Joey has an imaginary friend named Maurice whose occupation is “Space Cowboy.”

Homer Simpson sings this (poorly) on a second season episode of The Simpsons where we flashback to him driving to school.

This information was provided by Songfacts.com

(NOTE: I am still in the hospital having my pain managed.  I am unsure if I will be released today (Sunday) or not.  I will keep you posted)

A Grown Man

Today is son #1’s birthday and he is 35 years old today.  When any of my son’s birthday come around, I am always amazed.  I am amazed these once little boys are now grown men.

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Image Provided by: Wikimedia Commons

Where did the time go?

For me I once recalled the thought of time slowly passing by and therefore the many years to live would take a while to come and go.  I remember having these thoughts in my teenage years while going through the routine of school, work, some play and passing of dull days.

That slowly passing time continued and life event changes came and went and there was a marriage and babies were created and a divorce took place, not to mention a serious depression, and suicide attempts.

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During those life event changes, those created babies who grew into little boys have now grown into men.

Where did the time go?

Son #1 is 35 years old today.

I loved you when you were created and as a little boy, and I continue to love you now as a grown man.

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My love for you has never changed and never will.

Happy Birthday Son #1,

Dad

(NOTE: I am still in the hospital having my pain managed.  My hopes are that I will be released tomorrow (Sunday))

St. Pete

2 Months ago, back before my pain became unbearable, Gary and I were out and about some.

We were getting out a little to explore the surrounding area of our new location.

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Now my body is not allowing me to go out and find new areas to discover.

But 2 months ago, we drove not far from the MacDill Airforce Base and parked to take a walk.

Our destination was Saint Petersburg (St. Pete).  And as luck would have it, we went on the day the city was having their annual Mainsail Art Festival.

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I wanted to share some pictures with you of our walk that day.

Spoonful of Sugar

I wrote in yesterday’s post ‘A Few Days in the Hospital‘, that I am in the hospital with the hopes of identifying the source of my extreme intense pain I have experienced for weeks now.  I had a great deal of interaction with different doctors yesterday and substantial amount of information was given as well as what their expectations are by this Friday.

20170416_194313 (2)The usual CT Scan took place Tuesday evening in the abdominal and pelvic area, as this is where most pain is felt.  Wednesday pain medications were changed and increased and administered via IV for a much quicker response.  The purpose is to reduce my pain level from a level 10 to a level 4.  Because of the amount of pain medications, I am taking, my bowel movements are all but nonexistent.  All possible options to start the movement, did not work and as I sit here Thursday morning writing this post, I am very uncomfortable.

We needed a movement yesterday because I am to receive an MRI today.  I will get to the reasons for the importance of this a little later.  With the increase in pain medications it was hoped the extreme pain I experience in my right groin will subside so that I may be able to straighten my right leg while lying flat on my back.  This is currently not the case, my right leg must be bent at the knee for me to lay flat on my back.  Because the MRI requires laying on my back and being very still for a substantial amount of time, it is important the legs not be bent.

Image3What are the other alternatives?  Sedation or in my case Anesthesia.  Anesthesia is not the best because of the risks involved plus the administration and recovery time necessary.  Plus, as mentioned above with no bowel movements there is a chance while under anesthesia, accidents can happen.  But, at this time the MRI is important and therefore needs to take place.

Prior to Tuesday’s CT Scan, I had to drink contrast, which as many of us know too well does not have the greatest taste.  Yesterday of the possible options to start the bowels moving, I had to drink something that once again did not have the greatest taste.

If only I has a spoonful of sugar, I am sure the medicines would have gone down in the most delightful way.

I still plan one day to catch-up on responding to comments and reading your posts.

More to come tomorrow my friends.

A Few Days in the Hospital

My friends, I am in the hospital for a few days.

There have been several events that have happened since this past weekend that I want to write about.

I am behind on writing posts.

I am behind on responding to comments.

I am behind on reading your posts.

I am in the hospital with the hopes of identifying the source of my extreme intense pain I have experienced for weeks now.

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I need relief desperately.  In the hospital, I have a pain pump and other sources available to me to help comfort me in reducing the pain.

My posts may be a little short in size and subject matter the next couple of days.

I have many things to tell you and to write about and comments I need to respond to.

Thank you for your understanding as I deal with this expected turn of events.

Have ‘A Happy Day’ everyone.