quality of life………… (or lack of it)

Several weeks ago in my post ‘Pain Explained?‘, I concluded with the following words –

My friends, it is a good bet the cancer is in other Lymph Nodes in my body and based on other symptoms I am experiencing, it could also be in my bones.

Could the pain I have experienced for 10 weeks now be a result of Lymph Nodes and Bones?

I will receive answers and have more information next week.

In today’s post, I write the following words –

With the recent move to Tampa, Florida and change in healthcare, comes more doctor visits, appointments and more medications.

The transition to this area is a struggle with regards to finding new doctors and scheduling the appointments.

My insurance provider is through the military and they can easily change my location.  Now that we are in our new location, I was assigned a new Primary Care Manager (PCM), who handles most if not all the referrals I need for specialist care.

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goodqualityoflife.com.au

Prior to leaving Pensacola, Florida, I was able to get my Urologist Dr. P. to refer me to see an Oncologist in Tampa for 2 visits.  This is how I have able to see my current Oncologist Dr. L. and have my subsequent tests a couple of weeks ago.

Last week, I had my first visit with my new PCM Dr. T., who is the head of Internal Medicine at the MacDill Air Force Base medical facility.  Now that this visit has taken place, I can continue to have referrals made to Dr. L. at Moffitt Cancer Center.

As mentioned in the beginning of this post, it was thought the pain I have experienced since my surgery may be a result of cancer being in my Lymph Nodes and Bones.

It appears no cancer is in my bones and though I do have cancer in the Lymph Nodes in my lumbar area; Dr. L. indicates it would not cause the pains I am experiencing.

I have 2 specific pains that are causing me discomfort in my daily activities.   Because of these 2 separate pains’ intensity and consistency I have been and continue to be on a large amount of pain medications.  Overtime the pains have increased and so have the pain medications.  My quality of everyday life it not good and I am not enjoying life at all right now.

And now with chemotherapy treatment again, I will struggle more so if the pains are not controlled.

20170416_194313There is much to do here in the Tampa area and so many other activities that Gary and I would like to do – but I am unable to do them at this time.  Between the pain and the side effects of the drugs I am taking, I just cannot do much at all.  This bothers me, I want Gary to enjoy his life and I want to enjoy mine as well.

Now that I have my new PCM Dr. T., I hope to find the reasons for these pains and find a resolution to stopping them or treating them so that my quality of life becomes better.

Round Two

This past Monday’s post ‘This Friday – The Next Stage‘, I wrote the following –

Dr. L. is honest and upfront with respect to my cancer.  There is no cure for my cancer; this next round of chemotherapy treatment is to hopefully stop the cancer from spreading or slow down the progression of it.  Once this chemotherapy is over, there are other treatment options available and at that time we will discuss the next steps to be taken.

This Friday, I will begin my next round of chemotherapy, the next stage in my journey with cancer.

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Image Provided by: note.taable.com

In today’s post, I write the following –

Round Two –

Today I start my chemotherapy.

I have been through this before and I know the process.

Round one of chemotherapy was 1 treatment for 2 weeks and then 1 week off.  There were 4 cycles that resulted in 12 weeks.

Round two of chemotherapy is 1 treatment for 1 week and then 2 weeks off.  There will be 4 cycles that results in 10 weeks.

I have been through this before and I know the process.  What I do not know are the results.

For now, I do not know the results of the chemotherapy treatment once it is completed.  These results will be revealed many weeks from now.

For now, I do not know the results of how this chemotherapy treatment will affect me.  These results will be revealed in the next many days from now.

Round one of chemotherapy I was tired a lot, but was never nauseated and did not lose my hair.

Round two of chemotherapy I expect to be tired a lot and I hope not to be nauseated or lose my hair.

I have positive expectations of this chemotherapy treatment for both long term and short term.

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Counting Down (or up)

Today is the 23rd month of my blog!  My anniversary post is something different than the usual posts I write.

The countdown is on.

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Image Provided by: Just the Six of Us – blogger

Countdown to what?

Well the 24th month of my blog!

Okay, no need to rush; this is the 23rd month of my blog!

Per POPCULTUREMADNESS, the best Counting Down songs –

1. One – Three Dog Night

2. Two Lovers – Mary Wells

3. Three Is A Magic Number – School House Rock

4. I’ll Tumble 4 Ya – Culture Club

5. Mambo Number Five – Lou Bega

6. 25 or 6 to 4 – Chicago

7. 7 – Prince and the New Power Generation

8. I’m Henry VIII, I Am – Herman’s Hermits

9. 9 To 5 – Dolly Parton

9 1/2. I Do What I Do (9 1/2 Weeks Theme) – John Taylor

10. 10-9-8 – Face to Face

11. 11:59 – Blondie

12. The Twelfth of Never – Johnny Mathis

13. Thirteen Women – Bill Haley and his Comets

14. Fourteen Black Paintings – Peter Gabriel

15. TVC 15 – David Bowie

16. Sixteen Tons – “Tennessee” Ernie Ford

17. (She’s) Sexy and 17 – Stray Cats

18. I’m Eighteen – Alice Cooper

19. Hey Nineteen – Steely Dan

20. 20/20 – George Benson

21. It Was A Very Good Year – Frank Sinatra (When I was 21…)

22. When Yer Twenty Two – Flaming Lips

23. Strawberry Letter 23 – Brothers Johnson

Well you know how I feel about my 70’s music.  The #23 song of the best Counting Down songs was released in 1977 and is a favorite of mine – it brings back some great memories.

Today is the 23rd month of my blog!  My anniversary post is something different than the usual posts I write.

YIKES!

Tuesday night very late, Gary and I arrived in Tampa, Florida.

Wednesday, we setup, unpacked and cleaned the RV at our new RV park on the MacDill Air Force Base.

The last few days have been extremely busy and caused me to become behind on reading other’s posts and responding to comments.

What has made this worse is the limited internet connection.

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Image Provided by: Daily Times

YIKES!

The new RV park location has a lousy connection.

When no internet connection is available we use our phone’s hotspot.

Yes, we do.

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Image Provided by: TechFresh

YIKES!

Our cellphone provider connection is lousy at our new RV park location.

You know I am desperate when I drive to a different location to receive a better connection to publish my posts.

I have come to realize the following –

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Image Provided by: FakePlus

YIKES!

I am kidding of course.

The internet issue is supposed to be fixed later today.

What should I do if it is not?

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Image Provided by: ClipartFest

YIKES!

drowning

14 years ago today, Gary and I met for the first time.

If you are interested in how we met, please take the time and read my post ‘The Hit – The Last Chapter‘.

We usually do not celebrate the anniversary of the day we met or the anniversary of our marriage.

We are happy we are together, though sometimes living in a small RV at times can be trying.

Sometimes, it seems being close together 24 hours a day in close quarters can appear like one is drowning.

Just kidding, I just thought that statement would be a good segue.

I will end this post with a song; to understand why I picked this song, you would need to read the above-mentioned post.

So, what’s next?

A week ago in my post ‘Central Florida Visit‘, I wrote the following –

This coming Monday I will have an appointment with a new Oncologist Dr. L. with Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.  Per U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals for Cancer rankings 2016-2017, Moffitt Cancer Center is ranked #1 in the Southeast and in the state of Florida and #6 in the nation.  After visiting their website and the recent communication I have had so far has me impressed with them and my hope is this feeling will continue after my appointment this Monday.

In a little over a week we will make our way back to Pensacola.  Depending on our visits next week, upon our return to Pensacola, our plan may well be to hook the RV to the truck and drive back to central Florida.

In today’s post, I write the following –

That appointment with a new Oncologist Dr. L. with Moffitt Cancer Center took place this past Monday.  This visit and the unplanned additional visits had Gary and I extremely impressed and enthusiastic about having my continued cancer care taken over by this new facility.  If you read my post ‘Pain Explained?‘, a couple of days ago, you know this week was filled with many tests at my new healthcare provider location.  Results of these tests and a course of action will be provided to me early next week.

This past week Gary and I had plans to view some possible locations to live and plant roots for a home base.  Because of the results of my CAT Scan last week, and the awaiting of results of this current week’s tests; our plans have changed some and the searching is on hold for now.  So, what’s next?

I mentioned in a past post that Gary and I brought his mom to Orlando, Florida back in December.  She lives with Gary’s younger brother who lives near Pensacola, Florida.  Because the younger brother is having health issues we brought mom here to Orlando to stay with the older brother.

Monday of next week, Gary and I will depart from Orlando and take mom back to the younger brother.  Tuesday of next week, I will have my last appointment with my current Urologist Dr. P. in Pensacola.  Wednesday of next week, Gary and I will hook the RV on the truck and make our way back to Tampa, Florida.

For the past 8 months we have lived at the RV park on the Naval Air Station Pensacola.  For the unforeseeable future, Gary, Roxy and I will live at the RV park located on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

Next week will be a busy week; we are moving to a new location, but more importantly test results and doctor’s visits to determine what is to come next in my battle with cancer.

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Pain Explained?

In several past posts, I have written about pain and other issues I am experiencing.

In my post ‘Pain‘, I wrote the following –

The pain is here today

For this one thing I know

As the days become weeks

The pain will come and go

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Image Provided by: NaturPhilosophie

In my post ‘Exactly 1 Month‘, I wrote the following –

I will admit though, I do not feel excellent as I am having difficulties with some pain and other minor issues.  I am not sure if they are related to the surgery or my cancer diagnoses and if over time I will overcome these minor issues.

In my post ‘It’s 2:16 in the morning‘, I wrote the following –

I also have pains not associated to my surgery and recovery that make it difficult at times to find a comfortable position to sleep.

In my post ‘I don’t know‘, I wrote the following –

So, I have aches and pains and other issues that bring me down and I think to myself; are these pains associated with cancer spreading or they a result of my surgery and I am still recovering; or are they result of inactivity on my part because I am restricted to a certain extent to exercise and being more active?

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In today’s post, I write the following –

A week ago I had a procedure and a CAT Scan performed to try to find out the cause of my continued pain and other issues.  I will be honest here, as I am always honest and sometimes blunt on my blog.  The other issues I have referred to is my bowel movement; yes, we all have bowel movements that is part of our bodily functions.  Mine are no longer considered normal and go from one extreme to the other and at times has caused disruptions in my daily life.  I saw a Gastroenterologist early last week and he believes I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome; most likely resulting from my recent surgery.  He indicated it usually corrects itself over time and medication was prescribed to help with the symptoms.  He also suggested a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (Flex Sig) to rule out cancer.

Tuesday of last week the Flex Sig was performed as well as a CAT Scan.  The results of the Flex Sig indicated no appearance of cancer in my rectum which was near my bladder, when I had a bladder.  This is good news.

The results of the CAT Scan were not so good.  I have several Lymph Nodes in my lumbar region that have increased in size since my last scan took place in early January.  Because this scan only showed the lower part of my chest, there was one Lymph Node in the thoracic region that is also larger in size.

These results have changed everything.

This past Monday upon my initial consultation with my new Urologist Dr. L at Moffitt Cancer Center, I proceeded with blood tests and a Chest CAT Scan.  Today I am having a MRI on my Lumbar Spine, and Echocardiogram, and a Whole-Body Bone Scan.

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My friends, it is a good bet the cancer is in other Lymph Nodes in my body and based on other symptoms I am experiencing, it could also be in my bones.

Could the pain I have experienced for 10 weeks now be a result of Lymph Nodes and Bones?

I will receive answers and have more information next week.

1998

Today is the 22nd month of my blog!  My anniversary post is something different than the usual posts I write.

3 (March) + 13 (Day) + 22 (Months) = 38

When I was 38 years old, the year was 1998.  If my memory serves me correctly, I found my early 30s to be fun and exciting and found my late 30s to be stressful.  I actually hated my late 30s because I was on the down slope to 40.  Little did I know my 40s would be wonderful years that were a turning point to good things to come.

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Okay back to 38 and 1998.  What was going on in 1998?

If you research, you will find interesting events that occurred in this year.  There were the usual earthquakes around the world, and then there was the Winter Olympic Games in Japan; oh, and let’s not forget President Bill Clinton denied he had “sexual relations” with formal White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

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Image Provided by: TIME.com

Okay, enough of that type of information, let’s find some interesting events –

Did you know in 1998, The Search Engine Google was founded?  I did not know this – you may need this information someday for a trivia question.

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Image Provided by: Computer Weekly

Did you know in 1998, Titanic was a popular movie? It was released in late 1997 – I think I went to the movie theater 3 or 4 times to watch it.

Did you know in 1998, Spice Girls were popular?  I like Spice Girls, one of my favorite songs of theirs is ‘Wannabe’.

Did you know in 1998, Star Trek: Voyager was a highly-watched TV show?  Yes, I am a trekkie; I have seen all the TV series, but I will admit I have missed a couple of the most recent motion pictures.  I hope to catch-up soon on seeing these movies.

In 1998, my birthday was on a Saturday and most likely I did nothing to celebrate it.  That year, I was in my 3rd and final bad relationship that would end soon and it would be another 5 years before I would meet Gary.

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Image Provided by: The Health Psychologist

1998 and 38; an odd time for me as my 30s were coming to an end and soon the 40s would begin.

Today is the 22nd month of my blog!  My anniversary post is something different than the usual posts I write.

I don’t know

Preface –

For almost 2 years now, I have written about me; not just those events from the far and near past, but my personality, my feelings, my emotions and my thinking.  Yes, I have my days of good, that are then followed by days of bad.  What do I mean by this?  I have always revealed my weakness and along with that my strength.  Recently I am weak and struggling and I pretend to you and others that I am fine and I am strong.  But, right now I am not.  And because of this, I become that other me; that mean me – that I try to hide from others except the one that matters the most.

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I voice recorded the following words yesterday and document today for all to read – especially the one that matters the most –

I have the last few days been a little down, a little angry and upset.  And, as usual because of who I am, I take it out on Gary – I am a mean person.  I am not respectful to him, even after he puts so much effort into helping me out, I disrespect him – I am mean to him, flat-out mean.  I went to the doctor the other day and the recovery is going fine and he (the doctor) spoke of because of some Stage 4 Cancer; I don’t remember what exactly what we were talking about, he spoke of a patient he had that went through the same surgery as I did and within a couple of months he (the patient) died because the cancer had spread.  Not necessarily what I wanted to hear, but, um – then I spoke with my Oncologist the week before who talks about all her patients being terminal; once again not what I want to hear.

So, I have aches and pains and other issues that bring me down and I think to myself; are these pains associated with cancer spreading or they a result of my surgery and I am still recovering; or are they result of inactivity on my part because I am restricted to a certain extent to exercise and being more active?  I don’t know, I don’t know.  And that is what brings me down; I don’t know.

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Uncertainties right now in my life are majority and certainties are the minority.  And sometimes this gets to me.  And my optimism and positiveness results in negative and pessimism.  That brings me to just not wanting to try anymore, just forgetting about it all: and just like screw it.  I don’t want to deal with it, I just don’t want to move on; I just don’t want to move.

But, then there is Gary, who continues to put a great deal of effort into helping me, not just me physically, but you know preparing for the future and dealing with doctors and other things associated with my health.  And he does this it on a consistent basis and I don’t always, um, you know recognize him for it; because I am dealing with my own stuff.  I make it about me, it is always about me; and so, this is what it is about today.

Bead Throwing & Celebration

From Google search ‘Fat Tuesday’ –

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Image Provided by: insaneeliquid.net

Mardi Gras (/ˈmɑːrdiɡrɑː/), also called Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday, in English, refers to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday.

Up until August of last year, I lived in Dallas, Texas for 27 years.  I do not recall having Mardi Gras parades or related events.  I currently am living in Pensacola, Florida located in the pan handle of Florida and about an hour drive from Mobile, Alabama.

From Google search ‘Where did Mardi Gras originate’ –

Despite the holiday’s rich history in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mayor Sam Jones of Mobile, Alabama, says the first Mardi Gras celebration in this country actually took place in his city, and most Mobile natives agree.

I had no idea the significance of Mardi Gras in this region.  It seems for the whole month of February, every Thursday, Friday & Saturday and other days; there has been a Mardi Gras parade in Mobile.  Then there are parades in the surrounding smaller towns as well as Pensacola.

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Image Provided by: AXS.com

From Google search ‘How long is the Mardi Gras celebration?’ –

The holiday of Mardi Gras is celebrated in Southern Louisiana, although celebrations are concentrated for about two weeks before and through Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Usually there is one major parade each day (weather permitting); many days have several large parades.

I found a schedule for the parades for Mobil and the surrounding area and counted 48 of them total.  I never knew the importance of Mardi Gras in the south until now.

From Google search ‘What is the meaning of the beads at Mardi Gras?’ –

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Image Provided by: http://www.partycity.ca

Bead throwing and Mardi Gras go hand-in-hand. The Throwing Of Beads. The tradition of bead throwing starts with their original colors. The color of the beads was determined by the king of the first daytime Carnival in 1872. He wanted the colors to be royal colors – purple for justice, gold for power and green for faith.

I missed all the parades and the beads this year because of my recovery from surgery.  I just do not have the stamina to stand for long periods of time in crowds of people.

From Google search ‘Why do we celebrate Mardi Gras?’ –

Related popular practices are associated with Shrovetide celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. In countries such as England, Mardi Gras is also known as Shrove Tuesday, which is derived from the word shrive, meaning “confess”.

I never celebrated Mardi Gras in the past and again this year did not celebrate.

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Image Provided by: thebayouinsider.com

But I have certainly learned the significance and importance of it in this area where I am temporally residing.

I do not know where I will be next year at this time.

I do not know if I will celebrate Mardi Gras next year.

What about you?

Do you celebrate Mardi Gras?