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.

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.)

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.

Why Not?

When I decided to start blogging, I had no idea what I was doing or where it would lead me.  I just started writing my early life memories, really in hopes my sons would read it someday.  I still have plans to give them this site where they can read about me and my life – but I am not quite ready yet.  So, the writing of blog posts began with those early life memories and few other subjects – and then cancer decided to be a part of my life.  This cancer has become my cancer; it belongs to me and no one else and does what it wants to my body.

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In my post ‘no answers’, I wrote about finally asking the questions.  You know; the ‘why’ questions.

“Why?”, “Why me?”, “What did I do to deserve this?”

I received many supportive, encouraging and beneficial comments.  I feel very grateful of the many wonderful friends I have here on WP, truly I do.

One of those friends Su, responded with the following comment –

As humans we have this overwhelming need to make sense of the world, but the awful reality I think, is that often there is no sense. No reason or logic, and sometimes absolutely no justice — or you would not be going through all this. I think in the end we need to look not for reasons but for useful beliefs — whatever gets us through. Sending love and hugs to you and Gary.

I responded with the following –

Yes, I totally understand where you are coming from. I am getting to that point now – not trying to find the reasons, but what are the useful beliefs and benefits. Thanks Su for an inspiring comment, you are a true friend.

Comments from other friends suggested I not ask “Why?”, but instead ask “Why Not?”

Wow, this got me thinking about, well – everything.

My mind has always believed everything happens for a reason – both good and bad.  Now, with my cancer and the extreme pain I am experiencing, my emotions are asking the “Why?” questions.

And your comments my friends bring me back to thinking about what my mind believes and not what my emotions are asking.

Everything happens for a reason – both good and bad.  So, Why not?

20170416_194313It may be there is something I can learn from this?  My cancer and my extreme pain is a tough lesson to learn something from.  They are both beating me down, draining my energy and trying to break my spirit.  It is difficult, but again I change my question to; Why not?

What am I learning from this horrible experience that is changing my views?  Why not use it to benefit me?

I find myself talking to ‘God’ or the ‘Higher Power’ or the ‘Supreme Being’ more.  I have not spoken or reached out to any of these in a very long time.

I am displaying to Gary more gratitude.  We have been together for over a decade and I took things for granted.  I no longer do this.  Gary, my caretaker is very important to me and I display more gratitude.  I say, ‘Thank you’ more and I let him know I appreciate him and would not be able to do this alone.  And more so than ever I say, ‘I love you’ and follow it with a kiss.

There is a ‘God’ or ‘Higher Power’ or ‘Supreme Being’; there is Gary and Su; there are all of you my friends, my supporters, my cheerleaders and my encouragers.

So, ‘Why not?’

no answers

Not yet 2 years; there is still the summer season that is waiting to be enjoyed.

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But this summer will be different and I am unsure if I will enjoy it.

After the summer, then it will be that day, the 2 years ago that it all changed.  The day my life changed and will never be the same again.

It was about 20 months ago that I noticed a light discoloration in my urine.  I told Gary, that something was wrong; he responded that it looked okay.  I know my body better than anyone else.  And for 20 months I still say that – I know my body better than anyone else.  Along the past 20 months, I have told Gary and my doctors things about my body and I have always been right.

Why am I telling you this?

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These past 20 months; almost 2 years, I never questioned the reason and I never asked the questions.  I always have felt everything happens for a reason; both good and bad.  ‘That’s Life’ as they say.  I still feel this way – but now with the intense pain I am experiencing, I finally asked the questions.

Currently my typical day is enduring pain and as the day progresses, so does the pain.  My evenings the pain is overwhelming to the point my eyes are filled with tears and I am at my breaking point.  This experience repeats each day and at this point is not getting better – but worse.

The other night, I finally asked the questions.  I was in the bedroom alone ready for bed and experiencing the usual unbearable pain.  I was crying profusely and I lifted my face upward and asked “Why?”, “Why me?”, “What did I do to deserve this?”

I received no answers and I went to bed with the usual pain, knowing what has become the normal routine will happen.  I will lay there in bed and try to find a comfortable position, knowing it is in vain.  Eventually after several hours I will get out of bed and make my way to the other room of the RV and find the recliner and a position that lessons the pain I am feeling.  Eventually a few hours of sleep are obtained and I wake to a new day to do it all over again.

The questions are still on my mind now every day.  “Why?”, “Why me?”, “What did I do to deserve this?”

Still, no answers and I continue to suffer.

20170416_194313 (2)I experience a great deal of pain each day and my cancer is spreading.

“Why?”

“Why me?”

“What did I do to deserve this?”

Still, no answers.

Another Early Rise

Another early rise, another day to live

The pain never left from the night before and continues to dominate

But, I again bring in another early rise, another day to live

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Will today be any different from yesterday or one of a repeat

Months of pains that have increased to a point of hatred

Nevertheless, I again bring in another early rise, another day to live

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There are the pills that have increased over the past weeks and months

There are patches, and creams and tolerance and adjustments

Yet, I again bring in another early rise, another day to live

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As the weeks have turned into months, the weak has turned into strength and acceptance

The upcoming weeks and months, I hope for change and less tears

So, I again bring in another early rise, another day to live

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What is it that wakes me, gets me up, moves me, takes me to a new day

Despair, Hope, Struggle, Journey, Brightness, Future, Unknown, Overcome, Strength, Desire

Once more, I again bring in another early rise, another day to live

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the option to kill myself

Past weeks, months; I have written about my pain – the seeming never ending pain.

Is the pain because the cancer that is invading my Lymph Nodes are pressing against nerves?

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Is the pain because of the position I was in during a lengthy 10 ½ surgery placed too much pressure on specific nerves?

These questions are possible reasons and there can be others as well.

I am in pain every minute of every day and at times the pain is so severe, I want to die.

Those times of severe pain the thought of suicide crosses my mind – I want to do it – I want to kill myself.

February of last year, I wrote a post ‘suicide – it sounds peaceful, it sounds calm‘, in which I wrote the following words –

It sounds peaceful, it sounds calm, it sounds internal; it sounds like something that’s good to me, something that I want.  But as long as I am still here I am not going to commit suicide – I will not do it.  And though my mind tells me it is an option, there is that conscience part of me that says no, it is not an option.  And I struggle with this still; but it will not ever happen and I will keep fighting the good fight and I will keep continuing to move forward.

October of 2015, I wrote a post ‘I am not afraid to die‘, in which I wrote the following words –

I will be totally honest with you my readers – today the thought of killing me still occasionally crosses my mind and there are times I wish I were dead.   But the act of me intentionally killing me will not take place.  No matter the struggles I still have in my life; I understand the taking of my own life is not the way for me to deal with these struggles.  I believe all of us are on this earth for a reason, and no matter the struggles we encounter; we all have strength within ourselves to overcome, to move forward and to survive.  Sometimes that strength can be buried under all the burdens of despair and anguish and finding it can be difficult.

Back to today –

I attempted suicide in my 20s; about 30 years ago, and this act has and still is a constant thought on my mind.

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In one of my many posts here on my blog, I wrote about a memory I have when I was a very young child.  I was likely anywhere from 10 to 12 years old.  I remember wanting to die and walking into the kitchen and reaching for a knife.  I remember wanting to stab myself with that knife and killing myself; ending it all.

I am in my 50s now and those thoughts of killing myself and ending it all continue to be strong today.  Especially now, with times of pain so great the tears from my eyes can fill buckets and those thoughts of killing myself are so very strong.

And I have pills; lots of pills that can help with that – but still today I fight that urge – I remind myself; killing me, this is not an option.

listening to my 70’s

The MacDill Air Force Base has an excellent gym that includes 2 outdoor tracks.  When I am feeling up to it and my body allows, I make a trip to the gym to walk the track.  My usual length to walk is 1 ½ miles.  And if my back allows, I will sometimes push it to 2 miles.  Even though I am walking around a track and seeing the same views, I do enjoy the outside.  With the warmth of the sunshine and the breeze of the wind, I feel good.  What makes the walking even better is listening to my music.  The earplugs are in and you know I am listening to my 70’s music.

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The beats of the music back in that decade took me through puberty, from a 10-year-old kid to a 20-year-old young man. That decade many things were taking place good and bad; but the music helped me get through it all.

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Thank you to artist such as Blonde, John Denver, The Bee Gees, Elton John, ABBA, Queen, Donna Summer, Roberta Flack, The Jackson 5, Diana Ross, Olivia Newton-John and so many, many more.

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Those artists I still listen to today and are they are still here for me today, helping me to keep moving; lifting my spirits and taking me to a different time when life seemed so effortless and easy, fun, crazy with no worries.

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This current decade many things have taken place good and bad: and this music continued to help me get through it all.

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So, there I am walking my 1 ½ miles and sometimes pushing 2 miles, listening and being taken away for a little while to another time.

my new normal life

A couple of weeks ago in my post ‘I had a bad day‘, I concluded with the following excerpts –

I was not having a happy day

This past Sunday, I had a bad day

In today’s post, I write the following –

July of last year in my post ‘Good‘, I wrote the following words –

I honestly feel many people don’t want to hear how others truly feel. 

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I think out of courtesy to others we ask; especially those that are dealing with a physical illness.  If I were to respond to the question differently and say “I feel very bad today, my body hurts and my bladder is burning and I am very tired.”, what would the response be?  I do not really know.  I doubt I would receive the same response as I do when responding with ‘I am good!”

Back when I wrote that post and up until recently, while in public I would pretend to be healthy, pretend to be happy, pretend to have fun and pretend to be normal.

Those days, they have changed.

I walk slower and usually am bent over – the lower back is always in pain and walking at times is difficult.

Yes, I have been out a little bit to explore the new surroundings in our new location.  I take pain medication with me ‘just in case’.

While exploring these new surroundings, I see the other people, the crowds of people who are normal, having fun and seeming healthy and happy.

I have a sense of bitterness, a sense of hatred because these people are normal and living a normal life.  These people are having fun and doing things, going about their lives and enjoying their day, each day.

After my exploring of new surroundings in our new location, after walking slower and usually bent over because the lower back is always in pain, I return home.  The event of the day, just the walking results in more pain, more pain medication, a bad mood and bitterness.

I don’t enjoy my days, there are very few days I enjoy – I am bitter.

This has become my new normal life.

(I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago, and to a certain point continue to have these feelings.  These feelings are negative and serve no good purpose.  My pain has increased and I am being tested.  I end this post with the following quote.)

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their importance to me

More than one year, a little less than two years my body decided to become sick with cancer.  Well, it mostly likely was sick with cancer before that particular day.  That particular day was in September of 2015, that’s when my body decided to let me know.  Since then, I have seen many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers.

Since then, that day in September of 2015, I have had 2 minor surgeries and 1 major surgery.  Since then, I have received 12 weeks of chemotherapy and now am going through another round of chemotherapy.  Since then, I have had a nephrostomy tube and a ureteral stent and I continue to have a PowerPort inserted into my chest.  Since then, I no longer have a bladder or prostate and other male reproductive organs.  Since then, I have lost 30 pounds.

I am unable to provide you with the count of how many needles have been inserted into my body for blood tests, or the number of IVs I have had or the number of days spent in the hospital.  I am unable to provide you the names and countless numbers of prescription drugs I have taken.

During my Chemotherapy last year, I thanked the nurses for assisting me and for being kind and compassionate.

During my stay in the hospital after surgery this past January, 20170116_195426I thanked the nurses for assisting me and for being kind, compassionate and for helping me during a difficult time.  These nurses were the best and made my hospital stay pleasant considering why I was there.

I also have thanked other healthcare providers and doctors.

I go out of my way to thank doctors who I feel truly care about me and my health and want me to be healthier.

I think sometimes being in healthcare can be a thankless job.  I have learned these people; nurses, doctors and other healthcare providers, many of them truly want to help, truly care and truly want us healthier.

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But when we are not at our healthiest, they are always there for us.  This has been my experience, I am fortunate not because I have cancer.  No I am fortunate for those that are treating me because I have cancer.

I let them know their importance to me – I just wanted to share it with you as well.