$3.50

I have mentioned in several previous posts I had a recent consultation appointment with a Radiation Oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center.  Dr. M. indicates receiving radiation would be a benefit for me prior to the next set of treatments to take place.

What does $3.50 have to do with my health and cancer treatments?  Nothing.

Except, following the visit with my Radiation Oncologist Dr. M., Gary and I needed to make a stop by a bank.

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Image Provided by: Waverly Place

The bank’s location was in a small shopping plaza and I spotted a Gigi’s Cupcakes shop.  I have never had a Gigi cupcake but had heard they were delicious; I also knew they were most likely expensive as well.

Let me provide you some information.  Gary and I are both retired and we can survive the rest of our lives without the worry of money.  Well Gary being a former comptroller and numbers guy, he counts his pennies.  And that is okay to a certain point.  Over the years, I have learned from him and he has learned from me when comes to matters of money.  But, recent events, specifically my health situation has me changing a little bit when it comes to spending money.

There would have been a time, I would not have paid $3.50 for one cupcake, why would I, when I can get them cheaper at the local grocery store.

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Image Provided by: Chicago Tribune

Life is short and on that particular day upon the completion of my appointment with Dr. M., for the first time in a long time I felt a sense of hope; something good in the future that I could look forward to.

I have lost 38lbs. in the last 4 months and I have no idea how long I will be here on this earth.  I might be here for a short couple of years or I may be for another 40+ years.  Because of my health situation and my weight loss and a day where I felt a little celebration was due – I spent $3.50 on one cupcake.

Naturally I gobbled it up without taking a picture of the actual cupcake, I remember it had lots of chocolate, chocolate cake with chocolate icing and chocolate sprinkles on top.  I could not resist the temptation, it was eaten quickly; though I did take a picture of the box it was in.

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My health situation has me changing a little bit when it comes to spending money.  Every once in a while, I spend a little extra money on me and splurge occasionally.

Thank you, Gigi’s Cupcakes, for the excellent cupcake that day, for me it was worth every penny – all 3 hundred and 50 of them.

I had a bad day

This past Sunday, I had a bad day

My pain this past weekend was at its greatest and many pain pills were taken

I was tired, down, a little depressed and cried a lot

It started this past Saturday

This past Sunday, I had a bad day

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Image Provided by: http://www.adrifort-ipa.eu

This past Sunday –

Someone said that when they take their last breath, which they indicated would be many years from now; they would be happy because they accomplished something

A couple became married

I watched as young women and men performed their military PT (Physical Training) in the morning from the window of my RV

I observed people enjoying life and having fun

This past Sunday, I had a bad day

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Image Provided by: VideoHive

I was asked the other day by someone, you seem unhappy

I responded I am unhappy

I am unhappy because I have Stage 4 Bladder Cancer

I am unhappy because I am going through chemotherapy

I am unhappy because I have a bag attached to the side of my body

I am unhappy because I have lost 30 pounds of body weight

I am unhappy because I have major chronic pain

I am unhappy because I wake in the mornings with pain

I am unhappy because I go to bed at night with pain

I am unhappy because I am not enjoying life

I am unhappy because Gary is not enjoying life

I am unhappy because I cannot plan for the future

I am unhappy because I wait and wait for a time to take tests that will determine my future

I am unhappy because many other people are enjoying life

I many times in posts, comments and videos use the phrase ‘Happy Day’

I was not having a happy day

This past Sunday, I had a bad day

my shell

Me (2)

August 2nd of last year is the day Gary and I left Dallas, Texas for Pensacola, Florida to continue my treatment for cancer.  A week prior to leaving, I had dinner with my family that lives in Dallas and I wrote a post specially about my dad.

It was a year ago in that post ‘The shell of a man‘, I wrote the following words –

Later after dinner I was back home and my stepmom sent me a couple of photos she had taken earlier that evening of my dad, my older brother and myself.  It was not until I viewed those pictures, that I saw my dad in a different way.  His body, his shell is deteriorating; as if it is already decaying, already having life drained from it.  It saddens me to see him in this state, because I know he will be gone from this world soon.

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

January 16th of this year, I had a major surgery that lasted 10 ½ hours to remove my bladder, prostate, lymph nodes and other male organs.  This surgery is the usual course of action to take when cancer begins in the bladder.  Bladder cancer easily comes back and easily spreads.  It was expected because of that surgery I would lose 10-15 lbs. of body weight.  Instead, I lost 23 lbs. of body weight and now 3 months later, I have lost more weight – for a total of 30 lbs. body weight.

I weigh less than my dad now, and like him, I find myself a shell of a man.  20170416_194313 (2)My bones ache and my intestines will never feel the same.  As I wrote about my dad almost a year ago, I now write about myself.  I feel my body is deteriorating; as if it is already decaying, already having life drained from it.  It saddens me to see myself in this state.

I hide nothing on this blog, my life from years ago and today is here in writing, pictures and videos.  I pretend to be nothing more than an average man, living an average life.

Less than 2 years ago, it was noticed and through a series of events that I never expected, I am now here today with Stage 4 Bladder Cancer.  This is my cancer, it does not belong to anyone else and it effects my body the way it wants to.  I do fight back with what I have available to me; from doctors to family to internal strength, a spouse that is always here for me, and to some sort of guidance from somewhere else.

I have no shame in displaying these pictures of me at my worse – my body – my shell.

the PANIC visit

In my post ‘quality of life…. (or lack of it)‘, I wrote the following –

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.

In today’s post, I write the following –

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Image Provided by: ateachingmommy.com

One of the previous mentioned appointments was with a new dentist.  I was fortunate to see a new dentist within the first week because once my chemotherapy begins I should not be having any dental work.  There is always the possibility of an infection and during chemotherapy my white blood count is low and therefore more prone to infections.  So, my first visit with the new dentist was an examination that included the usual x-rays that resulted in me having a cavity.  I very seldom have cavities and was surprised to learn I had one.

Okay, two days later and another dentist appointment to take care of the cavity.  Before I write about this appointment, let’s go back about 14 hours –

It is the night before and I am experiencing a great deal of back pain.  I take pain pills and go to bed extremely early – around 7:00 PM.  I am unable to rest or sleep, so around 11:00 PM I am taking additional pills for pain and sleep.  I do finally receive some sleep, but the next morning, I am tired.

Early morning Gary and I depart for the dental appointment and I am excited about using a new smartphone app that I can use for street parking near the dentist office.

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Image Provided by: Christian Science Monitor

I set the time and pay for two hours the maximum amount allowed.  Gary is also having a dental appointment the same time so, two hours should be enough time.  The dentist is running behind and I become a little nervous about the time, but I know I can extend it from my smartphone.  It is the first time I have used it, so I am a little nervous that maybe it will not work and I will receive a ticket.

Now I am sitting in a chair and receive my injection to numb my mouth.  Oh, did I mention I do not like to go to dentists?  I have Cancer and deal with appointments, procedures, IVs and blood tests – but going to the dentist makes me nervous.

Now I am at another dentist appointment to take care of the cavity – it is time – but the mouth does not feel numb.  The dentist decides to give me another shot.

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Image Provided by: Holistic Health & Living

Within minutes, half my throat goes numb as does part of my vocal cords.  I am having trouble swallowing and breathing.  I request the staff to get Gary in the room – I need him.  The dentist thinks I may be having an allergic reaction to the lidocaine.  I am not allergic to anything – I receive an Epipen injection.

911 is called just in case there is an allergic reaction – but they are not needed.

I am having a panic attack as the throat is swollen, I am unable to swallow and breath and having difficulty speaking – I am also crying.

After some time to relax, I go through with getting the cavity fix because chemotherapy starts in 2 days.

I am glad I do not have to see the dentist again for another 6 months.

The Phantom of the Pee

Most of us are familiar with ‘The Phantom of the Opera’; a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

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Image1 Provided by: CMUSE

I bet you are not familiar with ‘The Phantom of the Pee’; not a musical with no music.

Merriam-Webster has the following definition for ‘phantom’ –

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a :  something apparent to sense but with no substantial existence :  apparition

b :  something elusive or visionary

c :  an object of continual dread or abhorrence the phantom of disease and want

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:  something existing in appearance only

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:  a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal

she was a phantom of delight — William Wordsworth

Google ‘Phantom’ and first on the list of results is ‘DJI Phantom Drone’, with the following descriptions –

The Phantom is a series of unmanned aerial vehicles developed by Chinese technology company DJI. It is widely regarded as the company’s flagship UAV line, as it is the most widely used and known product DJI has released currently.

Google ‘Phantom Pain’ and first on the list or results is the following –

Phantom pain is pain that feels like it’s coming from a body part that’s no longer there. Doctors once believed this post-amputation phenomenon was a psychological problem, but experts now recognize that these real sensations originate in the spinal cord and brain.

I current do not experience phantom pain, but I do experience phantom pee.  Have you heard of phantom pee?

Phantom pee is a real thing, very strange real thing and I do experience it on a regular basis.  I mentioned this to my Urologist Dr. P. and yes, this is a real thing.

As you know my surgery in January removed my bladder and prostate and other male related organs.  My urine is now removed from my body via a stoma into a urostomy bag on the outside of my body.  I no longer have control of my urination.

But I still have the feeling of needing to pee, but I can’t.

Anyway, very strange feeling when you have ‘that urge’ and you no longer can ‘relieve’ yourself.

So, although ‘The Phantom of the Pee’ is not a musical with no music, it is a real occurrence.

no noise please

Living and Learning –

I have written in past posts the difficulty I had learning as a child.  You can read more about these difficulties in these posts ‘Learning the Hard Way‘, and ‘A Slow Learner am I‘.   I was labeled as a ‘slow learner’ and a child with ‘learning disabilities’.  Per Dictionary.com, certain criteria consider me ‘retarded’.

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Image Provided by: SlideShare

Some of those learning difficulties I had as a child continues today.  The difference is today I understand and accept that which makes it difficult for me to learn.  But, still today at times I become frustrated with the learning process.  The frustration is mainly due to my learning style or method being interrupted and then concentration is lost.  First of all, I am a visual person: I need to see something to learn something.  Me sitting and listening to a lecture is a lost cause – I will receive very little from it.  And if there is a visual portion, I may receive a little more, but I need my own set of visuals to learn.

And for me I learn best by myself; reading, researching, documenting, speaking out loud to myself – this is a great learning method for me.

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Image Provided by: My Favorite Things – blogger

I also need quite time, no noise please.  No TV in the background and sorry Gary – no phone calls with speaker phone – please?

In the last job I held before retiring, I was a IT Quality Assurance Specialist.  This company created software for devices related to delivery of communication.  On the surface of any software; what the end-user sees and uses – we take for granted that it will work.  If it does not work, someone did not do their job, usually that someone is Quality Assurance.  My job was to make sure the software worked per specifications and requirements and it would not break anything else and it would be easy for the end-user to understand and use.

Sounds like an easy job, right?

For me not so easy, but I did find it challenging – and challenging is a good thing.

I would arrive early in the morning; several hours before anyone would else because I needed my quite time, no noise please.

You see, I had much to learn about those specifications and requirements I just mentioned.  They were complicated and I had to know them inside and out; it was my job to ensure the software worked as it should.  So there I was early in the morning with no noise no interruptions with my visuals and I read, researched, documented and spoke out loud to myself.  I learned my way and I was excellent at my job.

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Image Provided by: Sunwood Development

Children and adults learn different ways – there are many different styles and methods to learning.

What about you, how do you like to learn?

My Life; part of the blues?

From my post ‘find the humor‘, my friend and fellow blogger tcriggs over at Canary in the coalmine left the following comment –

Love this! thanks!

Btw… the post today on my blog, is for you… please stop by. I hope you like it!

I visited tciggs’ blog and read the post ‘If you fail to succeed, but do so Epically… did you actually succeed?’, that concluded with the following –

CONFESSION:

My husband is a singer/songwriter incognito… (he even sings one I wrote! *gasp*)… Still, as an avid music lover, and having a freakishly weird unintentional skill (yes, even commercials!) for remembering notes, chords, and lyrics… he plays covers now and again.

You know…Those favorite songs that speak to him.

One of the songs he plays and sings is by Sun Volt, called “Windfall” on acoustic guitar. (I tried to get him to let me record him… to no avail… sorry! But, I have evil plans for the future… stay tuned… )

Anyways… Quite literally, every time I hear him play this song… I think of the blogger ‘Spearfruit’… (Terry), dealing with some pretty heavy sh*t these days…

I can’t explain why… like I said, but when I hear it, I think of him.

I can say with certainty; I immediately wish him well and healthy…

I left a comment appreciating the mention and wanted to respond also in a post –

I am always touched when I am mentioned in another blogger’s post – as I consider myself no different than anyone else.

Per my ‘About Me’ page –

So, what makes my life more special than others? Well nothing really. The difference is this is my life that I am writing about.

I visited Son Volt’s website and read their BIO page.

Their BIO seems familiar to my life and me; here are some excerpts –

“There are only two kinds of songs,” Townes Van Zandt said, well before he died. “There’s the blues, and there’s zip-a-dee-doo-dah.” The new Son Volt album is titled Notes of Blue.

… “For years I’ve been drawn to the passion, common struggle and possibility for redemption that’s always been a part of the blues. Everyone has to pay the rent and get along with their significant others, so many of the themes are universal. For me, the blues fills that void that’s there for religion, really. That’s the place I turn to be lifted up.”

Why does this song and this group remind tciggs of me?  Maybe the answer is in some lyrics –

Now and then it keeps you running

It never seems to die

The trail’s spent with fear

Not enough living on the outside

Never seem to get far enough

Staying in between the lines

Hold on to what you can

Waiting for the end

Not knowing when

May the wind take your troubles away

May the wind take your troubles away

Both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel,

May the wind take your troubles away

Trying to make it far enough, to the next time zone

Few and far between past the midnight hour

Never feel alone, you’re really not alone

Yellow: the five percent

I like yellow, it is my favorite color.

Wikipedia.org has the following –

Yellow is the color of ripe lemons, sunflowers, and gold. It is between green and orange in the visible spectrum, and a primary color in subtractive color, used in color printing. According to surveys in Europe, Canada, and the United States, yellow is the color people most often associate with amusement, gentleness, and spontaneity, but also with duplicity, envy, jealousy, avarice, and, in the U.S., with cowardice. In Iran it has connotations of pallor/sickness, but also wisdom and connection.  It plays an important role in Asian culture, particularly in China, where it is seen as the color of happiness, glory, wisdom, harmony, and culture.

I like yellow, my favorite color.

Google the word yellow and you receive the following results –

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Image Provided by: Google Play

Yellow is a location-based social search mobile app that allows users to find others to share their Snapchat and Instagram usernames. It also allows users to chat with one another in the app.

Who knew there was an app for that?

And did you know the group Coldplay has a song called Yellow?

There is an interesting article on psychologytoday.com titled  Why We Prefer Certain Colors that has interesting information about why we have a color preference and how it influences our lives.  If you are interested in reading, click the above article link.

Did I mention, I like yellow?

From bustle.com –

The most popular color in the world is blue, and it’s also the most popular color for men, everywhere in the world, to wear. (Women, on the other hand, mostly prefer wearing black.) Statistically, yellow isn’t preferred by many, with only five percent of people claiming it as their most favorite color, and apparently, as people get older, they start to shun orange.

Okay, I am in the five percent when it comes to preferring yellow.

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Image Provided by: Jodi @ https://lifeinbetween.me

I always mention my favorite color to Jodi over at THE CREATIVE LIFE IN BETWEEN because she has wonderful watercolors that have the color yellow.

Did I mention, I really like the color yellow?

A year ago, I published a video post ‘it’s a “Jodi”’, where I unwrapped a package.  The package was sent from Jodi; she sent me a watercolor that I really liked.  The water color is a red boat, but it also has my favorite color.

Did you know, I really, really like yellow – it is my favorite color.

Any guess my favorite fruit?  (hint: it starts with a ‘B’ and yes, it is yellow)

And if you have never heard Coldplay’s song “Yellow” –

There is a mirror

There is a mirror you see

Right in front of me

And as I look at the current me

I am reminded of what I use to be

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The daily shower to clean the body

Now the body seems so shoddy

There once stood a man who some thought a hottie

But now that changed man he considers himself a nobody

 

The shower stands in front of that mirror

The doors open I am not far but nearer

I have changed much it is so much clearer

And times I see myself as inferior

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You see that mirror it sees the truth

It tells me my reflection is so much different from my youth

As I open the doors, that shower that booth

You see that mirror it sees the truth

 

But it only reflects the outside of me

There is much more to me, than one can see

My mind will wrestle with the reflection of me

But I remind myself, that, that I can still see

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The body is unimportant, because I have changed

Yes, the inside is a little rearranged

But the personality that cannot be exchanged

It remains positive and it remains unchanged

 

There is a mirror you see

Right in front of me

And as I look at the current me

I am reminded of what I can be

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