can’t escape challenges – a Visual Recite

I have added a new category to my blog titled ‘a Visual Recite’.

I have taken many pictures over the years and I share them with you with a recite.

(I disabled comments today, I need more time to respond to Monday’s heartfelt comments that you left me.  I also need time to adjust back home and the changes needed as I continue my heath care here at home.  Thank you my friends for your understanding.)

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can’t escape challenges  –

I feel like life is really short, and it’s important to enjoy yourself and embrace whatever comes your way, whether it’s a challenging day or a great day, just welcome it with open arms. No matter who you are, you can’t escape challenges; they are part of life.

–          Miranda Kerr

Daily Struggles

Last week was difficult.  Monday my mom, sister and brother left and once again my current life goes into the routine mode.  In last Friday’s post ‘…moving the fluid.‘, I wrote about the current troubles I am experiencing with regards to my lymphedema.

With only having 1 massage treatment, I do not see a difference, but I hope with continued treatments there will be some success in moving the fluid out of my body.  Image4Today I will have my 2nd massage treatment and should also receive my compression stockings which I will need to wear on a continual basis during waking hours for the unforeseen future.  I continue with my daily exercises for my lymphedema – these exercises also promote fluid movement.

The body pain I experience daily, is not becoming easier to deal with.  I will admit, each day is tough not only for me, but Gary as well.  Some days my inability to walk without significant pain is just too much for me – those are the days I question how much longer I can live this way.

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Image Provided by: moffitt.org

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with Dr. C. in the Supportive Care Medicine group.  Dr. C. manages my pain as well as ensuring my quality of life is the best it can be while I continue immunotherapy treatment and my battle with my cancer.  My quality of life at this time is not good and I need his help in making it better.

Most likely my pain medications will be increased again and my already lethargic days will increase in intensity.  I do a lot of resting, sleeping and very little activity now.  My energy level is basically zero resulting in very little physical activity.  I feel with each passing day, I am weathering away.  Now, I am unable to walk in an erect position due to tensed muscles in my upper leg/hip region.  With the lymphedema in my feet, legs and abdomen; my continued inactivity and lethargic, I have become stiff and basically my muscles are reducing in flexibility.  For me, just standing is a huge effort and walking at times wears me out and takes my breath away.

Lately, I am angry and upset my life has come to this.  My cancer has taken a once active happy person and turned him into a frail bitter person.

I am honest on my blog, I have always been truthful and honest and I will not lie to you now.

I am struggling daily and the inner strength is becoming dim.  Gary, the amazing man he is, is here for me in every capacity and supports me and my decisions.

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I wake each morning knowing what the new day will bring and go to sleep each night knowing the struggles I face.

I continue the current treatment in hopes there is some good to come out of what is very bad right now.

Honestly, I feel my days are numbered and with each passing day my death will arrive much sooner than much later.

No Response

My category ‘Pictures & Stories’ are posts with me writing a fictional, creative short story about a picture.

No Response

No Response –

Geo had moved to the new city just a few months ago.  As he walked down the street he thought that was him.  But years had passed since their last encounter and it did not end as planned.  He was standing there reading the paper, minding his own business.  Geo wanted to stop, but the years had passed; did that time heal the wounds?

Would he still hold hard feelings?

Geo had to take the chance, it may not come again.

As Geo walked toward him, he did not move, and gave no sign that anyone was approaching.  Geo placed his hand on his should and the chatting began.

There was no response and there would be none.

…moving the fluid.

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

This past Monday, I had a visit from home health care specialist to treat my lymphedema.  My current treatment involves the wrapping of my legs with hopes the fluid will flow back toward the trunk of my body.  With many of my lymph nodes having cancer, this process may be difficult and slow in progression or not work at all.  If this treatment is unsuccessful, then other treatments will be considered.

Image4Treatment along with exercise hopefully will help reduce the swelling at which time I will wear compression stockings for the unforeseen future.  My understanding is lymphedema can be temporary or permanent, therefore treatment will continue for as long as the lymphedema is present.  I hope eventually to reduce the swelling and improve my leg muscles so I have the ability to walk without the aid of a walker or cane.

In today’s post, I write the following –

For the past 2 weeks, up until this past Monday, my legs were wrapped.  You may remember in my video post ‘The Real Me Now‘, I showed my fully wrapped legs.  The fluid that was once in my lower legs and feet were forced up into my pelvic area and was causing me issues.  First the fluid did not appear to be leaving my body.  The process is this fluid travels through the lymph node system then enters the liver and exits through the urine.

With my usual issue of dealing with constipation vs a normal bowel movement, now my abdominal area was being filled with fluid.  This caused added discomfort and pain to an already beat up body full of other aches and agony.  So, the wrapping of the legs was removed this past Monday with a pending decision as to what the next step would be.

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Image Provided by: Pinterest

This past Tuesday I met with my Oncologist Dr. L. to discuss my lymphedema and current overall pain I continue to feel.  His feeling on the lymphedema is to receive a different treatment that involves skin massaging and is referred to as manual lymphatic drainage (MLD).  I also soon will begin wearing compression stockings during waking hours that should help in moving the fluid.

Yesterday my home health care specialist was here to begin the MLD treatment.  The treatment is being modified some because I am unable to lie flat on my back and laying on my stomach is not an option either.  So, yesterday’s treatment is the first of many and we are hoping for positive results.  Currently my feet, ankles, calves, thighs and waist are filled with fluid.  This makes it difficult for me to walk and many other daily activities we take for granted are now a huge effort for me.  The pain associated with daily routine activities are exhausting for me and drain my energy so fast, I accomplish very little during the day.

20170416_194313 (2)My days are filled with much rest – and that in itself can be stressful to prepare for.

My days are filled with much pain – and that in itself can be stressful to prepare for.

The effort to rest, the effort to treat pain, the effort to deal with everyday activities is difficult for me.

Much of my energy is drained – but I wake each morning to try again.

I will see her again

From my post ‘Who is next?‘, I wrote the following –

Do I have other family members coming to visit?  Well, since you asked –

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Image Provided by: Kyrene Foundation

This coming Friday, my twin sister and my mom will be visiting. Another important visit I am looking forward to because my mom and I are close.  I have written many posts about the importance she is to me.  This will be an emotional visit because my mom, she worries like most moms do and I think she feels helpless.

My sister and I are twins and therefore we have a special bond.  I believe if that bond were broken in anyway, there would be a great loss there.  My sister has revealed to me she is heartbroken and upset and cries on a daily basis.

This weekend I will have special visits with special family members; both have been important to me throughout my life and especially now.

In today’s post, I write the following –

This time with my mom and sister certainly at times was emotional.  They were not prepared to see my body that has become weak and frail.  They were not prepared to see me walking will difficulty and needing the help of others with some everyday tasks.  They were not prepared to see me drained of energy, strength and vigor.

I felt it important for them to see me this way; to see how serious this cancer is attaching my body.

We had discussions about how the cancer is affecting my body and the current treatment and potential future treatments.  We discussed my daily struggle and my reason for fighting.  We discussed my possible decision I may need to make in the future.  And we discussed me dying and my final wishes.

We cried a lot, hugged a lot and enjoyed each other’s company.  I made sure they knew how grateful I was that they came to visit me and the importance of their visit.

My second oldest brother was here also to visit me and to spend some time with mom and sister.  Him and I were not close growing up and it has only been in the last couple of years we have connected in a different way.  I guess growing older sometimes bring people closer together and breaks down differences.

I cried in front of these family members on several occasions as I shared my fears.20170416_194313 (2)  Their comfort and support and love brought strength for both Gary and me.  Their time here with us will not be forgotten anytime soon.

The time came when we had to say our goodbyes, with the most difficult being my mom.  We both cried and I told her I will see her again.

These family members know my life may be short.  The once small cancer that was found almost 2 years ago, is now taking over my body.  The treatments may help slow down the progression, but ultimately my cancer will end my life.

The assault on my body

From my post ‘lymphedema‘, I received the following comment from fellow blogger and friend Osyth from Half Baked In Paradise. –

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Image Provided by: Pinterest

Reading your posts I feel I am looking on helplessly watching an unrelenting assault. I cannot imagine what it must be like for Gary and for your close family and friends. And for you …. for you enduring ALL these painful conditions and each time you turn to walk away feeling a little less racked with pain BANG – there’s another thing to start ratcheting it up and remind you. Helpless I am but I have a strong heart and I send you all the strength I have to help you battle on. And soft hugs. As many as you can stand.

My response –

Osyth, I will admit – some days I find difficulty in living. As you indicated in your comment there is an unrelenting assault taking place on my body. The emotional toll it is taking on Gary is evident as he sees me everyday and experiences what I am going through on a daily basis. It is tough on both him and I. I appreciate your strength in helping me battle on and the soft hugs are always welcomed. Hope your day is beautiful and full of sunshine.

At times, there seems to be an unrelenting assault taking place.  Each day I wake, I know what to expect; I am very tired and drowsy and weak.

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Image Provided by: quotesgram.com

The unrelenting assault is coming from cancer waging a war on my body along with the immunotherapy weakening my immune system and the many drugs my body is having to take that help with pain management and other needed reasons, but also come with side effects that negatively affect me.  Then there is the lymphedema that is currently taking place.  The lymphedema causing pain, and causes inconveniences with walking, standing and sleeping.

The assaults on my body some days are difficult to deal with and very time consuming.  It takes me much longer to do daily tasks and much of that requires help from Gary.  Besides needing help with daily tasks, Gary takes on many other responsibilities including picking up my prescriptions, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, and this list continues.

Image3The most important item on the list is his never-ending determination to make my life easier.  He is always available for me when I need help.  Some days he struggles watching me as I deal with pain, discomfort and the relentless assaults taking place on my body every day.  Some days he struggles with the idea I may not be here much longer.

Body, Soul & Mind

 

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Currently my body is taking a beating.

Cancer is beating every part of my body and not wasting time doing it.

Immunotherapy is beating on my body with tiredness and fatigue.

Pain medications are beating my body and causing the bowels to not function properly.

Lymphedema is beating on my feet and legs and causing painful movement.

I wake every morning knowing my body will once again feel ache, tiredness, bowel issues and pain with movement.

I wake every morning knowing I will have a day I will need to fight back.

Fighting back is keeping a positive attitude – the best I can under the circumstances.

Fighting back is holding on to hope – there is always hope.

Fighting back is performing daily physical exercises – even when I don’t want to.

Fighting back is eating as well as I can – even when I have no appetite.

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Currently my mind is taking a beating.

Cancer is beating every part of my body including my mind – my thoughts and my emotions at times are weak.

Immunotherapy is beating on my mind with fatigue and lethargy – I am limited on time to use my mind for much rest is needed.

Pain medications are beating my mind and causing tiredness and limited thinking – I must rest and try to rejuvenate.

Lymphedema is beating my mind due to the effects from my limited walking.

I wake every morning knowing my mind will once again feel fatigued and emotional.

I wake every morning knowing I will have a day I will need to fight back.

Fighting back is keeping a positive attitude – the best I can under the circumstances.

Fighting back is holding on to hope – there is always hope.

Fighting back is performing daily mindfulness exercises – even when I don’t want to.

Fighting back is eating as well as I can – even when I have no appetite.

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Currently my soul is taking a beating.

Cancer is beating every aspect of my being including my soul – my identity, that spiritual part of me is receiving messages of non-understanding thoughts.

Immunotherapy is beating on my soul with questioning decisions and actions – am I spiritual and is this part of me being tested?

Pain medications are beating my soul and causing limited thinking – I must rest and follow that which comes from wisdom and makes some logic.

Lymphedema is beating my soul because of body image, pain and limitations.

I wake every morning knowing my soul will once again have questions with no answers.

I wake every morning knowing I will have a day I will need to fight back.

Fighting back is keeping a positive attitude – the best I can under the circumstances.

Fighting back is holding on to hope – there is always hope.

Fighting back is performing daily support from confirmations – even when I don’t feel it.

Fighting back is eating as well as I can – even when I have no appetite.

lymphedema

Last month in my post ‘My Feet – A Fresh Perspective‘, I concluded with the following –

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 groin and the walking became worse forcing me to use a cane and now I am using a walker. Image1 Then came reduced physical activity 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.

 

In today’s post, I begin with the following –

In the past 2 weeks, my severe edema has become worse and after communications with doctors at Moffitt Cancer Center, it was determined I have lymphedema.  Image2This is common with some cancer patients when the lymph nodes are affected.  Since I have cancer in many of my lymph nodes and with the recent decrease in physical activity; the lymphedema is now another health condition to deal with.

This past Monday, I had a visit from home health care specialist to treat my lymphedema.  My current treatment involves the wrapping of my legs with hopes the fluid will flow back toward the trunk of my body.  With many of my lymph nodes having cancer, this process may be difficult and slow in progression or not work at all.  If this treatment is unsuccessful, then other treatments will be considered.

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Treatment along with exercise hopefully will help reduce the swelling at which time I will wear compression stockings for the unforeseen future.  My understanding is lymphedema can be temporary or permanent, therefore treatment will continue for as long as the lymphedema is present.  I hope I will eventually will reduce the swelling and improve my leg muscles so I have the ability to walk without the aid of a walker or cane.

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My pain level prior to my recent hospital stay was a 10+, and afterwards I felt the level was about a 5.  Now with the lymphedema, the pain level has slowly creeped up to level 6 or 7 and at times reaching to a 10+ again.  I have an appointment today with Dr. C. in the Supportive Care Medicine group to discuss modifying my pain medicines or taking some other approach to reducing my pain.

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With recent information concerning the spread of my cancer and the pain experienced on a daily basis; I am on a roller coaster of emotions.  I accept what is taking place with my body and my life – I deal with it one day at a time.  What upsets me the most, is the effect this cancer is having on my family and especially Gary.

What are you looking at?

My category ‘Pictures & Stories’ are posts with me writing a fictional, creative short story about a picture.

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at? –

Okay, I was minding my own business, you know doing the things hens do.  And then he starts strutting his stuff.

Really?  And why would you do that here?  The city is allowing us to roam free amongst others and you go and spoil it.

What do you mean, I am making a scene, you started it! Why are you talking to me that way?  Go back to Rooster land or where ever you came from.

Hey, you with the camera.

What are you looking at?