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.

Stop & Listen

Back in December of last year, in my post ‘Reveille‘, I wrote the following words –

In the mornings after reveille, the National Anthem is played.  In the United States, we play the National Anthem before sporting events and sometimes other types of activities where large amounts of people are gathered.  I would acknowledge the song and maybe sing along with it or, maybe not.  Since living at NAS, that has changed; I feel differently when I hear this song now.  The song has more meaning for me.  Why?

No matter where on the base one is – when the National Anthem is played in the morning or evening, everyone stops what they are doing and gives their attention.  Military personal both active and retired salute and civilians with their hand on their heart.  My heart pounds as I am stopped in my tracks and begin singing the National Anthem – what an honor.

In today’s post, I write the following –

From Wikipedia –

The Star-Spangled Banner” is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from “Defence of Fort M’Henry”, a poem written on September 14, 1814, by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large American flag, the Star-Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the American victory.

My friend and fellow blogger Jennie over at A Teacher’s Reflections published a wonderful post back in November of last year about the significance of this song with children.  I did not realize there is a book The Star Spangled Banner by Peter Spier that depicts the words to this song in full color illustrations.  Please stop over to Jennie’s blog and check out her wonderful post Children and “The Star Spangled Banner”.

Having lived on the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida – I heard this song every morning.  We sing it many times in our lives without much thought into the words and the meaning of the song.  I realize the following video is rather long (11:38 minutes), but if you have time to watch it, please do.  I hope you listen to the words and watch the video today, and learn something you may have not known and maybe just maybe, it brings to you a new significance; and the next time you hear it, a since of honor and pride will fill your heart.

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.

Image1

Image Provided by: http://www.spreadshirt.com

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.

Image2

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.

Image3

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.

Image4

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.

‘My Personal Hell’ (Reader Discretion Is Advised)

I wrote this post over a year ago, and never published it because I felt at the time it was too personal.  Since that time, my early cancer treatment resulted in Stage 4 Bladder Cancer and a major surgery to remove my bladder.  Since that time, I have written other posts that were sensitive in nature.  Since that time, now I have nothing to hide.

Written February 16, 2016 –

wikepedia.org uses these words to describe Hell; I also use these words plus others –

Agony, Torture, Pain

Image1

Image Provided by: Now The End Begins

This post will be very personal in nature and will expose my thoughts that you may not want to read.  Stop reading at any time you feel uncomfortable – I understand.

A week ago I had a tumor removed from my bladder.  After the tumor was removed I had a catheter inserted into and through my penis into the bladder to help it drain urine and to also flush out any remaining pieces of tumor and any blood clots that had formed.  The catheter used on me is a ‘3-way catheter for irrigation’, therefore it was a very large catheter in circumference.  Upon having it removed, which I thought was bad enough; I am experiencing the usual pain and burning when peeing.  But the pain and burning is nothing compared to what I experience on a nightly basis since having it removed.

I do not look forward to sleep, as I know upon the many times I wake during the night, waiting for me is ‘My Personal Hell’.

Image2

Image Provided by: http://www.pinterest.com

Let us review what takes place upon waking from sleep for a typical male.  goaskalice.columbia.edu has the following –

Contrary to what many believe, waking up with your flag at full mast is not caused by urine buildup in the bladder. Morning erections are technically nighttime erections (or Nocturnal Penile Tumescence) which happen three to five times per night. They usually pop up (pun intended) during periods of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep (when most dreaming occurs) and last around 30 minutes each. Unrelated to dream content, they are both common and completely normal and men older than sixty years may even have them during non-REM sleep.

Yes, I am a normal man in that I experience this normal body function.  But less than a week after having a very large tube inserted and removed from my penis, this normal body function is now an experience that brings me to tears.

The last several nights, I have cried more than I ever have in my entire life.  During these normal body function times, the fire, torment, punishment, agony, torture and pain I feel is so overwhelming, I plead with God to let me die.  I am weak, I cannot handle the pain, my life will never be the same, please God, let me die now.

I am tired as this is my new nighttime ritual.  How long will it last, how long will I last.  I am tired not only due to the lack of good sleep, but the emotional toll it is taking on me.

I am down and I am sad and I am frustrated and I am mad.  I try to stay hopeful and positive for the future – but it is difficult.

Image3

Image Provided by: CNN.com

It is difficult because every night I do not look forward to sleep – because waiting for me is ‘My Personal Hell’.

(This will never be an issue again.  As many of you know, my most recent surgery removed not just my bladder, but other organs that now prevent me from experiencing Nocturnal Penile Tumescence.  Lucky me!)

Turning 21

Today is the 21st month of my blog!  My anniversary post is something different than the usual posts I write.

Hum, 21 months……

wikpedia.org has the following –

Age 21 –

In several countries 21 is the age of majority.

In all US states, 21 is the drinking age.

In Hawaii and New York, 21 is the minimum age that one person may purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products.

image1

Image Provided by: Cleveland City Council

In some countries it is the voting age.

In the United States, 21 is the age at which one can purchase multiple tickets to an R-rated film. It is also the age to accompany one under the age of 17 as their parent or adult guardian for an R-rated movie.

In some states, 21 is the minimum age, persons may gamble or enter casinos.

In 2011, Adele named her second studio album 21, because of her age at the time.

image2

Image Provided by: Wikipedia

Hum, 21 years……

When I was the age 21: I was in my 3nd year of marriage.

When I was the age 21: I had been drinking for several years, 18 was the drinking age back then, it was changed to 21 after I had already turned 21 – lucky me.

When I was the age 21: I had been smoking for several years, I started at 16 and finally quit for the final time last year.

When I was the age 21: I most likely voted for the first time – I always wondered why I had to wait until 21 to vote, when I was required to register for the draft at age 18.

When I was the age 21: I have no idea what my first R-rated film I saw – the best top grossing R-rated film that year was ‘Stripes’ starring Bill Murray.

When I was the age 21: I do not believe I had gambled or been in a casino – I certainly have had my share of visits to a casino in the past several years.

When I was the age 21: I had no best selling album – but that year REO Speedwagon did, it was titled ‘Hi Infidelity’.

image3

Image Provided by: feelgrafix.com

Today is the 21st month of my blog!  My anniversary post is something different than the usual posts I write.

Controlled Drinking

Okay stay with me – there is some time warping taking place here – I write some thoughts today – then there are thoughts from the past – thoughts from other posts – then back to today.

I sometimes will write a post and for certain reasons will not publish it.  I then will go back to an unpublished post and feel it needs to be published because it is important and relevant today.

image1

Here is one of those posts; I wrote the following words over a year ago –

This will be the last post I write about drinking!  From my post ‘Thoughts From Years Past.18’, I ended with the following –

I was feeling out of control and handled it by drinking everyday as much as I could.  The alcohol changed my behavior from bad to evil.  It was not creating a state of mind that took me away from the craziness I felt: instead it created an evil person that hated life and everything about it.

image2

In my post ‘Drink, Drink, Drink’, I ended with the following –

Ok, there you have it; I am in the heavy drinking category and have AUD.  On the NIH site I read some questions to ask to assess oneself with AUD.  Of the 11 questions they asked, I answered ‘Yes’ to 1 question.

I ask again “So, am I an alcoholic?”  I guess I may be per the definition of the word – but I answered ‘Yes’ to 1 question indicating I have AUD – I understand the effects of heavy drinking – but I continue to do it anyway.

There is a good article on the goodtherapy.org website titled ‘Stopping at the Buzz: How to Control Your Drinking’ and includes the following –

In my practice as an addiction psychologist, it’s probably the most common question I encounter; when it comes right down to it, it’s what most people who are struggling with alcohol really want to know:

“How can I control my drinking or drug use?”

For some drinkers, controlled drinking or moderate drinking is an option, and for a small portion of the population, about 5%, controlled drinking is nearly impossible. While many people believe “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic,” many people diagnosed with alcoholism can learn to control their drinking and become social drinkers again. That said, if you have been diagnosed with alcohol dependence, most addiction psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians, social workers, and addiction counselors would strongly recommend abstinence. This is always a very personal decision that should be made with careful consideration of the risks and benefits of drinking versus abstinence.

Okay there you have it – I am controlling my drinking.  I am aware of the risks of long term drinking use, but unlike in my 20s, I have it under control and do not drink for the wrong reasons.  The depression years are over, the stress in my life is reduced, and yes, I still have a few issues in my mind to deal with, but my mind is no longer out of control.

image3

I have taken the option to control my drinking and to not use it to take me away from reality.

Today, I write and conclude with these words –

The above words I wrote a year ago, and little did I know; I was totally correct about me and my drinking behavior.  I do have it under control as since my cancer diagnosis I have all but quit drinking.  For a time, a few months ago, I stopped drinking because of chemo.  Since my chemo is over, I do drink again, but limit myself.

Do I need to justify my drinking habits to anyone?  I don’t think so, but I just did.

image4

(Note: recently no alcohol intake is taking place due to antibiotics and pain medication intake.  With a major surgery scheduled in 3 weeks, the continued practice of not drinking will continue.)

Steven Hall Grimnes

I searched the internet for him and his story.

I found some information on ‘The National Archives’ website, but no information I did not already know.

image1

Who is this person, and what is his story?

I know the Name, the Rank, the Branch of Service, the Wars, the Time Lived; but I do not know anything else.

image2

But there are thousands upon thousands who rest in peace and who are recognized a few times a year for their life and their time serving us.

My husband served and saw some action and my son serves and saw no action.

Many others have served and are serving that were in action; and many died in action – still many never to return from action.

image3

As I currently live on the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida; I drive by the area of land almost every day.

Upon returning from our recent trip, I once again drove by; but this time it was different – because of the season.

image4

Rows upon rows of them, garnished with wreaths and bows of red to mark the season.

I stood in awe at the site and it reminded me of the sacrifices these individuals made and still make today.

image5

Let us not forget about those serving in the military and are away from family this time of the year.

Let us not forget about those that have served and who rest in peace in our national cemeteries across this great land.

Who are these people, and what are their stories?

image6

My Teacher

Several weeks ago, I read a post from a fellow WP blog TheALK3RPost

Their post titled ‘Abraham Lincoln’s Famous Letter to His Son’s Teacher’ resonated with me.

image1

Image Provided by: Surabhi – WordPress.com

As I read the letter, I was thinking about what is taking place in my life now; what life is teaching me.  Cancer has helped transform me into a better person.  How is this so?  Life is short – even when it is long.

I am not always a good person.  But can I be better?  Yes – and cancer can help.

As I currently take a journey with cancer, I remind myself, what is important?  What am I doing that can make a difference or not make a difference?

Am I just here to exist?  It there a reason for cancer in my body?  How does it affect me?  How do I affect others?

Many questions with some answers.  So how does Abraham Lincoln’s letter to a teacher affect me today?

To read the complete letter Abraham Lincoln wrote visit TheALK3RPost blog by clicking this link: Abraham Lincoln’s Famous Letter to His Son’s Teacher

Here are some excerpts from that letter Lincoln wrote many years ago –

“My son starts school today. It is all going to be strange and new to him for a while and I wish you would treat him gently. It is an adventure that might take him across continents. All adventures that probably include wars, tragedy and sorrow. To live this life will require faith, love and courage.

So dear Teacher, will you please take him by his hand and teach him things he will have to know, teaching him – but gently, if you can.

Teach him that for every enemy, there is a friend. He will have to know that all men are not just, that all men are not true.

Teach him to learn how to gracefully lose, and enjoy winning when he does win.

Steer him away from envy if you can and teach him the secret of quiet laughter.

Teach him if you can – how to laugh when he is sad, teach him there is no shame in tears.

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone else is doing it.

Teach him to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind, in God.

This is the order, teacher but see what best you can do. He is such a nice little boy and he is my son.”

image2

Image Provided by: http://www.cafepress.com

For over a year now, my teacher is cancer.

My cancer is teaching me many things about life, about others, but more importantly about myself.

The What Ifs

image1

Image Provided by: Wonderful Engineering

The tearing of the minds
The tears, the pain, the heartache
The whys, the wanders, the what ifs

Minds are crazy and hateful and fearful and destructive
That one mind so complex yet so simple

The tearing of that mind
The tears, the pain, the heartache
The whys, the wanders, the what ifs

Bring forth the destruction, the death, the final breath
For he who loves but then hates

The tearing of his mind
The tears, the pain, the heartache
The whys, the wanders, the what ifs

The hiding of one is the prison of another
Stop the madness, stop the hurting

The tearing of my mind
The tears, the pain, the heartache of his
The whys, the wanders, the what ifs of both

image2

Image Provided by: paulbarford-heritage-the-ruth.blogspot.com

‘I have been there, done that’

Over the past couple of months, I have had mixed emotions at times when dealing with my current health situation.  Immediately prior to starting chemotherapy, I had anxiety and concern and I knew this was okay and to be expected.

As I continued through these past weeks with my emotions very often one of strength and positivity, I have written about my journey so far with my cancer, my treatment and the possible future.  I do not want to leave anything out, it will all be here; the good and the bad, the weak and the strong, it will all be here.

This blog is about my life.  My life right now is cancer and I am making a big deal out of it.  But many people on this world have cancer, so why is mine any more important than theirs?  I tell myself at times others that have experienced cancer or know someone that has; well maybe are thinking in their minds that I overdo my emotions, my thinking or reactions.

I tell myself, those others who know cancer may have the thinking “I have been there, done that”, and maybe those other people know more than I and therefore “he (meaning me), overreacts”.  My point is I am dealing with my cancer the best I can, that which is me and a part of me – with what I have learned up to this point.  It is my life.  I read other blog posts with people writing about their struggles and I tell myself, “I have been there, done that.”  And I could respond with my personal experience or ‘tips’, ‘suggestions’, or the ‘solution’ to their problem – like I really know the answer to their struggles!

Life11

I do feel that it is my responsibility as a reader to read what the writer is putting down in print that which is their thinking, their feelings, their emotions and their life.  This is what I am doing here.

From cancer.net –

This year, an estimated 76,960 adults (58,950 men and 18,010 women) will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in the United States. Among men, bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer. It is estimated that 16,390 deaths (11,820 men and 4,570 women) from this disease will occur this year.

From cancer.org –

About half of all bladder cancers are first found while the cancer is still confined to the inner layer of the bladder wall. (These are called non-invasive or in situ cancers.) About 1 in 3 bladder cancers have invaded into deeper layers but are still only in the bladder. In most of the remaining cases, the cancer has spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes outside the bladder. Rarely (in about 4% of cases), it has spread to distant parts of the body.

My cancer is Stage 4 bladder cancer and I know the statistics.

This blog is about my life.  My life right now is cancer and I am making a big deal out of it.  But many people on this world have cancer, so why is mine more important than theirs?