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?’

Sphere

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

Sphere

Sphere –

It was a hot summer’s day, I think sometime in June.  And I walking along and alone to where no one had been to before.

As I was in progress on my expedition, there in front of me it stood.  What a great wonder it was – I was paralyzed in my tracks.

Was it real or an image from my imagination?  The size of it alone was astonishing.

I stood there in amazement and then the pulling began.  What was taking place?

Was this to be the end of me?  And why me?

The pulling was harsh and I had no control and therefore the wonder it was; was now a threat.

The nearer it pulled me in the less tired I felt and some type of comfort took over.

What was this that was taking place?

The sphere kept the pulling, soon followed by the relief.

I like routines, do you? – A Fresh Perspective

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I am in year 3 of my blog.

In the early days of this blog, there are posts that received little exposer.

I have a new category ‘Reruns – A Fresh Perspective’.  This category reposts these earlier posts that received little exposer and a fresh perspective on how I feel about them today.

This post was originally posted on May 15, 2015 –

rou·tine

/ro͞oˈtēn/

1. a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.

“I settled down into a routine of work and sleep”

synonyms: procedure, practice, pattern, drill, regimen;

I like routines, do you?  We all have them in our everyday life; we follow them without even thinking about them.  We have routines in all parts of our lives: personal, work, social, family, relationships.

Think about it, everything we do every day is a routine.  What do you do first thing in the morning upon rising?  How do you dress yourself, left sock first or right sock first?  How do you open your car door and what is the first thing you do in the car, start it first and then put your seat belt on or buckle your seat belt then start the car?  Do you have a routine of what time to eat your meals every day, when to exercise, when to run errands or what day of the week to do laundry?

I like routines, do you?  I like them because for me personally they keep me stable, sane and balanced.  Routines are constant and constant is familiarity: knowing something, feeling close to it and feeling good about it.  Routines that are constant keep us focused and not having to put much effort into them, they are as natural as breathing, sleeping, seeing, hearing and thinking.  They just occur and we let them take us through our day.

I like routines, do you?  Routines can sometimes not be good for us and may even cause harm, pain, heartache, suffering, stagnation and yes even death.  Am I the only one who thinks about these things, about routines and how they control us?  Really think about it.  I have routines I live by every day of my life, both good ones and bad ones.  I allow them to control me to the point, that if one routine changes, it causes me to become disturbed and I let the change in routine ruin my day.  I am trying to change the results I experience due to the changed routines in my life.  Doing things differently is good at times, some routines need to be changed and with that change brings acceptance and freedom.

I like routines, do you?

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A Fresh Perspective –

I still like my routines, but I no longer allow them to control me and ruin my day if they change.  When this post was originally published Gary and I were living in a 4000-sq. ft. home and therefore I had my time and space to myself in the mornings, which I greatly enjoyed.  Today we live in a 300-sq. ft. RV and the morning routine at times changes daily.  And that is okay, I have learned to let go and as they say, ‘Go with the flow’.

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.

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

What about you, how do you like to learn?

red dots and double blue lines

Back in February in my post ‘Of course, … a course’, I wrote about occasionally making mistakes in my posts usual related to grammar errors.  I read, re-read and proof read my posts and still some grammar errors slip pass.  I have also used a correctly spelled word but used it incorrectly within a sentence.  For instance I found a few times after I published a post, I found an error in which I meant to use the word ‘life’, but instead I wrote ‘live’.

I write my posts in Microsoft Office Word therefore it will catch my spelling errors and I will correct those.

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As with the post written above mentioned grammar slipups and the occasionally incorrect used word, I am okay with my writing – because it is me.

I use the latest version of Microsoft Office Word; it is 2016 and is updated by Microsoft when they roll out their updates, usually once a month.  I recently noticed Word now provides me suggestions to my sentence structure.  It will use red dots under a combination of words to suggest I could use one word instead.  For instance when you read the last sentence of this post replace ‘have to’ with ‘must’ or ‘should’.  Word also uses double blue lines under words suggesting a comma should follow.  If you were to view my posts in Word, it appears I do not use enough commas in my sentences.  Yes I understand Word is trying to help.

Now for spell check – thank you, it is not that I necessarily do not know how to spell, it really is that my typing skills are not as they use to be.

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I loved the big keyboards and with my past laptops, I would have a wireless keyboard and mouse and would also have a big screen plugged in.  That was my usual way to work on my computer.  But remember, last year we downsized and now living in an RV, there is less space.  No big screen plugged into my laptop and no wireless big keyboard and mouse.  Now I work off my smaller laptop keyboard and touchscreen.  I like the touchscreen, that does make my life a bit easier, but the small keyboard, not so much.  I make more mistakes in my spelling because I am hitting the wrong key and yes sometimes I do incorrectly spell a word.  Once again, thank you Word for catching those.

Back to my red dots and double blue lines, does it really matter?

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Yes, I know some educators will tell me it does, but I am not a professional writer and am not writing for a professional outlet.  This is my personal blog, and I should be allowed to use words that come from me and not use commas where Word thinks I should use them.  If I updated the word suggestions and used all those commas, I feel it would take away from me, my personality and my writing.

I guess I just have to get use to seeing more red dots and double blue lines.

Quite – Quiet

In my post ‘Of course, … a course‘, I wrote the following –

At times my brain sees and reads something different than what I write.  In past posts, I write about my learning disabilities as a child, my internal struggles with myself; it is all here on my blog somewhere.  I make mistakes, I have shortcomings, and I am no expert at writing.

In today’s post, I write the following –

Ages ago when I was in 7th or 8th grade, I remember taking a typing class.  Who remembers typewriters?

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I have no memory of when the last time I saw a real typewriter.  Do they even exist anymore?

I was very good at typing and could type over a 100 words per minute with very few if no mistakes.  Remember typewriters had no autocorrect and if you did make a mistake, there was always whiteout.  Who remembers whiteout?

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As I grew older and left the typewriter for a computer keyboard, my typing skills increased and others would be impressed with my abilities on a keyboard.  I would type away pounding on the keyboard as I was always a hard hitter on the keys; therefore, I had to replace many keyboards.

I had and still have a little bit of dyslexia.  At times when typing, when I want to use a certain word, the fingers on the keyboard often times will reverse letters or totally switch the order of letters.  Now that I am older this occurs more times than I like, but I correct my mistakes and move on.  The good thing about computers is I do not have to use whiteout.  So much easier to correct and less of a mess.  Plus, the bottle of whiteout would dry out too quick and it would have to be thrown away before the full bottle was used.

So, what does Quite and Quiet have to do with this post?

I quite often make mistakes when typing now, but usually catch them: sometimes I don’t, but usually I do.

I need quiet time to write my posts, because along with my dyslexia and other learning disabilities, I am unable to concentrate when there is noise, it distracts me.

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I also quiet often will make mistakes when there is noise around me, I need my surroundings to be quite.

Did you catch that?

I did that on purpose this time – because this occurs often.

I am thankful my computer will help me correct mistakes and I do not have to use whiteout.

My Purpose in Life?

20160810_182204-2At times I will write a post and not finish it and leave it alone until a later date.  This post I wrote almost a year ago, but because of changes in my life it seemed no longer relevant.  Lives can change dramatically in a short period of time and along with the changes so too can our thinking, our believes and attitudes.

A year ago, I had a minor surgery to remove a tumor from my bladder.  At that time, it seemed harmless and nothing significant would come from it.  I was wrong and this past year’s events I never imagined would take place.

The following words I wrote almost a year ago, when my life was healthier and I was looking forward to a future filled with adventure and fun –

Many times I have asked myself ‘What is my purpose in life?’

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If you have been reading about me for quite a while, you know about my early struggles in life with major depression to the point of attempted suicide.  It took over a decade to overcome this depression that wanted to kill me.  My purpose at that time was to overcome it and that I did.

I continue with struggles today, but certainly not to the extent when I was a much younger man – but I am far from perfect and not the man I want to be – I still struggle – I am a work in progress.

Again today I ask the question ‘What is my purpose in life?’

A little more than a year ago, Gary and I were in Mexico exploring a possible location to live.  While there an event took place that upon our return home, I documented.

These are the words I documented –

How can I be responsible for supporting and helping someone when I have my own struggles?  Several weeks ago in Mexico, Gary and I were with expats.  I watched Gary as he told a story – and I see his mannerisms, his facial expressions and the words he used to tell the story – I saw his mom.  It reminded me that maybe he will be like his mom, telling the same old stories, having the same struggles every day.  He may exhibit the same emotions his mom goes through – anger, frustration, nice, rude, impatient, not understanding.  It has been difficult for me spending time with his mom due to my lack of patience.  I have learned some patience as a result of being around her and that is a good thing.  I have more to learn, I want to be there for Gary, I want to be caring, compassionate and understanding.  These are areas I fall short in, but feel I can I gain more of these traits.  Maybe this is my purpose in life to learn these traits: understanding, listening and being there for Gary.  I believe my life is about struggling and learning and being the best person I can be. 

image2Gary’s mom has dementia and she struggles daily and sometimes I see her personality in Gary.

Back to today, both Gary and my life has changed a great deal this past year.  I no longer think about what my purpose is in life.  I do believe part of Gary’s purpose may be to help me during my difficult time.  And who knows, maybe someday when I am better it will be my turn to help Gary during his difficult time.

The new confidence

A week ago in my post ‘what comes next…‘, I wrote the following –

The appointment with Dr. W. was to discuss some issues with pain I am experiencing in my lower back.  I had this pain back prior to surgery and thought it was associated with all the other pain I was experiencing immediately prior to surgery.  The pain is constant and is at its worse in the middle of the night to the point, I am unable to move or get out of bed.  We do not believe the pain is associated to the surgery and could be caused from arthritis, or some other issue.  I hope to resolve this pain soon.

In today’s post, I write the following –

Another week completed and another weekend is upon us.

This past week I had no doctor appointments or other medical related activities.  The weather here in Pensacola was perfect this week and looks to be the same this coming weekend.

The recovery after surgery continues with my daily walks and other activities.

Not only am I recovering physically but also psychologically with regards to the new me.  Remember in recent posts ‘I struggle with the new me‘ and ‘Freakshows’, I wrote about my struggles with having a urostomy bag on the outside of my body.  As the weeks pass I am learning to cope and accept this new reality.  The initial uncertainty and apprehension are replaced with confidence and comfortableness.

The new confidence with the new me is allowing me to get out a little more.  Past weeks had me hesitant in going anywhere I did not have to go because of my fear of ‘leakage’ from what is now an extension of my body – my urostomy bag.  With different manufacture products tested by me; there were some trials and errors that took place and incidents that were frustrating and embarrassing.  Since surgery, a learning process has taken place for both Gary and myself with regards to the supplies needed and process of maintaining and replacing this new extension – my urostomy bag.

Beside my daily walks this past week, I did attempt to go to the gym for an extremely easy light workout; nothing strenuous at all.  Going to the gym gets me out into a different environment, which I need after weeks of being cooped up in the RV.  This also provides me with an opportunity to build my confidence level with regards to the new me.

The lower back pain I experience in the middle of the night has subsided some, but still persists in waking me in the middle of the night.  This nightly waking is then followed with me needing a change of position; therefore I sleep the rest of the night on a recliner.

In a couple of weeks I have follow-up appointments with my Urologist and Oncologist.  I mentioned in my post ‘what comes next…‘ the possibility of a clinical trial medication for Stage 4 Bladder Cancer and also the possibility of a second Oncologist opinion concerning my further treatment.

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tick away

A year ago in my post ‘Predict our day of death‘, I wrote the following –

On deathclock.com there is ‘The Death Clock’ and the website states –

Welcome to the Death Clock(TM), the Internet’s friendly reminder that life is slipping away… second by second. Like the hourglass of the Net, the Death Clock will remind you just how short life is.

So I proceeded to enter the information, clicked the ‘Check Your Death Clock’ button and received the following –

Your Personal Day of Death is….Saturday, June 10, 2028

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

Okay, by this ‘Death Clock’ I will die in 13 years.

September of last year in my post ‘I have been there, done that‘, I wrote the following –

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.

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

In today’s post, I write the following –

Will I Die Soon?

The statistics for Stage 4 bladder cancer is I have a 14% to 24% 5-year survival prognosis.  I keep myself informed because this is my body, my cancer and my life and I want to know all the good and bad about what is taking place with me.  Do I sit here and wait for death and not live in the meantime?  No, I want to live as much as I can before that date on the calendar is here.  But I am restricted now on living life to the fullest as I continue my recovery.  The upcoming weeks will reveal what may come next in the subsequent months to follow.

Will I Die Soon?

‘The Death Clock’ indicates I will die in 11 years and my bladder cancer stage and prognosis indicates my chances are slim to live after the next 5 years.

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Whether it be 5 years or 11 years, I need to live in the here and now.  I still have things to learn and more growing needs to take place.  That person I want to be should be now – I do not need to wait until it is too late.  Some of you may not understand this; but it makes perfect sense to me.

I have no idea when my time on this earth is going to end – but it continues to tick away.