I still do my best

I ended last Friday’s post ‘my character‘, with this quote –

Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.

Walter Anderson

In today’s post, I write the following –

Yes, bad things do happen; to all of us.

Friday of last week I had my first appointment with my new Urologist Dr. G.  This visit’s main purpose is for the continuation of care for my surgery I had 3 months ago.  Because surgery recovery is going well without complications, I will not be seeing Dr. G. on a regular basis.  Dr. G. is part of the Moffitt Cancer Center where I am receiving my Oncology services and chemotherapy treatment.  Because I am under the care of my Oncologist Dr. L., I would only see Dr. G. if there were an advancement of my cancer in my urinary system.

Due to the pain I have experienced since my surgery 3 months ago, I was referred to pain management at the Moffitt Cancer Center.  This week I had an appointment with pain management to discuss the possibilities of relieving my pain.  It was decided in upcoming weeks I will have 2 appointments to receive a Facet Injection in my lumbar spine.  The injection helps to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.  I am hoping these injections will provide the pain relief I want so I can reduce or even stop taking pain medications.

Currently my pain management involves taking pain pills and other medications to reduce inflammation.  I perform as much activities as my body allows with somedays better than others when it comes to the amount of stamina I have.

Next week I have another chemotherapy treatment and the following week I will have appointments with a Neurologist and Ostomy Wound Care.  The Neurologist may also be able to help in finding the source of my pain and help in relief.  Remember back in January I had surgery to remove my bladder and other organs.  I now have an ostomy bag that collects my urine.  The opening in my abdominal area to divert my urine is called a stoma.  I am having a mild issue with my stoma and therefore an appointment with the Ostomy Wound Care will help with this issue.

My hope is in the next couple of weeks the pain will be under control without the continuation of taking pain medications.  Currently these pain medications cause much drowsiness and tiredness which results in limitations of activities.

I do not sit in perpetual sadness – but I do sit a lot due to tiredness.

I am not immobilized by gravity of my loss – I believe the energy level will come back.

I do my best to rise from the pain and treasure the gift of life – though difficult at times, I still do my best.

Bad things do happen, and it is how I respond to them that defines my character.

20170416_194313 (2)

Pain, Moods & Me

Last month, my friend and fellow blogger Curry N Code from blog site Life Less Ordinary, published a post that resonated with me.

That post ‘Be Not Provoked‘, was about not being provoked to anger.  Please, if you have the time – click the above link to read this beneficial post.

Image1

Image Provided by: brainyquote.com

That post spoke to me and is an excellent reminder for me of what I am not doing.  A reminder of what I should be doing.  You know what is going on in my life right now, I am dealing with cancer and currently going through another round of chemotherapy.  This dealing with cancer started 20 months ago and has been on going non-stop.

There is the body pain, many different body pains I have experienced over these 20 months and I allow that body pain to affect my mood and to affect me.

I am opposite of what my friend Curry N Code writes in the post I mentioned.  I am ashamed to admit it – I call myself weak – I allow my body pain to dictate my mind.

I have written about this before.  I allow my body pain to dictate my moods, my mind, me.  It seems to me, I use my body pain as an excuse to be provoked to anger.  I use my body pain as an excuse to lose hope and love.

I am not necessarily a religious person, though at times in my life I have been.

I am a work in progress and no matter what body pain I am experiencing, I need to remind myself to not be provoked to anger.  I need to remind myself to always be patient, to be forgiving and to display love.

I receive much support and encouragement from comments that are left on my posts that help me a great deal.

I receive much inspiration from other’s posts which also help me a great deal.

Thank you Curry N Code and others who publish posts that resonate with me.

I may not always leave a comment, but many of your posts touch me and inspire me.

my character

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.

Lance Armstrong

Sunshine Blogger Award Border

Last Friday was my first chemotherapy treatment, and I am not expecting another treatment for 2 weeks.  My round 2 chemotherapy treatment taking place now is different from the round 1 that I had last year.  The Round 2 treatment I take 2 weeks off between the treatments and with Round 1 I took 1 week off.

I have not really felt any affects from the chemotherapy except tiredness.  I am very tired, but this could be because I am also on some major pain medications and other medications that help me to control the pain I am experiencing.  I have not felt nauseous and I still have hair.  With the coming treatments in the future weeks, we shall see if the side-affects change.

This past week was filled with making future appointments to specialists.  The hope is when I finally have these appointments, we can start to identify the pain source and manage it so my quality of life becomes better.

There is much taking place right now with regards to doctors and dentist appointments and settling into our new location and routine.  These past several weeks have been hectic and with my pain and the side effects of the pain medications; mainly drowsiness; Gary and I have had little chance to start exploring and experiencing Tampa and the surrounding area.

We hope that will change in the very near future.  I plan to have in the next couple of weeks a post about the MacDill Air Force Base.  The base is large and beautiful with great views and many activities for those that live on it.

I also hope in the near future to have posts about some adventures around the Tampa area.

For now, I continue to be as strong as I can amongst the weak and tired body.

For now, I continue to be as optimistic as I can amongst the weak and tired mind.

Sunshine Blogger Award Border

Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.

Walter Anderson

PCM Visit

In my post ‘Pain Explained?‘, I wrote the following –

Could the pain I have experienced for 10 weeks now be a result of Lymph Nodes and Bones?

I will receive answers and have more information next week.

image3

Image Provided by: aelis.es

In my post ‘This Friday – The Next Stage‘, I wrote the following –

Friday of last week I met with Dr. L. to discuss the results of the previous week’s tests and my future.  At this time, there is no indication my cancer has spread to any major organs or my bones.  However, it is confirmed my cancer is in the lumbar region Lymph Nodes as well as the thoracic region Lymph Nodes.

In today’s post, I write the following –

A little over 3 months ago, I had major surgery to remove my bladder, prostate and other male related organs.  The surgery recovery, I feel is satisfactory, but I have experienced some pain ever since then.  You may remember immediately prior to surgery I was experiencing major pain and was on major pain medications.  At that time I was experiencing many different pains and some of those pains I no longer feel.  Now, many weeks into my recovery; I continue to experience major pain and continue major pain medications.

Upon a recent visit with my Oncologist Dr. L. at the Moffitt Cancer Center, I asked if these pains could be a result of the cancer being in my Lymph Nodes, particularly the lumbar region.

image2

Image Provided by: NaturPhilosophie

This is the region that most of the pain is originating from and then spreads to other areas of my body.  Dr. L. responded that the pain I am experiencing would not be a result of my cancer.

I mentioned in my post ‘quality of life……. (or lack of it)‘, that I have 2 specific pains that cause discomfort in my daily activities and is affecting my quality of life.  I also mentioned I had an appointment with my Primary Care Manager (PCM); and we discussed my current pain issues.

The visit with my new PCM Dr. T went very well and I was extremely satisfied with her ability.  Dr. T. is the head of Internal Medicine at the MacDill Air Force Base medical facility and she took quite a bit of time to discuss my past medical history and current issues that are taking place.  She was truly interested in me and having me feel better.  Additional medications were prescribed and referrals are submitted for other specialized care.

20170416_194313 (2)These referrals for specialized care include a Urologist to continue the care and follow-up of my recent surgery.  Other referrals include Neurologist, Pain Management, and because I have the service available to me, a referral was put in for Optometrist.   Recently, I have noticed the eyes are not what they once were and having an examination would be a benefit.

I expect several more weeks of appointments to take place and the hopes are this pain that is affecting my daily activities can be controlled to a minimal level so that I may have a better quality of life.

quality of life………… (or lack of it)

Several weeks ago in my post ‘Pain Explained?‘, I concluded with the following words –

My friends, it is a good bet the cancer is in other Lymph Nodes in my body and based on other symptoms I am experiencing, it could also be in my bones.

Could the pain I have experienced for 10 weeks now be a result of Lymph Nodes and Bones?

I will receive answers and have more information next week.

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

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.

My insurance provider is through the military and they can easily change my location.  Now that we are in our new location, I was assigned a new Primary Care Manager (PCM), who handles most if not all the referrals I need for specialist care.

Image2

goodqualityoflife.com.au

Prior to leaving Pensacola, Florida, I was able to get my Urologist Dr. P. to refer me to see an Oncologist in Tampa for 2 visits.  This is how I have able to see my current Oncologist Dr. L. and have my subsequent tests a couple of weeks ago.

Last week, I had my first visit with my new PCM Dr. T., who is the head of Internal Medicine at the MacDill Air Force Base medical facility.  Now that this visit has taken place, I can continue to have referrals made to Dr. L. at Moffitt Cancer Center.

As mentioned in the beginning of this post, it was thought the pain I have experienced since my surgery may be a result of cancer being in my Lymph Nodes and Bones.

It appears no cancer is in my bones and though I do have cancer in the Lymph Nodes in my lumbar area; Dr. L. indicates it would not cause the pains I am experiencing.

I have 2 specific pains that are causing me discomfort in my daily activities.   Because of these 2 separate pains’ intensity and consistency I have been and continue to be on a large amount of pain medications.  Overtime the pains have increased and so have the pain medications.  My quality of everyday life it not good and I am not enjoying life at all right now.

And now with chemotherapy treatment again, I will struggle more so if the pains are not controlled.

20170416_194313There is much to do here in the Tampa area and so many other activities that Gary and I would like to do – but I am unable to do them at this time.  Between the pain and the side effects of the drugs I am taking, I just cannot do much at all.  This bothers me, I want Gary to enjoy his life and I want to enjoy mine as well.

Now that I have my new PCM Dr. T., I hope to find the reasons for these pains and find a resolution to stopping them or treating them so that my quality of life becomes better.

Round Two

This past Monday’s post ‘This Friday – The Next Stage‘, I wrote the following –

Dr. L. is honest and upfront with respect to my cancer.  There is no cure for my cancer; this next round of chemotherapy treatment is to hopefully stop the cancer from spreading or slow down the progression of it.  Once this chemotherapy is over, there are other treatment options available and at that time we will discuss the next steps to be taken.

This Friday, I will begin my next round of chemotherapy, the next stage in my journey with cancer.

Image1

Image Provided by: note.taable.com

In today’s post, I write the following –

Round Two –

Today I start my chemotherapy.

I have been through this before and I know the process.

Round one of chemotherapy was 1 treatment for 2 weeks and then 1 week off.  There were 4 cycles that resulted in 12 weeks.

Round two of chemotherapy is 1 treatment for 1 week and then 2 weeks off.  There will be 4 cycles that results in 10 weeks.

I have been through this before and I know the process.  What I do not know are the results.

For now, I do not know the results of the chemotherapy treatment once it is completed.  These results will be revealed many weeks from now.

For now, I do not know the results of how this chemotherapy treatment will affect me.  These results will be revealed in the next many days from now.

Round one of chemotherapy I was tired a lot, but was never nauseated and did not lose my hair.

Round two of chemotherapy I expect to be tired a lot and I hope not to be nauseated or lose my hair.

I have positive expectations of this chemotherapy treatment for both long term and short term.

image13

This Friday – The Next Stage

The last day of March in my post ‘So, what’s next?‘, I concluded with the following –

Next week will be a busy week; we are moving to a new location, but more importantly test results and doctor’s visits to determine what is to come next in my battle with cancer.

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

Last week was certainly busy as Gary, his mom and I traveled from Orlando to Pensacola to take mom back to the younger brother on Monday.  The next day Tuesday, we hooked the RV to the truck and made our way to Tampa.

We have settled into our new temporary living location at the RV park located on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.  We are fortunate again to be living on a military facility that offers many amenities to us.  Besides the RV park, we have the base commissary, movie theater, gym, and the mess hall & other food establishments on base.  We are also within minimal walking distance to the base’s white sandy beach on Tampa Bay with views of both Tampa and St. Petersburg skylines.  Directly out of the base gates we are greeted with the very nice city of Tampa.

You may remember two weeks ago after my initial consultation at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, I had a series of tests because it appeared my cancer may have spread.  In my post last week ’57 Today‘, I spoke about a brief conversation I had with my new Oncologist Dr. L. about the possibility of my cancer spreading to Lymph Nodes in my lower back also known as the lumbar region.

Friday of last week I met with Dr. L. to discuss the results of the previous week’s tests and my future.

Image2

Image Provided by: moffitt.org

At this time, there is no indication my cancer has spread to any major organs or my bones.  However, it is confirmed my cancer is in the lumbar region Lymph Nodes as well as the thoracic region Lymph Nodes.

Dr. L. discussed his concerns and we had a conversation about the treatments available and expectations.  It was decided the next step for me is to have another round of chemotherapy.  This time a different drug will be used over the course of the next couple of months.

Once the chemotherapy treatment is completed, tests will take place again to determine the results of the treatment.  Upon the receiving of those results will determine what comes next with regards to my battle with cancer.

Dr. L. is honest and upfront with respect to my cancer.  There is no cure for my cancer; this next round of chemotherapy treatment is to hopefully stop the cancer from spreading or slow down the progression of it.  Once this chemotherapy is over, there are other treatment options available and at that time we will discuss the next steps to be taken.

This Friday, I will begin my next round of chemotherapy, the next stage in my journey with cancer.

image13

Pain Explained?

In several past posts, I have written about pain and other issues I am experiencing.

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

The pain is here today

For this one thing I know

As the days become weeks

The pain will come and go

image2

Image Provided by: NaturPhilosophie

In my post ‘Exactly 1 Month‘, I wrote the following –

I will admit though, I do not feel excellent as I am having difficulties with some pain and other minor issues.  I am not sure if they are related to the surgery or my cancer diagnoses and if over time I will overcome these minor issues.

In my post ‘It’s 2:16 in the morning‘, I wrote the following –

I also have pains not associated to my surgery and recovery that make it difficult at times to find a comfortable position to sleep.

In my post ‘I don’t know‘, I wrote the following –

So, I have aches and pains and other issues that bring me down and I think to myself; are these pains associated with cancer spreading or they a result of my surgery and I am still recovering; or are they result of inactivity on my part because I am restricted to a certain extent to exercise and being more active?

Image2

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

In today’s post, I write the following –

A week ago I had a procedure and a CAT Scan performed to try to find out the cause of my continued pain and other issues.  I will be honest here, as I am always honest and sometimes blunt on my blog.  The other issues I have referred to is my bowel movement; yes, we all have bowel movements that is part of our bodily functions.  Mine are no longer considered normal and go from one extreme to the other and at times has caused disruptions in my daily life.  I saw a Gastroenterologist early last week and he believes I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome; most likely resulting from my recent surgery.  He indicated it usually corrects itself over time and medication was prescribed to help with the symptoms.  He also suggested a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (Flex Sig) to rule out cancer.

Tuesday of last week the Flex Sig was performed as well as a CAT Scan.  The results of the Flex Sig indicated no appearance of cancer in my rectum which was near my bladder, when I had a bladder.  This is good news.

The results of the CAT Scan were not so good.  I have several Lymph Nodes in my lumbar region that have increased in size since my last scan took place in early January.  Because this scan only showed the lower part of my chest, there was one Lymph Node in the thoracic region that is also larger in size.

These results have changed everything.

This past Monday upon my initial consultation with my new Urologist Dr. L at Moffitt Cancer Center, I proceeded with blood tests and a Chest CAT Scan.  Today I am having a MRI on my Lumbar Spine, and Echocardiogram, and a Whole-Body Bone Scan.

image13

My friends, it is a good bet the cancer is in other Lymph Nodes in my body and based on other symptoms I am experiencing, it could also be in my bones.

Could the pain I have experienced for 10 weeks now be a result of Lymph Nodes and Bones?

I will receive answers and have more information next week.

‘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!)