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

the PANIC visit

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

With the recent move to Tampa, Florida and change in healthcare, comes more doctor visits, appointments and more medications.

The transition to this area is a struggle with regards to finding new doctors and scheduling the appointments.

In today’s post, I write the following –

Image1

Image Provided by: ateachingmommy.com

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

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

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

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

Image2

Image Provided by: Christian Science Monitor

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

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

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

Image3

Image Provided by: Holistic Health & Living

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

It’s 2:16 in the morning

I have had a restless night, not much sleep because I have thoughts swirling in my head.

It is a while now since I really have had one of these nights.  Since surgery, I am taking medications to help me sleep because I continue to have pains associated with my surgery and recovery.  I also have pains not associated to my surgery and recovery that make it difficult at times to find a comfortable position to sleep.

Image1

Image Provided by: YourStory.com

But on this particular night, it is those thoughts swirling in my head.

I am unsure how long it will be by the time I publish this post.  I may have upset someone and I may have upset you and I may have upset myself.  I make no apologies to no one, including myself.

This blog has always and will always be about me and my life and for that I make no apologies.  I am who I am and have changed for the better in many ways over the years.  I continue to change for the better, though at times the changes come slow; to me at times slower than what my life will provide me here on this earth.

When I die, I will not be a perfect person; I hope to be a person that at least tried to be a better person.  I strive every single day to be a better person.  Some days I succeed and many days I fail; some days I fail miserably.

My point is I try and I do it my way, because I know me better than anyone else knows me.

I have been told at times by people that they do not understand me.  I at times do not understand me either, but I still know me better than anyone else.

When creating this blog, it was a way for me to write about me and my life.

Image2

Image Provided by: We Heart It

My life in words for I hope one day those important to me would read.  I have no idea if they will read it or not – I don’t know.

This brings me to those thoughts swirling in my head tonight, this restless night and me writing this post at 2:16 in the morning.

I don’t really like to be rude; I can be though, and have been times in my life.  I can be rude and have been rude to people I know and to strangers alike.  My personality is complex and at times people do not understand me.  This has already been identified.

When writing and publishing posts, I attempt to write in a way where I do not come across as rude and I try to consider other’s feelings.  So please do not take this the wrong way – I am being honest here.

Image2

Image Provided by: http://www.timorahilly.co.uk

When I write posts about me, the true very personal me, I ask for no advise.  I write the true personal me because it is important for me to do so.  I have come to appreciate support and encouragement here and the friendships I have made are invaluable.

Now, again at 2:16 in the morning, I am writing the true personal me.  It was a little while ago; and that week was tough and that ‘I don’t know’ was tough and therefore I was rude because I did not ask for advice.  I was writing the true personal me because it is important for me to do so.

Pain

Image1

Image Provided by: Pacific Pain Medicine Consultants

For the many months

It has come and gone

 

It seems like a lifetime

That I have made it my own

The surgeries, the short recoveries

And there is my personal hell too

The many days, the many nights

There was never a rescue

 

There were short breaks

Before the significant reprise

The many tears that flowed

From my watery eyes

Sometimes different and many times the same

Front and back and in between too

Sometimes small and many times big

But then the time came it grew, it grew

Before the major one

Its significance overwhelmed

It took my strength

I became unhelmed

 

And the surgery to end it all

With more pain to follow

The pills, the pills

So much to swallow

Slowly the dispense as it takes its time

I want it a memory and not in the present

But I am reminded each day

Today it is another event

What lies in the future

It is unknown at this time

As in the past and today

There seems to always be a climb

 

The pain is here today

For this one thing I know

As the days become weeks

The pain will come and go

I don’t know

Preface –

For almost 2 years now, I have written about me; not just those events from the far and near past, but my personality, my feelings, my emotions and my thinking.  Yes, I have my days of good, that are then followed by days of bad.  What do I mean by this?  I have always revealed my weakness and along with that my strength.  Recently I am weak and struggling and I pretend to you and others that I am fine and I am strong.  But, right now I am not.  And because of this, I become that other me; that mean me – that I try to hide from others except the one that matters the most.

Image Provided by: drugrehabfl.net

I voice recorded the following words yesterday and document today for all to read – especially the one that matters the most –

I have the last few days been a little down, a little angry and upset.  And, as usual because of who I am, I take it out on Gary – I am a mean person.  I am not respectful to him, even after he puts so much effort into helping me out, I disrespect him – I am mean to him, flat-out mean.  I went to the doctor the other day and the recovery is going fine and he (the doctor) spoke of because of some Stage 4 Cancer; I don’t remember what exactly what we were talking about, he spoke of a patient he had that went through the same surgery as I did and within a couple of months he (the patient) died because the cancer had spread.  Not necessarily what I wanted to hear, but, um – then I spoke with my Oncologist the week before who talks about all her patients being terminal; once again not what I want to hear.

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?  I don’t know, I don’t know.  And that is what brings me down; I don’t know.

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

Uncertainties right now in my life are majority and certainties are the minority.  And sometimes this gets to me.  And my optimism and positiveness results in negative and pessimism.  That brings me to just not wanting to try anymore, just forgetting about it all: and just like screw it.  I don’t want to deal with it, I just don’t want to move on; I just don’t want to move.

But, then there is Gary, who continues to put a great deal of effort into helping me, not just me physically, but you know preparing for the future and dealing with doctors and other things associated with my health.  And he does this it on a consistent basis and I don’t always, um, you know recognize him for it; because I am dealing with my own stuff.  I make it about me, it is always about me; and so, this is what it is about today.

‘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!)