Ready for a Vacation

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I have been enjoying the two week break I got from chemo, but I have been working a lot and busy at home, too. With all that has been going on, I am in desperate need of a break. Some time alone with my beautiful wife Tina; some time to just decompress. Time where work isn’t part of my every day and it’s just me and my sweetheart. Fortunately, I don’t have too long to wait.

Thursday after I get off work I am running home to pick Tina up and we’re heading down to Columbus, Ohio and checking into a hotel. Then, after a good night’s sleep without distractions and a nice late start, we are heading to Mapfre Stadium for day one of Rock on the Range. It’s going to be a great night of good old grunge music with Bush, Live and Soundgarden. We saw all three of them a few years ago together and they all put on a great show.

On Saturday we are going to sleep in until we feel like getting up, because day two of Rock on the Range for us starts about 5:00 when we will watch Seether, Papa Roach, The Offspring and Korn. We’ve both seen Seether and Papa Roach in the past couple of years and enjoy their shows. We saw The Offspring together back in 1996 at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan, and they had a great show, too. I’ve never seen Korn perform live and Tina saw them a few years ago at Rock on the Range, but the soundboard mixing was really bad and she only stayed for a few songs before leaving. We are both really excited and hope they sound good this time.

Sunday is another lazy, sleep in kind of day for us, because the first band that we want to see on day three of Rock on the Range hits the stage at 4:25. The Pretty Reckless is first, followed by Primus and Volbeat. Then, for me, the best act of the weekend happens when my favorite band (since the late 80’s) hits the stage at 8:45: Metallica. I’ve seen them three other times through the years, first in 1988, then with Tina in 2009, then again with my oldest son Mark in 2012. Each show was better than the last and I am so excited about seeing them again.

The best part of seeing Metallica this time is that they have consistently played my favorite song on this tour at every concert, Fade to Black, and I’m so hopeful they play it on Sunday. To be honest, the other reason that I’m excited to see them this year is because, with my current health, who knows if I’ll be around if they come back again in a few years. I’m definitely trying to stay positive, but it’s also important to be a realist.

So, for this weekend, it’s Rock On!

Categories: Family Fun, Vacation

Chemo Break and No Break From Work

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I am so excited about my two week break from chemo! Every cycle I get to feeling almost human right before I go back to get another treatment. This time I might actually have enough time to feel “normal” again. And with no more of the oxaliplatin, I am hopeful that the cold sensititvy and neuropathy will eventually go away and not return!

Unfortunately, this weekend was filled with a lot of work, due to some issues with our VoIP at the office. Outgoing calls work fine but incoming calls are intermittently failing over to our secondary source (cell phone). It started Thursday night about 10:00 pm and has been going on since. I worked on it all day Friday, then again Friday night from 7:00 until almost midnight. I was back in the Saturday morning from 7:30 until about noon, and worked on it through the day Saturday and Sunday from home. To me it looks like an issue with our ISP’s upstream provider, but I can’t be certain (they surely won’t admit it). The whole situation has been very frustrating.

So tomorrow morning it’s back to the grind. I’ve got a couple more ideas to try, that I thought of tonight, and hopefully I can get it working quickly. While we aren’t missing any calls because of the failover, it isn’t ideal for our operations team, and it needs to get resolved.

I have to say though, even with all the work and frustration, I’m still very grateful that I am able to do it. So many cancer patients struggle with the treatments and have the side effects affect them much worse than I do. I know that it is due to God, and my faith, that I can get through this with so few problems.

Categories: Cancer, Work

Fatugue, Work and a New CT Scan

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Another Saturday is upon me, and I’m back in the office this morning to get some work done. Sometimes these long weeks wear me down and this week that has certainly been the case. I feel like I just can’t get enough sleep no matter how much I get. Every day this week has been difficult to get up and going and by the end of the work day, I am ready for bed. The fact is that the fatigue from the chemo treatments is hitting me a little harder and lasting a little longer each cycle. While I know the chemo is helping me fight the cancer, it is also starting to wear me down. In truth, that’s why I have not been updating this blog as often as I would like.

The last PET scan, in January, showed that the lesions on my liver were either gone or too small to see (less than 1 cm). It was also confirmed that no new cancer was found, though the lesions in my lungs were still there and about the same size. This morning I have a CT scan to see if my lungs are clearing up. The good news is that I already have an appointment on Tuesday morning to get the results of today’s scan, so I won’t have to wait 10 days, like the last time. Thank God I don’t have to go through scanxiety for so long like I did in January.

After the scan this morning I’ll be back in the office for the remainder of the day. The good news is that I will be plenty tired tonight and should be able to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. I plan to make Sunday a nice, quiet day of resting around the house, trying to do as little as possible. I am going to need it because I am working Monday and Tuesday I am back at the infusion center for round twelve of chemo.

Categories: Cancer, Work

Here we Go Again

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My chest has been feeling tight the past few days and my breathing has been getting progressively worse since Friday. Last night I actually had to use my home aerosol machine to do a breathing treatment, just to get my breathing settled down so that I could try to sleep.

Today it seems to be a little better, but that is most likely due to the fact that my wife wants me to go to urgent care and I don’t want to. True, I probably should and will end up doing it, but I sure don’t want to.

I never realized how compromised my immune system would be while undergoing chemo treatments. This will be my third or fourth time at urgent care for the same thing since I started chemo, back in November. That’s not even counting the two or three times that I went to the doctor and not urgent care.

It seems like I am getting sick every couple of weeks. Anytime I see someone at work sick I know it’s coming for me next. Not very fun. Especially considering that this is chemo week. The last thing that I want or need on chemo week when I already feel so drained.

Hopefully they can give me a prescription for antibiotics tonight at urgent care.

Categories: Cancer, Sick

Working to Pay Off Play Time

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I’m back in the office this morning after a good night’s sleep, to make that money to pay off what I did twelve hours ago. Tina and I had a nice dinner last night with our youngest son, David, and then we went home and booked our trip for our anniversary this September: 6 days and 5 nights of Caribbean bliss at the all-inclusive Hard Rock resort in Cancun, Mexico. We were originally planning on a quick weekend getaway in Florida, because of the medical bills coming in, but decided that it will be our 25th anniversary and we need to do something special.

Tina has been wanting to go to Mexico for a few years now and I figured it was high time we do it. I mean, let’s be honest, since I have cancer, we don’t know how many more times we’ll have the chance. Besides, being married for 25 years, especially in today’s world, is certainly something to celebrate! Plus we got a great deal with Costco Travel, including our flights, transfers from the airport to the hotel and back, and the hotel room all for a great price. On top of that, we are getting a $214 Costco gift card in the mail and get $3,000 credit at the resort for extras like couples massages, merchandise from the on-site store, and much more.

Now all we have to do is pay off the credit card we put the trip on and wait another 168 days…

Categories: Anniversary, Cancer, Work

Chemo Tomorrow

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Tomorrow is my tenth chemo treatment. Huh, before that fateful day last October, I never thought I would say that. It’s been a crazy couple of months. I wish I had made better decisions with my smoking and lifestyle when I was younger so that I had a better chance of not having to deal with this, and put my family through it. But, that’s what hindsight is for, and who knows if it would have even made a difference.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that the chemo has been working so far, and that the lesions on my liver are no longer visible. I am grateful that the side effects haven’t been crippling me, like they do for many cancer patients. I am grateful that I have such a strong family to support me while I go through this. I am grateful for all my incredible friends who keep me in their thoughts and prayers and offer their support. I am grateful to my employer for working with me while I endure this challenge in life, allowing me to continue to work.

But with all that said, sometimes I feel like this is never going to end. The constant chemo that gets more difficult each time, with less “bounce back” time between rounds each time. The massive amount of medical bills that are pouring in, while I watch our savings and paychecks get depleted more each week. The strain I see it putting on my family and friends. It’s a frustrating situation that doesn’t look to get better anytime soon.

I’m not going to quit fighting and I’m not going to give in. It’s just that some days are harder to hold my head up high and push forward then others, and today is one of those days. Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up with a renewed sense of fight and less pessimism. Either way, I’ll be at chemo tomorrow morning and will keep doing what I’ve been doing.

Categories: Cancer

Long But Good Week

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It has been a long week, filled with work, rest, family time and a couple of great massages. I worked over 50 hours between Monday and Friday, and I am back at work today. While I am grateful that I am able to work so much, even though I am going through chemo treatments, I am still tired. Actually, I am not sure the word tired describes it adequately. Exhausted seems like a better fit.

But, that didn’t stop me from spending time with Tina and the kids, and I am so appreciative for that. Even after I came home from a 11 or 12 hour day, Tina and I had dinner together and the kids and I got to hang out. It wasn’t a lot of time, but it was quality time, and for that I am grateful.

I also got to squeeze in a few massages! After the one I had last Saturday, which helped resolve a lot of pain that I was having in my mid-back, I ended up hurting myself again Sunday night. I awoke in the middle of night with a sharp pain in my back that went down to my middle back and up into my head. Fortunately, because of my mom gifting me the massages at Massage Green Spa, I was able to get another one on Monday night. That one helped tremendously. I also got a free one at the Victory Center on Thursday afternoon, which was wonderful!

Tonight I plan to play a little Call of Duty with my sons, maybe a watch a couple TV shows with Bree, and get a good night’s sleep. I really want to get to bed early enough so that I am not dead tired tomorrow, and can make it back to church in the morning. After all that He has done for me, I would like to get back to honoring Him and living my life as He wants me to.

Categories: Cancer, Family Fun, Work

A Great Weekend Comes to an End

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After a very long couple of weeks, this weekend was very much anticipated, for a few reasons. First, I didn’t have to work on Saturday, so I had a full two days off in a row. Second, chemo hit me pretty hard with fatigue this round, and I was in need of some rest and relaxation. Third, I had a massage scheduled for Saturday night, and I was hoping to get some relief from a couple of pulled muscles in my mid-to-upper back.

Friday night after work I took Tina to work and then came home and watched a little TV. Then I jumped on the old, trusty PS4 and played some Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered (COD) with both of my sons. I do enjoy shooting some people (online, relax) and kicking it with the boys. I went to bed far too late and after picking Tina up on Saturday morning, I went back to sleep for another 4 1/2 hours, or so.

When I finally got up at 12:30pm on Saturday, I did a whole bunch of nothing. I made myself some lunch, played some more COD, and caught up on a couple of TV shows off the DVR. After taking Tina to work, I came home and showered and then went to my massage appointment, and it was awesome! I finally got some relief for my (literal) aching back and felt much better afterward. I highly recommend Massage Green Spa and am so appreciative to my mom for gifting me several massages!

Unfortunately, I felt so good, and had slept so late that day, that I was up until after 2:00am playing more COD with my boys and watching TV with my daughter Bree. After picking Tina up Sunday morning, I came back home and slept until 11:30am. Then Bree and I went shopping together. We hit Costco and Kroger and got some good, healthy rations for the week for all of us. After coming home I made some homemade, low carb pizza for Tina and I to share for dinner, and then I dropped her off to work.

When I got back home I chilled with the kids for a while and then Bree and I watched Modern Family from earlier this week together. Then I went right into The Walking Dead and now I am getting ready to watch the season two premiere of Into the Badlands, before going to sleep.

I wish I had been a little more responsible with my time on Saturday night so that I could make it to church this morning, but otherwise it was a great weekend.

Categories: Cancer, Family Fun

All Work and No Play…

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So I have been really busy at work, working 11 straight days as of last Saturday. Most of those days were 10+ hours and most days I came home to eat and sleep as much as I could. I had Sunday off and, other than catching Kong: Skull Island with my son Mark and his girlfriend Michelle, it was a day of being lazy with a lot of sleep and general rest. Then I was back to work on Monday.

Tuesday was chemo and afterward I tried to sleep for awhile, but that didn’t happen right away. I caught up on some TV shows on the DVR and then about 6:00pm I fell asleep. My sweet wife, Tina, woke me up at almost 8:00pm with a great dinner, and I was then awake until well after 3:00am today. Because of my lack of sleep, the effects of the chemo, and a lot of work over the past two weeks, I took today as a sick day and decided to get some more sleep and general rest.

The good news is that I only have two days left to work this week and I also have a massage scheduled at Massage Green Spa for Saturday at 8:00pm. So I’m almost there, and with some good rest today, I think I can make it.

Categories: Cancer, Sick, Work

No Sleep Till…

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I only slept about 3-4 hours last night and today is a crazy day at work. I am receiving two new desktop computers that I have to setup and configure for five monitors each. I also need to make some massive changes to our phone system, setup and deploy three new Cisco phones, complete the wiring in another suite that we took over in our building, finish setting up a new employee that starts Monday, move three employees to new locations in the office, and so much more.

No matter how hard I tried to make it not happen, I just don’t see a way out of working tomorrow, for my sixth Saturday in a row. I am really starting to wear down…

Categories: Cancer