This morning before I went to work I had an appointment at Flower Hospital for genetic counseling. When I got there I didn’t have a clue what that term meant, but I was quickly taught all about it. Genetic counseling is a family history with relation to cancer, and chemical/laboratory testing of both blood and saliva. The goal is to find specific markers in my DNA that may show a higher than normal likelihood that I may develop other types of cancer. They can even determine the type of cancer that I have a higher chance of getting. It can also help my children to know what they need to look for with their own health as they get older.
Instead of having Flower Hospital do it, I opted to go with a study being done through the Ohio State University, called the Ohio Colorectal Cancer Prevention Initiative. I did this partially because it doesn’t run through my insurance, and is free of charge. I also did it because, as a cancer patient, I want to help all of the organizations that I can to help other people get a jump on cancer. Lastly, I did it because if they find the DNA markers in my genes, which is known as Lynch Syndrome, the study will also perform the same tests on my biological children for free.
Then I went to work and got quite a bit accomplished, even with a short day. Now I am getting ready to head home to pick Tina up and we are going to meet Mark and Michelle at the Franklin Park Mall to watch Dr. Strange. I can already smell the popcorn 🙂
I woke up this morning and immediately thought, “hey, it’s your birthday!” Then I instantly thought, “what if this is your last one?” What a grim way to start a day, especially one that is supposed to be filled with happiness and celebration.
Then this afternoon I went and renewed my driver license, and the thought “I wonder if I’ll make it another four years to do this again” popped in my head. Yeah, the negative thoughts were still there, and apparently not ready to leave yet.
After work, all my kids and grandchildren came over to have cake and ice cream and celebrate my birthday. Again, those bad thoughts popped up when I thought to myself, “I wonder if I’ll be here to do this again next year.” I really can’t say where these thoughts were coming from, but they were getting old.
I’m sure my age had a little something to do with all of these crazy and depressing thoughts. But I think the biggest reason is of the cancer diagnosis. I am trying to remain positive and keep my head in the right place, but the fact that I am doing chemo is a not so friendly reminder of what I am really facing: my own mortality. And I have to admit that it scares me at times, some more so than others.
Today was a much better day. Of course my best laid plans to get a good night sleep failed, but that is my own fault for turning on the UFC Fight Night at midnight that I had recorded earlier in the evening. But even with about five and a half hours of sleep, I seemed to have a little more pep in my step when I woke up. Being almost a week out from starting chemo, and a few weeks out from my last surgery, I think my body is just feeling more healthy.
After picking Tina up from work I came home and watched a little TV, and then went to church, and heard a great message. After that I went to work for a quick minor emergency (DNS was failing on the LAN) and then ran to the store for some groceries. When I got back home I made myself a nice lunch of burritos and homemade queso dip, did some dishes and cleaned up the kitchen, and watched a movie with David (my youngest son).
Before long it was time to take Tina to work and then I came home and finished up the dishes and then went outside for almost an hour and got half of the back yard cleaned up with the leaf blower. After a quick shower I am getting ready to watch tonight’s The Walking Dead and try to get some sleep. So yeah, feeling better helped me to be more productive today, and it made me feel more like my old self.
Today has been another one of those days. I only slept for about 4 hours last night and did very little all day, other than an unproductive trip to Best Buy, watching some TV, and a pretty crappy nap. Here it is a little after 10:00 and I am sitting in bed typing this, and watching Suicide Squad. I am planning on trying to go to sleep about midnight, because I seem to keep waking up around 3:00 am and it is starting to get on my nerves.
I am hoping to get a solid night’s sleep tonight, so that I can be well rested and ready to go to church on Sunday. My faith is important to me and I could certainly use it while trying to kick this cancer. While on that subject, I’ve decided that tomorrow is the day that I am going to start the “read the Bible in a year” plan with the You Version app. I’ve always wanted to, and it just seems like something that I should get started on, considering my current health circumstances.
So I’m off to watch my movie and try to get some rest. With any luck, it’ll work out for me for once.
Just a quick note that I added my story, as related to cancer, to the site. You can read it here.
I got the chemo pump removed this afternoon and I have to say that it will be great to not have to lug it around with me every where I go. I am also glad that the first cycle is done and I didn’t have any real complications from it.
That said, I am definitely seeing a rise in the side effects. For the second day in a row, I have had to take anti-nausea medicine after eating around lunch time. I can’t drink anything that is even a little cold or my throat hurts from the cold sensitivity. I also found that I cannot hold anything cold or even wash my hands in anything less than warm water. So far my hair is intact, though that was never a big concern for me anyway.
Hopefully this is the worst of it, but I kind of doubt it, from everything that I have read and been told. But I’m not going to let it wreck my Thanksgiving, and I am going to fight my way through it and enjoy some good quality family time. Our oldest daughter, Susan, is cooking and having everyone over to their new house for dinner tonight, since her fiance, Zach, is working tomorrow. And tomorrow our oldest son, Mark, and his girlfriend, Michelle, are cooking and having everyone over to their house for dinner.
So I will not let this keep me down, especially since this year I not only don’t need to cook, but I’m getting TWO dinners out of it for free!
I have left the doctor office and received my bolus infusion of FOLFOX and am now carrying a
man purse satchel with another 48 hours of FOLFOX in the pump to go. So far, I haven’t had any nausea, which honestly scared me the most with my back issues, however I have already had the metallic taste in my mouth and also felt the cold sensitivity in my throat when drinking ice cold water. For the time being I have switched to room temperature water and have not had a repeat of that lovely side effect.
But, overall, things are going pretty good. At this point I am still planning to get out of work about 5:00 and head home so Tina and I can still make the concert tonight. Though I think I’ll be taking a dose of Compazine before I go, just to make sure I don’t get nauseous while at the concert.
Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers! Believe me, it has helped me tremendously!
The day has finally arrived, though in truth it has been a short wait of just over five weeks since my diagnosis, for me to start chemo. At 10:30 am I am going to Dr. Phinney’s office, where they have an in-office infusion center, to get my first FOLFOX treatment. I am nervous, scared, and at the same time excited and happy. So yeah, my emotions are all over the place.
Hopefully, everything that I have read and heard is true and the side effects don’t kick in for a day or two, because I plan to go back to work afterward. Well, that and I have tickets for Tina and me to see the Shinedown and Five Finger Death Punch concert tonight at the Huntington Center tongiht at 6:00 pm. With all that is going on in our lives, a concert with some good, heavy rock would do wonders for us as a mini escape from the “cancer thing.”
I am so grateful that God has put so many good, strong people in my life to help me through this! Between my family, church family, friends and coworkers, I definitely don’t feel like I am attacking this alone 🙂
I was tired from working all day so I came home and was asleep by 9:00. I slept pretty good, though I forgot to take my pain medication and woke up abruptly at 3:00 with my shoulder killing me. The port placement has made my shoulder and neck on that side very sore, much more so than I expected. I guess I’ll have to admit to myself that I am getting older and my body just doesn’t heal the way it used to.
So I watched a movie and ate some chicken pot pie from Costco and gave the meds some time to kick in. Unfortunately I am stuck awake because I have to take our oldest cat, Amelia, to the vet this morning at 8:20. We think she has a cold because she is staying away from all of the other cats and sneezing like crazy. But, after that, it will most certainly be a nap day for me.
I heard back from the second surgeon, Dr. Palakodeti, and met with him this afternoon. He’s a really nice doctor and has a great sense of humor, which put me at ease a little more about the procedure. I am confirmed for outpatient surgery on this Thursday at 7:30 AM to get my chemo port placed! I am so grateful for the doctor’s office working me in on such short notice and for all the support of my family and friends.
I am so ready to get this port in and to start chemo next week. It’s a new endeavor and one that carries a lot of potential side effects, but the possible good is far outweighing the possible negatives in my mind right now. Let’s get this fight going and see if we can’t kick this cancer’s butt!