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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

And then there were 2 left

Slept fitfully last night but made up for this morning by sleeping 3 hours while I was being hydrated again. Had another day of radiation. Still on go for recovery starting July 3. The days seem to be dragging at this point as I wait for the final two treatments and doctors appointments. It will be long time before I stop going to Allison Cancer Center but the trips will just slow down. I still have a CT and PET scan sometime in the near future, and get this PEG tube removed. I look forward to start trying food again next week and trying to get back up to speed energy wise. The main thing is not to try and get it all done in a week! (Who me?)

I have a couple of other little issues I will try and get resolved this week and then all systems are go for recovery. The people at Allison are a wonderful and caring group of people. Their passion for help goes beyond what they have to do for a job. And while I will not miss the treatments I will miss the people who have treated me. There cannot be enough thank yous given to these folks for their outstanding devotion. And I can say the same thing about the oncology unit at MMH. These people are dedicated to helping people with cancer, and I will never forget them.

I was listening to a young man talk to a new patient this morning. The goods and bads of his chemo treatment. And it made me think of my treatments and thoughts and highs and lows since it began on Feb 24.

Today I am a cancer survivor, and on Thursday I will be a cancer survivor in recovery. It has been a long time for me. I am ready to start on the next phase.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tis Monday

It has been a long weekend! The dry heaves have overtaken me this weekend leaving me in a collapsed heap! But got dehydrated this morning and feel better. Will sleep more this afternoon in hopes of getting some energy back. Will have re hydration thru Thursday this week. Hopefully there will be no more chemo, just the 3 remaining radiations.

The doctor said that he was giving up a special prayer for this week. He evidently knew something I didn't. I thought it would be an ok week once chemo was out of the way and on 15 minutes a day of radiation. But so far it has been the worst week yet!

It takes longer for me to swallow now. Have to constantly drink water and some coffee to try and keep my mouth moist. Speaking more than a couple of minutes is really tough. So I don't talk as much and certainly can't yell! All I can do is whisper.

I think Friday evening, I had some salmon. And while the strong taste was not there like before at least there was some taste. But that was the lull before the storm.

But three more days of treatment and the healing can start. My neck looks great and is pretty much healed. By the end of the week, that part of this ordeal should be over.

As I sat in the waiting room today, I looked around and saw new faces. People who have cancer fixing to start their treatment process. And it made me think of the chain of events from Feb 4 til today. It has reared its ugly head. Just as one gets cured another starts. I am saying a special prayer for all those new folks who are fixing to go through their treatment. Some will be ok, others will be bad. We all react differently even from week to week. You watch tv, people doing normal things, people eating, running, enjoying life. And that is the hope of those of us that has cancer has to hang onto. That we will too be enjoying life again!

Later gang....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Truly one week left

I had radiation at 7am and hydration at 1pm. Am pretty tired this afternoon. Did not sleep well last night. My pillow keep moving all night and could never get it settled. But the good news is I drank most all night so kept my mouth moist.

Did not sleep much today either. Tired but was not able to sustain any long periods so maybe tonight will be better. Will be in bed early tonight fighting my pillow!

Next week will be radiation thru Thursday and most possible hydration will be everyday thru Thursday and than hydration some the next week. Hopefully to help get over the chemo quicker in getting it out of my system. Can drink water and warm coffee. Can eat soft much but nothing has taste so no desire to eat. Week after next that has to change. But expect another week before truly being able to eat another that has some taste.

So while it may not be a posting every day I will continue to post for awhile. I want everyone to know when I truly have gotten back to a "normal" state for a cancer survivor!

Tomorrow and Sunday should be the bad days for the chemo treatment. So will stand on morphine and the other drugs I'm on. I will not miss the upset stomach at all!!

God keeps opening doors when you least expect them. We just have to listen and be patience with him. It's his schedule not ours.

My neck is much better this day and hopefully will continue to get better as this next week unfolds. This is due in part of the lotion, in part to the 15 minutes of radiation instead of 30 minutes of radiation and the boost in radiation (the decrease in the size being treated). I still get cold at night and sleep in a hat. Bet it will be next summer before that part goes away!

My voice fades in and out and after about 15 minutes, it is gone for awhile. My hearing has finally started fading but hopefully it will pick back up after this is all done. As hopefully my eyesight will. Lots of ifs, but the best part is still above ground and breathing.

Nite all...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

just notes

It's Wednesday morning and after a pretty sleepless night, I feel pretty good this am. Am going to work for a little while today but will plan on spending time in the chair this afternoon. Yesterday I went into chemo lab for hydration and that has helped me today. Tomorrow will be chemo day, probably most all day. But due to the fact that my last chemo day is a week from tomorrow, then my last chemo may be tomorrow. Weight is up to 139 pounds this morning.

My mouth is getting drier but I can still swallow water and a little coffee. But looking forward to start trying food late next week. My goal is to get back to food as quickly as possible although I think it will take 10 days to 2 weeks to get there and that will depend on taste buds.

Six more days of radiation. Still have a little anxiety about if all this will work but have to just have faith in God and the doctors that it will. Have to have a little patience here.

I am still tired and like to sleep, and will but think too much sleep is keeping me from recovery as fast as I want so will be trying to do a little more activity around the house to get my energy level back up.

I cannot say enough about the folks at Texas Oncology. They have fantastic this whole time and especially these last eight weeks. If you want to give to some, the Hope House is a great place to start. Mary Collier is a great and compassionate lady that does wonders here. In fact, they are now building a new facility adjacent to the old one. It's a facility I am sorry to be build but it is a facility that needs to be built with the rise in cancer.

My friend Jim is back in Midland and so thankful his recovery is going well. I continue to think of my boys at summer camp this week.

And those who are in the middle at chemo and or radiation, know that is does end. And while it gets tough, the finish line is what it's about. Know that there is a finish line. Perservance, prayer and support and God will get all of us there, whether we are the victum or the supporter. I hope everyone has a blessed day from God today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

July 2 is graduation day!

Weekend was kinda long. Did not feel too good so just slept and rested. My father's day present was some solar outdoor lights. They are pretty neat. Adds alot of soft lightly to the front and back of the house.

My burns seem to be getting worse but tech today said mine were better than alot others he has seen so will continue radiation. Was informed that July 2 is the final day! So only 8 more days to go. Will have a final boost starting tomorrow. The end of this treatment is in sight! A few weeks ago I did not think I would make it to the end. And the end is in sight. Thanks to all of you and my family. God does not let us endure more than we can handle and I think that is what is happening now. The recovery road will take awhile but hopefully my body is up for the task.

Will take it easy today and work some tomorrow. My boys are at summer camp this week. Sent them off yesterday morning. They will have fun.

Talk to ya'll later.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another day down - another day closer to finishing

What a blessed night and day of rain. We got 1 1/2" here at the house. Spent part of the day getting my Boy Scouts ready for summer camp. This will be the first year in 25 years that I have missed summer camp. Spent most of the afternoon with one of my Eagle Scouts - Ben Kennady. It is so refreshing to see them grow into responsible young men. I'm not even holding it against Ben for going to A & M!

Slept pretty well last night and plan on sleeping in again tomorrow but going to see the boys off to summer camp. Looking at my neck makes one think that I need to scrap off this stuff bu I am supposed to leave all the scabbing on and it will gradually come off as the neck heals from the inside out. I have gained 3 pounds through last night so this is a good thing. The bottom has stopped and over the next couple of weeks I will gain some of this weight back. And when it is over it is back to healthy foods! And some not so healthy foods!

The morphine seems to have really helped with the neck pain as well as with the stomach. At this point the neck is giving me the biggest problems. But have another day of recovery before going back for another week of radiation. The pictures below are what the neck looks like today. They are pretty bad so be aware before you look at them!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Silly me!

I've a pretty good two days but tonight I am starting to feel the stomach issues come back. How soon I forget about the bad days when the good ones arrive, even if short lived. But am rapidly approaching the two weeks left mark.

Had radiation at 7am this morning, came home and took my morphiene and proceeded to fall asleep for about an 1 1/2 hours. Went to work for about an hour and then spent part of afternoon at kids new home.Ran out of gas around 3 so came home and tried to sleep. But was too wired so just rested. Maybe it was the morphine. And then at 8pm I took another morphine and fitfully slept for about an hour.

I really thought the morphine would really lessen the stomach issues but still have to take the other pills. As Lucille will tell you, I hate to take pills so she has to constantly remind me. Good thing she is around!!

I am feeling better now that Lucille found my new meals. For 4 oz of this diet I get 855 calories. So for three feedings a day I am over the minimum again. So hopefully the weight loss will stabilize over the next couple of weeks. I sit and dream of eating real food again and even tried hot wings tonight but alas, it was to no avail. But soon I will be eating the juicy burger Michael promised me from the first time he heard I had cancer.

Tomorrow will be the last one this week so with the weekend to recover. Was told today that I will have only one more boost. Radiation is radiation. Happens everyday regardless of how much they do. I spend the same amount of time at this point as I did before this boost. It is just more concentrated.

I am now up to shaving 3 times a week for my beard and should be for my head but will keep shaving to only twice a week. Gotta go get a new fashion shirt for tomorrow because Lucille cuts the neck band off to keep my neck from getting worse. It is the hit of the radiation department!

Good news from Jim Adams. He is home from Houston and resting. Thank you for your prayers. He is a wonderful guy! Nite all...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

only 2 chemos to go!!

other side of neck today!

neck as of today!

See what morphine can do?

Well, only two chemos to go. This morning I was trying to throw up and feeling very sick and down. But as of now, I feel alot better and prepared to take on another day. I will post pics of my neck today or tomorrow. Pretty raw. Docs gave me some cream which they use on burn victims and it seems to be helping. I did find out that a boost is when the in the last three weeks of radiation, they start narrowing the scope of the radiation to the original spot to make sure all the cells are dead. My first boost was today and will have two more boost in the next two weeks. While July 4 will be Independence Day, it will take a couple of weeks to get back to strength and eating REAL food. But what an experience it will be until everything gets back to normal.

Weight down to 138 pounds, but hopefully I am approaching the bottom of this. I would not be allowed in school because of my baggy pants. But at least I keep my belt tight. No test pulling my pants!! (I do this to my Troop boys who think they can wear their pants too loose and too low).

My voice has pretty much gone. If I have enough liquids in my mouth I can talk for a little bit but not long! Some people I know will consider that a blessing!

The good Lord keeps blessing me and I keep receiving them happily. And I believe those blessings come the prayers the thousands of you have sent up on my behalf. I know I would not be where I am today with all those who have supported me through this. Thanks again.

Monday, June 15, 2009

another day, another treatment

Today is Monday th 15th of June. went in for radiation treatment today and was told that I would have a boost this week., In other words, they are going to narrow the scope of the radiation.

Spent the weekend sleeping and doing dry heaves. In fact, while getting treatment this morning I thought I was going to heave thru my mask. It make be a long three weeks.

But did find out that I was having a reaction to the Ensure. Lucille found a muscle booster that has between 800 and 1000 per 4 ozs. So far it has not caused any reaction in my stomach. Stomach is still upset but understand it will be for the duration of this treatment.

Still able to swallow liquids and some soft foods (with a water chaser). Biggest problem right now is dealing with the burn around my neck and the blisters. IT itches like crazy but am refraining from scratching.

Am sleeping alot. Working at anything is in less than 2 hour increments. But it is better than nothing. Also am cold alot of the time. Only I'm not is when I am outside in the 100 degree heat.

I think the docs were surprised when I told them I still had some saliva in my mouth. Not enough for sure but some. The little drinks of water really help keep the mouth moisturized.

So if I am sohehow able to keep my stomach somewhat in check, things might not been too bad. Will just have to play it out and see.

Jim Adams is hopefully coming home this week from Houston. Praise God for answered prayers. Later gang...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Only 15 treatments left!!

Another week of treatments is gone. Three weeks (15 days) to go. Getting tired alot faster now and my mouth is starting to dry up to the point that it is getting hard to swallow. But in spite of that I had sausage, gravy and an egg for breakfast. I continue to supplement my feeding tube and as bad as I did not want it, it will be a life saver. I am losing my voice more each day. I guess the good news is now I don't have to talk if I don't want to!

Had some dry heeves around noon today. Not sure what caused it but feel a little better now. Took a mid day nap for about an hour and will take another shortly.

My neck looks like a true redneck! What little skin and bones I have is now a great tan except it is just in the neck area. Looks kinda wierd. But when exposed to the sun, I notice it real quick as it is my skin being burned. No short sleeves this summer or collarless shirts.

As things get tougher, it seems someone comes thru at the right time to remind me that there is an end of this - July 3. And for all of you who have prayed, supported, called, given cards, I am most thankful.

My Boy Scout Troop is backpacking this weekend in Cloudcroft. Hopefully in the fall, I will have the strength to do a weekend backpack trip. And to do all the other chores I have had to put off since this started. I've had more people working on my home than all the years we have owned a home.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

3 1/2 weeks to go>>>>YEA

Good evening all..

I am now officially 3 1/2 weeks away from this last treatment. Up at 6am. Radiation at 7am and then chemo until about 3pm. Came home and slept for a couple of hours. Had fried eggs, sausage and gravy for breakfast. Have feed the tube for most of the day. Have felt tired but ok today.

Just trying to find something to eat that will go down. I can swallow but due to the dryness in my mouth, it has to be semi liquid. But can drink and swallow ok at this point. The light at the end of the tunnel can be seen and am approaching it one day at a time. Two more radiation treatments this week and 3 chemo treatments left. July 4th will really be a day to celebrate although it will take a couple of weeks past that to start feeling better.

So just have to take each day, not over extend myself, get plenty of rest and eat and drink. Lucille is trying hard to find food for me to eat. It is like a needle in a haystack. Some days are better than others. Tried a spicy soup tonight but it did not set well in my throat. I guess that is the evidence of a burned throat. But who knows what tomorrow will bring. Water is very soothing to the throat. Helps to keep it wet.

While I am still losing a little weight, we think it is somewhat under control. Hopefully we are able to stabilize it for the duration of this treatment.

Thanks for your continued prayers and support. We are more appreciative than ya'll will ever know. Later gang..

Monday, June 8, 2009

Catch 22

It's Monday afternoon and I am totally wasted. Spent the weekend eating and sleeping but as this treatment gets deeper, I am finding that I cannot get enough rest. Got up this am, had radiation, came home and slept til around 11am. Went to the office and worked until 4pm, came home and slept for another hour or so. And while the sleep is good, I am not eating or drinking enough. It is a catch 22 here. So tonight will be feeding the tube until I go to bed around 10.

Was told that my peach fuzz was out of control and had to shave today! And was told I have hair on the top of my head, which has not been the case in a number of years! But will keep it shaved for the balance of the summer.

Still able to swallow and eat semi solids. But the trick is finding something that is agreeable with my tongue and stomach. Four weeks left so have get with program to make it. Weight is big concern right now so have to stay with anything that has alot of calories.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Eat, sleep, eat, sleep

Feed the tube. It seems my mission in life at this point is feed the tube. I am able to eat some stuff. But not enough so feed the tube has taken on a new priority. I have 4 weeks left. I am still able to swallow and drink. The roughest part of the day is first thing in the morning. My throat is so dry that I have to really lubricate it! But it is responding at this point. Yesterday day I had sausage and gravy and this morning I had sausage, gravy and eggs. But now feeding the tube again at noon. It does a number on my stomach and the only pills that are working are the ones that knock me out. So for the last couple of days, I feed the tube, take a pill and sleep. Not sure how I will handle this for four weeks, but Rocky has told me I will get to the end.

Lucille keeps fixing meals that I don't eat. But being the supporting spouse that she is, the meals keep on coming. The meals are becoming more liquid although I still want to something semi solid to chew. But I'm sure the total liquids are coming. The metal taste I had early on is starting to come back so will be dealing with that issue for the balance of the treatment.

The good news is that in 20 more treatments, I will be finished and able to start the total road to recovery. I thank God that I have been able to get this far as I know I could not have done it by myself. With your prayers and God's broad back I will get through this. Thanks again to each of you for your prayers and support. Later....

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Just trying to get my calories///

Well thought today would be a breeze. Yea right!!

Had radiation this morning and then worked too much today. Haven't felt too bad until around 5pm when my body said I had overdone it! So will have to really tone down my work load and make sure I take it easy. They tell me the hardest part of this treatment is ahead.

Tried to eat tonight. Did not work. But ate onions and bell peppers with olive oil. Don't think there are too many calories there! So will ensure tonight to get calories up some. I really thought I would be able to eat today since I did not have chemo this week. How soon one forgets how long it truly takes chemo to exit the system. But will continue to try and eat. And to FEED THE TUBE!

I am getting more used to this foreign object in my stomach. I know it will not be protruding from my body any longer than necessary.

But the good news is my attitude is much better today and my thinking is getting back on track. Biggest problem is pacing oneself to not get overextended. And my problem is that I feel good and keep going far too long. So for the next couple of months I HAVE to make myself stop even is I don't feel like it! Easier said than done!!!

I would like all of you to say a special prayer tonight for Jim Adams. He is 85 years old and one of my dear friends and he is in the hospital on a breathing tube. He continues to write to me and now he is the one who needs help. I would appreciate your prayers for him.

God has been carrying me this last week and today I put my footprints by his. What a great feeling to know that he is always here for us. We just have to pay attention and have the faith that he will be here regardless. Nite all....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Hi all..

Thought I had turned a short corner yesterday. Was feeling pretty good all day. Drinking and pushing food through the tube. Then 6pm hit and I got thirty minutes of dry heeves and was wasted for the night. Word spreads so by the time I got to the radiation and chemo everyone knew what kind of shape I was in. Dr Rastogi decided I needed to have a week off from chemo so just got hydrated and had some drugs (knocked me out). So I should have a few good days before next Wednesday before diving head long into the last 3 weeks.

My frame of mind has not been good the last several days to say the least. The doctors say that is to be expected as the hardest part of this treatment is the last several weeks. So I will really be watching myself in terms of eating, drinking and resting. And trying to work a little in there somewhere. My blood counts are still good and that pleased the doctor and another part that pleased the doctors was that I was still able to swallow and the back of my throat was not rare - yet!.

As of tomorrow Lucille and I have been married 38 years. Not much of an anniversary present this year! Nor was her birthday! Supporters in this process do not get the support and help they need to help their partners. Please keep her in your prayers.

And to answer the comment about my looks. That picture was taken without a couple of hours after surgery! Guess I should have straightened myself up some! (laugh here people). I will post a happier picture in the next couple of days! I really look better than that!

Still shooting for the July 3 final treatment date! Then, according to Rocky - whom I meet this morning) I have about 2 weeks to get over everything and start the long road of my body fixing itself, getting my strength and energy back. So I think I have 19 days of radiation and 3 chemo treatments left! The light is at the end of the tunnel. Just have to keep my emotions in check, my chin up, my attitude in the right place and giving everybody hell ( what I normally do!).

Rocky was another God send today as he stayed to talk with me after I had radiation. I great guy who I needed to talk to. My silver lining - not sure what it is at this point. I spent the night trying to find it but evidently God has not shown it to me yet.

I am thankful for all of you in your prayers and support. God has sent each of you to us for a reason. And to him and you I am most thankful. This just would not have been possible without ya'll. You will just never know. I will try and get back to a normal daily writing. Thanks again and God Bless Each of You....

Monday, June 1, 2009

a long 4 days

I think I am back among the living this Monday morning. It has been a long four days. Another surgery, another recovery period. I do not remember anything on Thursday afternoon, including posing for these pictures! Dr Patel came in around 4 and showed everyone, including me, the pictures of the surgery and I have no memory of it!
I slept most of weekend. Starting using this tube and figuring out how it works. I can drink 11 oz of liquid but cannot seem to stomach more than 4 oz of it being pushed thru a tube. Go figure!
It seems every time I move my stomach reacts to the movement and causes some pain and discomfort. Suppose to go away in a few days. It is very strange seeing a tube hang from your stomach knowing that it connects directly to the stomach. I will spend this week getting the hang of using this tube to supplement my eating. My tongue is still not cooperating with my eating. As long as I drink constantly, the back of my throat stays somewhat moist, thereby allowing me to swallow. And that is most important at this stage.
The days are running together. But as of Wednesday, I have 30 days to finish this treatment. Can't imagine it getting harder, but know that it will.
Talk to everyone later......