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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Port Replacement Surgery

I had my port replacement surgery today. It was an unusual experience. I was completely awake the whole time, not being put to sleep. My face had a tent over it, so I couldn't see what was going. I could feel a few things, but not much pain at all. Then the doctor said "ok this old one is out, I'm fixing to put in the new one". We talked about baseball and stuff.

Since getting home, I'm sore. I feel like I've been cut, which I have, in two places not counting the IV. The diagram shows the kind of port I have and how it is in my body. Into the chest, up into the juggler vein, then down into the heart. I'm restricted on what I can do for a couple of weeks. Can't move around much tonight. I'll see how tomorrow goes. I may feel okay and like doing something, or I may feel like crap.

I was with Dr. Lea at Saint Thomas Rutherford.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Windy Thunderstorm

The storm last night was harsh. It blew flecks of paint off my ramp and onto my porch. It also blew most of the plastic covering off the greenhouse. Wow! It was crazy.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Best Friends

They Make You A Better Communicator
Best friends are best for a reason. They're not party pals or fair weather friends. They're those special ones who are there through thick and thin, and who will definitely annoy you or upset you or you will annoy or upset them at some point, because in all good relationships there's conflict. No best friend is a "yes" man, and your opinions will differ from time to time. In good relationships also, conflict is resolved with communication. And when a friend is a lifer, you have to communicate openly and honestly with them in order to move past conflict, so your best friend will inevitably make you a better communicator.

They Teach You About Loyalty
Sometimes the world is big and bad and people hurt you. Your best friend, however, teaches you that loyalty is real. With their unconditional love and affection, your best friend will make you a better person by giving you that little glimmer of hope that people can be kind and good to you, always reminding you not to go to that dark place where it feels like the world is against you.

They Make You Feel Confident And Loved
No matter how bad your day or week or month or year is, tell me you don't feel like a million bucks after a beer or two with your bestie? You can't, can you? Your best friend gives you the confidence to be you, to be bold, and to shrug off the haters. Best friends, like parents and significant others, can provide the kind of personal affirmation you need when your own belief in yourself and your own capabilities is lagging.

They Challenge Your Shortcomings
Besties aren't always there just to tell you how fabulous you are. When you're being awful, they'll tell you. As much as a best friend loves you, it's their duty to give you unbiased advice, which actually proves how much they love you. Anyone will tell you what you want to hear, but only the very best friends are brave enough to hold up a mirror and say "Are you sure this is how you want to behave?" Because when you're being unnecessarily mean or self centered and hurting people who love you, your best friend should be there to call you out on it.

They Dare You To Try Harder
When you're afraid of something — for instance, going for a new job or trying a new workout regime or asking someone on a date — whatever it is, your best friend will always push you to succeed. Best friends don't let you be lazy. They know how wonderful you are and will always dare you to try harder and be an even better version of you. Best friends pull each other up, they don't tear each other down, and your best friend will always be rooting for you, and inspiring you to be the best you you can possibly be.

They Make Your Days Brighter Just By Being In Them
Other than all the personal enrichment above, your friends make you a better person just by being there. Having your best friend around makes you sunnier and happier, and what better bonus is there than that? You're a better person just because someone you love is in your life, and there's really no better reason to immediately call/text/hug your bestie right this very instant.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Thoughts for Cancer Patients and Their Loved Ones

I've been thinking lately about how people react toward my cancer. I've only really considered the "I look good" issue up until now. I look good so people are generally unaware I might be worse off than I appear to be. But lately I'm thinking about the people who are keenly aware of my situation. I talked with a couple of my friends last night about this. They are people I trust to always be honest and open about things. So I know I've approached this issue in truth.

I understand the human nature to avoid a negative situation. I understand the defenses people use to protect themselves and their own frame of mind. I know how difficult it is to be around someone who is sick or dying. I've been through that quite a few times in my own life with sick and dying family members. For me, I don't have the choice of how to react to my cancer. I have to face it head-on 24/7. I've come to realize the other people have a choice. They can avoid the situation if it's uncomfortable for them. The result is a diminishing relationship between the cancer patient and the loved one.

Unfortunately this can leave a cancer patient feeling alone and abandoned. They wonder if the other people really care about them. And though the other person does care they have made a decision that it's easier on them to leave the cancer patient feeling abandoned rather than to face uncomfortable feelings.

I haven't really thought or felt like that was an issue in my life. People I don't see often are people I didn't see often before cancer either. Likewise I felt that my closest friends' behavior hasn't changed and, I see them as often as before. In some cases more often.

I've also never had the kind of luxury in my life to avoid the negative. I was not in control of the way I was treated by my peers in school, people in my life who were overly judgmental, or my illness. It has given me the ability to deal with the unimaginable. It has also given me a hard-nosed opinion of people who can and do avoid. I've always thought of them as spineless or weak. I see now that it is overly critical to feel that way. Avoidance and fear are things to overcome, and those people have not yet found a way to do that. Or maybe they used to deal with it and have recently become tired of dealing with it. I don't really have any advice for you or your loved ones if you are a cancer patient or the loved one of a cancer patient. I just know that life offers the opportunity to grow and better one's self, become closer to others and sacrifice a piece of yourself for others.

The one thing I've always admired in my friends is that they are willing to face my illness with me, in spite of any fear or uncomfortable feelings it may cause us. We face it together. It gives me strength. It gives them strength. It makes me feel loved. I've got old friends from decades ago who have been right by my side the whole way. I've got new friends who made the decision to become friends and stand by me, knowing about the cancer even before becoming friends.

If you have a cancer patient in your life, please remember this. The sweetest gift you can give a person is your time. And if you've made a sacrifice to make that time happen, then it's even sweeter. You don't have to do anything to cheer your cancer patient up. Just give them your time and treat them normally. Remember they don't have the choice to avoid the uncomfortableness of life, and there will be a day when you don't have the choice either. But for now to make the uncomfortable choice and to make the sacrifice in the name of Love is the right thing to do. If a cancer patient loved one knows you have given up parties, road trips, romantic interludes or just a weekend of relaxation and rejuvenation, they will have an appreciation for you that you cannot imagine. That in itself will say more about you and your feelings toward them than any amount of cheering up words you could offer.

Also remember that if someone notices that you're pushing someone else away because of their illness, just in order to avoid uncomfortableness in your life, they may begin to see you as being a heartless person. And you probably don't really want that to be your legacy.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


I had my portagram yesterday at Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital. The doctor said it's time for a new one. Then we won't have to worry about the blood return thing anymore. So another surgery will be set up to replace my port soon. bummer.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Chemo Day and a Very Strange One

It's been a strange day all around. Stuck in the arm twice because a needle broke off in my arm the first time. Stuck in the port twice so I could wear an access home overnight for a portagram tomorrow (they needed an updated one less than six months old). An unexpected Christmas stocking from a group of cancer survivors passing them out to all the chemo patients. 
Then I'm watching the tv about a tornado warning in Winchester. I look at the radar on my computer and see that a big ole tornado sticker is pasted right on top of the Midway ballfields, one minute from here. I ran to the back door and opened it. I heard rumbling. I new I had no time to leave or do anything. Lightening everywhere. Lights blinking on and off. Phone ringing from Rebecca (who saw it on her radar and was trying to warn me). Then it all calmed down and passed over to Sparta. It never did show up on tv.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Chemo & CT Scan Results

This time the very nodule that grew from 10mm to 17mm shrank back down to 13mm. All in all the medical profession considers it stable. I guess a nonsignificant occurrence.

I had moved some furniture and now have a pinched nerve. The doctor at the ER called it "radiculopathy". While at chemo I was given an infusion of Ketorolac Tromethamine.
I also got a prescription for a steroid pack and gabapentin. That, along with the usual steroid injection, alleviated some of the pain for a couple of days. Now I'm just still trying to recover from it all. They said it would take several weeks. Seems like it's one thing after another. Used to I could throw furniture around all day - or trees or shrubs or anything else.

I stopped off for some hot and sour soup on the way home.
Hot & Sour Soup