Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cancer: Tearing down my house

 Prior to chemo treatment number three Dr. M office RN called with my lab results.
A lot of blood drawn during cancer treatment. Never any real rest as you are constantly 'poked' with various size needles.
Sodium (Na) low with norm roughly 135-145. Low Na became an ongoing problem, which, caused cramps, fatigue, while exacerbating nausea-upset stomach.
I would sweat like some kind of barnyard animal, which, puzzled me, unless NA and potassium are both out of balance.
They were. Low NA; Low potassium.

Red blood cell (RBC) low with normal range approximately 12-18. Low RBC decreased my energy while increasing shortness of breath (oxygen starvation-hunger...whoa Nellie....most uncomfortable.
Hemoglobin (HgB) low which, further decreased energy level, and, decreased oxygen available for breathing.

Cancer was 'sucking' or 'gobbling'  life sustaining chemicals from  me.
Much like the burgler who invades your home not content to rob, but, also intent on destroying everything within reach.
Come on doc(s) let us keep this SOB corralled, caged, confined or I am doomed!
No joke! Got to push back and trap this guy. Hey, maybe it is a girl? Care for a cigar.
Maybe a group of natural born killers (NBK).

No maybe about it these guys are NBK.
Very efficient with centuries of practice in the art of killing. A formidable foe indeed. Makes the Romans, Hannibal, Genghis Khan, Stalin, Hitler seem like a bunch of pikers.

Whatever coalition of killer compose this cancer group, you doctors must re-gain the initiative; get this under control my good doctors.
Send in some NBK of our own (yes, we persons have our own NBK that do battle for us.)
Not making that up. Look under immune response in your med-surg book..

Chemotherapeutic drugs wreak havoc on the body.
No kidding , Aaron!
That is right.
Heck,  They are poison (some are forms of gas used during world war I, banned during WW II, but used for fighting cancer.
Go figure.
No wonder I am so damn sick.

Chemo drugs do not differintiate between 'good' and 'bad' cells.
I knew this fact. Lot easier teaching this to students than living it.
Guess one could call it 'show and tell' day at school.

Dr. M goal: kill 'bad' cell with minimal damage to 'good' cell.
Cancer gets in ones cells, blood, bone, organs, wherever it can 'encroach' with impunity.
Sounding like a cross between John Madden and Howard Cosell.
Losing it am I; yes indeed, I am slowly losing, slowly losing everything.
Damn scared but too sick to care.
Me: "You have not the luxury of wallowing in self pity, for, cancer shall show no mercy."

Hemoglobin low; hematocrit (Hct) low (the H & H brothers).
Almost all blood composition were out of balance. Yes, homeostasis is gone.
Platelet count dropped like a weighted down mobster with cement shoes.
Bugsy Moran lives.

I had lots of platelets being made but they were 'weak.' Sort of like baby platelet sent in to do grown up work; very ineffective.
Low platelet count caused bruising and hematomas.
Neutraphils high as they carried the fight within the cancerous cells.
Cancer was thriving within my lymph system; real party going on and, this party was out of control.
Calcium low causing twitches, spasm, muscle lock (Charlie Horse.)
Bones were thinning and ached (even lost some enamil on my teeth.)

Destruction of my immune system.
I could almost hear the little bastards say: "let us destroy his immune system, gobble up all the minerals, and, hey, then we eat him alive."
Another little bastard: "Good idea. Then we can give him some infections, watch him get really, really sick and, when dead. We can move on."
Wow! Bunch of really swell fellas is this cancer group. Compassionate gang of misfits from Hell's Kitchen.
Right out of the old 'Inferno by Dante.'

Infection was either always present or always a threat.
I seldom left the house.
Didn't want company as the fear of infection overwhelmed my psyche.
My mom came to visit, care and comfort me, but, I stopped her at the door due to her upper respiratory infection (talk about feeling guilty....turning my own mother away.)

While trying not to wallow in my own personal hole of despair and misery, Dr. M nurse called me.
"Dr. M wants to see you at the office to review your lab work."
Bad news was now coming in legions.

Dr. M: "We need to postpone treatment number three until...your labs come back up toward normal, and, the MUGA scan (measures heart in motion and power of the heart as a pump) shows some cardiac toxicity."
Me: "Can I curse or yell or run or cry" ..thought it but did not say anything. Too stunned.
Dr. M: "Your ejection fraction has dropped from 57% to 48%."

Think of the heart like firing a gun: you have a re-coil after the load (bullet) leaves the barrel, clearing all debris and giving the bullet one last push outwards.
My heart's ejection fraction (re-coil) was too low. Minimal clearing of the barrel (heart chamber) and, minimal extra outward push. Blood is not leaving the right ventricle= enlarged right ventricle=potential heart failure.
Excuse me...I am going to curse right now/9($&#@....!
 
All you nurses say: "Decreased cardiac output with poor perfusion."
Dr. M:  "You are gaining weight (who gains weight with cancer?) I want a thyroid test done."

My thyroid had also quit. Lamentations, lamentations, lamentations.
To hell with it.

I was feeling low and in a foul mood. But to whom shall I yell at?
God? Yes! Start there and yell all the way home, which, is what I did.

Me: "Feel better?"
Me: "Sort of."
Me: "Good. Now shut up and go to bed."
Took 2 Xanax and a Temazapam in the middle of the afternoon. Do not try this at home.

Remembered Poe: "Life is but a dream within a dream."

bendeschaads thinking again
                                

Friday, January 25, 2013

bendeschaad's thinking again: Cancer: Spinal Tap! Methotrexate!

bendeschaad's thinking again: Cancer: Spinal Tap! Methotrexate!: Intrathecal Methotrexate-----scared me---one of the few times I really knew fear. Injection of fluid into the spinal cord-canal and carried...

Friday, October 28, 2011

 Cancer! My two friends from the UK are losing the battle. Say a prayer please.
bendeschaadsthinkingagain....and his heart is breaking.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cancer: bendeschaad

I mixed my two U.K. friends blog site addresses.
Both are battling cancer.....both named Carol (one with an "e" Carole), both fighting, winning, battling.
Here are the correct blog address.
http://confessionsofacancerpatient.blogspot.com
and
http://caroleandcancer.blogspot.com
Both are also on my blog site.

Sometimes Bendeschaad should do more thinking (or maybe less) .
Whew!!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cancer: Friend from U.K.

Those of you who follow my battle with cancer may find the following interesting.
I have 'teamed' with Carol from the United Kingdom.
Carol is battling Neuroendocrine small cell carcinoma of the vagina.....she is winning.
You can follow her blog at any of the following:

Inspirational Cancer Blog--Navigating Cancer.

http://caroleandcancer.blogspot.com

http://navigatingcancer.com

Confessions of a cancer patient. Daily diary of a woman diagnosed with a rare cancer.......Google.

bendeschaadsthinkingagain

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cancer: Adios

November 7, 2007 until January 2009 spent in emotional, spiritual, physical recovery (nice little trio, don't ya think so).

The ad read ' hiring part-time clinical instructors'....I applied.
Could not work full-time still too worn down, but part-time....think I can.

Blackhawk College called and the interview was arranged.
I needed this job more than one would ever know.
Probably would have worked for almost nothing.
For a pittance I would of worked.
To be with teachers (like at my previous job....wonderful group they are) and,
with nurses,
and students.

When K.B. the Department Chair said "you are hired,"
I could have ran around the block.
Back with my own people...my peers (like with my musician friends).
Another gift from God.

He had heard my cries and He was listening.
God was listening ( He always does....we are never too much of a nuisance).

God time is different from mine.
My time frame is 'right now' His is 'let me think this over.'

Part-time worked well for my energy level and K.B. delivered God's blessing.

An opportunity to be in a local play presented itself.
The play "Hard to Believe" (J.T. writer-composer)  was based on the book of Job.
I was offered the part of Bildad, counselor to Job.
Having read Job dozens of time during this cancer battle, and now, I was to play Bildad.
The role of Bildad was not difficult unless one is in the middle of recovering from cancer treatment.
I became out of breath while singing.
Sang my entire life James Brown to Tom Jones to Three Dog Night and, that takes power from the lungs. Boy! Did my lungs get a work out which is what they needed.

Sometimes forgot dialogue (except when cursing 'chemo-fog' under what little breath I had). The troupe rescued my errors on numerous occasion and, the play came off well.

Those who have not battled cancer and the aftermath of treatment do not realize the toll exacted on body organs. Weak lungs, heart, vocal cords, memory...ah! memory was a real problem for me, but, as the saying goes "the show must go on."
My name was mentioned in a local review which, I guess is a good thing, as long as the mention is positive.

Remembered all guitar chords although, a couple of time I wandered off into 6/4 rather than 4/4 time but, again, the drummer saved me ( love those drummers).
Great experience and one very strange way to re-build the body (will not find such therapy in any medical text).

One of the other actors was the son of our church's choir director.
The son mentioned me to the choir director (his mom).
She phoned. Asked if I would sing with the choir, and, "yes" (what else does one say
when other Hands are working you!)

I was being remodeled. Wowie kazowie!

God truly works in mysterious ways (well, maybe not so mysterious).

I was singing these words:
"Who are we to scorn God's discipline,
God wounds, God also heals, there are no deals,
So praise God, who does marvelous things,
The whole universe sings,
The praises of our God,
God does as God wants by night and by day"
('Hard to Believe'. Musical by J.T).

Who brings these events these coincidence to pass?

"In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls,
drop by drop upon the heart until,
in our own despair,
against our will,
comes,
the awful grace of God" (Aeschylus).
The awful grace of God became part of my psyche my DNA...the awful grace of God.

From cancer to recovery by the long route and all points in between.

Just a seasoned nurses tale of what has been, what was, and what is.

Someone up there likes me.

Adios.

bendeschaads thinking again

Cancer: Rabbi is Gone

Thirty years is a long long time. Yet that is what it was. Thirty in people time years. Up and down, side way at times, and he was there for me. Through manic-depression (particularly painful depression) then through cancer.
Him and I had ridden the roller coaster of life. Together. In sync and out of sync, he was my rabbi.
Dr. R. Kind gentle family doctor later to become a blessing from God Almighty....psychiatrist.


It was manic-depression that brought about the acquaintance. An acquaintance leading to true friendship. The pain of depression had brought me to my knees and he held out his hand (much like Peter was I sinking into the sea) and steadied me lest I falter and drown a mere crumpled wailing heap of nothingness.
Make no mistake mania and depression leaves one frazzled and, at times, fractured.

Dr. R stitched me back together, nurtured, guided, and taught me. Shepherded me through manic-depression and now cancer.

Time does not stand still and waits for no one to think so is vanity.
Now, Dr. R was retiring. My second father (that is what he had become...a second father) this doctor, background per the Jesuits, was retiring.
I shall miss him so.

Moving on to the next part in his life.
And so must I.
He stitched you well Aaron. You will not tear or fray or unravel. The stitches will hold.

We talk on the phone now and again. Dr. R and I...we talk.
I still want to please him.....although it was never a requirement of the relationship.....want to make him proud, which, with certainty, I know he is.

Good luck Dr. R

bendeschaadsthinkingagain