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Monthly Archives: May 2012

What a fantastic day today.  I got to see my Josh, Melissa, Kami, Kelsi, and Zach (brother, wife and kids for those who don’t know).  He came up to help me out by unloading the U-Haul into a storage locker.  While they were doing that, I got to hang out with the kids.  I got Zach’s truck rolling with some new batteries, and painted some awesome pictures with Kami and Kelsi.  I think we decided a few to send out to Cassidy.  So darling, we are about to prove to you and the world that Kindergarten wasn’t a waste of time.  After the guys came back from unloading the truck, mom got us some chicken and everything that goes with it.  So it was a quick lunch and my brother, Corbin and I take in a game of golf.  We only did 9 holes because it was a little warm.  I honestly can’t say we did well, but I can’t say we did badly either.  We didn’t do bad for not playing in such a long time, and it was Corbin’s very first time playing.  Sometimes he would even show us up.  All in all, I had a great day.  So thank you Steve, Josh and Corbin.  I couldn’t have done it without you guys.

I know it seems my blog shifts back and forth between topics.  I started this blog to document my battle with cancer, but it goes to what I do in my free time.  I loved my free time, but sometimes I could run out of things to do.  I could get really bored some days.  So tomorrow I think my boredom will be cured.  I start round two of chemotherapy, with boosters the following two Tuesdays.  I am not the happiest person in the world about this idea.  So what am I going to do, quit?  Naww I’m good.  I have never been much of a quitter.  Just ask my friends.  Besides, I have more of a fight in me the cancer has in itself.  So I’ll keep through and beat this thing.  It is the hardest thing I have ever had to endure, but aren’t the most rewarding jobs the hardest jobs.  I am sure I have heard that somewhere.  So I am ready for it, but keep me in your prayers.  I don’t think I can express how much I hate this crap.

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I received the best news in the world during my treatment.  I was getting my bleomycin booster and my new doctor told me that my body is responding very well to my treatments.  In fact, it is doing so well that they cut my treatments from 4 cycles of chemotherapy to 3 cycles.  To me, that’s pretty good news.  This means my life is that much closer to back to normal.  Now, I am a little skeptical about what I was told only because I want to make sure that I am receiving everything I need for a full recovery.  So the doctors will put my mind at ease and scan my body after my last treatment.  If they feel the treatments worked, they will cut me off.  Only reason is because they said it would hurt my body if I continue to receive treatments if there is no cancer.  So there is good news from the battle field.

 

I did get to talk to my dad the day before treatment.  We talked for 3 hours about literally everything.  I can always count on dad for a good debate because we have only a few things we see eye to eye on.  I don’t really know where I get my opinions from.  I guess when I was in the Marines; it opened my eyes to a bunch of new ideas.  It’s ok though because that’s what makes me a stronger person.  I will not be swayed to an idea I don’t agree with, and neither will he.  That’s why I like them.  They are heated, entertaining, frustrating, and just plan o fun sometimes.  Love you dad, keep them coming.  As for my cousin Curt, if your class is following this, I am actually curious how young minds feel about political issues.  The topic was: “How American tax money should be spent?  Should the people be able to choose and budget where their tax money should go, or should we continue to leave it in the hands of the government?”  I think if Cousin Curt has a free spot in teaching, he can maybe open a classroom discussion.  I think the kids would enjoy that.

 

My road to recovery has been hard.  Cancer is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life.  Yes, it beats becoming a Marine, deployments, school, and work.  I guess it is because I actually wanted all of those.  My doctor told me that if my temperature gets to 100.5, I have to get to the hospital because my body is shutting down.  I woke up a few nights ago burning up.  I had to wake up my mom at 3 a.m. to check me out.  Lucky for me I was normal, just really hot.  So, sorry mom for waking you up and next time I’ll make sure it is for real.  Well, let’s just not do that at all.

So I am finally posting something new on my blog. I know it been a little while since I have written anything, but sometimes things are routine. Seems it was fizzle out and my blog would die if I wrote just about the day by day life. I need a few days to collect highlights. Then, it is actually exciting to write something.

So I decided not to stand idlely by this summer and become the fat blog on the couch. Even though I will be resting quite a bit I noticed that I have really good days sometimes. On those good days, I want to spend my time active and doing something. I think that if I didn’t, I would go nuts and feel like I wasted and opportunity. So I have some good projects ahead of me. I was asked by Steve if I could fix up the barn a little bit. It is not a major project nor am I doing a complete overhaul of the bar. The project includes fixing a couple broken doors, some side panel work, and a window. I figured why not. I was pretty good in shop class, and it’s kind of a fun hobby. I have to remember not to tear the whole thing apart and then run into a bad day and not be able to finish. I really want to take my time, and give each part its own time. One key component missing in my life is patients. Maybe this is just what I need for that lesson.

That is just 1 of 2 of my summer projects while on the road to recovery. The second thing I got into was golf.  I had a little bit of money left over after overhauling my life. I decided to stay active in a sport. I asked mom to play football, but she wouldn’t sign the permission slip. So golf was the perfect fit for me. It is a low to no impact game depending on how many golfers are on the course, and being outside will be good for me. I found a little store in town and I asked them to price some clubs for me. After the meeting, I was set up with a custom set of clubs. Designed and made just for me and my specific height and swing. How amazing is that? I have my very own clubs. I have always enjoyed golf, so maybe I can own it. I have all summer long to try to figure it all out. Maybe I can finally hitPebbleBeachwith my dad after this craziness is done. Watch out, I might be good by then.

I had a really good day today and felt good for most of the day. I still feel that monster cut slowly mending itself together.  I wish it would hurry up and heal already.  However, today was a good day.  I was able to travel down toColumbusand watch my sister graduate from college.  I am really excited for her and so very proud.  She is the first one out of all her siblings to graduate from college, and she is the youngest.  Congratulations Rachel and I am glad I got to be part of your day.

Oh my! If I could actually put on paper exactly what my last three days were like, then I would just stop writing about my situation and blog about just that. It all started when I woke up, day after my last chemo, and woke up a little nausea. So I asked my mom if there was an anti-nausea pill and low and behold, we had one.  I only remember only about a half an hour.  After that, the rest of the time that day I spent either sleeping or showing my mom my best demonstration of what NOT to do during a field sobriety test. I was so wore out and tired, I couldn’t even walk a straight sidewalk. I couldn’t even imagine trying to do that with a piece of tape or a parking lot line. Oh, and the dumb stuff I would say. I try to be so smart and witty, but it never worked. Just turned out all wrong and goofy. My mom even had to tell me to go lay down before I hurt myself. So all and all, nothing has really functioned for me these last three days. My appetite was up, and then it would crash. I would sleep all night one day, but then wake up a hundred times another. Today, finally on day three of just an awkward feeling body, I broke down. This is actually really hard to say, but I have had a really hard head about keeping high spirits. However, when I broke down, I felt dead. It was the first time since this whole experience I felt like I was going to die. My body just refused to function and I felt like I was loosing something. I needed to feel normal to know that my body was still in the fight, but it would give me nothing in return. Just more stumbling and slurred speech. I was actually scared. On the floor crying with my mom holding my shoulder, I wondered what I did wrong to deserve this. I told my mom that this above all, was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. Broken and wore, I knew that sitting there crying about what a messed up situation I was in wasn’t going to help. I always told people I worked with that I can complain, but it won’t get me anywhere. So that leads me to the patio for some fresh air and a little music. Avenged Sevenfold: Buried Alive was the theme.

I finally have everything ready for the move. I got my dates all set up, treatments organized, and doctors ready to go. Imp just glad I got to be lazy and didn’t have to do half the stuff mom and Chrissy did. My apartment is packed up ready to go for the trucks. I appreciate what Steve did for me on that aspect. Got the trucks ready for the days we need them. That way all we need to do is pack and before you know it, the move is over. I could not have done any of this without my friends and family. Thanks to everyone.

 

So it has been a rough past couple of weeks for everyone here. Talking to my mother tonight, I had failed to realize she has been inKentuckyfor over two weeks now. She is an amazing mother, and she really got me through this week. In fact, today was the best day of chemo. First of all, it was because it was the last one for this set. So I am excited about that. So I get to have the weekend off, at least until my booster on Tuesday. However, my mom did me one better. My mom has been trying to transfer me toIndianaall week. Today, her prayers have been answered. I got my move confirmed. The VA hospital inIndianapolisis set and ready to take me on, all scheduled times. The VA also sweetened the deal and got me a doctor who works for IU. So I am truly grateful.

As my days roll on, my dad calls me everyday. I look forward to his calls everyday and we can time them perfectly now. Right before I start chemo we talk, or right after I start. It’s like father son science. We figured it out, and the love and prayers he shares with me is the drive that my heart needs. I told home the other day that I could not have asked for a better father. In my time of need, you were there and for that I will always be grateful. Thank you both dad and Lisa, for the love and support you have given me. Those mountains will look amazing when I get to them.

So now I pack. The big move toIndianais upon us.  It is now time to bear down, gather strength, and prepare for a long weekend. I believe that the muscles in my legs can use the walking and bending in the attempt to gather my belongings. That is one thing I noticed about chemo is you get a little stiff. Walking around the hospital and taking trips outside really help out. The fresh “city” air isn’t all that bad. So all I can say now is, the move is set. Lets do it.

 

Another day with the hiccups and I couldn’t stand it anymore. So the nurse comes in with two sugar packets and told me to eat it. It may not have cured the hiccups because they do come back, but it really slows them down and makes them less annoying. Other than that, chemo was chemo. No changes. Oh other than I am kind of nausea but kicking ass.

So mom and I were talking on the couch last night and before you know it we had the bible out. No problems on this end. Believe me; this experience opened my eyes of who is really in charge. Seems He will get my attention anyway he can. Anyway, my mother pulled out a scripture that spoke powers to her spirit.

Isaiah 40:28-31

New International Version (NIV)

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

I really like that one, and I see how it will speak powers to anyone’s soul. I just wanted to share a little something that gets me out of bed to do this crap.  So please, to everyone, please continue to send scripture.  They honestly drive me through this.

 

I was given the same chemo treatment, except they introduced me to bleomycin. It is pronounced (bli-o-mice-n) and it is very powerful. I had to take a Benadryl just in case I had an allergic reaction to it. I had a 15 minute test dose and if I was ok with it I got another full 30 minute drip. Once a week so I guess I’ll be ok with that. I am kind of getting into a routine with it all. I get lab work every morning then I get my chemo all day. The are a lot of stickings and it is getting annoying. So in the words of Tommy Petty “No I Won’t Back Down.” I’ll keep this fight going until this is over. I just hope that the hiccups go away soon. I have had them for 2 days now. Off and on, but constant through out the day. That is one of the side effects of the anti-nausea medication. I rather have the hiccups all day then to be just really sick. So there you have it. A quick little update.

Now on to some other serious business. I want to say to everyone who has helped me through this so far, you guys are amazing. I want to let my mom know that I love her so much for helping with all my littlest needs. It ranges from protein drinks to news hospital slippers. She is there all the time with rides to and from treatment. I can’t thank her enough for what she has done for me. As for my dad, he calls me every day. I get to talk with him for a few minutes before chemo starts and we always say the three things we will never forget. 1) This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad. 2) I will fight for me to stay alive. 3) I love you too dad.

I want to say that I love all the encouragement my family has given me. Everyone in my entire family has shown their love and their support through this tough time. So forgive me for not listing everyone’s names, but I want the whole world to know that is it everyone in my family.

To all of my friends who have come to see me, thank you so much. I know that some of you have even traveled fromLouisvillejust for a 20 minute stay. Brian and Kristy, you have no idea what that meant to me. To Jenna and Jordan, you know, I kind of owe my life to Jenna. If she didn’t take me to the hospital at 3 am that night I got sick, who knows when. But guys thanks for being there. And to some of my bestest of friendsChad, Tricia and Jesse, you guess rock. I love the things we get ourselves into. From the night trek toState Street, to just hanging out. I love you all. Thank you for being part of my life.

Cassidy, I love you so very much. I am right here fighting for us and I will never quit. I have that old Marine Corps spirit and I know never to run from a fight. This will be the greatest victory of my life, and I am so happy I get to share it with you, the love of my life. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers and I’ll keep you in mine. I love you.

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I just want everyone to know that this is a blog and it tells the tale of my recovery from cancer. Some of the stages that I go through is specific to my case. I want to tell my story, so when others run into this type of cancer, they can have expectations or ideas of how to beat it like I will. Some of the details are graphic. It will be my feelings, what I feel, and what treatments I receive and their affects. Believe me, it is brutal. So bear with me, and know I am not being nasty, just letting you know the facts of me.

I had my very first chemo today. How awful is this process? I need to start from the beginning. I dressed up a little thinking it was just a little meet and greet with the doc about moving up toIndiana. Oops, I was wrong. The cancer has spread into my lymph nodes. So, the doctor said chemo needs to start now. I was crushed. I wanted to move to where the treatment would start and end. I wanted to donate another vial of sperm, because I feel the one I did wasn’t good enough. Like putting your eggs all in one basket. I started getting pissed, so dad and I had a quick heart to heart. He calmed me down, chemo was them started.

The chemo process is intense. It is a 6 to 7 hour process a day………………..5 days a week…………….stretched over 4 months………..which I didn’t know. First they must prepare your kidneys for the toxic chemical they will be pumping into your body. I understand that if this process isn’t started, your kidneys will fail and you die. So to all my nurses reading this, DON’T FORGET STEP ONE!!! Thank you. Anyway, step one is a 2 hour saline solution to prepare the kidneys for toxics. The next step is a small bag 30 minute bag of steroid solution. Ummmm not sure what it was for, so give me time because tomorrow I have another repeat chemo treatment. Then, the chemo starts. You know it is going to be a rough day when the nurse comes in wearing a chemical suit. This step was about 2 hours, and I received two bags of chemo juice. There are technical names for them, but spelling them is rough so chemo juice works for me. Then after the chemo juice, which no you can not just drink, another 2 hour saline solution that flushes out the kidneys. Then I am done, for now. They are two boosters a week after each chemo that must be done. So it’s a pain staking process.

I am done with day one, so now it is time to eat. Enough hospital food. Mystery meat with brown beef flavoring, its not gravy. Nope, Applebees, I love you. I got the Trio Platter thing……..SEMPER FI to whoever made that thing. The most important thing that the doctor told me to is eat. Even if you are not hungry, eat. I found that Boost helps tons. It has a huge amount of calories, and protein which you will need more than you will ever know. They are actually really good. So eat, eat eat, or drink.

Now as you go through this process of chemo, cancer, and in my case loosing my left testicle, your hormones will be out of whack. Some days I feel like I am on top of the world, other days ummm not so much. Today after chemo, it felt as if someone had kicked me right in the one ball I have. I was on the floor in so much pain. The best advice I can give, one, it will pass with IBprohin, and two, don’t loose your pain meds they give you. I was on the floor, and I was like a 17 year old girl, on the rag, on prom night, with a huge zit on her nose. I was mad, furious even. So those who experience this, believe me, it will pass. Control yourself because you only hurt yourself acting like I did.

So day one is in the books, and I decided to shave my head. To Hell with cancer. How dare it invade me and try to take my stuff. So if anyone was to take my hair, this guy did. I am holding strong and will continue to update all my treatments to let the world know and answer questions as I go. Please keep in mind, this is my case, anyone can be different. These are my facts, but a guideline of what’s up. I love you all.

Any day that you wake you alive, is the start to a good day.