SLEEPY TIME

Here’s a quick update on where I am with my treatments. Last week I began having a lot of nausea. The doctor changed me to a different nausea medicine. This one works a lot better. The problem is – it makes me sleepy. I don’t mean a tiny bit drowsy. I mean I can wake up in the morning after being in bed for nine hours, walk downstairs, sit down, and fall right back to sleep for a couple of hours. I’ll take a nap after lunch time, get up for a few minutes, then go take another nap. The next thing I know, it is dinner time.

So I guess I can say, I’m at least well rested! Instead of trying to fight it, I have just been giving in to it. I only have two more days of treatments. Hopefully, the nausea will slowly start to go away after that. They tell me to expect the side effects to linger for a while. But it is nice to know that the worst will be over on Thursday.

I have been able to squeeze in a little work here and there. We are preparing for our annual gathering of the PBA on Monday and Tuesday of next week. I have mostly been busy with things related to the meeting. Since my voice is still very iffy, I recorded a message to be shown on Tuesday night of the meeting. It isn’t the same as speaking in person, but it will have to do for now.

Oh well, almost time for my next nap.


 

TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE BACK

I know the saying is usually “One step forward, two steps back”. But this is a minor setback. Something I ate, drank, rubbed on my skin, or ingested as medicine has caused an allergic reaction. I woke up Sunday morning with my face and lips swollen, a rash all over my body, and sores in my mouth. I ended up going to the ER where they shot me up with steroids and Benadryl. Most of the symptoms were gone by bedtime, but came back Monday morning. So, now I’ve got to take prednisone and Benedryl for several days. I talked to the ER doc, my radiation doc, and my chemo doc. None of them can figure out what triggered it. It’s most likely not the chemo, since reactions to that usually happen immediately. It is now Wednesday, and it hasn’t gone away. Enough whining.

Unintended or unanticipated consequences can really set us back. We have a plan in place. Things are working as planned, then suddenly we get hit out of left field. Whether it’s financial plans, vocational plans, or even vacation plans – stuff happen. Unanticipated consequences are just that … unanticipated. Sometimes it is because we didn’t take enough time to examine all the possible consequences. At other times, no amount of preplanning will reveal the unexpected outcomes.

When things like this happen, you just have to stop and deal with them. Ignoring problems almost never makes them go away. It is frustrating – yes! In my case I am frustrated for having to make extra trips to medical facilities, and take yet more medications. To quote a terribly overused, meaningless statement: “It is what it is.”

The important thing is to not let these kinds of setbacks get our eyes off the prize. Stay in the present. Jesus said: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6.34

But I still reserve the right to whine a little when these things happen!


 

ANGELS OF MERCY

I’ve just got to hit pause from talking about me. I really hate to be that guy who always blogs about himself. Today I want to talk about a special group of people. When you get cancer, you start by seeing several doctors who set up the treatment plan. After that, all of the heavy lifting is done by nurses. Every morning in radiation I see three wonderful, sweet women who actually do all of the work. They run that crazy big machine. They never fail to ask me how I’m doing, or if I have plans for the weekend. They make a very impersonal experience personal. Once a week I see the doctor for a few minutes just to ask how things are going. The docs are great too.

On my two chemo days I am taken care of by Traci. Traci is awesome! She can joke with you when you want to joke around – which for me is really often. We keep this banter up for the three hours I am there on Wednesday and Thursdays. But if I need to get serious and talk medical stuff, she immediately switches into that mode. She doesn’t just care for me; she cares about me. Peggy and I just love her. We talk about our families and just share life. That is not in her job description.

I’ve got to say that all the nurses and other care givers I have dealt with in this whole process are just special people. They see people at their best and at their worst. In their world, they win some and they lose some. Their work matters. It really is life and death. It has got to be hard to process all of the emotions they take home with them every night.

I guess there is a lesson in this for all of us. We all come into contact with people every day. Do we treat everyone with dignity? Do we bother to ask them how their day is going? Do we show compassion? Do we act professionally when it is called for?