The Uphill Climb is Leveling Out

After retiring on January 31, 2013, I was excited in one respect, but I was also having a difficult time dealing with things. I had been on medical leave for several months with and a routine that included a lot of doctors appointments, tests, treatments, and on and on it went. Finally, yesterday’s visit with Dr. Reyes brought with it some sunshine; finally, the journey didn’t seem like I was headed straight up the slope of a mountainside.

On Sunday, February 3, 2013, I had a really bad day because I just couldn’t get past the feeling that someone had played a sick joke on me. I had worked at home alone since approximately November of 2007, which I found difficult to deal with. While I had contact with people I worked with during the day it still wasn’t the same as being in the office with them; it’s lonely for me when I am by myself all of the time. Now I was retired, I didn’t have to stay in the office working all of the time, I had some freedom. But it wasn’t that simple.

I discussed these feelings with Debbie and got it off of my chest then she encouraged me by telling me there is a reason. While we don’t know the answer we sincerely believe things happen for a reason. I had to remember this was my new normal for now and I needed to be thankful for what I had not mourn what I didn’t have.

The good part of my new normal in the past had been being able to get out with Debbie and go to the gym where I participated in water aerobics classes on a regular routine. I also swam laps once in a while to break things up. This was pretty much all of the contact I had with people and the new friends I had made at the gym gave me something to look forward to after work. Now, that had changed because of the pain I had.

Perhaps the most devastating part of my journey since November of 2007, has been the inability for me to have my freedom by merely getting into my vehicle and driving somewhere. Anywhere, I just missed the ability to get out and break up the daily routine without having to ask someone to make time in their day for me.

Back in 2007 when I was given Ifosomide chemotherapy which caused seizures, it had taken a while for Dr. Hamond to get my medications adjusted to get them under control. But during that time I also had to learn to live with the restriction of not being able to drive for extended periods of time.

After finally getting the seizures under control, and being seizure free for nearly two years things suddenly changed when I started having pain from the fast growing tumor in my abdominal area. Not sleeping well caused me to have another seizure. I prepared my mind for this reality and was excited to make it to my retirement date then patiently wait on my release date so I could start driving again.

Then, when I was just about to the date when I would be ready to be cleared to drive again, I had a real stressful period of time that caused me to have another seizure. I know I have to be ready to accept change and as some people say just roll with the punches. But this seizure was devastating to me. Once again the time frame for me being able to drive go pushed out. Too much going on, too many problems with the way things were going with my cancer situation, and too many bad reports all ganged up on me at once.

While being very pleased with the fact that I was getting to retire instead of taking a disability it was very disappointing when I had that second seizure, which once again took away the freedom. I was so close to that release date so I could start enjoying my ability to break up my days with some short trips out and about. Now, being retired with some time on my hands, I wasn’t able to realize that freedom.

It also meant I was not able to take myself to and from some of my treatments which meant I had to rely on help from my uncle. It was, at the very least, very disappointing and I found myself fighting off depression. But, as I mentioned earlier, Debbie helped me get past things (it still hurts because of the major disappointment).

Finally, on February 14, 2013, it was time for my appointments to find out where I was in this new regimen of treatments. After my blood was drawn at 3:30 p.m. I saw Dr. Reyes at 4:30 p.m to get all of the results from the 25 radiation treatments. This was my first PET-CT scans since just before I had started the radiation treatments. Now it was time to find out how the radiation had worked.

I was excited on one hand, and on the other, my fist was clinched so tight that my blood pressure was off the chart when they checked me in to see the doctor. When the nurse practitioner came into the examination room to see me, we went over all of the routine questions. Then she told me the doctor would go over all of my tests with my, but she had reviewed my test results and they looked real good.

Just a short time later the doctor came in and explained everything to Debbie and me by showing us the pictures from before the radiation treatments and after the tests I had run on Friday, February 8, 2013 . He said we got a good result with the radiation and that he was very pleased with what he saw. That was uplifting.

In addition to the cards Debbie and I got each other for Valentines day we got a wonderful gift from God that was delivered by Dr. Reyes. We are both very excited that the test results were so positive!

Next week I start the next phase of my treatment regimen with is Revlimid and Rituximab. We hope I don’t have any side effects from that.

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