As the title says this blog is one man’s effort to make sense out of his journey fighting melanoma. I have enjoyed reading some of my fellow melanoma warriors’ blogs and thought it might be an interesting way to share what this journey has been like for me. If you find this interesting great, if not that’s great also. Selfishly this is more about me getting this out and moving on from being a cancer patient to being a cancer survivor.

Let’s clear up a few things. Yes, I know how to use spell check and no I don’t always use it. I majored in accounting, not english. I have always been a below average writer, which is why I find the therapeutic value of doing this surprising. I think for this blog to make any sense you pretty much have to go to the archive and start from the beginning which is titled “Life Is Good”

I am not a doctor or medial professional of any type. My blog is not endorsed by any medical professional or facility mentioned in it. Every decision I have made about my care was done after careful consultation with my medical team. Decisions I have made were right for me but should not in any instance be considered right for anybody else. I don't recommend taking medical advice from an accountant.

Key West

Key West

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Angels Walking Among Us And Treatments Suck

If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell.
Lance Armstrong

Interferon treatments were just as bad as the doctors had warned me.  The first month I was prepared for, what came afterwards I was not.  Going to the infusion suite will humble you very quickly.  As sick as I was there were people in there who were in much worse shape.  I would go in every day, get weighed and do the blood pressure thing, and go get hooked up.  I would get a new IV every Monday and they would also draw blood every Monday.  You would think that they could do these two steps together but no luck.  I have terrible veins and they never got a vein on the first try.  I hated Mondays and always felt like a pin cushion when it was over.  They would leave the IV in all week which was nice.  I would get a bag of fluids, a bag of Interferon, and be sent on my way.  Two hours later I was as sick as a dog hoping that I would go to sleep so I could miss most of the side effects.  My youngest daughter was my lifeline during this time.  She would get me my meds, bring me food and drink, …..   She was wonderful and I am sure it was scary for her to see me in this condition.  To her credit she never let on that she was afraid but I am sure she was.  I also think she was relieved when the NG would arrive and relieve her from duty.  They kind of tag teamed taking care of me.  My older daughter would come over when she could and brought my granddaughter to see me sometimes.  She always cheered me up and her energy is contagious.  I love them all and seeing them reminded me why I was doing this treatment.  I am such a blessed man.  I was able to work some while I was going through this treatment, but towards the end it go more and more difficult.  One of my favorite memories was about halfway through my treatment we got a foot of snow one night and had 40 MPH winds and huge drifts.  There was no way I was going to be able to shovel the driveway and make it to my treatments but at about 6:00 am the next morning I heard somebody shoveling and looked outside and there was my ex wife and her friend Dave shoveling my driveway before they both went to work that day.  It was 5 below zero and the drift in my driveway was at least two and maybe three feet high.  As you might gather from the Ex part in ex wife we haven’t always been very good to each other.  Trust me, she doesn’t owe me anything.  She is mid 5 ft range and about 100 lbs soaking wet.  She looked so funny all bundled up and looked like the kid from “A Christmas Story” as she was shoveling.  This actually wasn’t the first time she had shoveled for me this winter but by far this was the worse conditions.  She has been very good to me during this I and I appreciate it.  The problem I had now is that they don’t usually plow my street for a few days after a snow so there was no way I was going to make it down the street.  One of my sisters called and I was telling her how I didn’t think I was going to make it to treatment because my street was impassible. This was very distressing to me as I really wanted to finish this treatment and if I missed I would have to go in on a Saturday and take get a treatment which meant I wouldn’t get my normal weekend recovery time.  A couple of hours later I get a call from the fire department and my sister had called the city, the police, the public  works, and finally the fire department where she found a sympathetic  ear and they were going to come over and plow me a path to the main road so I could get to my treatment.  He asked me what route I took to get there and sure enough they came over and plowed me a path so I could get to treatment.  I really appreciated everything that was done for me that day and will always remember it.  As somebody who hates asking and accepting help this day was very humbling.  I made it to treatment and the ladies at the infusion suite were surprised to see me.  I wanted to mention them during this post.  They really are angels who are walking among us.  The compassion they show all day every day was simply amazing.  The nurses always had a smile on their face and would sit around and joke with you or sit there while you whined and complained.  They have to get sick of hearing it, but you can’t tell.  To be honest I felt guilty complaining in there.  There were so many really sick people.  Don’t get me wrong, I had my cross to bear, but mine seemed smaller than some others.   I think god there are people who can do jobs like this but I don't think I ever could.