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

No Mas

From a process standpoint the self administered shots were going well.  It only took about 5 minutes to mix the two bottles of powder with two bottles of water, suck it all into one syringe, change needles and shoot it into myself.  Not very complicated.   Physically I was doing ok.  I was tired and all I did was work and sleep but that’s kind of what I expected.  The fatigue was overwhelming at times.  Very difficult and no amount of caffeine seemed to help.  I fell asleep sitting in the car in the garage after I pulled in, the Taco Bell drive through (not a Livestrong day) and at my desk.  I could sleep anywhere and on my trips back and forth to Jersey I was asleep before the wheels even left the ground.  That I could deal with but the mental strain was becoming much more difficult to fight through.  My memory was pretty much gone and my ability to process information and data was really going downhill.  A week ago today I was preparing to come to New Jersey for work this week.  Now this is going to be a two week trip for me and I needed to bring enough interferon for 5 treatments.  I was going to need two bottles of powder and two bottles of liquid for every treatment.  It sounds simple enough, especially for an accountant who has spent a good portion of his career working as an analyst.  I stared at the box of little bottles for about five minutes before I finally had to put the bottles together in groups of four until I have 5 groups.  I felt like an idiot.  This really wasn’t very complicated.  I called my Oncologist on Monday of this week and left him a message that I had had enough and was either going to have to go on disability or stop treatment, I couldn’t function at work any longer or be productive.  I knew that I wouldn’t be able to take a break and go back.  He called me back and we had a good discussion about where I was at and how I was feeling.  He supported my decision and said it was time for me to feel human again.  I agreed and skipped my treatment that night.  I haven’t put any of that crap in my veins since.  I called my kids that evening and told them of my decision.  My girls seemed concerned by the news and I look forward to getting back home to visit with them in person.  I think when they see how much better I feel they will understand.  They think this stuff was going to save my life, when that’s not really what it does.  I let the rest of my family know after I told my kids and they were all very supportive.  I have been off for 5 days and I cannot tell you how much better I feel.  Mentally I felt better almost immediately.  My memory is much better and I can function at work again.  I don’t have any regrets about starting Interferon, not do I have any regrets about stopping.  I did everything I could and fought like hell to stay on it, but just couldn’t do it anymore unless I went home and spent the last 8 months doing nothing.  Maybe it would have gotten better, maybe not.  In the end, this week I just lost the will to fight this crap anymore.  Once I had given up this fight was over.  The one regret I do have is that I didn’t start antidepressants at the start of this treatment.  All the doctors I talked to say I should, everybody I met who had been through this said they had to take them but I was determined I wouldn’t need them.  Would it have made a difference?  Who knows, I don’t think so but it may have helped me deal with it better.  I also don’t think the NG kicking me to the curb was the reason either.  It didn’t help my attitude any but didn’t make me less willing to fight through this.   I am at peace that I did everything I could and it really became a quality of life and risk/reward decision.