It’s been a long time since I’ve written. Years, maybe. No real way of knowing. My apologies. To the many of you who have inquired, thinking I had died, I am so sorry to have scared you. Seriously.
Last I remember, I was in excruciating pain and had slapped an opiate patch on my shoulder to relieve it. New scans were ordered to decide upon a course of action. At that point, putting two sentences together became difficult. Who knew that opiates rendered you a blithering idiot?
The scans, as it turns out, were not encouraging. My body is growing tumors like a yard grows crabgrass. The pain I am experiencing is coming from these tumors pressing against my spine. Here I am in all my glory – the dark spots are the tumors:
Lovely, don’t you think? Two years ago, when all hell broke loose in my body, the pain was so bad they cooked the cancer on my spine for 3 weeks to provide me some relief. Now here I am again – back on the grill.
So for the last two weeks, 5 days a week, twice a day (half a dose each time because of the proximity to my spinal cord) I’ve been getting strapped down (tight!) and then fried by this bad boy above.
This, of course, is all palliative. The word means “to relieve pain without dealing with the underlying cause.” Bleh. But, at this point, I’ll take it.
Oh, I’ve also been tattooed. Yes, tattooed. Five of them. Don’t get too excited about my ink, though. They call them “alignment dots.” Not much to see. But the nurse said if I connect the five dots together, I might find a hidden message.
She also mentioned something about a pie. I must have a gift or something.
A tip: if you ever find yourself in a room with a door like this, with everyone else having run to the other side, things are not good.
Also, if you look back on really bad times (think infected heart catheter that almost killed me) and are now calling them “the good old days,” things are even worse.
The good news is I am feeling much better. My pain is diminished and the numbness in my rib cage is completely gone. Plus, I see no real side effects from the treatments (except wicked fatigue). Here is a recent photo of me for verification:
I am also on a new drug called Zytiga (Xtandi, apparently, was a bust). My doctor said, “Only the lucky respond,” but hey, I’ll roll those dice. Frankly, at this point, I’ll roll any dice.
So back to the pain patches for a moment. Apparently, I did something logical that was “very unwise” (my wife’s words, or maybe she said “foolish” – I won’t tell you what my doctor said). When I started feeling better a few days ago, I ripped them off of me. I got off the Oxycodone also. Cold turkey – hey, I’m a farm boy.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Give me a break. And stop smiling at me like I’m an idiot. I just wanted to become a human being again. And I did. Except I became a demon-possessed human being – especially at night.
Sweats, paranoia, twitching, hands and feet feeling like they were on fire, walking the neighborhood at 3am, trying to sleep in a chair with a blanket over my head – then feeling like (and looking like) a zombie during the day from lack of sleep – this has been my nocturnal world. Don’t forget that the radiation I’m receiving is exhausting as well.
There were a couple of nights I really thought I was done for. Thank God, my doctor had mercy and prescribed some Ambien for me. Apparently, half the world is on this sedative. Who knew? Finally, last night, three tablets (and maybe a Scotch) did the trick. I slept for 9 hours straight and woke up like a new man.
There was only one problem. Apparently, I almost died during the night. Remember the new drug I am on? Well, it requires prednisone along with it. Prednisone raises glucose levels. No big deal unless you are a type 1 diabetic like me. In preparation for this, I had raised all my basal rates on my insulin pump to 150%. That seemed to work fine – until last night.
I remember nothing except a red spatula with Nutella on it. Apparently, Betsy found me wandering the house in the middle of the night pretty much incoherent. She had to help me test my glucose level (it’s not supposed to drop below 140mg at night). Here was the result:
Actually, it was 32mg, but same thing. Yeah, she saved my life. She and the Nutella she stuffed down my throat. Thanks, honey.
Wow, Ed. Anything else? Well, since you asked, the radiation has burned my esophagus so that swallowing food is now an increasingly painful ordeal. This will fade quickly, but until then, pass the mashed bananas, please.
Well, there you have it. That’s what I’ve been up to. How’s your month been? (Cue sound of maniacal laughter.)
This would be a good time to remember something foundational, even eternal. No matter how badly we are feeling or how difficult the circumstances we find ourselves in, something bigger is always going on. God is telling a grand and glorious story and even our suffering is a part of the plot.
Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,
since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
– St. Paul, II Corinthians 4:16-18
Here’s the deal: I promised you a year ago to live, and if need be, die with faith, hope and courage in my heart. And with laughter on my lips, also.
By the grace of God, I intend to keep my word to you.