Saturday, June 14, 2014

First Day No Treatments of Any Type

Saturday, July 14

Peter and Amber flew out to Denver today to start their new life there.  We go to downtown St. Charles to walk around the historic district and visit a few shops before they go.  We got down there a little before the shops were open but enjoyed walking around the historic district.  I am not sure Peter had ever actually visited the historic district in all his time living here. It was good walking around with Peter, Amber, and M.E.  We then brought Peter and Amber to the airport.  Sad to see them go but they are off to new adventures in Denver area.

Went to dinner at my daughter Sara's house.  It was a very good dinner.  Enjoy visiting there because of one of her cats is very sociable.   Poor little Sophie I think is a dog condemned to spend its life in a cat's body.  It plays like a dog, likes attention like a dog but is in a furry cat body.  Now her other cat Lewis, he is a cat, hardly ever see him as being sociable is not in his cat nature.

After returning home had a good evening hanging out with M.E. and Kate.

This has been a good day.

Friday, June 13, 2014

28th Treatment Day - The last treatment day

Friday June 13

Morning spent hanging around the house with Peter, Amber, M.E. and Kate.  It was a good morning.  They all went out for all you can eat sushi for lunch.  All you can eat is pretty much a waste for me now, all I can eat is not much.

Before heading to my treatment today I felt a slight amount of stomach discomfort so took a couple Imodiums and a pain pill to try to stay ahead of any issue.  M.E. and Kate went with me to my treatment and M.E. drove.   About half way to the cancer center my stomach started to become more active and I could tell gastric distress was on the way.  Had M.E. to drop me off at door and I rush in to the restroom in time.  I get changed in to my double gowns and then the pain hits again.  I can see the concern rise on M.E.'s and Kate's faces, I head back in restroom and think I have it under control.  Head back to waiting room and sit next to M.E. and then it hits hard again, doubling me over.  I tell M.E. to find a nurse.  Both a nurse and doctor come to check me out.  They did not find anything in particular to be concerned about.  Finally the pain broke and I started feeling better.  The doctor checked on me again and all seemed to be fine.   Just has fast as the pain had come it had disappeared.  I felt bad for the girls as I know it scared both of them.  The pain disappeared just in time for me to go back for my treatment.   The treatment went fine without incident.  Finally 28 radiation treatments are done.

Another enjoyable dinner with everyone, life is good.   Peter and Amber give me my father's day gift early as they are leaving tomorrow morning.  They also found a very funny card they gave to Kate.

This has been a good day despite the severe pain... just something to get past to get to rest of a good day.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

27th Treatment Day

Thursday June 12

Everyone went to the City Museum (a must do in St. Louis) this morning.  Quiet morning.  Went to my treatment with no issues.  One left to go, I think I have this down now :-)

Another great dinner with lots of conversation.  Lots of humus and olives consumed :-)  This has been a good day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

26th Treatment Day

Wednesday June 11

Today my radiation treatment will change for the last three days.   Dr. Stroud had explained it yesterday during my appointment.  M.E. drove me to my treatment today, it is always nice to have someone else drive. I arrive for my treatment and I was happy to see Nicole was my therapist, I have great confidence in her.   She explained everything again, saying that after the initial scan they will get everything setup for the new protocol  and then the doctor has to approve it.   I go through the initial scan and wait and wait (note the position I am in is not very comfortable at all and the wait was probably only a few minutes that felt like an eternity).  Nicole say "Bruce, don't move, we are all setup and we are just waiting for the doctor to approve, it should be just a few more minutes."  A few minutes later I hear her say "Here we go" and I slide back into the machine.  The treatment overall went well.

For dinner, Sara my oldest daughter came over, so all my children except Patrick (who is in California), plus my two potential future daughters-in-law were all present.  It was so nice to have them all sitting around the dinner table.  Amber introduced Kate to the fine delicacies of Kalamata and humus.  They both seemed to enjoy both very much.

Overall it was a very good day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

25th Treatment Day

Tuesday June 10

Today started out taking Peter and Amber to Bellefontaine Cemetery in north St. Louis.  This cemetery the final resting place of many of rich and famous of St. Louis particularly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  There are many private mausoleums with intricate designs and stained glass.  Also the cemetery  has many fine funerary art sculptures through out its grounds.  I picked up a booklet at the main office on the way in which explained who many of famous people were.  By about 10 minutes in to touring around the cemetery I could tell it had peaked Peter's interest.  I am sure he did not expect that.  When we got home he did searches on people who were not in the booklet whose graves or mausoleums had something of interest.

The afternoon was booked.  First had an appointment medical oncologist, Dr. Donegan.  The appointment went well.  As this will be the last appointment I will have with him until after surgery he laid out what will be the followup treatment plan which will include about 5 months of infusion based chemotherapy (fortunately at this point it anticipated to be biweekly).  He also wanted me to have another iron infusion so my blood will build up more prior to surgery.   He then said he wanted me to have an MRI on my liver, as some spots had been noted on original CT scan and the liver is one of the first places my cancer will spread to.  Alarms go off in my head, my mind assume the worst.  Not how I wanted that appointment to end.

Then had an early radiation treatment as I showed up early and the scheduled people had not arrived and they did not want to fall behind.  I was done with the treatment 20 minutes before I was scheduled to start.

Then had my final appointment with my radiation oncologist.  He explained how the treatment would be slightly different the last three days as it would be more targeted right on the tumor.  Like always his appointment was very short.

Late this evening M.E. and her classmate, Kate (who happens to be dating my younger son Patrick) arrived for the rest of the week.  I don't think we have had this many women the house ever

Except to now having to do an MRI the day was good.

Monday, June 9, 2014

24th Treatment Day - Last Day of Chemo

Monday June 9

Today is my last day of taking chemo for this round.  Means I  will be able to sleep in as I won't have to  be taking pills a 6:30 am so I can take my evening pills at 6:30 pm.  Also means breakfast and dinner won't need to be at such regimented times.   I have been fortunate I have not been effected with any of the "normal" side effects of chemo and have not had any of the specific to this particular medicine such as hardening and cracking on skin on hands and feet which effects more half the people on this medication.

The radiation treatment went well this afternoon with no problems.

Today my son, Peter, arrived with his fiancee, Amber.   What a wonderful young woman.  She brings out the best in him.  She wants to visit some old cemeteries, we have that planned for tomorrow morning.  Peter just rolled his eyes at that.

Friday, June 6, 2014

23rd Treatment Day

Friday June 6

What a great day.  Surprising what 24 hours can do.  No tiredness all day.  Very short period of discomfort this evening but not very intense or long in duration.  Was able to eat near normal with no issues.

Peter, my oldest son, arrived home after another tour in Afghanistan.  His route home was a bit confusing with vacation stops in Thailand, Vietnam, back to Thailand, then North Carolina.  Then he had a short work assignment on the Kenai  Peninsula in Alaska then finally back to Missouri. What a great adventurous life he leads.

Arrived for my treatment quite early and was surprised a couple minutes later when they asked me to come on back for my treatment.   I was done and on my way home long before my normal scheduled time to even start my treatment.

Often times in churches now
You turn all around
Holding hands and you do vow
“God Loves You and So I”
Sometimes it feels so cold and contrived
You sometimes begin wonder
Then upon this day an older man stands in front of you.
His greying hair and beard all asunder
He looks to you with his deep blue eyes
He reaches out to touch your hand
You feel a quiver run through
As you look into his tearing eyes
You know they can hide no lies
And you hear it is as thunder
As he softly whispers
“God Loves You and So Do I”
You are shaken to your inner core
As you repeat as not to blunder
“God Loves You and So I”
As you turn to walk away
You hear him say
“Seize the day
Do not wonder”

- Bruce

Thursday, June 5, 2014

22nd Treatment Day

Thursday June 5.

Sorry have not posted lately.   Too much exhaustion.   Too much pain.  Just too much.

Treatments have been going well.  Six radiation treatments left, done next Friday.  Four more days of chemo done on Monday.

I will try to back fill the days I have missed with events as they occurred.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

Memorial Day  - May 26

Today I started with great pain.  The type of pain that is so intense that I can only submit to it until it passes.  It took about 45 minutes for the pain medicine to take over and the pain to subside.   I knew it was only pain but it was very scary for M.E. who was staying at the house over the long weekend because Patty was out of town.  I know she was so scared and felt so helpless as there is little to be done except to make sure I have take pain medication.  We had a long talk after it had subsided some, to comfort her that I would be ok.

What is pain?
Often times coaches say
No gain without the pain”
That is not pain
Pain is what brings the strongest to their knees
Pain is what would cause one to
Beg to God for mercy
Pain is what will have one
Grab and hold onto anything for a sense of reality
Pain is what causes one to yell
Stop, stop, stop” even though no one is there to hear
That is pain, oh yes I know this pain


Friday, May 16, 2014

9th Treatment Day

Friday May 16

The weather cooperated and was able to get Wade going on demo'ing the deck.   Showed him a few tricks so that it was not all brute strength and more about using tools to his advantage.   I am very happy that even though the decking was rotted the underlying frame and supports were all solid.

My radiation treatment went without any issues.   I really like that I have Nicole as the therapist, her pleasant demeanor makes it much easier to just relax during the treatment.