Should We Go to Yosemite or the Emergency Room?

photo-1After church on March 1, Meg and I were supposed to leave for a five day adventure in Yosemite. The elders of my church had rented a house for us with dining privileges in the Lodge. A wedding gift for our marriage May 14, 2014.

But my back was aching and it was all I could do to get through my message. Afterward, there was a church social and I stayed long enough to walk through the dining tables and say hello to everyone. One of our members who had come from her care facility in Petaluma to join the meal was the last one I greeted. I sat for a few minutes with her and then said my goodbyes. I later found out her daughter was livid that I gave her such short attention span in the face of her effort to get to church.

At home I tried to gather the strength to leave but couldn’t lift anything into the van. Meg’s face slowly began to grow more severe. She finally put her foot down and said, “I’m not going to Yosemite just so that I can find you a hospital in Fresno. We’re not going.” It was a painful thing to hear because I know she was really looking forward to a healthy time away. And under the present circumstances that was not going to be the case.

That event  actually precipitated a more insistent look at my symptoms and a month later, the diagnosis was in.  But now that I am in the throes of chemo it has given me pause to consider this: “How long have I actually had the cancer present?”

For more than a year, I’ve not felt all that great but have passed the troubles on to getting older and being out of shape.  I tried to play thru it.  Meg has been angry with me because I did not listen to my body and when I think of my doctor visits, I’ve not been a very strong advocate for my own best interest.  I guess the stoic response and let the doctor do his job didn’t really yield a better outcome.  If anything, I’m pretty angry now about how this all played out.

Being on the other side of the diagnosis, I have to beat down the temptation to be angry and just get on with my part in fighting the disease.  If anything, now I’m pretty much on high alert and really searching for every physical response to every situation.  I have also developed an aversion to idle chatter.  When I go into the infusion center many sit and visit with their nurses and the conversations turn social, friendly and in many cases, the talk about physical symptoms of illness is a predictable topic.  But I can’t do that. I’m on edge.  I’m concentrating on the medicine coarsing through the body and mentally tallying how many people have lived and died going thru this room.

I felt that I had ignored symptoms for too long and now I’ve got to concentrate on what is happening.

So, this morning, Tuesday, I will meet a couple for a wedding rehearsal, head to the infusion center where I will get my Velcade shot to go with the dexadron and the other oral med and then come back to do a wedding at 5PM.  I’ll be hyper vigilant because, the rash on my neck has not gone away and I’m worried that it’s the beginning of shingles.  I guess it’s better than just letting the oncologist do whatever he thinks is best.

By the way, thanks to Patty Holderfield, I’ve also connected with Kaiser’s Content Management Oncologist in Walnut Creek.  He’s an expert in Multiple Myeloma and his second opinion will help me feel like I’ve crossed all my t’s and dotted all of my i’s.

10 thoughts on “Should We Go to Yosemite or the Emergency Room?

  1. Needless to say, our thoughts and prayers are with you. Thanks for keeping us updated. And…thanks to Meg for taking such good care of our shepherd. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. Bob S

  2. Dan, thanks for sharing such serious musings about this difficult situation. I can identify with growing old and living with the minor changes my body is experiencing. I never rush to the doctor, but usually try to muscle my way through my physical changes. I’ve been mostly successful to date,
    I think I will listen more intently to what my body may be saying.
    Thanks,
    An old friend

  3. Yosemite will always be there and you and Meg can go another time. The Emergency services in Yosemite are pretty good, I experienced them one time. The services in Fresno or Bakersfield are not as good, tried that too. So good for Meg. Keep it up, Meg, this guy can be pretty stubborn sometimes. It does not pay to grit your teeth and shove the pain aside. I shall continue to pray for you and Meg. I hope to be there next Sunday for Doreen’s birthday event. At my age, every day is a gift.

  4. By the way, being angry at this evil disease does not help, just wastes energy. AS my daughter told me, cancer cells are present in everyone. It is only when they, for whatever reason, decide to start reproducing hat a person is in trouble. I shall continue to pray for both you and Meg.

  5. sitting at the clinic in Seattle now waiting for my Velcade. My husband always wanted to retire in Northwest so we have now have two homes and I coordinate my care between Napa and Seattle. It’s become a routine that’s pretty easy to manage. Hope it will for you too. Are you taking Acyclovir anti viral to prevent shingles?

    • thanks for your encouragement and providing some of the description of future landscape. I’m encouraged by your progress. No, Acyclovir was an option but looks like it’ll be added.

  6. Get a shingles shot! That sounds like the safest to me. You do NOT want the shingles. If you can channel your understandable anger into fighting the disease, it’s a win – win deal. God is with you and Meg, and Meg is your special blessing.

  7. Props to Patty!!! It’s good to have her in our corner. And you’ve got prayer warriors on the shingles thing now. Yosemite will still be there

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