After 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.