Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Humble Yourselves Even To The Dust

I want to start by saying thank you to all of you who have given such kind remarks and thoughts, and thank you each and every one of you just for being a friend - friends and family make this battle that much easier to endure. I have received so many, well in reference to the five love languages book Kathryn always reminds me of, positive words of affirmation. It brings me great joy to know that I have inspired others even in the slightest way with my positive thinking and strong will to surive. I am glad I have been viewed this way and not that of a negative person or one to just throw in the towel for I am not a quiter, I stand by my ring on my right hand which reads Endure Til The End. However, I want those who have suffered more than me and have even lost their battle with cancer to know that I do not think less of them or that they didn't fight hard enough - but rather my sincere thoughts are with them and I am so sorry that they had to endure such agony and am sorry for the pain and sorrow of their loved ones - this is not an easy battle for anyone. I feel very fortunate and sometimes guilty for the type of cancer I have, to know it is a treatable cancer while others have much worse forms that take their life no matter the treatment and positive thinking they have. I hope this all makes sense, I know I can ramble on sometimes - I feel horrible for those who have it worse than me yet have such great respect and empathy for them.

Some of you are up to date with how I am doing with all my treatments, but for those of you who are not - here is the latest. I recently had my third round (3 of 12 - so 25% done) of treatment this past Friday 02/18/2011. The day started the same as the past two treatments - chemo from 10-2 with me doing relatively well during treatment, only starting to turn white and become fatigued near the end of the treatment. As the night went on it became very exhausting - more so than both previous rounds. Yes I took the walk of shame and shed a couple, JUST A COUPLE : ), tears from the pain. Each round has gotten a little harder to endure as is expected - this time with pain throughout my body, muscle and bones, nausea, fatigue, exhaustion, and the like. Earlier in the week my hair began to thin out, not coming out in chunks but rather thinning out every time I showered and when I woke up in the moring more and more hair strands were on my pillow. Because of this I decided it was time to shave my head, I MISS MY HAIR - I want the fauxhawk back, and so does Kathryn lol. The reason I bring this up is because every time I rub my head or turn my head over on my pillow my scalp feels like somebody is stabbing me with 1,000 needles, such a weird side effect. One of the more annoying side effects though has been the constant taste of 'metal nausea' as I have come to describe it in my mouth which then makes me nauseous, thus a never ending cycle. Even with all the horrible side effects I find the strength to endure with the help of my faith, my relationship with Christ, and again the best friends and family I could ask for. Six months is but a grain of sand in the grand scheme of things - I do not look forward to the remaining treatments but I remind myself to keep the end goal in sight - beating this thing and living life!

With any trial in life comes hardship, as my family and I are currently experiencing, yet we remain greatful for the many blessings we have been given. Kathryn and I were seeking some counsel in regards to this and we turned to our Bishop. I hope I don't offend any of you with the following segment on faith, but know my faith runs deep and is something I rely on so I feel it just to share with you, and know that I respect all of your faiths and even no faith if that is your belief. Our Bishop shared a scripture with us that hit home and was exactly what I needed to hear. From Alma 34; 37-38 we read:

'And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God, and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ;
That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; THAT YE HUMBLE YOURSELVES EVEN TO THE DUST, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; AND THAT YE LIVE IN THANKSGIVING DAILY, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.'

When I heard these things I thought to myself, you can literally lose everything - be it your house, your car, your job, your hair lol, and be thrown what can seem like unbearable trials (like cancer lol), yet when we are down to even dust we must not turn our back on the Lord but rather turn to him in humility and know that as we are faithful we can overcome all things, and even when it seems like we have lost everthing, we are still rich with many blessings. The Lord can give us a taste of what we are entitled to, and how we react during those times, whether we lose our faith our grow stronger in our faith, will determine the blessings which we will receive.

I am greatful for all my blessings and pray that others will recognize the blessings with which they have been given. Thank you everyone for helping me carry on the fight!

P.S. - below is my mohawk after shaving my head, don't worry - Kathryn didn't let me keep it : )

Saturday, February 05, 2011

We're Only As Strong As Our Toughest Challenge

Round two of my 'ABVD' (as a reminder I get the same four drugs every two weeks for 6 months) chemo treatment began Friday 02/04/2011. Some patients and survivors told me they were extremely nervous before each round of treatment simply because they knew how sick they would be for the next few days or weeks. Surprisingly I was not at all nervous, rather, I just thought going into it, 'Well, this is what's going to make be better.' I am sure as I endure more treatments I might become nervous and maybe not even want to go through with it, but I know to remember it's only going to get worse before it gets better.

This round of treatment took a much bigger toll on me than the first, which is to be expected. I started becoming a bit lethargic during the chemo this time and by the time I got home I felt horrible and hungover as my head was spinning, nauseated like never before, and so exhausted I could barely manage to keep my eyes open on the drive home. My family tells me my skin tone altered between a pale white like casper the ghost and sickly yellow like that of jaundice. However, I woke up today (Saturday 02/05/2011) feeling a bit better. Still pretty naucious and worn out but I did manage to go see some special people in my life and drop off some of the cancer shirts I had made. Also made it out to Billygans for dinner for a very good friends birthday party - all be it after I napped all day : ) Oh and on a side note both times I've had chemo now I have developed non-stop hickups. Last time it lasted for a week, I was told today though I can get a PrX which will stop them immediately - I will be calling that in on Monday!

Even with as bad as chemo has treated me thus far overall I had what I consider a very special week, the Lord continues to bless me and my family in many ways. First off, my father was able to come home from the hospital after being admitted for staff infection which led to having to have his knee replaced again. He's even walking around on his own now with only the aid of a walking cane. At one point we both had a PICC - ironic like father like son - I have pictures below. On a second note, I am continually amazed by how supportive my employer COUNTRY Financial has been through this entire ordeal. On Wednesday I went in to the office to tend to a few things and was pleasingly surprised by a very warm gift. Our district in WA had a recent awards banquet and kickoff for our yearly American Cancer Society Relay For Life activities. My agency manager, Kris Greene, was a guest speaker and had our family photos up on the big screen and relayed our situation - what an honor. In addition, they held a fundraiser for donation to the Relay for Life and with such kindness decided to donate half of the donations to my family - what a wonderful unexpected surprise that we will continue to be greatful for. Then on top of that I got my PICC line out on Friday after my chemo since I opted to have a port put in this coming Monday 02/07/2011 - what a relief not to have to wrap my arm when I shower now and just have my arm back to normal! And to top things all off our very near and dear friends brought us dinner Friday night after chemo, and let me tell ya - my wife was looking at me like I was eating for the first time after being released from prison : ) Rotissiere chicken, steemed carrots and corn, amazing mashed potatoes and scrumpcious rolls. Oh my god I was in heaven. Literally the best chicken I have ever had - THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN!

There is more I would like to share but I'm sorry friends, I am beat and need to rest - more to come, STAY POSITIVE! : )