Wednesday, May 6, 2020

New Lease on Life . . .

First, let me thank everyone who has been concerned about my cancer issue and my recovery. Your notes, positive thoughts and prayers have been so much appreciated and they certainly contributed to me keeping a positive attitude through this “journey” and maintaining my sense of humor. This, in no small part, has contributed to my above-average recovery process.

I received a comment yesterday from one of you loyal blog readers asking where in the world I am and how am I doing. The reader said it's been 5 months since my last post. It's actually 4 1/2 months or 130 days. Add that to the 113 days at my last post and it totals 243 days or exactly 2/3 of a year since the “fireball” struck me on August 18, 2019.

So much has happened since that time. I underwent chemotherapy and radiation. After a short recovery period, I underwent major surgery (only 10 hours in the operating room) on January 3, 2020. That was followed by a total of 12 more days in the hospital and then five weeks in a rehabilitation/skilled nursing facility. I got out of rehab on February 21, 2020, and, within just a couple of weeks the COVID 19 shelter-in-place, stores, gyms, etc. lock-down went into effect. I've been hunkered down at my friend's house in north-central WV in a small rural town. She has been fantastic. I've only been out of this area a few times since then mainly for follow-up doctor appointments.

By the way, the photo of me is very recent. My New Zealand buddy has made me an official “Goodwill Ambassador.” You'll also note I'm now wearing a U.S. Air Force veteran cap to share my pride as a veteran with my comrades. I have a pin to recognize prostate cancer survivors (of which I'm one). I also have my American flag pin and my Vietnam Era Veteran pin on the cap. Soon I'll be adding pins to recognize survivors of stomach and esophageal cancer as well.

Sunday, December 22, 2019


Thanks for visiting my blog page and . . . today is Day #113 of my adventure . . . 

Greetings of the Season!

Merry Christmas, if that is how you celebrate this season.

And greetings to you if you celebrate this holiday time of the year in some other meaningful way.

And, I also want to wish you a Happy, Healthy and Abundant 2020. I hope the new year fulfills all your expectations.

Now, I'm going to let you all in on something I've kept pretty much undercover for the past four months. Only a very few folks know about what I'm going to reveal.

As you have probably noticed, I have been pretty quiet during this period. I have not been traveling as I normally would be. I have not been posting on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, PM or email. I did actively post on my blog, but that was about it.

I have not made this information public because, frankly, there are so many other individuals I know who have been experiencing their own challenges, especially medical challenges. However, in less than two weeks I'll be undergoing something that I feel extremely confident I'll pull through without any question in my mind. Unfortunately, it is very serious and, as we all know, there are no guarantees in life.

Friday, November 22, 2019

The First Day of the Rest of My Life – Better and Better – November 22, 2019 – Day 83

I believe it is in my nature to dance by virtue of the beat of my heart, the pulse of my blood and the music in my mind. - Robert Fulghum

It is now Day #83. My thought to ponder today is from one of my favorite authors, Robert Fulghum. There is some powerful vision in his words. I believe this is or should be true for everyone. Unfortunately, I believe most people get lost in the stress, complexity and trivia of day to day life in our 21st Century society.

Yes! I said I was going to write a day by day journal of my “adventure.” But, you know the old saying, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Those words were penned by Robert Burns. Here is the reality. At this stage of my adventure, there are often days that go by and nothing of consequence or interest occurs. It is actually quite tiring for me to have to think up something to say. So, am I really saying anything of value or just using up words?

So, here are some things of note. Nothing much on Days 72 & 73. On Day 74, November 13th, I had three medical appointments.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The First Day of the Rest of My Life – Yikes! My Own Words – November 10, 2019 – Day 71

People have lost their dreams years, even decades, ago. They have lost their own individuality. They mainly identify with spouses, partners, family, jobs, social involvements. But, they have sublimated their own dreams so much they can no longer remember what they were.” - Ed Helvey

You read that right, that's a quote from me. Here it is, Day 71, Sunday November 10th (the day before Veterans Day) and I received an email from one of my long-time followers of this blog, Richard Rosen in Florida. Wow! As I read my own words, they seemed to be particularly meaningful today. No! Not because I wrote them, but because, as I deal with my cancer adventure, I need them to bolster myself up.

So, today, I start off with my own quote. Below, I'm going to list a number of other quotes from other “dreamers.” The intent? Simple! To inspire and encourage you to reach for those dreams that have been gathering dust in the far reaches of your memory.

But, first, here is a brief update on the past few days, Day 69, Friday and Day 70, Saturday as well as today. Eating and drinking, while still a bit challenging, has been pretty good and I've been enjoying the flavors and textures of the various foods and liquids I've indulged in over the past three days. I even had pepperoni pizza last night and polished off the cold leftovers today. I've been enjoying orange and grapefruit juice, two of the many juices I like.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The First Day of the Rest of My Life – What a Difference a Day or Two Make – November 7, 2019 – Day 66

I learned to take those experiences that were difficult in my life and in the adversity that I had overcome to use it for a positive change. - Dominique Moceanu

So, today is Day 68 of this “adventure.” It was actually a very good day. Yesterday, Wednesday and Day 67 was a good day, too, but today was better. There seems to be a trend going on here.

Meet my buddy, Bella. I'm not a cat person, but Bella has adopted me. She is cross between a feline and a canine. That is, she is a cat, but she has certain attributes we normally associate with dogs. She will come in, play “high 5” with me, very gently reach up and touch my face, nuzzle me to pet her and then she'll curl up and make herself at home as you see her in this photo. She can be feisty with other cats and is generally a loner. But, she does bring me some comfort.

Now, let's get back to the “adventure.” Eating improved slightly yesterday along with drinking. I still dealt with the massive fatigue and low energy problem. I had about my typical 4 hours of low energy productivity throughout the day with lots of resting and napping. But, I actually accomplished a few things.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The First Day of the Rest of My Life – Things Are Improving – November 5, 2019 – Day 66

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today is Day 66, Tuesday. Time just seems to be passing, but as Emerson suggests patience is the key here. So, four days have passed since my last article. But, there has been some positive change occurring.

Day 63, Saturday, was basically another day like the other days of the preceding week. Massive fatigue, no energy and still no ability to swallow food or liquids. I was continuing to lose weight. I attempted to be a little productive, but I don't feel like I was. However, even though I'm dealing with some “brain fog,” probably caused, at least partially, by not getting enough protein or carbs, I did come to the realization that I had to find a way to stop this downward slide.

So, Day 64, Sunday, I reviewed the comprehensive printed information I was given and the in-depth conversation I had with the Cancer Center nutritionist. I decided to make a shopping list of foods that would work with the exact circumstance I found myself in. It was a long list and even included a couple things that might be considered “junk food,” but they were highly caloric and I need calories.

Friday, November 1, 2019

The First Day of the Rest of My Life – Where Has Time Gone? – November 1, 2019 – Day 62

I am grateful for all the moments that I have, and I'm moving forward one step at a time to the future. - Park Bo-gum

Seven days have passed since my last article post here on the blog. Several people have wondered what happened to me. I'm here. But, at the same time, I have the feeling I'm not here.

Exactly a week ago today I had my last radiation and my last chemotherapy treatment. I had a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. I managed to get through approximately two months having my innards burned and having toxic fluids forced through my veins to attack a mass that had invaded my body and had the potential of ending my life prematurely. Now, to be honest, that possibility still exists. However, to this date, I have not received any indication that I have a “death sentence in the near future. I remain on my 46-year plan.

That being said, both my radiation and my chemotherapy doctors, who I met with the Wednesday before my last treatments, warned me that this period of recovery right after treatments ended, could be worse than anything I had experienced until then. As much as I hate to admit it, their prediction was accurate. So, here is a capsule of what has transpired since last Friday.