Monday, September 16, 2019

The First Day of the Rest of My Life – The Eyes Have It – September 16, 2019 – Day 16

Indeed, the eyes have it, today, Day 16, in my adventure. I had an appointment scheduled with my ophthalmologist for today. I made this appointment weeks before the, now, infamous Fireball struck me. I have the best, or at the very least, one of the very best eye docs in the region. It typically takes two to three months to get on his appointment calendar. So, you can bet I wasn't going to let anything get in the way of making this date. 

The good news is that my eyes are doing great (thankfully that's better news than the news of my gastric cavity). The nerves are good, no signs of glaucoma, my peripheral vision is very good and the one long term challenge to my eye health has not changed any. It was exactly two years ago this month when I had cataract surgery to both eyes (one week apart). And, while I still see everything fantastically, I have noticed a slight deterioration and, what I call, some flaring, especially in my left eye.

My doc said this is normal for just about everyone with cataract surgery and replacement lenses. It's caused by some cellular growth around the lenses that can spread into the visual area of the lenses. He said, at my convenience (and had his assistant make a note in my records), I can call and come in for laser treatments that will eliminate those cells. It's a simple procedure and once done, I'll never have to have it repeated. Great news. Of course, he asked about my health other than my eyes and was really set back on his heels when I told him the story of the Fireball and my current treatment routine for the Stage III cancer I'm diagnosed with.

Today was also a good day on another account. My Air Force buddy, Dave (we met just after basic training 50 years ago, a mere half-century, while we were both based at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas) was driving up from Falls Church, Virginia. We were both at Lackland temporarily while awaiting our assignments. My assignment was to Washington, DC. I had prearranged my assignment prior to enlisting. Dave was waiting for his assignment to . . . somewhere. Ultimately, Dave ended up with the American Forces Radio-TV Service in Thailand and then to Korea. We lost track of each other until we reunited in January 1996.

It was a great opportunity to accomplish another activity. My long-time friend in Winchester, Virginia, Judy, offered me one of her spare bedrooms and private bath at her home, about 10 minutes from the Oncology Center at the Winchester Medical Center, during my weeks of radiation treatments. The ride over the 7 mountains and through the 7 valleys, about a 90 minute drive each way, becomes grueling. Carolyn has been a fantastic friend and trouper driving me back and forth for several weeks already.

Once I begin daily radiation treatments (M-F), most likely a week from today, that would mean making that trip every day, five days a week. First and foremost, that is really pushing the edge for Carolyn. She has said she won't mind. But, I don't want to put her through that. Secondarily, as I go through these treatments, I'm not sure I'll be able to endure those mountains and valleys and all the curves on a daily basis. So, it may not be a positive situation for both of us. So, Judy's offer relieves some of the pressure from Carolyn, while at the same time making it just a few minutes to drive to and from a 15 to 30 minute treatment.

So, I drove “My McVansion” down to Judy's house today and parked it out front, picking up a key for her house and leaving my spare set of keys for the van. Another of the necessary mission elements completed. Meanwhile, my buddy, Dave, met me at Judy's house (he's been there numerous times in the past for various events) and picked me up. We then went to a place I know of called Mission BBQ, a small, but growing chain of restaurants for some lunch. He then drove me back to Carolyn's (we are all friends) in West Virginia, over the 7 mountains and 7 valleys.

This provided Carolyn with a bit of a driving break that Dave said he is willing to provide for her during the course of my treatments. Tomorrow, Dave will drive me back to Winchester for some appointments and back to the West Virginia base, allowing Carolyn another respite. Wednesday, Dave will drive me in again, this time for my chemotherapy treatment and an appointment with my radiology doctor. Carolyn will likely ride along this time. She wants to be there for my chemo treatments so she knows what's happening in the event there may be some serious repercussions at some time. Then we'll drive back to West Virginia. Dave will head home to Falls Church, Virginia on Thursday morning.

I very much appreciate Dave's concern and involvement with his old Air Force buddy. And, of course, I'd do the same for him if the roles were reversed. I also appreciate his consideration for Carolyn. I certainly don't want to “drain” her or push the limits of our human abilities and stamina. She has already given of herself way beyond the call of duty.

Relationships! Attitude, especially positive attitude! Consideration! This is all part of the human experience. I can't express in simple terms how much I appreciate how everyone (and there are others in Winchester and other parts of the country) is offering support in all kinds of different ways.

Without question, today the eyes and the ayes have it. It was another beautiful day to be alive. I'm still on my 46-year plan.

Think about this . . . The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But … the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Live free and be happy. EH

1 comment:

John Abert said...

That's good to know about the eyes, knowing that I have that in my future at some point down the road. And I can see that having Dave there, plus the extra help from Judy will be of great benefit. So the ayes have it all around, and that's a positive way to keep on.