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.
The first was with my surgical oncologist. He wanted to see how I was progressing in my recovery, discuss my CT scan from October 28th and talk (and answer questions) about the proposed surgery, that we came to agree upon occurring sometime right after the first of the new year. Everything was encouraging. The CT scan showed the tumor/mass in my stomach and esophagus appeared to be stopped and reduced in size. Also, there was no sign of the cancer spreading to my lymph nodes or any other part of my body. This is definitely positive. We agreed to meet again around mid-December to determine a date for the proposed surgery. The December appointment is now set.
From there I had an appointment at my primary physician's office followed by a return to the cancer center to have my port (for infusion and IV's) to be flushed. But, since I was already at the cancer center, I checked and they were more than happy to take me in early for the less than 15-minute procedure.
That being done, we went over to my primary physician's office for a follow-up on what I've gone through since they last saw me on August 21st, the day they told me to get to the Winchester Medical Center ER immediately. And, while they had me in the office they did my annual Medicare Wellness check-up. Interestingly, even though I've been hit by this really major cancer issue, the rest of me checked out, as it typically does, just fine.
Then it was back over the 7 mountains and through the 7 valleys to West Virginia. By that time my son, Pete, who lives in West Hollywood, California, was getting ready to board a direct flight from LAX to BWI airport in Baltimore where he had a rental car reserved. He arrived here at the house in West Virginia about 3 AM on Thursday morning, November 14th.
So, I had the opportunity to enjoy a week-long visit with Pete. It was a relaxing time. While my massive fatigue is still massive and my energy is still extremely low and I'm physically weak, it was energizing to have him around. We didn't do much of anything physically taxing and I still had to take some rest times. We did get to talk about a lot of things. He also was working on one of his client projects, during which time I took rest breaks.
He also took the day Sunday to drive to Winchester and revisit his old hometown where he hadn't been in about 10 years. He drove around and witnessed some of the changes, visited the places we lived and stopped to see my friend, Judy, who let me stay at her place while I was going through my chemo and radiation treatments. He thanked her for that and her friendship. She also invited him to stay at her place when he comes back in January for my surgery.
From there he drove to Manassas, Virginia to visit his Uncle Joe and Aunt Deborah and his cousins, Owen and Avery. They love seeing him and, vice-versa. He had a pretty long drive back to West Virginia after that visit, arriving around midnight, as I recall.
Monday, Tuesday and about half of Wednesday (he had to leave for Baltimore to catch his flight back to LAX and his home in West Hollywood at about 3:30 pm) we spent more time talking about his plans for the future and my plans for the future. He and Carolyn shared a lot of time talking and doing some TV binge-watching of the older series “Breaking Bad.” And, yes, while I try not to get caught up in binge-watching, I joined them.
Pete and I also went over to my storage unit, about three blocks from Carolyn's. He helped me dig out several boxes of audio cassettes (there are several more boxes still buried in there as well as some very old reel to reel master tapes from my early years in the recording and studio industry). I'm planning to digitize these programs.
Most all of them have valuable information from numerous iconic and legendary presenters. There is also between 100 and 200 hours of the programs I created under the names Leadership Audio Digest and SuccessTrax during the '80s and early '90s. All of these programs will become part of my personal digital audio library I'm building. I plan to make the library available to the public to stream and listen to and learn from.
We also took care of some mundane paperwork and discussing end of life issues, not that I'm planning that anytime soon. But, just in case, it was a good time to talk about it. And, even though he's 33 years younger than I am, we included his thoughts about his life, should something unforeseen happen. Carolyn prepared an early Thanksgiving Dinner with turkey and all the trimmings that we could all enjoy together since Pete was here. That was extremely thoughtful of her.
The week went all too fast. The visit was very energizing for me. Carolyn said I was looking better during the time he was here. I was able to eat quite well and consuming liquids is no longer a big issue for me. I gained 8 pounds beginning the second week after my chemo and radiation treatments ended. By my doctors' appointments on the November 13th, I had stabilized at 175 pounds (and have remained there for the past week and a half). That's about 25 pounds lighter than my average weight for the past 20 years or so. I feel quite comfortable at this weight. After the surgery, I'd like to drop back to about 170 and keep my weight there, plus or minus, a pound or two.
Wednesday afternoon Pete, Carolyn and I shared our last meal together. It was salmon with the fixings. Pete made himself a couple turkey sandwiches and packed some snacks for his flight back to California, since, as we all know, airlines no longer serve even the less than appealing meals they once served. He packed up and at about 3:30 pm, after our hugs and goodbyes, he began driving down the street to head back to the airport.
I watched the car until it reached the end of the street, about four blocks, and turned. As he drove down the street, I felt the wave of fatigue begin washing over me. The adrenalin was diminishing. By 5 PM I was little more than a puddle of humanity.
Pete texted from the airport that he was at the gate. He texted me again when he reached LAX and was off the plane and heading back to his West Hollywood apartment. I have to admit that this was a very important time for me. We get to see each other so seldom since our bases of operation are on opposite coasts about 2,800 miles apart.
Thursday, was a day of rest and recuperation. I did get some productive things done, received a couple phone calls and transferred some client audio files via my Dropbox. But, basically, I was under the fatigue fog pretty much all day. I've been receiving some email notes, texts, PM's and a comment or two on the blog posts wondering what's happened to me since 12 days have gone by and I haven't posted anything. So, today, Friday, Day 83, I determined to have the energy to get some necessary projects done. This is the first one.
Thanks to everyone for your concern, support, positive thoughts and prayers. As most of you know, I'm a very pragmatic, existential kind of person. But, believe me, I absolutely do appreciate and am grateful for all the support I've been receiving from all y'all. I still haven't made my situation public, yet. I'd guess about 10% of the people I know and I'm connected to through the various facets of my past and present life know about my “adventure.”
I'm not sure why I haven't made it public, yet. Perhaps, it's because there are so many people going through so many challenging issues in their lives – medical, financial, relationships, etc. – that I don't want to burden them with one more. Maybe, it's because I know I'll get a flood of emails, texts, PM's, cards, etc. and I'll want to acknowledge them all, but may not have the energy. I'm still behind in responding to so many wonderful things I've received. Maybe I'll do it little by little. Time will tell.
That's all for now. Live free and be happy. EH