Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday July 25

I am still having severe pain in my chest.  I am using Oxycontin and Percocet as needed.  I am not able to eat any food.  Doing all Ensure shakes now.  I did drink some chocolate milk this morning!  What a treat!

I have an EGD tomorrow morning to determine what we can do about this pain.  I am hopeful it is an ulcer than can be healed with medications.  I am also going to discuss a feeding tube with the doctor tomorrow.  Wed I meet with Oncologist and likely do chemo starting Friday.

My battle with cancer certainly has had its uplifting times such as when friends help you out or send you a card stating they love you and are thinking of you!  However, the physical and mental highs and low's can take a toll.  This past Saturday evening was one of those "tolls" on me emotionally.  Fortunately, my wife Heidi was there to help me get through and I did not have to do it alone.  I have been struggling with extreme pain for the past 5 weeks in my chest (esophagus) that is persistent 24/7.  The pain is taking a huge toll on my tolerance level.  In addition, I am not able to eat any foods.  This is taking a toll on my physical tolerance.  This past Saturday evening I was exhausted from the day, the pain, and the lack of eating.  I lay down on my bed and I just began to cry uncontrollably.   I just could not be strong any longer and I needed to let it out!  Fortunately, Heidi was there and she consoled me and explained that I do not have to be "tough guy" all the time.  She told me to let it out while she comforted me.  I felt so weak at the time and vulnerable, yet felt so comforted in her arms.  I needed this time to release the emotion.
The last emotional breakdown that I had was about 3 weeks into my fight with cancer and I was driving home in the car.  I began to consider how I was going to take care of my wife and family.  They needed me and counted on me.  I began to cry and walked through the doors at home weeping.  Heidi asked what is wrong and I said "I wanted to be able to take care of you forever"!  She began to cry and hugged me stating that she understood and that we all would be ok.  In my normal everyday life, I never dreamed that I would get stricken with a disease that would shorter my life and leave my family to fend for themselves.  This has left a major wake up call to me to make sure things are in order.  First with my Lord, next with my family and finally with finances.  I have been working on all these areas the past 7 months. 
The other breakdown that I remember was the day back in December when I told the Firefighters on my shift that I had been diagnosed with cancer.  I started out strong and thought I could get through it without breaking down.  Unfortunately, telling the Firefighters was like telling my immediate family and I began to cry.  I had to leave the room soon to be reassured and comforted by Lt. Craig Peeps. 
Most days, I remain very positive and feel that I will live longer than most.  I feel that my treatment will be successful to give me more time I would like to spend with all my family and friends.  People often tell how "good I look".  Actually, I don't look all that bad except for weight loss (34 lbs since Jan 7).  However, looking good on the outside does not explain how I am feeling inside.  I do appreciate all the folks whom tell me I look good!  It is another uplifting jester on their part. 
I have learned through the help of my wife that even a big tough Firefighter is only human and has ups and downs, highs and lows and is permitted to breakdown and just cry.  Cancer is an extremely scary and unpredictable disease.  The treatment is even scarier and more unpredictable.  However, I strive to be strong, happy and most of all be myself!

1 comment:

  1. Don,

    Thank you for sharing so authentically. Your words touch my heart even deeper because of your genuineness.

    I'm so glad tha Heidi could hold and that you would let yourself be held. What a beautiful picture of intimacy and connection as you journey together "through sickness and in health."

    Much Love,