What a Ride. It’s been almost two months since my last post and the series of peaks and valleys since then has been about as nauseating as riding a rollercoaster after drinking a pint of Jim Beam.
The questions keep piling up alongside the bills and the answers that come have been about as sparse as the money to pay the bills and as vague as the system that creates the bills.
Going back to the last post – the good news post – is a good place to start. Since the octreoscans and learning that there is probably only that one remaining nest, I’ve started treatment that is supposed to increase my quality and duration of life. I’m getting a monthly shot in the ass of a drug called octreotide that is supposed to quell the effects of the hormones and chemicals that the evil blob releases into my system. The effects of this release is what’s called Carcinoid Syndrome and let me just tell you, they blow ass. Really. The main side effects of Carcinoid Syndrome are flushing (like a red wine flush times 10), diarrhea (yeah, that’s gross), and hardening of the heart valves. From what I’ve read, it’s either the cancer spreading or the heart valves that will kill me. Morbid and gross. The shot is designed to slow or stop the spread of the tumor and counter the effects of Carcinoid Syndrome.
This leads us to the rollercoaster of crazy that is now my brain. The interwebs are a dangerous playground for those in search of answers. That said, I have spent many an hour online looking up answers to some of the pertinent questions like, “How long will I live?” and “Is there any possibility for a cure?” All this surfing has created about as many questions as is has given answers, hence, the rollercoaster.
I have to pause here for a little background on my physical state before I get into the Q and A stuff in order to help explain my lack of writing for the last two months.
Since the last update I have lost more than 12 pounds, putting my total loss at over 20 pounds. My personal cancer diet is one of the most frustrating aspects of the whole ordeal and I’m having a hard time adapting to the time and energy it takes to prepare and eat the necessary foods in an amount that allows me to have energy to enjoy life and enough calories to maintain a decent body weight. Between the extreme weight loss and undue stress of entrepreneurship, I am brain dead. My short term memory has taken a shit and I’m having the hardest time struggling through even the simplest tasks. Composing a sentence is reasonably simple, but has become an unsurmountable task due to the clutter in my grey matter. I have become short and terse in communication. Scheduling is such a nightmare that without my smartphone calendar (surrogate brain) I’m lost throughout the week. And even with the surrogate brain I’m forgetting the most basic items on my list and having serious problems recalling events from the prior days.
I spoke with the councilor at the cancer clinic the other day and she said that the memory loss is normal and that it is caused by the sleep deprivation, lack of enough calories and stress. My brain isn’t allowing my frontal lobe to perform its job because I’m too busy reacting rather than relaxing.
Right after surgery the doctors gave me a To Do List that I have all but ignored. The prescription seemed simple at the time: Get lots of sleep. Trim the schedule and make time for relaxing. Exercise. Eat. Most importantly, cut the stress out of life. Emphasis on NO STRESS!
Yeah, that’s me alright. Especially during the spring rush at work, but that’s a story for a whole post of its own.
Another stressful event that made me unable to write was the lack of a functional workstation at home. My old and faithful laptop finally got to a point where it was too slow to be of service. It would crash regularly and working within multiple windows became a joke. It could take up to ten minutes just to save a document, and that is just unacceptable. I got almost 12 years out of the thing, so no complaints there. However, when I ordered a new one, it came flawed. After about ten hours of tech support, a new motherboard and a week of no work from home, it popped again two days later. Ten days in the shop for a complete rebuild and I’m back in action after about three weeks of computer hell. I should also mention that my work station at the office has decided that this is a good time to start crashing and freezing, too. Grrrr!!!
Have I mentioned that I’m pissed off? There’s that. I’m pissed off that I have cancer. I’m pissed off that I’m tired. I’m pissed off that I can’t find the time to play. I’m pissed off that I can’t eat what I want. And most of all, I’m pissed off that I can’t magically fix any of this.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain my positive attitude and find solace in the NOW. One of the aspects of living that has made me such a reliable and happy person is that I prefer to live in the NOW. I know there is a future, I know there is a past, but my strongest belief is that there is only NOW, and what one choses to do in the NOW is what defines a person. Instead of just doing, I find myself dwelling on the future. How long do I have? Am I doing the right thing? What did I miss? What did I screw up? Can I eat that? I find myself getting excessively angry at little setbacks that take time from my immediate needs. I’ll make plans to do something, but when things come up that cause me to have to adapt to something different I just shut down, forget and regret.
Phew. Felt good to get that off my chest.
The next post will be a positive post on what I’m doing to counter this pissed off-ed-ness. It’s been a fun couple of weeks and I have lots of good happy thoughts coming soon!