Friday, August 30, 2013

Did I Ever Tell You About How Cancer Fights Back?

Rough freaking week...actually, rough fucking week.  I don't like to curse in print, but sometimes it is the only way to truly express just how fucking rough this fucking week has fucking been, and not just on fucking me either: Saint Joan is having a rough time of things as well.  

First off, Saint Joan breaks her toe.  Hell of a way to start off a week.   As the week progresses, she trumps the broken toe with the cat bite from hades.  Max, her rag doll cutie pie got so into a recent rubbing that he bit her clean to the bone we think.  She is swollen to 3x normal and can't move her thumb.    Mom gets 10 out of 10 for sympathy pains.  

And speaking of sympathy pains, this has been the week the cancer fought back.   Not only has the old pains grown in intensity to a point where there are virtually no more comfortable poses for me to vogue into, but the radiated parts are now starting to demand attention.   They throb and strain and just plain damned well hurt.  Basically, from my thighs to my mid back is in constant and unyielding agony pretty much 24/7.   Amazing what one can put up with.   

Despite the discomfort and pain, I am still in good spirits.  I really miss going to work, but with this pain there is no way I could even drive myself in let alone sit at a desk and focus on work.   My paid days are now over, so I gotta figure out something for money.   I can do some work for. Home and get maybe 10 hours a week.   That and the rent money I am getting for my place may work.   Thank G-d for family.   

Still love ya G-d.   

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Did I Ever Tell You About Saint Joan of Doral?

My mother has redefined the term for all times.  She has gone so far above and beyond that she should earn sainthood for all she has done.  

I don't mean to lash out.  Things said wrongly sound right in my head before I say it. What starts as thanks somehow becomes nasty when I say it.  Wen I lash out in pain, anger, or fear...she takes it and comes back with care

When I feel weak and unable to go on...she cheers me, pushes me, nags me, or whatever it takes for me to keep going.  

I've caught her sad or worried, but she does her best to keep a strong face around me at all times, and I do mean literally all times as she is my constant companion to every treatment and appointment I have.    I could not do it without her.   

All my parents have stepped up in amazing ways and I do mean all.   Even my birth father whom often plays as little as possible has become an active parent right now.   My dad has been exceptional in all ways I have needed and shown just how much he cares.   With the exception of the cancer, this is a really touching time in my life; to fully feel the depths of one's parent's love is rare, but so comforting in the face of any test.

I love you all so deeply.   You are my strength.   I've said it practically every post,but I really couldn't do this without your love.  

We joke that I should be healthy about the time they need a live in care giver.   Deal.   Done. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Did I Ever Tell You About Cramps?

Owie, owie, owie, owie, owie,owie,owie, owie,ouch, ow!   Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop!

Seriously, I don't remember eating a live rabid porcupine with a chainsaw, so how the hell did it end up in my stomach?

Iam only able to type this now thanks to a copious amount of pain relief medication and since I have a very strick  "thou shall not blog when high" rule, consider this a teaser just to let you know I still live and am still blogging.    It is just the pain of the last few nights have prevented my accessing my wit.

Love ya G-d.  

Excerpt from "the Book of Brad" coming soon to a bible near you.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Did I Ever Tell You About the New Book of Job?

When the Brand New Testament is written, it will include “The Book of Brad,” as the Job update.   Only this time G-d has set his testing sights on an entire family rather than just the one man.  I mean seriously, this has been one rough year for my kin and an All Mighty Test of Love and Devotion is all I can come up with.   Still love ya G-d. 

I will only speak of how I am being afflicted by this test as my family and their business is theirs to post, not mine.   Just keep in mind that they are suffering equally.

So lets get this list started.   

1. My roof started leaking again.   Leaking is the wrong word; pouring.  

2. Downstairs toilet broke. 

3.  Upstairs toilet broke

4.  Must move from home as I can't afford taxes.  

5.  Family owned company I work for is being sold to mom-family and my job security is in question.  

6.  Lost ability to poo.  

7.  See my first post for the lit of how cancer became reality. 

8.  Had to move in with parents.   Went from two story condo and living alone to a room in a house.  

9.  Lost the ability to live with my cats; my constant companions for the past 10 years.  

10.  Lost my privacy. 

11.  Via various medical tests, lost my sense of humility

12.  Via various bathroom related mishaps, lost my sense of shame. 

13.  On way to visit cats, my car overheats and dies    

Whew.   I know I am missing something.  

Ironically, and quite out of character for me, I am still smiling and still happy.  I feel love.  I feel like this is what is supposed to be.   This is that change I have been waiting for.   

Sometimes G-d gives signs and sometimes he just kicks you in the ass a few times.   To each what motivates them.   I still love ya G-d, but my ass is starting to hurt.   How about a sign or two for a change of pace?   Something winning lotto numbers. 


Friday, August 16, 2013

Did I Ever Tell You About Treatment: Week One?

And week two comes to an end; week one of treatment, but the second week of this saga.   Maybe I should just think of the first week as the prelude for narrative purposes...yeah, I will.   Take Two:

After a short prelude, week one finally comes to a close.   The biggest thing learned this week: it is going to be a long rough ride, but it can be done.   There are going to be moments, some lasting hours, that will drain me of every ounce of strength I have, but they will end and the strength will return.  In that knowledge is the very strength necessary to make it.   I have made it through every rough night thus far and will keep doing it.   No doubts.

The other big thing I learned this week is that my back pain is due not only to the tumor pressing up against the spine, but also the fact I have a collection of knots nobody at the age of 42 should have.   One of the doctors looked at my PT scan and said "I have never seen anything like that in my life."     It is unrelated to the cancer, but just something I found personally interesting.  Explains why I tend to remain so calm for the most part: stress just goes right to my back and sets up shop.

Back to the Cancer already in progress:

Since this is part a blog to tell you about my experiences and part a journal for me of them, you may want to skip this paragraph and the next as I will be discussing my symptoms after the first week.  

Constipation and cramps are the rulers of this realm I call my body. Not urinating much either, but considering I am having virtually no Diet Coke for the last few weeks (I know, right?) and my bladder has been ruled by that carbonated crack, I just think it isn't sure what to do right now.

Speaking of cramps, my G-d ladies, how do you endure them month after month.   i mean I thought I had cramps before and just thought you were exaggerating for sympathy.  I know better now and I am so sorry.

Of course, it is also a side effect of the morphine I am on for the pain.  At least it isn't hallucinations.  That patch gave me one every time I closed my eyes to rest.  The usual was this:

I am in my room and my door opens.  My mom or dad comes in and asks me if I need anything.  I face the door to answer them only to find my eyes have been closed the entire time.  When I open them, I am facing a different direction and they are no where in the area.   

The weirdest was when I walked into my bedroom, sat down in a chair in my doctor's office, was greeted by a nurse who opened the door for me.  When I said "thank you" to her, my eyes suddenly opened and I was in my bathroom in my room and "thank you" was said out loud by me.   I think that means I was mobile while hallucinating.  Not good at all.

Safe to read again, coward =P

The morphine/ibuprofen combo is doing the trick finally.  Still in pain, but it is no longer unrelenting and ruthless in nature.   More like a bratty little brother most of the time with slight psychotic outbursts.

Now some good news:

The medical staff I am being taken care of is beyond words amazing.  The level of care and concern they give to their cancer patients is exactly the type of care you expect from every doctor.   They actually give a shit about me as a person.  I am truly amazed at just how amazing the care has been.   

I am also amazed at how the word Cancer has this power that seems to create bridges that were once destroyed.   As word spreads, and it shocks me it would spread, I am hearing from people long thought lost to time.  Some wanted, some missed, some neither, but still it is amazing.   My parents are hearing from long lost friends as well and while I am not happy about the cancer, I am happy for the good that is coming from it.

Positive outlook still rocking solid.  Thank you parents.  Thank you friends.  Thank you family.  Your support is so vital to me and I am honored to receive it.   I love you all too.   

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Did I Ever Tell You About Pain?

Last week I was both told by others and myself that last week was my last normal week for a long, long time to come.   Even with the constant barrage of testing and human errors that contributed to until then unknown levels of frustration, I was still home at the of every day and felt like me.   Those days are gone.  Hello "Cancer Pain."

"You may think you know pain" he said in a cocky war weary veteran posture who thinks he has experienced it all, "but you don't shit until you feel cancer pain."

Where last week was testing, this week is experimentation.   Percoset,  Vikoden, something that starts with an F that is a patch, medical tylenol, prescription ibuprofen, and now morphine.   20's Brad would love this, but 42 Cancerman is not having a good time.   I am not getting any pain relief to speak of and am not getting any intoxication either out of the deal; just side-effects and plenty of them all week.

Ever have constipated diarrhea?   I have.  Never knew that was an option.  Explosive diarrhea too.   Some nights I would be the best WMD ever made.  Just hook me up and fly me over Syria and the sheer grossness of what I bring would force them to talk it out.

Ever see a limb move on its own in weird contortions?   I have.   Very funky to be sitting there and suddenly your right hand is making strange LA street gang signs.   Toes like to curl in as if in orgasm, only without the fun of the orgasm.

Ever have a pain so deep, you rub yourself until your hand produces wounds and the spot of the pain looks as if you had been punched repeatedly, only you never got close to any relief of said pain?  I have.   Bastard pain relocates faster than an Al Qaeda terrorist cell on the run.    Quick attack at lower back, then a full retreat to the right buttocks for a larger attack only to appear at the left shoulder blade with some new toy of muscular destruction ready to deploy.

Then there is the nervousness, cramps, lack of appetite,(I lost 36 pounds in 6 weeks, ask me how), nausea, sleeplessness, numbness, etc, but I don't want to bore you with the details.

Ironic part is that most the above are just the side effects from medication being used to treat pain.   Now that is Ironic.   Somedays I think I would just rather the pain, but then the pain sets in and I would honestly do anything to get rid of it.

And let's remember the bright side: I got a free massage today and will every Wednesday for the next year and have a medicine cabinet that is the envy of every Frat house in America.

I don't know how people go through this alone.  I couldn't do it without my amazing support system.   I can't thank everyone enough.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Did I ever tell you about the time I was wrong?

Did I ever tell you about the time I was wrong?   It doesn't happen often, but when it does, boy am I wrong.

So about 8 weeks ago I couldn't poo.   And yes, in the interest of keeping this as non-gross as humanly possible, I will be using the term "poo" so deal with it.

Anyway, I couldn't go poo.   Given the amount of stress I was under at the time, it was understandable.   I tend to have a very sensitive bowel system that is easily thrown into flux.   And considering this was about the time I decided to sell my home; my boss finalized selling my job; and I felt like the chapter of my life I was currently in was stuck in a run-on sentence, then it is very easy to dismiss constipation as merely a reaction to life.   However, the constipation didn't end.

Two weeks later, when a poo arrived in my toilet, it was thin and very difficult to produce.   My post-poo wipe revealed blood on the paper.   Something was amiss, but I wrote it off as hemroids and stress.   What else could it be?

One week later it dawned on me that I had not been eating for the past two weeks.   I had lost about 20 pounds and no matter what I tried to eat, a gag reflex prevented anything but soup from going down.    Now concerned, I decided to look for myself and see if anything weird was going on in, rectum.   

Standing in my bathroom with my boxers round my ankles, and my head peeking through my legs, I spread my buttcheeks, took a deep breath, and looked and then quietly freaked out.   I saw growths around my anus.   To WebMD I ran.

WebMD is not a friend for the record.  If you go symptom shopping on that site, you can basically diagnose yourself with anything, and this was no exception.    They gave me a short list of ailments that had my symptoms and the words "colon cancer" stood out as did "rectal cancer."    Given the growths I saw, I leaned towards rectal, but didn't want to admit to myself something so embarrassing was going on with me.  I am prone to hypochondria after all, so I decided to show my dad my butt (he is a doctor) and see what he thought.

It was not easy to ask someone to look at your butthole for the record.   It doesn't really come up in conversation naturally, but after two days of shameful planning, I did and he said he thought it was hemroids, but wasn't sure.  He recommended I schedule an appointment for a colonoscopy.  Reluctantly, I did.

The night before the butt probe, I decided to stay at my parents' house for the moral support.   I didn't want to admit it to anyone, but I was scared.  I knew I had rectal cancer.   Those growths could be nothing else from my perspective.   And it is a good thing I stayed there too because there is no way in Hell I could have drank that prep-shit without them basically forcing me via parental willpower to keep drinking.

The next morning, after another awful bout with that dreaded prep-shit, we drove to the GI office and soon I was out like a light and the procedure began. 

I came to in recovery and there was a sense that something serious had happened while I was out.   My mom was there and had that "mom is worried" look on her face.   I then heard my dad was on his way.   This was not looking good.   Lucky for me, the post-anesthesia was having a nice dulling effect on my nerves and I was remaining outwardly calm.

Turns out the colonoscopy could not be performed due to a massive tumor in my rectum.  The biopsy came back a little later and confirmed I had stage 3 rectal cancer.   A few scans later also showed it is in the colon as well.

I know what you are thinking: how were you wrong?  You said you had cancer and you did.c

Simple: I also have hemroids and that growth I saw that caused the panic that made me find the cancer actually was just a harmless little hemroid.   I was wrong.

So now I begin my treatment.  6 weeks chemo/radiation, then about 6 weeks rest, then surgery, and then more chemo/radiation.   The outlook is quite good and I am not fearing dying or anything like that.    I have had to move in with my parents for the next year while I undergo treatment.   A side-effect of being single is that you have no significant other to aid you in times like this, but I am blessed with parents who redefine everything positive about parents.   I could no do this without them and feel I must thank them every chance I get.

I will keep you updated as this goes on now that I finally have something to blog about.