Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head.
Lennon and McCartney.
January 18, 2018. 4 a.m.
I woke up. And then, like many days over the past 31 years, I headed off to work. The day was going to be a big one, with a rather important doctors appointment regarding the treatment of my prostate cancer right smack dab in the middle of it, but I wanted to get a few hours of work done before heading off to my appointment at 11:45. I had a couple of reasons for wanting to go to work.
One of the things that cancer survivors really miss is the mundane, day to day living of a somewhat normal life. You don’t want to think about cancer, you don’t want to think about cancer treatments, you don’t want to think about tumors or scans or the latest crappy numbers. You don’t want to think about any of it. You long for the days of just going about your everyday life.
Which is why I went to work on a day that would once again change my life. I needed normalcy. I needed to just work. If there is anything I could get back to from my life before cancer, it would be just to live without the cancer cloud hanging over my head. Never take for granted how awesome it is to just live every day and do mundane stuff. God gives us everyday as a blessing.
One of the most poignant speeches I ever seen concerning cancer was Stewart Scott’s speech at the ESPYs in 2014. Here is a link to that speech.
In the speech, Scott talks about his bosses at ESPN, how they would text him and ask him if he needed anything. His response to that was, “Whose bosses do that? My bosses do that.”
When I got the latest news about my PSA, I was devastated. Really shook. I left work early and tried to come to grips with the fact that my cancer had probably spread. The next day, I went back to work, cuz that’s what I do. My boss came up to me and asked me if I was okay. I muttered something about that I was dealing with it. Then he asked me if I would come up to the office after lunch. Okay, I said, a little confused. He said that they wanted to know what I was going through and they wanted to pray for me. Wait, what?
I work for a secular company. We are not religiously based. But, being a Christian, I’m always very receptive of prayers. So, after lunch I went up to the office and I told them what I was going through. They told me that whatever I needed, that whatever time I needed, just to check with them and it would be no problem. They let me know that they were there for me. And then my bosses asked if they could pray for me. They came up beside me, put hands on me, and prayed for healing. I was humbled and honored to receive their prayers. It was kind of mind blowing.
Whose bosses do that? My bosses do that. I’ll continue to work hard for them.
I decided when I suspended my hormone treatments, that if and when I went back to the doctor, I was going to switch back to my friend Jon’s urology practice. Jon was the doctor that first diagnosed me with prostate cancer, but I switched to someone else when surgery was needed because at the time Jon did not have a lot of experience with the DaVinci robot for the surgery, and, being that he is a close friend, the whole thing was a little too close for comfort. But now, as I continue down this road of treatment, I need that closeness. Holly and I have a lot of great friends in that office, and my decision to move docs was immediately justified when we were greeted by warm hellos and hugs and love. It felt like I was coming home.
The appointment itself? How did that go? Well…it was tough. We talked about the fact that my particular brand of prostate cancer was very aggressive and that I would have to stay on hormone therapy for the rest of my life. My testosterone feeds the cancer, so staying chemically castrated is going to be a fact of life for me. If the treatments are so bad that I feel awful enough to not feel like living anymore, I will stop them. I have things to live for, but being constantly miserable is not one of them.
We decided on a drug called Firmagon, because it is a testosterone blocker which takes the testosterone down immediately, without the temporary spike of testosterone that happens with other drugs. This was done as to not grow the tumors in my pelvis and abdomen regions. Two shots in my belly, and I was out of there. And if you’re thinking,”Wow, did that hurt?” Yep, it sure did.
(A quick veer off here. After seeing my tumors on the scan, gray little blobs of nastiness, I thought about giving them names so I had tangible things to fight. Bob, Chuck, Ted and Ricardo (for diversity). But then I thought someone’s going to read this and say, “You named a tumor after me?” Or worse. “You named a tumor after my kid??!!” So I decided to go Suessian and name them Thing 1,2,3, and 4. Less people pissed off that way. Back to the blog!)
Later that evening, I am sitting in my chair feeling really sorry for myself. I have pain around the injection sites, there is some swelling and bruising, and I just generally feel like crap. I’m angry that I’m back on hormone treatments, and my stomach is lurching a bit causing me to run to the bathroom from time to time. Holly is working late because she took a couple of hours out of her day to go to the appointment with me, so I am alone. I feel so bad, my eyes start welling up with tears. And then, out of the blue, I get a text from my friend Jim.
A quick observation on the above text. The time says 8:08 a.m. That is the time I did the screen shot. The text came in at 7:04 p.m. on January 18.
Jim and I text frequently about Tigers baseball, or Michigan football, usually during the games. We will comment or bitch about what is going on with our own particular spin on the whole thing. So, there I am, feeling sorry for myself, and all of the sudden Jim starts throwing Tigers questions at me about the 2018 season, like over/under 100 losses, will a pitcher for the Tigers win over 14 games, etc. Next thing I know I’m laughing. The texts got my mind off my pain and misery, and helped me probably more than he will ever know. He had no idea that I was struggling at the time, he was just texting a friend. And wow, did they help.
I will leave you with two thoughts about this. First, I think the prayers that people are praying for me made this happen. The good Lord knew what I was going through, and a text from a friend was delivered to me just when I needed it. That was a divine moment.
My second thought is this. If you feel compelled to call or text someone for whatever reason, even if it is straight out of the blue, please do it. Sometimes that little bit of human contact is just what that person needs on the other end of the line. As we go through our lives, the busy hustle and bustle of living in today’s world, don’t forget to make some contact with a person who needs it. It can make a difference.
And when you go to work on Monday morning, and you’re tired and don’t feel like it, take a minute to thank God for normalcy.
Thanks for reading.