Never a dull moment

Spoiler Alert: I’m fine and all test results are good.

So, back on December 12th I started to feel an ache in my chest. Nothing significant but it felt very similar to the feeling that sent me to the ER back in March which led to the revelation of the lymphoma recurrence.

Well, I’m back in the ER. ☹️ Triage was fast but there is a 5.5hr wait, treating 50 and 23 waiting.

Backing up a bit, I kind of ignored the symptoms for a while and then when Shirley found out, she called our oncology nurse for advice. As a result they scheduled a CT scan for Dec. 24th. Symptoms continued off and on as we waited for the results which we got on the 29th.

The good news is that the CT result is very positive. The tumor is smaller, there is no spread, no damage from the radiation and everything from neck to abdomen seems OK. However, my on vacation oncologist wants me to be seen by a DR. for assessment. The suggestion is to call Urgentcare CancerCare which is sort of like an ER for cancer patients. I’ve been there once and received quick and excellent care.

A call to them results in an opinion that it’s nothing to do with the lymphoma and not a cancer issue. Initially they say I should see a cardiologist but later after a nurse/doctor consult they call back and say I should see someone now, as is go to the ER. I call my GP and he agrees.

Now I’m waiting. It’s literally standing room only in the waiting room and it takes about 45 minutes before I get a chair. There have been several ambulances and I overhear that the hospital is “full” due to a combination of COVID and post-holiday issues.

So after a 4 3/4 hr wait I’m in a bed hooked up to the monitors. A few minutes later I see the attending and we review my symptoms. My EKG is fine and so is the blood work ( aka – I didn’t have a heart attack). He doesn’t feel that my sympyoms are cardiac related. I mention that I rode the trainer for 2 hrs yesterday without any issues and his response was “That’s a pretty good stress test”. He was quite nice, wished me a good evening and I’m discharged. All is good.

Crash Card

Also good news, they didn’t need to use this piece of equipment. I’m not sure if it’s just how busy the ER is or the symptoms I presented with but I’m in the Resuscitation Room! I think they are ready for anything here. 🙂

The chest ache? Still a mystery but doesn’t appear to be anything serious.

One Year

Here I am, one year since I got the confirmation that I was cancer free. In remission as the medical folks say or healed as I like to say.

I can still remember the first visit with the oncologist where, amongst other things, she said ” this will be a life altering event”. And of course it was, more that I was expecting and of course I didn’t even know what to expect!

Beyond the physical aspects which thankfully came and went the longer lasting impact has been the mental aspects. Very few, if any days pass where I don’t think about the Cancer experience.

As we’re back at the hospital for a follow-up visit and going up one flight of stairs I remember the first time up these stairs where I was out of breath from the exertion due to the tumor press on my lung. After only 2 chemo treatments I noticed a significant improvement on the stairs and today I can climb them with ease. Thank you Jesus!

These days the on and off battle is in the mind. A few days ago I watched a TV show where a guy about my age who had cancer and was in remission found out it had reoccurred and was dealing with telling his family that he wasn’t going to do chemo again. I was in a funk for about a day as a result even as I tried not to let myself think “what if…”.

Working on staying focused on my Healer and living large. So thankful.

Cycle 2 – Day 21

Blood testing and Doctor visit today in preparation for the start of Cycle 3 tomorrow.

For some strange reason I’m a little apprehensive about tomorrow’s chemo. Perhaps it’s that the mystery is gone after having treatments at both HSC and St. Boniface and from here on in it should be about the same. Perhaps it’s the realization about how long this will be and how much is still ahead. Perhaps it’s the way cancer, the drugs, the injections, the schedule and symptoms are always in the back of my mind if not in the forefront. I’m trying not to let this occupy all of my life but it feels like so much is on hold until this is dealt with.

I’m finding it difficult with all that’s happened so far in 2018 as well as making the adjustment into retirement to find my purpose and establish the flow and rhythm of my life that makes sense for me.

Cycle 1 – Day 20: Pre-Cycle 2 Meeting

Today is getting some blood work done to make sure I’m good to go for tomorrow’s chemo session and meet with my oncologist.

The blood work results won’t be available today and I’ll get a phone call if there are issues. However, it should be good as last Wednesday’s results for the port insertion were good and today’s results should only be better.

Drawing the blood for the testing was the 1st use of the port and everthing went well. One of the benefits of the port is that blood is taken by the Cancer Care group and you skip the normal lab lineup.

When I meet with the Dr. we discuss my status, how I’m feeling and my symptoms, which are all improving, some more that others and I’m having minimal side effects from the chemo, which is great.

In addition to my symptoms decreasing my LDH (lactate dehydrogenase) which was 549 before the first chemo treatment is now 268, which is another positive sign that the tumor is decreasing and the cancer is leaving my body. Normal range in an adult is 100-199, so a little way to go here.