"It is well. It is well with my soul!"
"It is well. It is well with my soul!"
My boss, Stan, asked me today how I was doing? It seemed like a simple enough question, but not one that I focus on much. I view it much like a foot race and I am a little more than half way through. My focus is one day and one week at a time. Anyway, I wanted to just share it openly with the rest of my faithful "Prayer Warriors".
Treatment is going great with my side-affects staying somewhat controlled. The docs think I am doing better than expected. Last Monday they told me the honeymoon was over and that it starts to get worse from here on out. First of all, I have never thought of it as a honeymoon, but to their point, the side-affects have worsened, but are under control. I learn something new every week that I couldn't have known the week before. As an example, when they say the treatment is cumulative and progressive, they mean the side-affects are cumulative and progressive. They don't mean the treatments are ... the treatments are immediate. In other words, if they radiate today, I get the full impact of it today, but need to go again tomorrow to get another dose. Same with the chemo, if I get it on Monday, it begins working immediately and lasts about five days. Then its time for another bag of chemo.
I did have a bit of a slump mentally following the 3D MRI. While they were incredibly pleased, I had expected more - which I had no reason to expect more, but I did. It bothered me for about a week. Since that time, I am back on top of the world. I am so thankful for this treatment, I have a better understanding of what we are doing to eradicate it and how it works. I am thankful for all those who have reached out to us and I give God praise that he is allowing me to walk this walk in faith. Quite honestly, I don't know how I would do it with out it.
I have seen a lot in just five weeks, but I have learned that disease, such as cancer, does not discriminate. It attacks young, old, male, female, black, red, white, yellow, Christians, non-Christians ... you name it. I have also learned, people deal with it differently. Some are mad, sad, frustrated, ready to quit, etc. I just find myself faithful. I would say there are more here relying on their faith, than not. I believe the patients may have more faith than the doctors, not all, but some. Interestingly, I have learned what the limitations of the doctors are and that no matter what the treatment is, they can only go so far. The rest, as one-doctor told me, is beyond them.
So, I keep following the protocol and doing what I am told to do. My wife is enjoying that, I think. She can't accuse me of not listening. She is very persistent. Hopefully, it will pay off and I won't be fighting the side-affects like those who don't do what they are supposed to do. The only real challenge I have right now is that I have no taste or smell, so I have no desire to eat. I have to eat because my body is consuming calories at an alarming rate. If I sit sedentary and don't do anything, I use about 3,000 calories, which isn't enough to keep me from losing weight. I also have to make sure there are 130-150 proteins per day included in my calories so that I can grow new cells and repair the ones that are getting torn apart. Trust me when I tell you, it is hard to eat 3,000+ calories per day and 150 protein when they all taste like cardboard. As a little aside, before coming to Houston, I decided to put on a few extra pounds since I was going to lose some weight while I am here. I was successful and gained 14 extra pounds, but I have now lost all of it plus four more. My goal is to stay at this level and not lose anymore. I can't or they will stop treatment or put a feeding tube in me. That's not going to happen. Happy cardboard munching away!
One unique side-affect is after I receive chemo on Monday, I have hiccup like spasms for 1-2 days, which makes it somewhat difficult to carry on a conversation. Normally, on Tuesdays, I have them from sun up to sun set, with Wednesday trailing off. I am thankful for all the homemade recipe recommendations on how to cure hiccups. They were creative, but I just can't stand on my head, drink a cup of water and eat a spoonful of peanut butter at the same time - so I took a pill to help stop the spasms. Seems to work better.
Just for fun, here is my latest attempt at a poem / rhyme. I like to write something to motivate me each Monday as I kick off another week.
Resting in His arms!
Rest my child and don't say a word, daddy is revealing a miracle, I heard.
Trust in me and let it be, as many will see and turn to me.
You are free, you are free falling.
As you fall give God your all, He will catch you in His arms as you reach out and call.
Your friend forever,
TOM O'KEEFE BLOG