July 21, 2000|
well, with a big sigh of relief, I am happy to say that today was my last radiation treatment. I thought I would never really see the day, but Dr. Kinsella said those magic words “you are done.” It is still hard to swallow (literally because of the esophogitis:)), and figutively because I never thought I would see the day when I would be able to move to nyc. The light at the end of the tunnel went out a couple times, after hearing, a couple times, “you need more treatments, you need more treatments.” I am just priviliged to have a incredible employer who supports me and is allowing me to come to work when I am ready. That is true testament to the great company Goldman Sachs is. (Buy their stock, it is doing well 🙂 ) Right now it is still hard for me to imagine that in three days I will be moved in to my new place, with my new bed, with my new TV and DVD, with my new towels, with my…
the last couple weeks have been the hardest of my life, I can easily say. the pain from the sore throat got much much worse, as a sore developed in my stomach which would then radiated through my entire chest, causing major pain whenever I eat or drink anything. I ended up, so far, losing 20 lbs. My diet now consists of Ensure and Boost supplements, 4 times a day. It still is not enough calories, but I have managed this week to keep my weight steady.
In addition, the radiation burned my armpits to a charcoal black and caused my neck to have a massive sunburn, in effect toasting all of my neck hair on the back and front of my neck. On the bright side I won’t have to shave for awhile:) My fatigue has lessened considerably from last week and I no longer need 3 hour naps to sustain me. So the healing process is underway, and even more important I AM IN REMISSION!! CANCERFREE! WOOHOOO!
It has been extremely painful though. THe pain killers I received dont work too well, and on top of that, if mixed incorrectly cause them to come back up. not even banana popsicles can remedy that problem. But in the last couple days I have learned the power of the mind, how it can control the body to not make me yak, and make me deal with the pain. It’s interesting how big a part the mind can play in these kinds of situations. “No, I beat my body and make it my slave… 1 Cor 9:27”
Eating, though, was and still is the tough part. I can’t help but think back to watching earlier in the year the movie “The Rock”(with Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage). At the end of the movie Cage is battling some guy and ends up killing him by stuffing a toxic ball into his mouth, thereby exposing Cage to the toxin. Within a minute Cage will die, unless he takes the anitode, which is in a GIANT needle that he has to heave into his chest. I remember watching that and saying I could NEVER in a million years do that, too painful, I wouldn’t have the guts. I would end up dying, no doubt. Well, I discovered THAT is my current situation. I have to eat, despite the massive pain, or I will not get better. It feels like taking the giant needle and stabbing it into my chest, when I eat, so I guess I have done what I feared doing most. That is a victory I would never thought I could have conquered.
IT has been an interesting summer. I have learned a great deal from this radiation deal. First, never believe anyone who says “radiation- ahh- you’ll get a minor sore throat and lose your chest hair (all three of them).”:) It is a “tad” more difficult than that. Radiation is no picnic. I saw my demeanor and attitude change tremendously. I guess pain does that to you. Smiles were few and far between. The only thing that really kept me going, this is funny, was a series of books I was reading, called “Left Behind,” about the last days on earth. I am NOT into fiction at all, but I got sucked in and ended up buying all 7 in the series. Having this imaginary story line to put myself into, though, got my mind off the pain and and off myself. Thats a good thing. I highly highly recommend reading the series.
I also realized that this was a major disease and that I need to take my time to recover. I wanted to rush back and start work immediately when I got to the city, not matter how I felt. But my mind was changed as I watched the All-Star game last week and saw Andres Galarraga get his standing ovation. He too battled cancer, a very similar type to the one I have ( I mean had, wooohhhhoooo!). He did chemo and the radiation and had his good and bad days. In the end though, he took a year off from baseball and has come back this year to lead his team and be an inspiration to millions of baseball fans. Watching that teared me up a bit (“a lil dust got in my eye”), as I realized this guy was a hero to me, and that it took him time to recover. And if it takes him time to recover, I need to take my time and recover for my team at Goldman.
So, I am moving to nyc this weekend, getting settled, and spending the next couple weeks recovering to 100%. I dunno when I will start work, but I know I will take the advice of everyone who has told me to wait (and the inspiration of Galarraga) and get better first. No need to be a hero and rush in, just get better. So from now on I will be in NYC, I’ll throw my address and phone number in again below. If you ever come to NYC, make sure to come and visit.
It’s time now to enjoy my health again, relishing it everyday, thanking God for the even the smallest things (like being able to eat without pain and having armpits that aren’t black and sore).
I can’t wait to be able to go the Ruth’s Chris Steak house (two blocks away!), and get the phattest steak on the menu and eat it, with out having to wince in pain. I feel some dust getting in my eye again…:)
Alright, this one was long. sorry. I promise last long update. Hope I could keep you all informed and I will keep you all in my prayers. Thanks, and please stay in touch.