This is Cancer

It took a good man.  A big, strong, solid, vibrant, loving man.

It took him, and knocked the wind out of his sails.  Drained his big, strong, solid, vibrant, loving body and weakened it, day by slow, excruciating day.

Took his pride.  Took his feelings.  Took his hopes and wishes away, and left him hollow.

With skeletal eyes, it made him gaze at me.  Causing constant pain, it led him to hold my hand and say nothing.

A beautiful man was taken out.

A man that was loved and was loving.

Pancreatic cancer grows, like a silence.

A death sentence that makes no sense.

A sentence that took away a whole book of a life.

This is cancer.

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Cancer Like a Silence

On May 17, Rob called me at work and said, “I’m at the hospital.  I checked myself into the ER this morning because I was doubled over in pain.  They did an MRI and they told me I have a mass on my pancreas, and more spots on my liver, but they’re sending me home.”

I left work and met him at his cabin.  He was waiting for me on the front porch.  I sat down with him, and his first words to me were, “I don’t want to die.”

By the first week of June, I was spending every night with him.  He wasn’t able to sleep due to hours-long bouts of hiccups, and he was afraid he’d stop breathing in the middle of the night.  My cats were home alone in my house, so I’d leave work every night and go home to feed them dinner and check their water bowl and litter box, then race over to Rob’s to spend the night.

I tried to make him fattening dinners…a lot of pasta, quiche, vegetables, soup, breads.  Most nights he’d take a few bites and then ask for an Ensure.  Other nights, he’d eat almost half the plate but then vomit it up before asking for Ensure.

He went from 179 lbs to 130 in two months.  He stopped showering because he couldn’t stand seeing his body anymore.  His skin was jaundiced, his muscles were gone, and he looked like a victim from Auschwitz.

I held him anyway.  I stroked his back, his shoulders, his arms, his legs.  I tried to find the old Rob in the new Rob.  I took him on long drives in the car on my days off, just to get him off the couch and out into the air.  Give him scenery, a change of pace.  He’d put on his sunglasses and lean the passenger-side seat back and look out the window and wave to people.  He’d squeeze my hand and say, “Thank you.”

He died at 57 because he was afraid to see the doctor each year.  He thought he was healthy as a horse and had no need for annual checkups.  When the pain started in his midsection last year, he thought perhaps it was an ulcer but he feared all the tests he’d have to go through.  So he kept putting off a physical.

That week in May, after he went to the ER, he handed me seven pages of blood test results.  I found the flagged items and googled ALT, ALP, AST, and started sobbing.  It was already too late.

But the oncologist told us that he’d get stronger after a few doses of chemo…the gastroenterologists told us they could help unblock the blockage…the surgeon told us that the port-a-cath would make Rob’s life easier…his primary care physician told us that his meds could help the pain…

Rob is gone but the bills keep coming to his mailbox, all of them from the oncologist, the gastroenterologists, the surgeon and the primary care physician.  They all knew he was dying…now they want to collect, the bastards.

Cancer is silent until it grows.

Pan Can, Can You Do the Pan Can?

Well.

So Rob and I are back together again.

I’m caregiver, he’s patient.  He’s very, very patient.

In May of this year, he suddenly started suffering stomach and back pain, along with constipation, and he ended up in the emergency room around May 17.  After an MRI showed a mass on his pancreas, he had an appointment with his (rather useless) primary care physician who administered lots of pain drugs but no tests for a month.

I think I wrote, last month, that he was scheduled for a biopsy.  Biopsy was done on June 23 and still no cancer care until almost another month later, when we were finally introduced to an oncologist who is now Rob’s primary care guy.  Not a moment too soon, oy.  Since then, several tests have been done, he’s got a gastroenterologist, a physical therapist, chemo…

And here we are.  I’m not able to get online much, because I’ve been spending every night at Rob’s cabin, about four miles away from our house.  He has no internet there.  His rent is no longer affordable, with disability payments alone, so he’s moving back in with me in our house next week.

Meantime, he started chemo this week – very aggressive stuff, but that’s the way we like it.  I am determined to see him back on his Harley by autumn.

Are you with me?

I’m gonna blog when I can, with updates, rants, prayers, tears, and hopefully nothing worse.

Meantime, I’m joining the Green Party and voting for Jill Stein.  The Democratic Party is shit, in my eyes.  That’s all I will say about politics.

I’m here for the fun, and the not fun.  I’m not here to talk about how wonderful Hillary Clinton is.  Oy.

 

Awaiting Bad News

I am, as the title says, awaiting bad news.

I am signed up for Bernie Sanders’ announcement to his supporters this coming Thursday night, June 16, and my ex-boyfriend but still friend is awaiting a liver biopsy.

I am awaiting bad news all around, and I am sort of resigned to it.  And sort of not.

How to deal with the fact that our country’s political system is due to undergo more corruption and or other nightmarish hell thanks to Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.  No chance of Bernie saving the day, anymore.

How to deal with the fact that the man I had hoped to marry, but didn’t, might be back under my roof soon in order for me to give him the care he would otherwise have at a hospice?  How to deal with the fact that I had thought we were over and could just be friends, but that was when I thought he’d be hanging around in my life for years and years, as a good buddy, and not possibly suffering pancreatic cancer of the pancreas and liver.

How to deal with the fact that, as much as I know life is unpredictable and things don’t always go smoothly, this year is turning out to be the suckiest, fuckiest year ever, and I don’t mean that in a good, fun, sexual way.

I hate bad news.  I hate news, in general.  Especially mainstream media news that is broadcast by firms who are already bought and sold by the lobbyists and corporations that own our politicians.

I hate awaiting bad news.  I hate waiting.

But I love you all, and wish you peace, as I wait.

I await the news.

 

Chernobyl after thirty years

Thirty years ago, the staff running a test on reactor #4 at the Lenin Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat, Ukraine, USSR were reading unexpectedly high radiation levels. They debated stopping the test, but decided to keep going to find the limits. When the temperature readings climbed too high as well, they tried to shut the reactor down by inserting carbon rods.

There was, however, a design flaw, known by upper levels in the government, but not by the staff doing the testing. Inserting those rods somehow increased the reaction, increasing the heat. Containment water became steam, the roof of the reactor blew off and some 12 tons of radioactive uranium became airborne, contaminating a large swath of Europe.

Continued on my blog

War on Drugs Update

I had two videos picked out to post but I decided this one was the most important because it is not about the current election. I am a little burned out on Trump and protesters.  I am happy to see he came in third tonight in Wyoming.  Maybe that will get him to back off on his hate talk.

This short video is from The Young Turks.  They are talking about how just a few states that have legalized pot has had a major effect on the drug cartels. It is surprising how much marijuana has stopped coming into this country. The bad side of this they have increased heroin sales on the street. Now that the illegal use has spread to white suburban neighborhoods the some of the members of congress is starting to doubt the effectiveness of out war on drugs. Tell me what you think about this topic.

Bill Clinton Likes Single Payer

In 2009 President Bill Clinton said:

“Well, I think it’s more politically unpalatable than it is a bad idea,” responded Clinton. “Because single-payer is not socialized medicine. Canada has a single-payer system, and a private health care system. Our single-payer systems are Medicare and Medicaid and Medicare is quite popular. The good thing about single-payer is the administrative costs are quite low. We probably waste $200 billion a year between the insurance administrative costs, the doctors’ and other health care providers’ administrative costs, and employers’ administrative costs in health care that we would not waste if we had any other country’s system.”