I used to feel that I was in a race for Pink Slips between cancer and retirement. If cancer wins, it owns my retirement – and this body of mine! If retirement wins, cancer may still be lurking, but, Yea! I’ve made it to that reward most working people are working towards. Allegedly, the Golden Years, time to enjoy life. My life has been awesome – can it get any better in retirement?
I was telling anyone who asked, that now (retired), I am busier than ever; until I realized that was not accurate. I have always been busier than ever. But, each weekday (sometimes more) I had to stop doing my stuff, set it aside and put in 8 hours (sometimes more) doing other people’s stuff. I would get back to my stuff as time allowed. Now that I’m retired, time allows all my stuff, every item on all of my to-do lists, to crowd in close, jump up and down, wave arms and shout, “Do me! Do me!” Because they know I no longer have to go to work – I’m retired – I’ve got nothing but time.
Doctors, doctors, doctors: I enjoyed legendary biscuits and gravy at the hospital cafe before my appointment with my ear-nose-throat doctor. I am still clearing my throat – maybe overall not quite as often as before – it’s hard to tell. He wondered out loud about the possibility of my throat clearing being automatic or habit now. I told him that I’m certain I have nearly constant sinus draining, even when my sinuses feel clear, and that when I do clear my throat, there is something there. I can feel it clear. He said most everyone does that, it’s normal. But I might have over sensitive nerves in my throat that compel me to continually clear it. He announced that there is a medicine for this, and he has had patients in my exact situation who have had good success with it. I’m thinking are you kidding? Why has this not been mentioned before today? Patients in my exact situation? I repeated suspiciously. Good success? I echoed. Yes, he confirmed. The medicine is Gabapentin, a drug prescribed to me a couple years ago in an attempt to relieve the peripheral neuropathy symptoms in my feet. It might make you sleepy, he warned. Rather annoyed at the thought of another medication to make me sleepy, I asked, Isn’t there a drug whose side effect would make me more alert, make my mind and my vision sharper, and give me a boost of energy? “Yes, there is,” he answered, “It’s called amphetamines.”
Although Gabapentin might work on the symptoms and not the cause of the symptoms, it was the only offer of possible help I’ve had. I began taking it daily and it did make me feel kind of drugged. After two weeks I saw no change in the throat clearing. I called the doctor and said I’d like to quit the Gabapentin. He suggested doubling down instead – taking three doses daily instead of two. I did that for two more weeks with no change in symptoms. When I reported that, he said it was time for the BIG GUNS: Doxycycline, twice a day for 90 days. If I have chronic sinus infection, that should take care of it. I’m now about halfway through the 90 days. I’d like to say it’s helping, so I will say it might be helping a little.
I saw my heart doctor not long ago, it was a routine 6-month check with nothing to report. Not long after that appointment, I began noticing an annoying pressure that would come and go in the middle of my chest. I told the doctor about it and now I’m on the calendar for another stress test (with nuclear imaging).
I made it to another 3-month visit with my oncologist. My tests were good, showing only one concern, a high glucose score, winning me an appointment with another doctor to look into that.
In a break between doctor visits, inspired by my nephew, John Paul, my wife and I purchased an electric car. Imagine a comfortable, two-seater, front wheel drive, electric go-kart. That’s how it feels, ELECTRIFYING FUN! It was an adventure driving a short-range urban run-about purchased in Washington to our home in Oregon. You can read about it here if you’d like.