Put Some Ice On It?

Diane picked me up about 3:pm and took me to the doctor’s office. I think they schedule the Bone Marrow Biopsy patients at the end of the day as not to frighten other patients with any screaming. A nurse installed the IV and gave me some morphine and Ativan. The doc came in and I told her I was under the impression I was getting more drugs than last time, but now we were looking at the same dose as before. I told her I felt the Bolt of Lightning pretty strong last time we did this. She and the Nurse explained it was much preferred for my safety to give too little rather than too much, they didn’t want me to “Code” right here in the exam room. I pointed out that they had a, “Crash Cart” right outside the door, how dangerous could it be?

Then came the moment I’d been dreading, I laid face down on the table. The doc found the target spot in my hip and began injecting something to numb the area. She then confessed she would not really be able to numb the pain we have affectionately called, “The Lightning Bolt” when she breaks through the bone, but she would count as she did last time and it would be over. I was a little disappointed at that news, but no turning back now. She asked if I could feel her tapping on my skin, I said yes, I could feel it plainly. I think that got me another injection because as she continued to poke and push there, I felt only pressure. She said, “Here we go,” and I heard something hit the floor and roll, probably that big, marrow extracting, bone biting, spike needle tool. One of them began counting slowly, professionally, “One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three,” as the other lunged quickly to snatch it from the floor before it would certainly be contaminated.

I felt a small pain which I understand was the aspiration, and another strange but tolerable pain and shaking, which I understand was taking a chunk of bone. “One thousand five, that’s it.” Okay, maybe they weren’t chasing the big needle thing across the floor. I didn’t feel at all silly or fuzzy headed with morphine, so maybe they were actually counting as promised for my benefit, not like we count to annotate that grace period before food that has fallen on the floor at work begins the accumulation of germs.

DISCLAIMER: I work at the Public Works Department, our motto is, “Come for the job – Stay for the humor.” It’s the Waste Water Treatment Plant whose motto is, “We don’t have a five second rule!”

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I took this picture in Troutdale, Oregon, picking up a truck load of insulation

The biopsy results will be back in about a week.

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It’s funny, the commotion a little number can cause

The first time I was told I had cancer; I thought my life might be ending. I remember thinking, I can’t die now, I have unfinished projects everywhere I look, who will finish them? And I had always assumed I would be here to take care of my wife when we got older. Who will do that if I’m not here?

After prayer and consideration, I came to realize that there isn’t really anything that won’t get by without me. I was mentally preparing my self for the end. You reluctantly try it on for size, wear it around for a while, and with God you can say, “If I must, I can do this.”

I had surgery and recovery, and after a while I thought my life might go on.

Time passes and you start thinking, “Maybe I will be around a while, maybe even a long time.” So you wear that around and get used to it.

Then came the second cancer, this one incurable. Those words are devastating, but good or bad (bad or worse), I have God’s peace.  I remember the moment it hit me, the peace that passes all understanding.  You can learn about it here – Philippians 4:7.  I’d rather not have cancer; I’m in no hurry to die, but here on earth, the mortality rate is 100%.

I’m tested every three months. After stable, stable, and continuing stable, it’s easy to cast your focus a little farther out and think again, “Maybe I will be around for years.”

The difference between 1.2 and 1.8 is such a small number, but enough to bring a (Smoldering) Multiple Myeloma patient back for more testing, x-rays, waiting for the next answer (and the next question), and realizing again that this could be the beginning of the end.

I feel like such a wimp when I read the blogs and posts of other Multiple Myeloma sufferers, they’ve been through so much. I’ve been enjoying a fairly normal life, quietly smoldering a year and a half; that’s easy. These MMr’s are experienced and decorated medical combat veterans. Most have had serious medications, agonizing treatments, terrible side-effects, lives completely upended, and eventually – finally, death.

I read one Multiple Myeloma blogger’s list of stages he predicts most of us will go through.  There was not one mention of Jesus, no peace from God.  How sad for him to face this (and eternity) without joy. His only hope was in doctors and medicine. I like doctors and medicine (and insurance!), but regardless, one day I will die.

I remember hearing it said of someone who survived a great tragedy, “God was surely with them!”  But, then I wondered about those who didn’t survive, was God not with them?  If they were believers, God was with them also.  I realize that because he is always with me.  Going in or out of the hospital, going in or out of cancer, going in or out of life, His presence is undeniable.  This cancer experience hasn’t been any fun, but through it, I’ve enjoyed the strength and comfort from God’s Peace.  Thank you for your prayers for Diane and me.

Monday, I go for another bone marrow biopsy. This is where the roller-coaster starts to get exciting!

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I love this shot of Loren and I. Thanks, Diane

Stability Is Constant (at least for now)

I left work yesterday telling my co-workers I was going to “spin the wheel” again at my oncologist’s office.  The wheel appears to have stopped once more on, “stable.”  I tell everyone that I would be happy to remain stable for the rest of my life.  I won’t get tired of that word, stable, I hope you don’t mind my repeating it.  Thank you for your prayers.

The current test results that were available right away showed no notable change.  The results for the test that really tells what’s going on will not be available for a few days.

During the exam, the doc asked if I was experiencing any pain or numbness, or anything unusual.  I told her that next time I see my urologist; I was going to ask him about my belly button.  It’s been “weird” since the prostate surgery.  There’s a little skin bubble where the button used to be.  She took a look and said it’s herniated.  She said it won’t be a problem unless some “bowel” gets into it (or, unless a head with slime dripping fangs pops out of it).  I wondered out loud about the rare opportunity to incorporate that little bubble into a three dimensional tattoo; an eyeball tattoo would be perfect there!

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Maybe something like this?

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Also very rare, our cats sitting quietly together. Probably resting up for the late night cat races