It ain’t a sprint, its a marathon

Let me just jump right in …..

So, last friday, Elizabeth goes to the doctor. She calls me freaking out. “The doctor says I have the symptoms for Hepatitis A.”  Well, hepatitis never sounds good so like any doctor who’s ever stayed at a Holiday Inn express (or Red Roof Inn) would do, I went to the google machine and looked it up. Apparently, you feel like crap for a few weeks but with antibiotics, its all cleared up in a matter of weeks. But, understandably, she’s worried. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine. I gave her a hug (even though I could get something, that’s small potatoes, I laugh at hep A) and told her everything will work itself out and we’ll be back to normal in no time

Fast forward to tuesday of the next week.  They call for an ultrasound. Wait……That doesn’t sound quite right.  At least to me and probably to Elizabeth as well.

Wednesday, meet with the doctor. OK, there’s no hep A. Well alright alright alright. That’s great news. But there’s a blockage from the liver to the bile ducts. Might be stones, might be a gallbladder. Either way, its a relief right? No Hep A. Awesome. They did send us immediately to Baptist south for a cat scan to see what the blockage is because, there’s still the jaundice (yellow eyes and unbeknownst to me, yellow skin which apparently, she looked like a minion) and the itching. So we need to figure out what’s happening.

So, after checking in, answering the typical same hospital questions over and over and once more again (seriously, they type this stuff in and write it down, is that just for show?) we sit in a waiting room for two hours waiting for a cat scan while CNN blares the story about Donald Trumps relations with Russia, his meeting with Israel’s Netanyahu, and how these emails tie into eretile dysfunction medicines and walk in bathtubs (the commercials may have blended in at some point). So we go to a room to await the results.

Several people came in and out of the room. One doctor, who we’ll call Mumbles couldn’t get the mouse working on the computer (climbed under the desk at one point like a mechanic working on a transmission) and was about as non informative as drywall. However one doctor came in. After hearing the story of what was going on and the symptoms for 583rd time (seriously, why even write anything) she says, well I’ve got the results and pulls them out of her pocket like Maury Povich with the paternity results. There might be a tumor.

Tumor

Whatever she said after that was ignored. I looked at Elizabeth and we melted. Seriously? A tumor? Couldn’t be right. Or if it was, it was nothing right? It’s a hospital, they cut these out all the time. It’s like having your brakes squeal a little and they say, well, new rotors for you. It’s a bit of a pain and something you didn’t expect but it’ll be fine right?

Well……

The next morning the oncologist comes in. Apparently (and again, this is worst case scenario) Elizabeth has this rare form of Cancer called a “Klatskins Tumor”. I post the name so you can look it up and go, WTF! How in the world does she get one of the rarest forms of cancer. 1 out of 100000 cancer patients gets this!  Not 1 out of 100000 people, no, 1 out of 100000 cancer patients!!!!! There’s like, 150 a year and we pulled this card? And it typically hits people from 65 to 80 years old. Yeah, and she’s not a liver abuser like myself or almost all my friends. Seriously, how does this happen?  And so quickly. There’s really no answer except in this hand of cards we got thrown a stinker

Anyway, they ran tests (endoscopy) and got samples from the lymph nodes and from what the oncology doctor said, yeah, the cells are cancerous. At this time while Elizabeth was still knocked out I went outside, threw up and called my brother in law Jim (who I will never, ever be able to thank enough for his support) to alert everyone. I got back in the room before they wheeled Elizabeth back and……..well. That went about how you would expect.  I think, well know, we’re still trying to wrap our head around this new reality

So here we are.  I’m pretty confident we’ll bring Elizabeth home tomorrow (Saturday). They put a stint in her to get the liver function down to a normal level and hopefully get her back in her own bed where she can get some sleep and turn her brain off for a bit. We’re going to the Mayo Clinic where apparently the best guy in the world that handles this is at the hospital. And whatever they say, we do, and move on from there. We have a great group of people that are looking out for us and moving this along at a quick level that we all think this situation deserves.  The support we’ve gotten from our friends and family is tremendous. I sure never realized how great we had it at that level. It’s overwhelming and I can’t thank you guys enough. Words cannot express the gratitude both Elizabeth and I feel knowing we have an army behind us. I’m going to keep doing this blog to let everyone know where we’re at in the process. Some days may be good, some may be bad. There may be times we just circle the wagons and dont pick up the phone or answer texts. Just know we appreciate the good thoughts, prayers, and mojo you send our way. And keep up with the blog. It’ll give me something constructive to keep my mind occupied and hopefully we’ll all get through it in one piece. Because as I heard one time in a elevator in Vegas and it really sums this up for the first three days, this ain’t a sprint guys, its a marathon. Love you all and blog at you soon.

#uphillbattle

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The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

I’ll jump in over here

Ok, it was a roller coaster of a day. One that if they opened it at Busch gardens you would have to preorder tickets to ride because it was that up and down. So lets clear some things up from yesterday. Nobody is dying tomorrow. Yes, we have called hospice (more on that later) but we needed to get into their que. Again, while things are sliding in the wrong way, nobody is dying tomorrow. My bride, while she’s taken a lot of shots, is not going down yet. She’s still battling. She’s stubborn. I say this with all due respect, which I know usually follows with something not respectful at all, shes a tough broad. When people have said the pas few days how strong I am, I shake my head and laugh. I’m as tough as wet toilet paper compared to her. To put it in music terms, I’m Kenny G to her Metallica. In sports terms, I’m the Browns and shes the ’86 Bears defense (I cannot give any credit to the patriots who I will call out here as a sham and all smoke and mirrors). She’s my rock. She’s the one that I look at think man, when I grow up, I want to be that badass. I can’t emphasize this enough, I adore her with every fiber of my being. And while things are going south, to quote Mark Twain, “the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”. Now, for the update.

So we head to the temple of doom for the pain management meeting. The Dr come out of the box with “so theres been discussion of a pump”. Uh, I think I vaguely remember one meeting with a doctor where it was mentioned in passing. So he went into it. Now I dont know if he gets a commission off of these pumps but the dude sold it. Basically shes on 200 mgs Of morpheme with all the dilaudin and oxymorphone they bumped her up to. This device, once installed internally, would reduce it to 1mg a day with much better results pain wise. That and if shes taking less pain pills the nausea lessens so she can eat, she will have more energy as a result of more food and less pills, and get out of the cloudiness shes been in where shes in bed 20 hours a day (I’d like to say thats exaggeration, but its not). So we go in for a test next week where they inject the drugs into her back and see where shes at after three hours. If everything is cool they can install it. It’s all internal. There’s the question of “well why didn’t they do this before”. They have things they have to do. I’m a little puzzled why they just bumped her meds up and didn’t offer this. The Dr said in advanced cancer cases this is the best. That there was a woman on significantly more painkillers they installed one in that was a game changer. I could beat my head against a wall and ask why but that would do zero good. Beating your head against anything is never good. Or getting mad because theres no cups in the bin by the water fountain to take pills with. (Note to self, those dispensers are made out of strong metal and they frown upon giving ice bags out because you had a belly full and laid into it. Pain management has its limits and that is out of bounds). So while its small, we’ll take the win. And hope that we can get a few more good days from it. Because goddammit, we need a few.

So that brings me to the hospice visit. The meeting was OK. Nobody, in the history of the world has ever said, wow! That was a great Hospice meeting. No, it was a meeting with mortality. She (the nurse) was really great. She explains things that are coming up. That care comes after our heroine has thrown in the towel on chemo. There are some things they can do but they really step in after, well………..

Look, I listened and got the gist of it. I got a booklet I need to read. They will keep in touch. They’re calling me next friday after we meet with the doctors next week and see what happens with the pump. I got a call from a friend that said “take the help, Whatever they or anyone offers take the help”. I get that. I will. It’s just hard to do it. I think for both of us. We will cry and scream and yell to our friends. But with each other, maybe to our detriment, we both get big and bad and want to go through that wall. We’re a pretty good team in that way. Either way, they’re involved now. But again, we’ll live for another day for as long as she wants to. Yeah.

Again, thanks for the thoughts, prayers, and good vibes. I got a call from a guy that I haven’t actually spoken to since we played boys club football in the Mcgriff green jerseys. I’ve gotten messages and texts and calls that have left me speechless. As much as everyone “doesn’t know what to say”, I’m in the same boat. Except I’m/we’re grateful. I could go on and on about how much this has changed me and altered my perspective, and it has, but I bought a carton of Bryers mint chocolate chip thats calling my name and a wall to stare at. So I’m going to do that. Thanks for the kindness, hopefully we didn’t use it up already, cause we’ll need it later, no doubt. Love you savages and keep on rockin the free world. Big Kiss MUAHHH.

Thanks, and Black Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday

I’ll jump in over here.

Yeah, its been a while hasn’t it. I really thought about this one a lot over the past couple of weeks going over and over in my head how to write this. Still not sure but I needed to write to keep everyone who has followed this journey updated. And before you say it, I know, I owe you nothing. But you’re wrong and I’ll tell you why later. First, the update on our heroine. The last three weeks have been bad. From upping the pain meds to stop the searing pain to the chemo and the nausea, she’s not really eating a lot. So as a result of that she has no energy, therefore she doesn’t get out of bed a lot. So as many of you saw today, Hospice was called. We have an appointment tomorrow at 3PM. Then back to the Temple of Doom wednesday and thursday for another round of chemo sandwiched between MRI’s, CT’s and doctors visits. So yeah. I could go deeper into this (a lot deeper, some of you know) but I can’t. Because calling hospice is almost to much weight for me right now. Everyone has asked at some point, how are you doing? Two word answer,

Not well.

Not well at all. I’m sad. I’d probably say a bit depressed but I’ve never been before so I dont know. I was asked at Thanksgiving if I’m sleeping. Yeah, maybe too much. I’ve never slept through a Florida/FSU game and I know it was the right year to do it but man, when a noon game is too late for you there might be issues. I have cut down drinking a bit so thats good I guess. It’s hard to talk to people still. Either I just blank out or eventually just become infuriated listening. I’ve realized that and I know I’ve said it a million times on here and will say it a million more, I work with the best people who have said, have the calls come to the office when you get like that. We can handle it. Pretty sure they see/know there are days when it just isn’t going to benefit anyone to have me talking to customers. The girls are doing as well as they can. Staying busy. Hannah with school/work/boyfriend (yeah, you read that right and dudes like 6’4″. Seriously?) and Haley with school/friends/youth group. They make me proud in so many ways. Hannah came home from a friends church (she went voluntarily, which being the Fred Sanford heathen I am always astounds me) and we talked about the sermon. There was a line in there she wrote down. “If you’re marked with sadness right now, theres more story to tell. It’s the beginning of a beautiful story”. She got upset later that night, so I reminded her of this line. It’s a great line. They both are just starting their story. I’m sure it will turn out well.

For those that would say, you owe us nothing Bob. No I really do. I put out a simple post this morning, about calling Hospice. I got calls/texts/messages from people I hadn’t heard from in years and all my good friends. I got a call from the preschool director at Elizabeths old school early then went by later (and I’m still going to be Santa on friday, it’s needed this year just a little more). She said she had been flooded with calls asking if theres anything anyone can do. The short answer is no. You’ve done enough with just keeping us in your thoughts and prayers and keeping in touch. You’ve done more to lift our spirits by following this nonsense blog. You’ve done enough just randomly calling me and making me laugh at a stupid story or a dick joke. You’ve done enough by showing me that there are a few good people out there still and I think I know them all. I am truly humbled and blessed to have all you savages in our corner. And thats awesome, powerful stuff. I’m going to cut this one a little short as I’ve been alternating between puking and crying all day and a spell is coming on so until later (and I’ll catch you up sooner than later next time), love you guys and big sloppy kisses.