Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Value Of Evaluation

In a few hours, I will be riding along with a friend on a road trip to Harrisonburg VA (about 2.25 hours from here). My friend is the one doing the driving. She has been invited to be the guest speaker at a church over there (where we both attended at the same time almost 20 years ago). She asked me to ride along with her. Since someone else is driving and because my car has 245,000 miles on it in less than 9 years, it will feel good to be a rider. I don't think I've ridden in a car as a passenger for any distance over 10-20 miles in years.

Was looking back on some old blog posts from 2009 when I couldn't wait to start driving again.

Naturally, I go back and read some blog posts from the beginning just to remember and evaluate where I was and where I am. In my eyes some of those earlier blog posts were pretty naive. However, they were honest. They were naive in the fact that I really didn't research the treatment options and didn't really consider the long term effects they would have on me. I've heard my treatments referred to as "the big guns" by those in the profession. No questioning what that means, but there are questions about what effects the treatment could potentially have on me, physically, later in life. I don't obsess over those questions and they don't keep me awake at night.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, what I don't regret is that the decisions I made in the early days were based on trust in the individual who presented the options to me. I did have others along with me during some of the appointments when the options were presented, but to their credit, those that went along with me knew that the final decisions rested with me.

Since I feel good now ("Better Living Through Chemistry"), I trust myself and those that presented the options to me. Somehow, I think that presenting your trust to others is a momentum changing activity. Potentially even with someone who may have less than honorable intentions. In the beginning, when I couldn't understand why some of those around me weren't acting the way I wanted them to, several folks said to me, "The way to change others is to change yourself first. You have to decide the type of behavior that is acceptable and then you have to present it and LIVE it." They were right.

I met some folks in the process with who I didn't instantly connect. I advocated for myself when I met those folks, but I didn't do it in a adversarial manner. I used humor and some firmness, and it worked. I will tell you that there are some folks that if I encountered again, I would release some of the "hounds of Greg" on them. However, there were countless others that accepted my trust and repaid it many times over.

My focus and forward vision is a result of them.

'No government can help the destinies of people who insist in putting sectional and class consciousness ahead of general weal.''  Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Friday, February 4, 2011

In Print

Last week, I opened the mailbox and saw a package in there from CURE Media Group. I knew right away what it was and it was pretty exciting. They have published and printed this years edition of "Extraordinary Healers: CURE Readers Honor Oncology Nurses" and they sent me a printed copy of it. It was pretty cool to open it and see the essay in print along with a picture of Annette and myself and then an essay that Annette wrote (that was well done - but why would that be a surprise to anyone).

Not fishing for compliments here, but I also have a response of , "Not sure why this is a big deal. It really wasn't that hard to write it." But the next voice I hear is what I've said before, "I didn't write it. The person whom the essay was about wrote it. I added the words." 

The book will be available for purchase from the folks at CURE, but they haven't posted the link on their website yet.

So, where is the head of a cancer patient who is approaching being one year out from any kind of infusion and is a year and a half out from the last time chemo entered the body?

This is where I've read some of us are:

1) We miss the regular contact with the caregivers with who we were engaged in numerous visits over a short amount of time during one of the most dramatic times of our lives.

2) Is this persistent cough/congestion just like what everyone else is fighting, or how much longer do I fight it without a doctor visit?

3) Last night, a different kind of anxiety dream. One of being readmitted to MCV, but this time in a semi-private room. In the dream I was more concerned about sharing a room than I was about whatever I was being treated for. This morning, as I washed my hair in the shower, I thanked God for a spacious shower, not being hooked up to an IV line while I was showering, and for hair to shampoo and rinse (I know the amount of hair on my head is not as voluminous as some other heads of hair, but there is hair there. The bald spot is because the brain keeps asking for more room).

Up next...regular visit with the oncologist on Feb 24, 1.5 year followup with the MCV docs on Feb 25, and then a bone marrow biopsy sometime in the next month or so I would guess.

Oh yeh....for the first time in 3 years, I will be auditioning for a local theatre production on Monday night. I'll keep you posted on that. I guess that's another place where the head is. Not a bad place to go.

And just for fun. Love this!