Monday, January 21, 2013

"We Said It Before And We'll Say It Again"*

I've seen the movie "The Bucket List" with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson in it's entirety before. It was on TV again over the weekend. I watched the beginning of it this time and then got distracted to something else. That's how I roll sometimes.

This time, I really took issue with this part of the movie (forgive the commercial before the clip begins). While I think Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman give amazing performances, I don't really care for the inaccurate information in this part of the movie. Yes, although the Morgan Freeman character qualified that he was receiving a clinical trial treatment and also noted that different people have different reactions, it really wasn't a good, or necessarily accurate way to describe chemotherapy. As both men had different forms of cancer in the movie, the chemotherapy regimen would also be different.

Greg, relax, it's only a movie. True. But Oscar Wilde said it best in his 1889 essay,"The Decay of Lying." "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life." 

I am concerned about how the general public obtains their knowledge of chemo and the impact of that knowledge on later decisions. I will admit, I feared chemo. However, I learned that if there was anyway possible that my reactions to chemo could be minimized, or even averted, the doctors and nurses were there with help. All I had to do was let them know I wasn't feeling well. I'm not saying everybody will have the same reactions, but I am not going the preach the gospel of "Fear The Chemo."

I will agree that chemotherapy is not the perfect method to treat cancer. However, it is the best method for certain cancers at this point in time. For myself, based on the location of the alien (nestled among my intestines), surgery and radiation was not an option I even wanted to consider, especially after I asked why they weren't an option. When I heard that a colostomy bag could be a potential permanent accessory if that route was even an option, I understood.

"Be careful, little tongues, what you say."

"Be careful, little ear, what you hear."

*Lyrics from, "This Was A Real Nice Clambake" from the musical, "Carousel" by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"So Tell Me, What's In Store For You In 2013?"

That was a real question posed to me recently by my friend the other week.

I paused for a minute and responded, "You know, I do not make a lot of plans. I like seeing what comes my way and then seeing what kind of fun it turns into."

Had I known what was coming my way in October 2008, I would have worked hard to plan to avoid it. However, I can say there was fun involved. Some times, not so much, but overall, I have said it before (and forgive me for saying it again), it was the best time of my life in the span of the last 10-20 years of my life. And, it continues.

I realized today that 2013 just happens (not planned that way) to be the last full year that I will be considered in remission. In August of 2014 I will be considered as "cured". Beginning in 1974, I can tell you that the most memorable years in my life started that year and then took place every 5 years since that year. I won't list them here, but I can recite the events of those specific years. The last "big year" was 2009. Wait Greg, wasn't that the year you had a couple bone marrow biopsies, 3 single day chemo treatments, 3 chemo treatments that involved one day in the clinic + an overnight hospital stay, the stem cell transplantation chemo, countless platelet transfusions, immune system at a level that placed restrictions on you that you weren't really happy about, and the possibility of surgery that would have had you spending New Year's Eve in the hospital?

Yup, you are correct! 

I look back on 2009 with this view. My faith background speaks often of Heaven. My view of Heaven changed in 2009. In my earlier years, I regarded Heaven as the final reward to a well lived life. But there is a often recited prayer used in my background that contains the words, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." With that said, that is why I consider 2009 a great year in the 5 year cycle. I glimpsed into heaven because of the people that surrounded me. Their work was the fulfillment of those words in the prayer.

That is my "plan" and prayer. To see that others get a glimpse into that same window that I did. Because there are glimpses of heaven here on earth, as it is in heaven. 

I do have plans for 2014 (the next year in the "5 year cycle"). Come back soon and I will fill you in. Trust me, it WILL involve a party!

And here's a hand, my trusty fierce,
And gie's a hand o' thine,
And we'll tak' a right guid willie-waught,
For auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne