The medical staff attending to my treatment over the past few months have been outstanding. I believe I have made that clear on a few occasions. But strangely, there is something about the process that created a bit of a stir this past week.
The key phrase here is "through treatment". As in, I am finished with the three chemotherapy sessions and the 35 radiation treatments set out by the team back in early September. So, for the past five days, I have had the freedom to avoid regular trips to the clinic in Kelowna.
But, the side effects, or after effects, have been excruciating. In fact, as the past week came and went, I experienced the most pain I have had to endure over the entire course of this adventure. It was peculiar on one hand, because I suppose I had dodged a few bullets along the way. But naturally, when it became almost unbearable this past week, we had to contact the med staff for some direction.
When we called the clinic on Thursday morning, basically to ask for a meeting with my radiation oncologist, we were advised he was unavailable. So, Gay spoke on my behalf with a nurse, as I was having difficulty speaking. The gist of the converastion was how to deal with the feeling in my throat that felt as though food and liquid was simply not moving.
How much of this might be due to inflammation?
Is the build up of mucosa in my throat preventing food and water from making its way through my system?
Could there be a blockage?
Can we rule out an infection?
The solution offered was to continue to hydrate constantly. And, if there was no change and continued discomfort, scoot down to Emergency and ask for a chest x-ray.
Okay, so we struggled through Thursday. On Friday, we decided to stop by the clinic in Kelowna to speak with a doctor. Now, we didn't have an appointment, but my attitude was such that I wanted to put myself in a position where I would not be ignored.
The nurses were surprised to see me, but we did indeed get their attention. Ultimately, the meeting resulted in a complete re-examination of the pain medications prescribed, and a discussion about the potential effectiveness. This was valuable as I really have not had much desire to start buggering around with morphine and other drugs. But, the prescribed dosages are all about reducing pain.
Over the past couple of days, I've have been on a steady diet of morphine, tylenol and nystatin. None of this is addictive in the context we are using them, but I was uneasy all along with the use of these drugs. But, now that I'm a couple of days into a routine, I feel a little better.
What was somewhat disconcerting about the interactions at the clinic was the suggestion by the staff that I am now "through treatment". Effectively, it is preferred now that if I encounter problems, the procedure recommended is to head into Emergency for assistance. For example, if I begin to run a fever, head into the ER.
This is fine in my mind if I become absolutely debilitated at 2:00 in the morning! But on a consultative basis during the day, this notion that I am now considered to be "through treatment" really pisses me off. Effectively, instead of speaking with the same team in the same environment that I have been attending for the past three months, I'm being directed to visit the ER? Who knows what doctor I might see there, but it will not be someone who was directly or indirectly involved in my treatment.
So, color me confused. But hey, at least I'm "through treatment"!
I remember this story/prayer from days gone by. One of my biggest struggles through all of this has been the impact on my independence. I have been blessed to have been pretty much "in control" of things for most all of my adult life. But recently, there is no doubt in my mind that Gay and I are getting help these days when it comes to the heavy lifting.
One night I had a
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand;
One belonged to me, and the other to the
When the last scene of my life flashed before us,
I looked back at
the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my
There was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it
happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life
This really bothered
me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided
to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that
during the most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of
I don't understand why in times when I
needed you the most,
you should leave me.
The Lord replied,
"My precious, precious
love you, and I would never,
never leave you during your times of
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I