Friday, August 16, 2013

The Dog Days of Summer...

So it was on August 12 when I arrived at the BC Cancer Agency in Kelowna, feeling okay but admittedly, kind of agitated. Coming off a busy weekend at work, then trying to cram eight hours of work into a six-hour shift on Monday was probably a little much to try and accomplish. Add in a couple of unexpected "golfer situations" at the last minute and my head was sufficiently spinning as I wheeled on to Highway 97.

The appointment was my second "90-day" post treatment consultation. The blood work and scans had been done in advance, along with reports from my annual physical on July 31. There was really nothing too exciting to report. The details...

Weight: a cool 174.8 pounds.

Thyroid: still a mess, but meds are in place to help deal with this adventure.

Tongue: sounds like everything looks and feels normal as far as the doc is concerned. There is no evidence of the tumor returning.

Epiglottis: the new adventure! This is the "flap" that opens a closes the larynx. Apparently, a piece of this has broken off, which is understandable due to the amount of radiation drilled into my neck. The concern here is that food may occasionally escape into my lungs, which can cause some irritation and coughing. Guess I'll just stay tuned.

Reflux: this burning in my neck and chest has been a bother for about six weeks. According to Bachand, this is totally an effect of stress. So, some more meds! It's frustrating...

Neck: there is significant scarring inside my neck, cartilage that remains hard and swollen on the right side. I still cannot grow hair on my neck, which isn't a big deal. It's just a noticeable effect of treatment. There is no sign of any swollen lymph nodes.

Overall, Dr. Bachand is happy with things, suggesting I am in very good shape physically based on the aggressiveness of the treatment. I may be through with CT Scans for awhile, although I have to check in again with the agency in three months.

Bachand has been a terrific young guy to deal with. He is careful to explain things clearly, and is not a guy putting huge restrictions on what I choose to do. He appears to be a little pissed off that I have been devoting so much time to work so soon after completing treatment. But, as has been the case all along, he acknowledges that I will "own" the consequences of these decisions.

Stress - Part 1: The entire 2013 calendar has really become a drag. There is, of course, recovery as one issue, but the curve balls from other areas have been coming at us in just a non-stop fashion. Of paramount concern...the gawddam clubhouse fire at the golf course. As a management team, we knew going in that the biggest challenge, a disinterested restaurant lease operator, would be a resolved issue very quickly into the golf season.  The inevitable came to pass at the end of April and we were elated to be turning the corner to provide an enhanced, personal experience on the food and beverage side. There was a real good vibe in the mix after just a couple of weeks, then the shit hit the fan when the clubhouse burnt down. We've kind of been playing catch up all season long as a result. Add in the occasional bouts of unnecessary consumer bullshit, and the environment can become just far too toxic. There have been some amazing triumphs for certain, but there have been far too many longer days and way too many glitches for our liking. Alas, no pain, no gain?

Stress - Part 2: My wife's best friend has been diagnosed with breast cancer. This situation entered our world in June. Heather and her husband had traveled to Kelowna last August to help Gay and I move to West Kelowna, just two weeks before my treatment was to start. We traveled back to Alberta in mid-July to spend a few days with them, which was well worth the drive. For Heather, the prognosis is good and a treatment plan will get rolling soon.
Stress - Part 3: Our "adopted" parents in Kelowna are fighting for their lives. Literally. Sure, when folks approach 90 years of age, the inevitable enters the realm of thinking, but that doesn't make the health-related challenges any easier to digest. Jack and Norrie have no family here. They have been so wonderfully co-dependent over the many years we have come to know them. But now, they are separated due to health issues, both in need of constant care. Gay and I have encountered some questionable decisions from the medical teams and social workers along the way, some baffling logic that has us very curious about the short- and long-term future. But, we'll gut this out.

Conclusion: Hey, it's surely not all doom and gloom these days, just a few crummy setbacks to overcome. We'll hang in there together, as we've done with some success over the past 25 years. The second half of August usually includes a few busy days at work and also a couple of fun "get-togethers" with friends as we kind of wind down the summer months. For certain, there are some good times ahead!

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