December 19, 2019
I haven’t posted in a few weeks since I was hoping that I would have had the ablation injection in my left hip to report positive outcomes. Instead, the pain increased in my right hip and the stabbing pain started again this time in my right hip mainly with some in the left hip. In addition, I was having the neck and upper back pain likely caused from having to push up to get in and out of the bed. While waiting for the ablation to get scheduled, I called the Neurosurgeon and they thought a steroid and numbing medicine might be good for my right side with the idea that the injection in my right hip would be as helpful as the original one in the left side.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t very helpful at all. When I had the injection in my left hip, I had some relief and I didn’t have to take pain meds for about 10 days. Then, the pain started back in both hips. The neck and upper back pain were becoming a real problem. As a matter of fact, I had to go back to the original dose of pain meds four times per day from the 3 times per day that I had maintained before.
Please keep in mind that since there doesn’t seem to be a direct link between the pain and the liver cancer, the Palliative Care protocol was that in this case they must refer you to a Pain Specialist Group. The original plan was to refer me to UT Pain Management since they were also at UT where my other Doctors are.
But we were all fooled since that group only manages physical pain with physical therapy and other methods of relief and not medication management. This seemed like a big problem since I had less medicine than I needed to do me until my Neurosurgeon appointment on January 14th.
Palliative Care referred me to another clinic that could handle my needs. So far, I feel good about the visit I had with the Pain Consultant. Hopefully, I can control my pain for the most part. They prescribed a back brace and muscle relaxer which are sure to exacerbate my fatigue. And they will write a prescription for four pills per day.
My treatment plan at this point is: Have my four month scan of my liver and abdomen on January 15th to see what is going on with my cancer; Visit the pain clinic on January 16th; and; and then have my labs and see my Oncologist on January 17th. The second week in January promises to be quite eventful!
I won’t lie and tell you that I am not anxious about the findings and the next steps. The last scan my tumors had reduced in size, but the tumor markers went from 600 to 1100. The real deal is that the last 6 or 7 weeks my fatigue and sleepiness have gotten much worse. I fail to have any energy and when I have something that is important, I must push so much. I try as hard as I can to spend quality time with family, but it is tough even though I appear to be positive an upbeat. It is difficult since any burst of energy is short lived and takes a toll.
I have missed quite a few Toastmaster meetings and Cancer Support Group meetings and if you know me you know that those are important to me. Shelia has been so supportive and is driving me back and forth quite a bit more than before. She is one fine woman and I couldn’t do even this well without her! I love you Doll!
So, here is where I am at in the most important parts of my struggle:
- On the Physical side, I am miserable with all the fatigue and excessive tiredness. And even with pain meds, it’s not a cakewalk. I don’t really see me coming out of this pattern soon.
- On the nutrient side I am not doing well with food. I am still plant based but not eating the real nutritious food like smoothies and raw plants.
- On the exercise side, there is NONE. I just can’t do it!
- And on the spiritual side I am lost. I have not lost any of my faith and spiritual beliefs, but I absolutely have no energy for spiritual exercises.
So, it wouldn’t be much a surprise to acknowledge I am dealing with depression. Not a clinical depression but just the feeling that this cancer may take me out sooner that I want. The truth is that my quality of life is declining. I still find moments of joy by spending time with my family, my friends, and my colleagues. I am not ready to give up, but it is increasingly difficult with all my problems.
It is time to get off here and try to get some rest. I really can’t tell each one of you just how much your love, prayers, and unbelievable support you have shown me over the last 17 months or so means to me. Many people with my diagnosis sometimes only last 2-3 months. So, I am ahead at this point, but I don’t know what the future will bring.
I will be posting a separate blog to share the third in my “Grand” Series of Stories entitled, “Ivan and Jimbo’s Park Adventure” soon.
Loving Regards, Jim