Creeping Crud

It has been quite a while since my last post but time to catch up! Right after my big surprise celebration I caught my annual creeping crud that I invariably get in late September or early October each year. It usually starts out as an allergy or sinus infection and will move down to my chest. I am especially concerned this year because I don’t need to have anything to cause pneumonia that was discussed during my ER visit. So Mucinex and nose spray and plenty of coughing and hacking.

The last few weeks have also given me quite a few episodes of fatigue that I am not accustomed to and sleep is not something I can bank on. So, I have had to push myself as best as I can, but I can’t always prevail. So sometimes a nap or just some rest is all I can muster. I have also noticed that my legs and overall balance is not as good as I would like. Part of my cancer fight I presume.

Some highlights of the past few weeks include an emotional release exercise guided by a friend and healthcare professional wherein I was able to discover some buried emotions from my lifetime plus some inherited emotions from my Great Grandfather on my Dad’s side. Many people believe that hidden emotions can cause a lot of our physical problems and disease. I believe it may be valid and therefore worth the effort.

After I went to the ER as discussed in my last Blog post I had an appointment with my Interventional Radiologist on October 8th to check my blood levels and to see if I can have my next treatment. I was rather pleased that my liver enzymes were within the normal range and my bilirubin was only 0.6, which is well within the normal range and is an indicator that the next treatment will go forward. It is now scheduled for Tuesday, November 13.

Another interesting thing that came up with my appointment was that the IR doc indicated that the CT with contrast that I had at the ER showed some necrosis of the tumor (tissue death). The scan was done only 6 days after the treatment so a very good sign that the procedure was working. Hopefully the second procedure will continue the process.

So, the last few weeks I have been trying to recover from the crud and pushing some days when I could. A couple of things we have done is to go to the Wilderness Resort for a couple of days taking Haylee and Ivan and having Brianne and Lily joining us. Later that week we went to Dollywood and took in the Luminights. It was awesome!

We have also gone to a couple of Halloween festivals at the Beardsley Farms and the Church at Knoxville. The key is to pace myself. It looks like we are out doing everything, but the truth is that we fit it in when we can.

I am also attending East Tennessee Meeting Professional Meetings and Toastmaster meetings when I can. Although I couldn’t attend the recent TM Area Contests due to illness.

I also was able to reach out to my friend in Atlanta who has battled cancer twice and is now having to deal with some bone necrosis because of radiation treatments he had quite some time ago. He is a unique man and I feel we connect in a lot of different areas. I feel for him and the pain he will endure during his upcoming treatment. He will face his challenge head on as usual. I hope to do the same in my fight. Thanks for your support my friend!

One thing I did last week was to listen to a week-long podcast called the Healing Cancer Summit where there were many health Care Providers, Cancer Survivors, nutritionists, and other professionals who advocate alternative and complimentary treatments and methods to help fight and/or prevent cancer. A main theme was to embrace a whole food plant-based diet (Vegan) with only a little “clean meat” if a person must have meat. In populations around the world the rate of cancer is in inverse proportion to the amount of animal protein consumed. As a vegan that is easy for me to grasp.  The use of certain supplements is also encouraged. I am starting some supplements that seem to be beneficial in studies conducted.

In the summit there were about 4 hours of programming each day for 7 days so a lot of investment of time, but I feel like I gained some valuable knowledge to help me in my cancer fight.

Another big thing I re-learned was just how stress is so bad for a cancer patient. I have been using some guided imagery and meditation exercises to help me with calming. I must admit they seem to help a lot.

I have also reached out to Dr. Kingham at Memorial Sloan Kettering to find out what would be the next step after I complete my Y 90 procedure. I know a scan will be required about 30-60 days after to determine how effective the procedure was, but I don’t know what the exact process will be so coordinating with my New York connection is key. I will also be consulting with Dr. Gray here in Knoxville.

So, I have been busy despite my fatigue and ever-present sleep deprivation. The fatigue could be from the active cancer or the radiation treatment. It doesn’t matter but I can honestly say that it is the first time in my life that I just can’t push along either physically or mentally and it is quite frustrating.

But the Crud seems to have run it course except for a bit of runny nose and sore throat left over. I can tell that my immune system is compromised since the crud hung around far more than normal.

At this point I wait until my next Y 90 treatment on the 13th and will have to just battle the fatigue each day. I have to thank my lovely wife Shelia who has had to put up with my gruffness more than she should. Our illnesses have helped us become so much closer and there is no doubt of the depths of our love for each other.

I can say that one thing that seems to motivate me is to realize just how many of you are praying for me and sending wonderful healing energy. It means a lot to me to have so many friends who are cheering for me to beat this monster. I pledge to do the best I can, and I am hoping for a miraculous outcome.

Love Jim

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