What Now?

Since I had my Y90 Treatment on November 13, I have had very little pain, but the FATIGUE has reared its ugly head now about 2 weeks after the procedure. As I recall this is a similar pattern from the first procedure and I believe the fatigue was less right before the 2nd treatment and that may mean I will continue with the fatigue for at least 4-5 more weeks.  I hope that is correct!

So, What Now? My next scheduled Medical procedure will be an MRI on January 14 and then lab work and a visit with Dr Charles, my Oncologist, on January 23. At that point some verdict will be handed down. Either the treatments will be successful in slowing down the tumor or there will have to be decisions made on a course of treatment. Of course, I am holding out for the surgery either in New York or here. That is only six weeks away!

The obvious thing here is that everyday when I wake up, I still have cancer. It is difficult at best to keep a positive slant to this, but I fight the fight everyday to not succumb to my disease or the emotional roller coaster ride that come with it.

In the meantime, I plan to put effort in all facets of my life. Let’s summarize:

Food and Environment – The plan is to try to eat as healthy as I possibly can with my vegan plant-based plan. No problem with the plant based but the challenge is trying to have as much organic food as possible. You really must be very creative obtaining fresh and frozen organic food. Part of this is also to try and detox at the same time by reducing or eliminating the environmental toxins as possible. Many of those are in the water supply like fluoride and chorine. We are evaluating filtration systems right now. We have been moving toward products such as cleaning products and personal care that are earth friendly without the harmful additives.

The other factor is to take the appropriate supplements in the appropriate amounts. There is a lot of research on this but many contradictions. The plan is to concentrate on the same supplements recommended in three different sources. I think that is due diligence!

Spirituality and Mindfulness –. I have been reading a book by The Mayo Clinic titled “Handbook for Happiness” written by Amit Sood, M.D. In this book the author talks about the brain’s two modes. The active mode is when there are external stimuli that keep things interesting and focused. This is our happy mode. The default mode is usually neutral or negative and certainly more negative when you are facing difficult health issues. This mode causes much stress and anxiety and almost always keeps us from doing productive activities. So, the idea is to focus on external things and try to limit the time spent in the default mode. Cut back on the pity parties. LOL

Meditation, guided imagery, and even soft music is proving to be a great way to avoid the C word being in my every thought. I have also signed up for some classes through the Cancer Support Community. I went to one class yesterday that discussed the side effects of cancer treatment. You might speculate that this wouldn’t get your mind off cancer, but you are in the active mind when processing on how to limit side effects.

Shelia and I went to a writing class today called “Panning for Gold.” We were able to write a couple of short stories and we all shared with each other. Very creative folks were present who just happened to be cancer patients too.  Shelia has some great stories and I hope she will let me share some on this blog. We plan to go back next month.

I have registered for a Gentle Yoga class as well for this Friday and I hope it is something I can continue. I am positive it will help with my overall well-being and fatigue. And we have registered for a 2-hour workshop on mindfulness on December 15. I am really looking forward to that class.

In addition to all of this I am falling back on my lifetime spiritual journey and asking my spiritual guides to help me navigate through the calm waters and the rough waters when necessary. As I have indicated previously, I am not afraid to die but I want to milk every bit of living out of this old body. My spiritual beliefs give me great comfort either way and that is helpful.

Social Activities – When I can push through the fatigue, I continue to stay social and try to stay involved in my groups. I go to as many of my Toastmasters activities as my schedule permits. I missed the Pellissippi Toastmaster this Monday, but I plan on attending the Dowell Springs Toastmasters Open House tomorrow. We are trying to recruit new members and an open house/demo meeting is a good way to get new folks.

Friday night we will be having our Annual Awards Dinner and Silent Auction for the East Tennessee Meeting Professionals at the Knoxville Convention Center. We should have about 30 people and I welcome the opportunity to be the emcee, give out the awards, and run the show. The key for me is to pace myself during the day and possibly grab an afternoon nap to refresh.

These social activities are important since they do require me to use my active mind and it keeps my spirits up. I am fully aware that there may come a time where I will be unable to attend these events and that would make me sad. So, play now and do what I can to continue later.

Relationships and Legacy – When you are faced with a serious illness that may kill you there is always a sense of urgency in reaching out and improving or even mending your relationships. It is always more difficult than it sounds. Most of us are emotional so having the heart to heart talks take some serious intestinal fortitude. I have had some good discussions with a couple of special people very close to me. I also plan to write letters to the most important people in my life if I run out of time to really let them know how I feel about them. Maybe a video or two but I seriously doubt I can do that without a lot of tears and anguish. We will see.

One thing I am doing is writing a series of children’s books using some stories about my grandchildren. I hope that at the very least I can finish 3 at this time and at least publish enough to give out to family members. I have already written the first one. I am currently looking for an illustrator to enhance the books with appropriately placed drawings of the characters. The first book is “The Adventures of Granny T and Little Rose – A Good Day for Hugs.” I believe it is a good story.

As far as the rest of my life is concerned, I want to be a better person for the ones in my life. It is a shame to have to get a serious or terminal illness in order to slow down and focus on the people in my life. The good news for me is that I seem to have some time before I run out of time. At least I hope so because I have a lot of people who I love and want to enjoy them while I can. What I hate are the routine things that must be done every day. I have no desire to do any of them. But alas, they are omnipresent.

Final Thought for the Day – I still have a lot of things to share with everyone but I got to sy right here that I have been thinking about all the people in my life for the last 69 years and I must say that if you are reading this you have had an impact on my life. Just recently I had the revelation that instead of focusing on the difference I have made in others lives, it is more important for me to internalize what the impact is to me from having a relationship with each of you. I can truthfully say that I have received far more from others than I have ever given.

Again, let me express my appreciation and love for all of you who have sent prayers, healing energy, and good thoughts to be during my battle. I can never full express the love I feel from each of you.

Love, Jim

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13 thoughts on “What Now?

  1. Jim, this was your best yet blog. The others have been great, but this one was just outstanding. It is encouraging, truthful, honest, heart-wrenching, hopeful, productive, honest, encouraging, truthful … I loved it. It should speak to ANYone, currently sick or not. After all, we are all terminal—we just don’t know when our time is. Your observations on life —past, present, or future—should encourage each of us to do exactly as you have already discovered. What a blessing you are, Jim. I pray God will keep you around many more years.
    Love, Barbara #2 or 3

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  2. Jim, you have already created a legacy worthy of the storybooks but the idea to create the children’s books is an amazing idea. Are you still looking for an illustrator? I have a couple friends in the art community who could put the word out. No promises but let me know if that is a path you would like to use. Feel free to text me or email directly. Mary Mixon has all my info if you don’t.

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    1. Megan that is so kind. Yes I need to hook up with someone. I haven’t really started looking yet. I don’t even know what I can afford. I will get back with you soon to discuss. Merry Christmas!

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  3. So good to see you staying positive and active. Love the writing books idea. Jim I have a cousin on FB, Francine Luzac, who is a pretty good artist and she is battling lung cancer. You might ask her about illustrating your books. Will keep praying.

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