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Posts Tagged ‘Scarborough’

Lupron Shot

I had my last Lupron Shot on Tuesday. Out of the many side effects I would say I have fatigue, swelling of legs and feet, overall weakness, and mood changes.

This Shot is good for three months. I still take me bicalutomide every day. Nine radiation treatments to go.

My numbers look good according to my blood work.

My moods are the scary part. We all have good or bad moods. But as adults we know when to control them. As for me right now I just need to avoid people and all will be good! I’m so tired that all of my filters are gone. So I apologize in advance for what may come out of my mouth.

I’m normally a pleasant person…really!

😂😬😠🤪🤨😇😡🤬

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The 12th Day of Radiation…

Not exactly a title to set to music, but coming up with snappy titles is not always my thing. I ask Ariel to help me out many times.

So 12 radiation treatments are behind me…17 ahead of me. My last blog was about side effects, so no need to go over those again. They have not really changed. Maybe a few have intensified, just a dash, but for the most part I guess (I hope) a status quo has been reached.

So this post is just a couple of heads up I have tripped over and hopefully others may avoid by reading this.

My hormone therapy creates havoc with my body. Several side effects are definitely icky ones due to blocking my testosterone. But now, about three months into it, I have found a couple of things that have helped.

One side effect is nausea…the second one would be agitation. I do not think either of these are avoidable, but I have learned to choose the “best” time to feel them at their worst.

The six months of treatment started out with a heavy duty hormone shot good for three months. Followed up with taking a pill every day. One side effect that was stressed to me was that I would feel fatigued or tired. Because of that, a lot of people choose to take the pill in the evening so that they can sleep most of it off. Since I had two months of hormone therapy before I started radiation, sleeping it off was not that big of a deal for me. I did not have to be anywhere at a set time so I was taking my pill before bedtime. I knew that I was not sleeping all that well, felt nauseas, and agitated during the night, etc. But not a huge deal since I could take a nice morning nap each day. But then I started my radiation treatments. I now have to get up at 5AM to start my day and make it to my morning appointment. One week of early morning alarms and I was like UGH! But being the not so brilliant person that I am, I did not think of changing the time that I take my hormone pill. Tuesday of this week I smartened up and am now taking my pill at lunch time. So my afternoons and early evenings are not all that great, but when bed time hits, along with the help of Melatonin, I get a good nights sleep. So the rest of this past week, my morning routine went much smoother. Mostly because I was awake for it.

So what I am saying here is be smart with the timing of your medication. Choose when you want to be at your worst and make sure to get SLEEP.

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Things are going great!

After my first week of radiation, I think things are progressing along quite well. Don’t you?

Faceglow And I bought Wendy some lovely new lingerie! IMG_2109

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Let the games begin!

After the news about Hope Lodge in Boston, Wendy and I had yet another choice to make. Do we look for hotels, an apartment, a private home, etc., near Dana-Farber or do we look elsewhere for my treatments. I knew that Wendy did not want to live in Boston for two months. She made that quite obvious to me. And I was not keen on the idea of Wendy driving around in Boston if I was not able to. Neither of us considered the commute a viable option. Sounded to me like we were on the road to look for a totally new treatment facility. Or go back to the VA which we were at least familiar with and we knew they were wheelchair accessible.

I called my Dana-Farber Oncologist to discuss our options. He had already been thinking about it and offered me an immediate solution that sounded too good to be true. He had contacted a Radiation Oncologist that he personally knew in Portland who worked for the Maine Medical Cancer Institute. He was willing to take over my case. At this point I was more than willing to go with that suggestion. I could at least talk with the new doctor to see what he thought. My biggest worry was starting all over again with doctors and treatment plans. An appointment was made for the next week and at the Scarborough Medical Center which is only 45 minutes from home. That certainly sounded hopeful.

Many of you may be wondering why I did not go there in the first place. After my let down with the VA, I wanted to seek out what I thought would be the premier of Cancer Centers. For the New England area, that would be Dana-Farber. I really had not considered looking into Maine Medical Center.

An appointment was made for the following week to meet with the new doctor. My MD Oncologist at Dana-Farber wanted me to continue with my hormone therapy until I spoke with the new doctor. He might want to continue on the same path I was already on, or he may want to change things up.

Wendy and I met with him, and for both of us, it seemed like our prayers had been answered. We liked the facility, the doctors, the nurses, and he wanted to follow the same treatment plan that I had started with Dana-Farber! I had finally found a door in the midst of brick walls.

So the way things are now, I am receiving my hormone therapy from Dana-Farber, and receiving my radiation treatments from Maine Medical Cancer Institute in Scarborough, Maine. I hit several snags on the journey but I feel like God worked things out that would ultimately be the best for me. I just finished my sixth radiation treatment today and have the weekend off! I am very thankful for that. I will share in my next post some side effects that have hit me. Some expected, some not so expected. BUT…After all of this, my new most favoritest (my word) verse in the Bible is Psalms 46:10a “Be still, and know that I am God”.

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IMG_1064At 12:57 AM, Friday, October 9, 2015, my dad passed into glory. Three months and two days after mom. Dad’s health was on a steady decline after mom passed away. The hospital labeled it as “Failure to Thrive”. I labeled it as a broken heart.

Over the past three months I had the joy of spending many hours with him. Albeit many of those hours were at the Emergency Room or by his bed in a hospital. Since the technological wonders of this generation do not work in hospitals (maybe for a good reason?) we got to sit and talk. Much of the talk consisted of dad grumbling that he was ready to go home. That was always a good indication that he was feeling better. So we would talk about things important to him, and the topic always centered on his eagerness for the rapture to occur so that he could once again be with mom.

He could not speak of mom without tearing up and telling everyone with a willing ear, what a wonderful woman she was. He showed everyone in the Scan0018hospital, and later at Gosnell, a small black and white photo that he had of mom. It was her graduation picture with a faded inscription on the back speaking of future plans and how much she loved him. He was so proud of mom, the love of his life, and that picture never left his wallet.12079439_498722676962734_22662963006478559_n

As the days wore on, I could hear increasing sadness in his voice, see the loneliness in his eyes, his walk turning to a shuffle and his overall decrease in health. He had been admitted in the hospital several times for pneumonia and falling. Even though we were making sure that he would eat, he was rapidly losing weight. I hired a Health Care Agency to start assisting him at home. All of us were taking turns doing his medications, housework and errands. Yet in spite of all we could do, we all knew we were losing him. One day my brother and his wife showed up at his house and found him lying on his kitchen floor. Living alone was no longer an option for him.

My wife and I found a wonderful assisted living home for him just a few miles from his own home. I talked with him about the necessity of the move. He just simply agreed and went along with everything we suggested. Once living in his new “home” he seemed content but he often told me that it was not his home. That he was tired, missed mom, and was ready to go to his final home.

IMG_1046He lived at the assisted living home for one month, and every day his health and strength continued to decline. On September 27th, Wendy and I brought him to church with us and out to eat lunch. He was very weak and slow but always happy to be with family. The next day, he went into the Emergency Room for what I thought was another case of pneumonia. Every test (and there were many) that they performed indicated nothing physically wrong with him. Though he had no strength and could no longer walk. They admitted him for the night for observation. The next day I went to the hospital and had a meeting with the social worker. She had been following his case since mom’s death, and she told me that the decline in dad’s health was severe and rapid. Failure to Thrive was the diagnosis and she told me he now was at the point of needing Hospice.

Difficult words for all of us to hear, but we all knew she was right. The only difference is that we said he was dying from a broken heart.

Gosnell Hospice Home in Scarborough was mentioned and chosen. The next day we met him by ambulance as they checked him into his private room. I cannot begin to say enough good about Gosnell Home or the loving staff. Everyone we spoke with always had the time to listen and acted like dad was their only patient.

His room was usually flooded with so many faithful family and friends. All very special moments with laughter and tears that I will forever hold very dear to my heartV9595EDE7IMG_1065

From October 2nd to his death on October 9th was without doubt the hardest week of my life. Mom’s death happened so fast that none of us hardly had time to think before it happened. This last week that I spent with dad has bitter sweet memories for me that I will carry to my own grave.

I was there every day before sunrise and left late in the evenings. Outside of stealing a catnap in my van a couple of days, I sat by his bed holding his hand. No longer able to swallow, he ceased eating and drinking and we did all we could do to keep him comfortable. He slept most of the time, but would wake to our touch, offering a small smile and a raspy hi. He told me numerous times how tired he was and that he was ready to go home.

Unable to open his once brilliant blue eyes, speak or move for the past two days, I would take a pillow, lay it on the bed by his head and I would just sit in my wheelchair, resting beside of him while holding his hand and often softly humming to him. Somewhere in his mind I hope he knew how much I loved him and was there for him.

He slipped away in the middle of the night peacefully drawing and exhaling his last breath. A man of great faith that was finally at home with his Savior and reunited with his wife. No longer with a broken heart, but singing praises to his God and King for all eternity.

Both of my parents now deceased, in earthly terms, leaves me an orphan. Yet both of my parents made sure that I would never be an orphan. They left me with the knowledge of my heavenly Father leaving me not an orphan, but a child of a King. That is the legacy that my brothers and I were left. That is the legacy that as parents, I pray that I can pass on to my children.

John 18 says “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him”

I am not an orphan. What I am is a son that was blessed with a wonderful earthly father that taught me about my heavenly father. Someday soon, I will see my parents again and be part of God’s family where we will never be separated again.

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