So February 12, 2016 will a very big moment for the world. Yes, that’s right. Zoolander 2 is coming. This got me thinking. There were homeless models for the Derelict collection of 2001. Maybe it’s time to have Cancer Models in 2016. We too can be quite versatile and I believe can have more than one look. As well, I am proud to say I am an ambi-turner, possessing the ability to turn both right and left. Here are a few images that I will be submitting to Derek, Hansel and Maury Ballstein.
So here is a pretty typical day of chemo at the infusion center. On the 24th of April, I arrive the hospital around 8:00am. They first run labs (draw blood) to see what my numbers are. This is important to make sure that my body has recovered enough to take another hit. Today, my blood platelets need to be at 50,000. Otherwise everything has to be delayed 5-7 days. With an aggressive cancer you don’t want to delay.
My results come back at 30,000. Too low. My first chemo appointment starts at 10:00am. This chemo has to go through my lumbar and is a procedure. I don’t want to miss it.
I take some anti-nausea medicine through my IV, get flooded with Tylenol, and have an hourlong platelets transfusion. Then, they run the labs again and see if the numbers are up. Rather than using the port that is connected to me, they draw blood through my arm. It doesn’t work at first but they finally get it. They run it to the labs and it has somehow gone down to 20,000. This seems impossible.
They find out that my blood clotted during the blood draw, and the result didn’t come through right. So they run it through my port and take it to the labs again. It comes back 60,000. My numbers are solid. But the time is now 11:00. I missed my check-in. Now it could take 5-7 days to be seen again because the appointments are completely full.
I go around the schedulers and call up the Physicians Assistant. He says he is going to risk getting in a little trouble because he knows how important it is. He squeezes me in. He rocks!
During the lumbar treatment, I get a needle straight to my bone. The chemo is then injected into my back. After that fun time, I lay on my back for 45 minutes to avoid the classic lumbar headache. Ok, so now I am done with that… Back over to the infusion center. Oh, wait… April comes over and brings me lunch. She rocks too! Carrots, Chips, Turkey, and a gatorade. Ok… It is time for more chemo! Back to the infusion center.
I sit down at my space again, and two nurses verify that I am receiving the correct chemo. They then start the chemo, which will go for about two hours. What you see in the video is everyone else getting their treatment. The man that is playing the guitar is in remission, and comes to play when his wife is doing other things. I think he got used to being here. Fortunately he has a great voice, and it is relaxing.
For me, this is my office for the day. I have my legs up, my computer plugged in, and my headphones on. I’m gchat connected, and sending emails and building systems for True Photography. While I’m working, they check my vitals every 15 minutes, to make sure that I am not having any bad reactions. So far so good. I’m just a little beat down from the Lumbar procedure.
After the two hour dose has finished, it is time for one more round of chemo. This fifteen-minute dose is actually more concentrated than the two hour cycle, so the nurse stays closer by. Then I am good to go home. Ok… Done. I get my port de-accessed. I am out of here.
Ah… but wait, I need to get my drugs from pharmacy. But it has closed. But I will need my meds this evening. So they get on the phones, and someone re-opens the pharmacy for me. Now I am out of here. I look at the clock and it is 6:00pm. So not a bad 10 hour day. Ha.
Tomorrow, I get the day off. In a couple of days, it will be back to labs. They will need to make sure my numbers are high enough for chemo next Friday.
It is definitely no walk in the park. Pain is really something that I have just learned to accept and adapt to. It is a part of my daily life, and overcoming it is an interesting challenge.
I think after all of this, I will join MMA boxing, as I really don’t have fear of much these days.
Sometimes on Facebook, I see someone write something like “I have the worlds bestest hubby, he just wrote me this message.” Then they share what I feel should be a private message. It kind of feels a bit like the person writing it is just gloating. Or I will see something like, “look what my wife did for me,” and the husband shares something that I feel should be shared amongst two people, not the world. Or the couple puts waaaaay too many lovey, dovey pictures of themselves online, and it makes me kind of feel awkward. It just can feel a bit corny, and I never really liked it.
We can all get a little annoying sometimes because we are so in love. Whether it is 5 million pictures of our spouse, baby, dog, cat, or even food that we ate that day at a restaurant. I realize now that it is just love they are sharing.
Today, I have decided to break all of my opinions and rules of public love. I think it is ok to show off what we love so much. I am going to do exactly what they all do because I now want to brag a lot about my wife! If it gets too mushy, please feel free to skim or move on.
Today is April’s 30th birthday. It is a very different birthday for both of us. A 30th birthday should be full of joy and happiness, celebrating the past, and the future ahead. But I had 4 rounds of chemo yesterday and am just hopeful that I will have the energy to celebrate with her. So there is an elephant in the room. It’s different than we would have expected. I know how hard this is for April, as she wants to celebrate, but also wants me feeling good.
The reality is that I don’t like looking in the mirror at all these days. In my mind I am strong, fit and decent looking (not winning any awards, but doin’ alright). But then I look in those funny mirrors and it isn’t pretty. I no longer have eyelashes and my eyebrows are almost gone. Not going to lie, it looks a little creepy. I am pale, and skinny. I really don’t recognize myself. It looks like I’m in a movie and they digitized me to make me look all Cancery. Like Benjamin Button effects. I can hide it pretty well with a hat, normal clothes, my glasses, jeans, etc but, (sorry to paint a visual) without all of that cover up, I look sick.
What I now understand about April is that her love really does see through everything. She must be using her heart, because she looks at me as if I am Brad Pitt (the early years). She makes me feel attractive. I feel all the affection that I have ever had and more. Simply put, April loves me unconditionally. We hear that all the time that love is unconditional, but I really understand that now.
Everyone tells me how great I am doing. I want everyone to know that, in huge part, it is because of my wife. She is my strength. Her love (as well as others, of course) is why I am alive. It is how I keep it together, and why I remain optimistic.
It is a lot of work for her when I am sick. Physically and mentally. It’s having to cook food every day rather than eating out on occasion, doing all the shopping for everything because I can’t be in public places, setting up the entire house, cleaning, laundry, coming to watch tv with me, driving me to and from the hospital, and hanging out for hours each day when I am admitted. She does all of this for me because she is amazing. She does it without complaint. She just keeps loving me. What makes April so special is her love reservoir. I don’t think it ever runs out. In fact I think it just refills itself everyday. WARNING: next paragraphs is where it gets a little mushy.
April, I owe you my life. You are the most amazing woman that I know. You are talented, loving, smart and hot. Yes, I am bragging. I am so appreciative to have you April in my life and I want the entire world to know that we are that gross, way too in love couple. We get through every hurdle together. As Jerry Maguire would say, “you complete me.”
I thank David and Gayla for making and raising such an amazing person. I thank God that I have such an amazing person by my side. I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth (A Lou Gehrig quote).
April, I wish you an amazing birthday. My promise to you is to celebrate at least another 30 birthdays with you. Actually, that’s no fun. Let’s go for another 60 together ;) You have a heart of gold. Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you for being my support. I love you forever. You are my soul mate. Arneg (our inside word, not a typo).