Treatment or Disease?
I had sort of a bad night last night. I felt okay and didn’t have any pain. I just couldn’t sleep. It has become apparent that the Hydrocodone that I needed for pain management has become physically and/or psychologically important for a decent night’s sleep. That, in and of itself, is not a big problem. The tough part is that part of my enzyme therapy is a fairly intense detoxification. So if the meds are not for pain, I need to get off of them. I decided that last night should be the night to start. I lay awake until about 3 am, unable to sleep. If it was just insomnia, that would stink enough. Instead, I get a very intensely uncomfortable and restless feeling in my arms and legs that make it impossible to lay still. I start to fidget and end up fairly miserable. That is where the fun really starts. As I get increasingly more irritated that I can’t sleep, all the other injustices start to flare up. This program that I am on is very structured. Pills, juices, saunas, and other less delicate parts of the protocol take place between every half hour to hour throughout the course of the day. While just drinking a vegetable juice or swallowing a handful of pills doesn’t sound obnoxious and exhausting, take my word for it, it becomes that way. When your day becomes a steady stream of “have to’s” and very few “want to’s”, it becomes easy to dread the arrival of a new cycle of treatment. It makes you look forward to a night of uninterrupted sleep. When you can’t have that, ironically because of another pill, it can make you a bit agitated. I am being descriptive about this not because I want to upset those close to me or to garner sympathy. My wife dedicates her day and her life to the preservation of mine. She works tirelessly day after day to make sure that I have the pills, the juice, or anything else I need. The only time she complains is if I am trying to do more than I should instead of saving my energy for healing. So, I wondered what I was trying to say. I almost wadded this up and threw it away as I got to this point. Then I remembered why I decided to start this blog. To share my experience in the hopes that others would be able to relate and find hope. I know that I am not unique. Others have cancer. Others have afflictions, sickness, and trials. Others lose hope and are not sure where to find it again. Others have treatments that are far more invasive and harsh than what I go through daily. Sometimes, in down moments, the treatment seems like a bigger pain than the disease. That is where the support is really needed. Not only to support you through the disease, but to distract you through the treatment. Sometimes you wonder’ “Will all this effort pay off?” and “Am I using the last time I have left on a ridiculous wild goose chase?” I won’t know the answer to that until it works or it doesn’t. If your child was on a bike and about to be hit by a bus, would you only leap to save him or her if you knew the outcome? Of course not. Life or death decisions call for a leap of faith and to believe that it will work out. One way or another. What I have found is that each person can’t be all things to you. My wife, Florence Ratchet (part Nightingale and part Nurse Ratchet from “One Flew over the Cuckoos’ Nest), not her real name, is dedicated to taking care of me. Sometimes she has to nudge me in the direction I need to go. My Dad, my kids, and my brothers are there to distract me and make me laugh. My Mom, Mom-In-Law, and my sister support me and my wife in whatever way needed. They are not all things individually, but together they are everything. It boils down to why you want to overcome the situation. With mine, it is because I will always do all I can to show my children that life is worth living. It isn’t easy sometimes, but the good times far outnumber the bad. The hard times fade after you move through them. If this wasn’t true, mothers would never have more than one baby. When I get stuck in a dark place and wonder if the treatment is worth the cure, I look at the effort of my wife and kids, the love and support of family and friends and realize that sometimes they know better than I do. I just need to put one foot in front of the other each day and know that I will look back at this someday and have one hell of a story to tell.
PS – I feel a lot better this morning. :)
Saturday, August 7, 2010
It is easy to get caught up in the unpredictable events of our daily lives. Some things are very important and require our immediate and undivided attention. Other things just seem that way at the time. I get caught up in things that I think are urgent, only to sit back, look at the big picture, and realize that they really have little to no relevance in things that really matter. As I think about what is important to me, a few come to mind that always matter. The love of friends and family. The hope that by doing what is required of me, I can be healed. My faith in God, the reasons that we are here, and that a better existence waits for us when our chores are complete. I used to think that this life was what it was all about. I have always believed in Heaven, but just assumed that it was so far off that my biggest and most real concern was my physical self and mortal well-being. My view on that changes continually now. We are responsible for this mortal body that we are given. How we treat it. What we put in it. What we put on it. The respect and love for it that we portray to others. If we treat our own body poorly, others will surmise that it is acceptable for them to, as well. That responsibility is a part of our time here, but not the only reason. I have felt as I travel this path with cancer, that our journey isn’t about the financial mark we make or the items we possess. It isn’t about the toys we collect. I enjoy these things as much as anyone, but our life is a trial of faith in preparation of our eternity. Even if you don’t put an eternal after-life as the solution to the equation, this life still has more to give than just plodding along with blinders on, clicking off the mile markers. There is unsurpassed beauty that was created for our enjoyment. People in our life that are there to give and receive love. What we need is truly different from what we think we want. Life is as simple or complicated as we choose to make it. When we slow down and enjoy the pure and simple things, the irrelevant are relegated to where they belong. In the background. Not to be obsessed over, but to be dealt with and checked off. Let the people who love you and you love be the reason that you get up each day. Greet the day with the knowledge that you will learn something that day that you have never seen, noticed, or experienced before in your life. Whatever your age. Have hope that God’s hand will be visible in your day. Recognize it when it happens. Have faith that there is more out there. God wants us to develop and progress. Exactly the same way that your father on earth wants you to grow. This is a wonderful place to be, but it is not about our time here. It is about the steps we take in our physical bodies to enhance our spiritual souls. As you put your soul first, in love, your body will get every ounce of fun out of this life. Actions always speak louder than words, so speaking a spiritual message, but doing otherwise doesn’t make you a messenger, it makes you a hypocrite. If you truly believe in your greater purpose here, it is far better to quote scripture in deed, than in word. The message is clear in any faith, any denomination, or even if you choose to make your own way through life lessons and self-study. Good is good. Right is right. Faith is belief in things not seen. Faith is hope. I believe that there is more after this life because it makes sense to me that all of this could not just appear from nothing without a Creator kicking it off. Even if you believe in evolution, it had to start somewhere from Someone. I have hope and I have faith that we are meant to be good and to do good because we are loved. If we follow our hearts, it leads us that way, every time. I have faith that someday I will know this to be true. Until then, my job is to be sure that my actions reflect my faith.