The Home Stretch

A major event in our lives – my wife’s and mine, I mean – is now past. Our 40th anniversary party was a great success. We had a great turnout, and saw many wonderful friends. We had lots of help, and lots of food and music. Friends came from near and far. We felt very loved.

Now the guests have gone home, and the decorations are put away, never to be used again. That was our last party. We don’t have the energy or the time to throw another one. We’re rounding the final turn, and headed for the home stretch.

I went to my oncologist’s office today to get a blood draw for my next PSA test. I know I’ve said that past tests would determine a lot, and it’s always true. It’s true this time too. This test will show if the “experiment” we tried going back on full dosing of cannabis oil suppostories for a month made a difference. But the experiment is flawed, since I couldn’t actually get enough oil to do that. In the last month, I’ve missed about a week of dosing due to not being able to get oil in a timely manner. So I’m afraid these results won’t really show if it would have been effective.

But there were some good things about my visit to the oncology office today. The first is the fact that I was still able to take the stairs. Every time I go there, I take the stairs rather than the elevator. I do that in any office building where it’s practical to do so. It’s something I’ve done for years just for fitness. But now, it’s just because I can. In both the parking garage and the hospital, I take the stairs. Every time. I make a point of it. And every time, I see people who can no longer take the stairs. They take the elevator, not because they’re lazy, but because they’re unable to negotiate stairs.

Every time I walk past those people waiting at the elevator on my way to the stairs, I wonder how much longer it will be before I can no longer do that. I know that day is coming. But it’s not here yet. Until then, I’m still taking the stairs.

The second good thing about my visit is that they got me in really fast, like they always do. I signed in at the front desk, where the receptionist called me by name. I love that. I sat down in the waiting area, and before I could even complete my “check in” on Facebook, my name was called. I had to wait until after the blood draw to finish it! I teased the MA who drew my blood that medical offices are supposed to keep you waiting. That rarely happens at this office. Just one more reason to love my team.

I always used to hate going to hospitals. But I love going in to my oncologist’s office, which is located in a hospital. It’s because I love the people there. It seems strange to say I love going to see a cancer doctor, but I do. Whether I see the doctor or not. Today it was just an assistant taking blood, but I was glad to be there.

If my PSA goes up as expected, there will be some difficult choices to make soon, unless a promising clinical trail is found for me. My consultation about that is on Monday. Then I’ll see my oncologist to discuss all of this on Tuesday. Any decisions regarding treatment will be made by my wife and me. It will be based on our own beliefs and the advice of medical professionals that we trust. You may not like our choice, but I hope you’ll support it.

Of course, if my PSA goes down, all bets are off. I’ll probably stay on that treatment for life, and ultimately do that alone as a treatment for my cancer. But I feel like that’s a long shot.

My weight is trending down again. I’m doing what I can to push it back up, but recent events have made it difficult to feel like eating. I’ll bounce back eventually. I always do. How long will I be able to say that?

When I talk about being on the home stretch, I don’t mean I think I’m going to die anytime soon. I’m talking about the final phase of treatment. I’m also talking about the last chapter of my life on earth, whether that amounts to months or years. Our last party is behind us, and I’m about halfway through selling my recording gear. I’m now collecting my Social Security retirement benefits. For the rest of my time here, I’ll focus on being a husband, a friend, a mentor, and an author. And an ice cream maker! There is still lots to do, and I’ll keep doing all of it for as long as I can.

Anybody who thinks I’ll just lay down and die because I get bad news from the doctor doesn’t know me very well. I’m having too much fun. I’ll keep doing what I love until my illness forces me to the sidelines.

I’ll post again when I get my PSA result, probably on Friday. If there’s enough to fill a whole post from my clinical trial consultation on Monday, I’ll post about that Monday night. If not, it will be a combined post on Tuesday about both consultations, and our treatment decision. It’s a week of big news. I’m more grateful than I can say that all of you are here with me.

I may be rounding the final turn, but like in the picture at the top of this post, I can’t see the finish line yet. I don’t think I will as long as I can still take the stairs. #waroncancer #bearingwitness

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