Monday, February 29, 2016

One More Day

One more day before my next Lupron shot. One more day to feel relatively normal. One more day of walking without a limp for a few days. One more day of being able to taste my food for a few days.

My appointment with my oncologist is tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM, Mountain Time. We'll talk about where he thinks we should go from here. But the fact that I'm still scheduled for my shot tells us something. His assistant called about a half hour ago to confirm my appointment. At first, she said that my appointment tomorrow is just a follow-up, so I don't need to come in early. That raised my eyebrows. Change of plans? No such luck. She just hadn't read my whole report. I am still on the schedule for a 6 month Lupron shot tomorrow. There's also a 4 month version of the shot, but I can't imagine why anyone would want to get that shot more often. Maybe some people can't tolerate the 6 month shot.

I know that I could have it a lot worse. I could be in the hospital hooked up to a bunch of machines right now. Compared to many, if not most guys in my shoes, I'm getting off really easy, at least so far. So I am well aware that I have no room to complain about the relatively mild side effects that I'm experiencing. But in the immortal words of Joe Walsh, I can't complain, but sometimes I still do. I know you don't come here to listen to me complain. Or do you?

Please understand that I'm not making this out to be a bigger deal than it is. I'm not worrying over baseless expectations. Instead, I'm basing my dread on past experience. If you've been reading this journal, you know that it's pretty much been one long narrative of the effects of Lupron on my body. It affects everything. My appetite, my moods, my ability to go outside, my ability to feel, and for the first few days, even my ability to walk.

This is a huge, nasty needle. The tech warms the liquid in the syringe up in her hands before she sticks the needle in, since the fluid she's about to inject into the body just came out of the refrigerator. Even that causes dread in a guy who's sensitive to cold. The shot goes in my back hip, right below the belt. Once the shot goes in, she tries to work it in with her hands, because it tends to collect where the needle goes in. But that only goes so far. I end up with a stiff area about 4 inches in diameter that makes me walk with a limp until it spreads into my system. Once it's all the way in my system, then I can't feel or taste for about a week. After that, the side effects get milder.

But as you're well aware, they never go away completely, at least not for 6 months plus. Once I've had my last Lupron shot, I wonder how long it will take for the side effects to completely disappear.

I expect to only get three more of these. According to my oncologist, the aggressiveness of my cancer will prevent Lupron from working for more than about two years.

My wife is still off work this week, so she will be with me for the appointment. Immediately after the shot, she has a doctors' appointment. So I get to spend my first hour or two after the shot in waiting rooms, reeling from it.

I love the fact that Lupron is keeping my PSA level down for now, but I dislike everything else about it. I hate the way it makes me feel. I really hate the way it strips away my filters. I'm still having trouble with anger, but I'm at least aware that it's a problem, and I'm trying to learn to take a breath. It happened twice this morning, once while trying to plug in a computer cable that had bent pins, and once while running errands. But I managed to keep my cool. This is very strange for me, having to deal with issues like this.

I will definitely post tomorrow, but it may be late in the day. There will be lots to share, and I know you will want to know what's going on. But once we get home, we may want to talk things over between the two of us first. Then I will call my parents. Then I'll post.

It seems like every time I have a really serious post, I follow it up with a silly one. Like this past weekend. No Excuses was followed up by Welcome To Womanhood. My albums tended to be the same way. My second album, Sin No More, was deadly serious. My third, Drive-Thru World, is downright goofy. But I don't think tomorrow's post will be very funny. It will probably be mostly informational, which is rare in this journal. It will be nice to actually have news!

So like I said earlier, the fact that I'm still scheduled for my Lupron shot tells me that we're at least going to keep doing Lupron until it stops working. We'll see if a biopsy is in his plans, and if he recommends radiation. For the first time, I will ask for a prognosis. Once we know what he wants to do, we'll take some time and decide what we want to do. Because we have options.

I will devote an entire post to this issue soon, so I won't go into it now. But the major decision Sharon and I will be making soon, regardless of my results or prognosis, is whether to pursue standard Western medical treatment, or go with alternatives. Thanks to the generosity of friends, we can decide which we want to do, and it's covered either way. Have I mentioned lately that I'm the richest man in town?

We have a dinner tonight at the church that we've decided to make our church home for the time being, All Saints Ministry. I'm very glad that I can go because I haven't had my shot yet. I'm glad I won't walk in with a limp, and I'll be able to taste my food. One more day.

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