Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Just What The Doctor Ordered

It's been quite a week since my last post. Since my prognosis last Thursday, I've had one good day after another. Until today. But don't worry, my bad day today is nothing serious. Just a disappointment. Just another case of accepting my limitations, which is not easy for me to do.

I should begin by clarifying the prognosis I told you about last Thursday. When I said that my oncologist gives me three to five years if I respond well to treatment, and one to two years if I don't, I left out what his implication was. He was really saying that if I start responding to future treatments better than I've responded to Lupron, I could get three to five years. But if I burn through those treatments as fast as I've burned through Lupron, then it will probably be more like a year or two. All the more reason to make good use of the time I have.

The day after I received that news, Friday, I had a rehearsal for the wedding I officiated on Sunday. The rehearsal was short and easy, concluded by dinner with close friends. Just what the doctor ordered.

On Saturday, my wife and I went to see our closest friend lead worship at her new church. I'm more proud of Nikki than I can possibly express. Since I had a wedding to perform on Sunday morning, this was our church service for the weekend, and it was just what I needed that day. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Then, on Sunday morning, I experienced one of the greatest honors of my life. I got to be the officiant at the wedding of a friend who is like family to us. She and her fiancee trusted me to write the ceremony and not show most of it to them ahead of time. They were willing to be surprised at their own wedding ceremony. Every part of that morning, from the preparation time beforehand to the reception afterward, was a blessing. I'll never forget that day, and I'll always be grateful for it, and for the people who let me be part of it. Again, it was just what the doctor ordered.

There's one more wedding ceremony I'd like to perform. You know who you are.

The wedding, as wonderful as it was, exhausted me. I was completely wiped out afterward. But I couldn't take a nap because we had close friends coming over to watch the Denver Broncos game. So I powered through it, and caught a second wind. An exciting Broncos win is always what the doctor ordered for me. Especially watching it with friends like Paul and Denise. All in all, a great day.

Not to be outdone by ourselves, we had company over again on Monday. Three more close friends. I'm starting to feel self-conscious about the number of close friends we have. It's an embarrassment of riches, really. This dinner had the added benefit for me of being surrounded by four beautiful women. Trust me, even on hormone treatment, this was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Yesterday, Tuesday, my wife and I spent the day at a nearby state park and reservoir. We have a spot there that we like, and we enjoy spending days there, hanging out, eating, listening to music, and reading our books. We take the dog with us. It was a perfect day on the beach, or as close as we get to beach in Denver, Colorado. It probably was our last day there this season, and it may well have been the best day we had there this year. It was very therapeutic. Just what the doctor ordered.

Then came today. The day I found out what my doctor really ordered. But first, I had an allergy attack at 4:30 this morning. I have pollen allergies in the fall. That attack woke me up and kept me awake, so I didn't get a good night's sleep, and I've been very fatigued all day. As a friend put it to me today, I got started with the tank on empty. My allergy attack continued for the rest of the day until I reached my therapist's office just before 2:00 this afternoon.

This blog has been, in some ways, one long account of the effects of Lupron on my body. Fatigue is a huge side effect. It affects my ability to do things I want to do. Today is a prime example.

Today of all days, I have tickets to a concert. I've been waiting for years to see a band I like come to Denver, and they're finally here tonight. I bought tickets a couple of months ago. I've really been looking forward to it. But now, I can't go. I just don't have the energy.

One problem is it's a general admission venue with very few seats. What I've done in the past for concerts like that is get in line early, so I can get a seat. Like three hours before the doors open. There's no way I can do that today. It seems like something as simple as that, which was no problem for me two years ago, is out of reach now.

Another problem is it starts late. The band I want to see probably won't start playing until 9:30 PM or later. That's too late for me, especially today.

Rock concerts have been my favorite pastime for as long as I've been old enough to go to them. Now there are a whole lot of shows I can't go to because I can't get a seat, they start too late, or both. That's hard for me to accept. I have more trouble accepting giving up rock concerts than I do ending my music career. Not that I have the money to go to very many anyway.

So that stinks. But it helps to remember how many good days I've had until today. One bad day out of seven is a pretty good average, even if the bad day showed me I have to give up my favorite thing to do in the world. Maybe not completely, but mostly.

The only thing left to tell is what the doctor actually ordered for me. My oncologist consulted with a colleague at the local university hospital. This is where I would go for any clinical trials, should I be involved in one. He doesn't have a study that I'm a good candidate for at the moment, but we'll keep in touch with him about that. He also told my doctor that he's not enthusiastic about Provenge for me. I was not sure about Provenge either, so we'll pass on that for now.

Which leaves adding Xtandi to Lupron. It looks like we're going ahead with that, but I still have to go to a dentist to make sure it's OK for me to take it. I haven't started looking for a dentist yet. I'll do that tomorrow.

While I was writing this post, I was also carrying on a message conversation with one of my best friends, who was trying to hold me accountable. Trying to make sure I did the right thing. I think the blog post I wrote in that conversation was better than this one. A friend like that is just what the doctor ordered, right while I was writing a post titled Just What The Doctor Ordered.

I mentioned that my allergy attack today ended when I stepped into the air-conditioned offices of my therapist. That was where this day turned from bad to much better. An allergy attack finally letting up always makes my day better. Seeing my therapist always makes my day better. When I got home, I started writing this post. Writing always makes my day better. My wife made me a nice dinner. Day continuing to improve. But I still can't go to the concert. So it's a mixed day rather than a bad day.

If I have a choice, I'll take one bad or mixed day out of seven every time. Before and during this difficult day when I found out what my doctor has ordered, I had six days and a lot of love that really were just what the doctor ordered. #waroncancer

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