Sunday, January 21, 2018

Pressing On

I'm starting to think I'm pushing myself too hard. I often brag that I'm the busiest hospice patient in the history of the world, but I may have paid a price for that last weekend.

Last Saturday, January 13th, was a huge day for me. I had rehearsal during the day with The Littleton Conservatory Of Rock for our winter show on February 3rd. They're making this show a benefit for me, and for cancer awareness. It's a huge honor, and it's very important for me. It's my next goal date. Then, after rehearsal, I had an event that was my previous goal date; The Wik show.

As you know if you've been following along, Wik is a band of young musicians I'm mentoring. It's not like the Conservatory where there are lots of kids involved, and no set bands. Wik is a real, independent band, separate from The Littleton Conservatory Of Rock. My protege, Payton Roybal, is the lead singer of Wik. The show at the Toad Tavern in the Denver area was their official debut as a band. I wrote a review of that performance in Wik At The Toad Tavern, A Stellar Debut.

Here's what I didn't include in that review, and haven't told many people. I was terribly nauseous for the entire evening of the show. In order to have the energy I needed for such an exhausting, thrilling day, I had taken a double dose of my steroid. I felt I needed the extra energy. I had also had a Reiki treatment that morning, which always helps. I took my nausea pill in the morning, along with my other pills, as usual. I take that pill three times a day, but when I got home from rehearsal, in a rush to eat something, change clothes, and get to the venue early enough to save tables, I forgot my afternoon pill.

I've forgotten my midday pill before, and been fine. But this time, I was hit with a wave of nausea almost as soon as we arrived at the venue. I had no pills with me, and couldn't take an hour to go home and take one. So I had no choice but to ride it out. Adrenaline and love got me through it again, and in spite of my nausea, it was a night I wouldn't trade for anything.

I expended a lot of energy at the show. Not just performing, which I barely did, but greeting people who came to the show. There was a big crowd, and quite a few were there to see me. It's wonderful being someone lots of people want to see and talk to, but as one who has worked events where I had to be "on" all the time, it was draining when I was healthy. It's much more draining now. But I'm not complaining. In spite of my nausea and fatigue, I couldn't get enough of the people I love, and I didn't want to leave.

But eventually, I had to get home and to bed. I took a pill as soon as I got home. It didn't help. I took all three of my pills on Sunday and Monday, and the nausea never left. On Tuesday, I met my nurse and told her the problem. She consulted the doctor, and they decided to double my dose. Once I started taking twice the amount I was before, my nausea went back under control. So now, after four straight days of nausea, I'm taking ten milligrams instead of five, three times a day.

This might seem like a minor adjustment, but it feels like a milestone to me. It's a reminder that this particular cocktail of drugs they have me on won't be effective forever. And I can't help but wonder if I've accelerated that process by pushing myself so hard.

I'll ask my nurse about that on Tuesday, but I can tell you one thing. If she says it's likely I'm costing myself time by pushing myself, it won't make a difference in what I do. I love what I'm doing too much.

After the Conservatory show on February 3rd, my mentoring schedule will be limited to one rehearsal a week, and I won't be performing at all. I'll just be sitting there at rehearsals throwing my two cents in and loving on some of my favorite people. Doing some legacy work. The energy expended will be minimal. Just spending time with friends, not unlike what I do with other friends.

But one day soon, even that will be too much for me. When I have to start staying home most of the time, that's when the real decline will begin. As I keep saying, if I don't keep doing what I love, I might as well just lay down and die. So I keep going, regardless of the cost. Get busy living, or get busy dying, as Morgan Freeman once said in The Shawshank Redemption. I have to keep living for as long as I can. I can't just wait to die. Even if my next goal date on February 3rd, or the goal date weekend after that, March 16th and 17th, sends me into a tailspin I never recover from, it's worth it to me. I have to press on. #waroncancer #bearingwitness

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

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