Friday, January 15, 2010

Another rung up the ladder

As many of you know, Sarah and I took a little trip Tuesday night up to Seattle. I have agonized for days on what transpired and just how to pass along the information I got there. Today my thinking is like this: I got next to nothing out of the trip. Yeah, that’s what I said, nothing. It honestly feels like the things the doctor said undid all the work that I had done in shoring up my emotions. I know that was not the purpose or what they intended, but that is how it feels. The doctor gave me numbers, and quite good ones too, of over 50% success rates and less then 13% mortality rates but… that was in a very recent study not even published yet and it dealt with generally older patients who got a much less aggressive chemo routine that they will likely not be using with me… fat lot of good that does me eh?

Then we talked with the social worker about what our stay there would be like. It won’t be fun by any stretch of the imagination. 3-4 weeks of testing to include yet ANOTHER bone marrow biopsy, 2-4 weeks in the bone marrow transplant ward of the hospital, followed by daily visits back to the hospital from an apartment where no-one can come to visit, where we cannot have pets, plants or anything that resembles a normal life. That should taper off to once a week visits and if, IF things go well I may get to come home early where they would like for us to not have the dogs. And there will still be plenty of doctor visits with Dr. Martin here in California. I suppose that is the one shining light in all this, they had really good things to say about her, and the fact that she is following me is a huge plus in all this and may help in my being able to come home early.

I knew from the start this wouldn’t be a party, but it has come full force into the forefront now. Just how much I am going to have to endure and what Sarah will be going through too. THAT hurts me more than anything else in all this, the fact that others should have to deal with it too. I have apologized before and people tell me there is no need but they all need to understand that does little to change the way I feel. I have tried to justify why this happened to ME. What did I do to deserve this? The truth is, there is nothing I did or could ever do to deserve this, and neither do any of you reading this deserve to have to read my words of pain and anguish. But it is what it is, right? I cannot see my way around this, neither over nor under it. My life is on the other side of it and if I want that life, I must go through this and claim it as my own, such that it is. Who knows, maybe I’ll just be one of the lucky ones that licks this completely and shows them all what life is really all about!

There is still no word on a donor match and in truth; they may never even find one and all of this may be for nothing. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I would like to thank those of you who have already signed up to be a donor. I would also ask that even if you aren’t a match for me, you stick with it and maybe you can be a match for someone else. It truly is the gift of life and we all know just how precious THAT is.

I suppose with time, I will feel better about all this. But for now, it just plain SUCKS!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I’d like to take some time this month to talk to you about dreams. Not the toss and turn at night kind that wake you from a dead sleep or the ones where the dog barks and wakes you up and you try desperately for an hour to go back to sleep to get back into it kind, although those ARE some pretty good ones aren’t they? No, I’m talking about the dreams that give you reason to get up in the morning on the weekend. The ones that make you go to work and deal with all those people that you can’t stand because you know that you have something to look forward to at the end of the day, or for your retirement. The ones that give you HOPE!

For too long now I have given up on my dreams. I always wanted a little farm that if nothing else could provide my family with food that was fresh and free of all the “commercial” worries. I was well on my way to seeing that dream come to fruition. Not so much anymore. But, even though I am in a different place and far removed from what I know, why must I let go of that dream all together?

I also had dreamed of being a professional furniture maker. I had built several pieces for the cabinet shops I worked for and they turned out really well. Not because I had access to big fancy powerful tools, or someone else to do the undesirable things like sanding, but because I am GOOD at it. I CAN make good quality furniture. Now the majority of my power tools are gone, sold because there isn’t room at the new house for them. But as I said, I don’t need those tools to do it. What I need is in ME! It’s a fire that burns hotter and hotter every day and there are only two choices for me. First, I can simply put out that fire and live with soggy ashes and smoldering coals to remind me of what I had dreamed of. Conversely I can choose to stoke that fire and use it as a furnace to get the things done that I want to. To make my dreams reality!

Now onto the health stuff as there is big news there. I received a phone call last night from Kathy at the Puget Sound VA facility. We discussed what days would be good for Sarah and I to come up there and talk to the doctor and tour the facility. This is really going to happen now, isn’t it? This is the first step towards finally ending this nightmare, of being disease free… one way or the other. But along with that I get all these emotions roiling inside me. Fear- this could be the first step down the path to my ultimate demise. Anxiety- this is NOT going to be an easy road to travel by ANY stretch of the imagination. Joy- things are finally moving forward, even if it’s not a journey I want to take it’s one that must be taken. At least we’re moving! Excitement- I am going to meet new people, see new things, have new experiences, and God willing I will finally be done with this. It is my sincere hope that I have learned the lessons that He has set forth for me during this trial. I have learned SO much but I wonder, could I have done more, should I have? I suppose only time will tell.

Sarah, the kids and I enjoyed a wonderful trip to Disneyland right after Christmas with Sarah’s Dad and Step-mom. They are SUCH incredibly wonderful people I cannot begin to tell you. I can honestly say that was a trip my family and I will NEVER forget! It was so wonderful to see them all so happy, especially given all that we have been through in the past two years. I realized after the first day that during my time down there I had completely forgotten about being sick, about having cancer… and I can tell you that that is far more precious than any gift I could have been given. Thank you Frank and Sharon, I love you.

Well, that’s about all I have for now. I would love to hear from any and all of you, especially the ones furthest away from me and the ones I have not spoken to in a long time. Tell me what YOUR dreams are, what fuels your inner fire! Put pen to paper, fingers to keys, or pick up the phone. It’s a whole new year overflowing with possibilities, what will YOU do with it?

Peace, Tracy.