Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Update II...

I had blood drawn Monday for both my oncologist and my primary care doctor.
Tuesday we went to the hospital to see the oncologist. Good news is he sees no evidence of the cancer having returned and pronounced me in remission unless something unexpected pops up. Chemotherapy is still on hold until I get stronger. After the appointment, as Fayme wheeled me to the hospital entrance so we could leave, I am not ashamed to say that I wept.

After returning home I got a phone call from my primary doctor with his blood test results: high cholesterol, low vitamin D, and my thyroid gland isn’t working well. So watch my diet for the first item and medication for the other two. Fayme did a quick web search on thyroid problems and found they can lead to loss of taste, no longer feeling hunger, and low energy level. Three things that I struggle with. Hopefully the medication will work on those.
The doctor’s staff was supposed to call those prescriptions into the pharmacy yesterday. Fayme headed over to get them today. Despite the doctor’s office saying they have sent three times the pharmacy still has not received anything. My bet is they have incorrect contact information and are too stupid to make a simple phone call to verify it.
We have had nothing but trouble with this office since our first visit. First they spelled my name wrong and it took weeks for them to correct it. The issues have gone on from there.
Just got a text update... despite being told which pharmacy to use the doctor’s staff have repeatedly sent it to another pharmacy. Fayme is headed there now to pick them up.  
Does anyone have a recommendation for a new doctor?

I realized that my last update failed to acknowledge the considerable help we have received from some friends. For the sake of their privacy I won’t name anyone directly but know that what we have received has been helpful. From heartfelt well-wishes to those who donated hard earned money to a GoFundMe account that another good friend put together, it’s all been greatly appreciated.

Monday, October 5, 2020


 An update on what’s been happening with me...

Turner’s Outdoorsman opened up a store in Victorville and I was lucky enough to be hired as part of the new crew opening the store.

Unfortunately working there cut greatly into the time I could devote to archery events and making arrows. I made the very difficult decision to shut down Greenman Archery. Hopes to re-start arrow making existed. While those hopes still exist they are somewhat diminished by present  circumstances. 

Working at Turner’s has been awesome. I’ve met a lot of great people, both customers and coworkers. As with any work, there have been high points and low, but mostly the experience has been great. I’m a big proponent of the individual right to own and use firearms and I am proud of the number of guns I’ve sold to both experienced and new owners.

At the end of June 2019 I went to the hospital emergency room with a nosebleed that wouldn’t stop. They stopped the bleeding with a plug but were concerned with other matters and I was transferred to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. Once there they took a look at a large lump in my throat and put me in for an immediate tracheostomy. Did you know they do the initial incision while the patient is awake? I didn’t and I can assure you I was unimpressed.
I spent a few days in the hospital and I can’t say enough about how great the staff was and how well I was treated. From the doctors, nurses, and specialists all the way to a cafeteria worker who did her best to give Fayme a lumpless bowl of clam chowder for me, they were skilled and wonderful.

On the day I went home they finally had biopsy results for the lump in my throat. Cancer. The doctor explained that it was a readily treatable type and set me up with radiation in Victorville, much closer to home. I’d still have to go to Arrowhead in Colton for chemotherapy but at least the radiation was closer.

Treatment went well for awhile then I developed what the radiation doctor called, “an overactive gag reflex.” I could no longer eat or drink anything... nothing. Chemo was halted and they began a program of IV fluids to rehydrate me before my kidneys failed. Radiation continued until it was done and the lump in my throat shrunk away. The tracheostomy came out and we were shown how to dress the wound as it closed.

At some point (kind of a blurry time for me) I fell out of bed at home and was so dizzy I couldn’t get up. After a couple trips to the Arrowhead emergency room they admitted me. In the first day I managed to fall and bash my forehead into a wall. Blood all over the place. No stitches but no more getting out of bed. Not as enjoyable a stay this time. I was pretty out of it for awhile. When I finally regained my senses I was transferred to a nearby extended care facility. I began to eat and drink there but the food was horrible and I would frequently push it away uneaten.  During all this I lost over 100lbs. Not a recommended weight loss procedure but it sure was effective! Fayme finally got me home a little before Thanksgiving 2019.
I’m confined to bed unless Fayme helps me, still too dizzy to walk. I can eat and drink some foods although I have no sense of taste and no longer feel hunger pangs. Chemo has been put on hold until I am strong enough to leave the wheelchair and walk on my own.

Things I miss, in no particular order:
Walking, cycling, archery, shooting, cooking, tasting, fishing, walking in the bushes, going anywhere (thanks covid), eating anything I want, speaking and have people understand me, showering. I even miss trying to keep things inside the house and out in the yard clean. I miss my friends, but that is partly due to the pandemic. Being as how I have a greatly compromised system we’re taking the shelter in place guidelines pretty seriously.

This has been a challenging time for us and it’s not over yet. I would like to get back to arrow making someday and get Greenman Archery going again but I don’t know if I’ll be able to. Only time will tell.

I can’t thank Fayme enough for all she has done for me as I struggle with this. She’s really stepped up to take care of things I can no longer do. I am grateful for the considerable time and effort she has put forth. I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful person to be at my side.