Friday, August 2, 2013

 Okay, so I've had a bit to organize my thoughts. a bit.

 I quit kinda at the end of my first round treatment. I'll breeze through  this stuff since it's just leading up to my Terminal Velocity.

 Things are cookin along just fine, every CT and exam are coming up clear. I got used to my dentures, worked hard and was getting my strength back. and was having a blast throwing at the Highland Games. I was never gonna win a lot, but I had fun and met really cool people and made good friends out of it.
 My dad gets sick, turns out he has cancer and they give him 6 weeks. He does chemo, which makes him really sick, and gets steadily worse. I go to the Midland Celt Fest, and while throwing a light weight for distance, pull my bicep off. I wouldn't have, but some yo yo waddles his idiot ass right toward me while I'm spinning. I get the weight stopped, feel the bicep roll up like a window blind under my arm and hear "that looks like it hurt". If I hadn't been about to crap my kilt, I'd beaten the guy with my good arm.
 Dad died right after my bicep repair surgery, pain and grief suck as companions. Funny spot? Why yes there was one. I'm about to give a little speech and toast to Pop, got my beer in one hand, the other in a wrap and useless. Useless until the waitress shoved (honestly shoved, not handed) my burger and fries into my hand that couldn't hold air without hurting my arm. Did I panic? No, I looked at Liz and said, "Gimme a hand?", at which time she started to crack up. It was truly funny, but probably ya had to be there.

 Threw a 50th BD party, Liz and I and a couple of friends cooked all day. 15 lbs of ribs, 8 lbs of chicken, beef, and who knows how many lbs of veggies, and 5 lbs of bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeno's.  A good time was had by all. I could tell by the empties and the enormous swelling of my head over night.
 2011, 2012, John Moye and I ride to Daytona Beach for Bike Week. Great riding with a good friend who enjoys food and drink as much as I. We ride 5-700 miles a day. Meet some really cool people, including an 80something year old guy from Ohio who had ridden his bike to Daytona every year for 60 years. He, John and I teased the boys from within the state that trailered their bikes up, and had a generally  wonderful time and ride. I rode home in 2 days. 920 miles the second day. No, my butt was not really that sore, and I wasn't exhausted.

 2012, CT in May...CLEAR. Dr appointment in August, throat and mouth still clear. I felt off, kinda like I did in 2008, went to McPherson and had one of my personal best games. Got home and set an appointment with my ENT. She looked, said it looks like it's back, did another needle posy. I go to Austin for a game there, pretty convinced it was back. November 8, get the call that the cancer is back.
My boss helps me get set up for Short Term Dis, so I can get this aggressively taken care of and be back working.
 Shockingly enough, my ENT says that I need to go to MD Anderson because I'll need extensive surgery and that's the best place for it. All I need is my Oncologist's referral. Oddly enough he says "Just go to their emergency room, they can't refuse you".  We think this is odd, so we gather up every medical record I've got, and that ends up looking like a Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia, and book ass for Houston.
 We get there and no one has called, nothing. Liz gets on the horn to the ENT, she's in Bally or some such far away place, and takes the time to actually get us a referral so I can get started.
 Over the next few weeks  and oodles of tests, meeting my surgeon, chemo onco, the radiation folks (which we find, and knew, I couldn't have anymore radiation without risk of death), and a nutritionist.
 Chemo, sick, herbal help, not so sick. Tumor started off .5 centimeters, by chemo time it was 2.5 centimeters in 3 weeks.

 Go to Houston Jan 13, 2013 to begin a week of pre surgery tests. I'm eating good, because they say I'll get a feeding tube this time for certain. John Moye comes down and spends a bit of time, which was nice of him. We ate, drank, breezed, shot pistolas, and laughed.
Liz gets there Jan 20, we eat, drink, laugh. The 2 older kids get there Jan 21. We eat drink and laugh. This is the last day I have solid food, ever.
 Jan 22!!! Surgery day. 8 hr job turns into 14. They cut out my soft palate, the entire base of my tongue, 1/3 of my left lower jaw, 4 lymph glands, and  one tumor that wrapped around my left carotid artery.
They use part of my right quadricep to make repairs.
That dies, and the day they are cutting me loose, put me right back in on IV antibiotics and schedule another surgery. Jan 28, surgery to take out my dead quad and replace that with my left pectoral muscle. I code on the table. Fun, no. Feb 5 one more surgery to wash out infection. Feb 13, we come home
 2 months later I finally talk them into letting me start PT. By now my muscles have atrophied across my shoulders, neck and back. I love my PT Barb, she pushes me. It's what I need.
We get them to start me with an SLP for speech and swallowing therapy. I love my SLP Michelle, she pushes me and makes me laugh, still. Starting I am 10% understandable. now I'm 65-70% love Michelle.
 Okay, we get a date to start reconstructive surgery on July 8. That goes well, except they find a spot near where they found the first stuff. Yep, cancer.
 July 17, we meet the surgeon to go over options. No surgery, I've had too much. No radiation, that'll kill me. He mentions Palliative care and Liz breaks down. I have no clue what that is, but if it breaks Liz down, I figure I'm screwed. I ask for a couple of minutes with the Doc and ask how long. He says a year. 40% chance of making it that far with Chemo.

 AND THAT boys and girls, is my TERMINAL VELOCITY.
 This is where the story goes now. How much slower can I make my Terminal Velocity. We shall see, won't we?


  1. I love ya, Rock. I'm praying for God to strap that parachute on ya, stop the fall, and have you set down to earth like a feather.

  2. I remember when my dad had to have a feeding peg. I remember how hard he worked to get it removed with his slp. Damnit now I'm crying. I remember Karis voice when she told me. She was trying to stay strong but I heard the fear.
    I want to say thank a thousand times over for all the advice you gave her.
    I can't even tell you what it means.
    Thank you will never sound like enough.