• Dealing With Cancer XXXII

    This waiting is unbearable!

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    Yes, we are playing the waiting game! Jim was given “a month off” after his chemotherapy course ended.

    We were happy because Jim needed a break. What were we thinking? Jim has his next super-duper scan on Tuesday, June 14th in Roseville, then he sees his doctor on Monday, June 20th. Until then, we have no idea if the chemotherapy worked, or what plan B might be.

    Jim has spent the last month sleeping most of the time, a sign that deep depression is setting in. He gets up to eat several times a day, when he has an appetite, but sometimes he will go 18 to 24 hours without eating. He says he is just not hungry. I talked him into weighing himself… He now weighs 156 pounds. Am I scared, you ask? Do wild bears $hit in the woods? Here is the proof.

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    I try so hard to keep things positive and Jim hasn’t completely given up hope, but there is not a day that goes by that he does not say, “I’m dying.”

    So here we are, waiting!

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  • Dealing With Cancer XXXI

    05/28/2016, I have not written anything in a while… My bad…

    We have been in a holding pattern. Jim’s six month “course” with Chemotherapy is complete, and now we wait for him to go to Kaiser, Roseville, for a new high tech scan. After those results are in, the doctor will determine where to go from here.

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    Jim has been feeling fatigued, with no energy. He had a really bad neck ache, but I am unable to find any lumps. He now says his neck no longer aches. Hmmm…

    It is frustrating to try to find specific information about lymphoma. Do not get me wrong, there is plenty of information out there, but some of it is so vague that is becomes useless. I looked up neck pain with lymphoma, and almost all of it is related to the diagnosis for lymphoma; sometimes, people that think they have the flu, with classic symptoms like swollen lymph glands in the neck, are diagnosed with lymphoma. The lymph nodes we associate with this are in the the front of the neck, but his pain is/was coming from the back of his neck. I learned we have lymph nodes at the back of the neck also.

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    Uncertainty is torture!


  • I Used to Like and Follow “We The People”

    What does voting mean to you? Do you research issues and candidates? Do you vote your conscience, or just see what others think and vote their way? Do you listen to the pundits who tell you how you should vote? How do you feel when you have diligently picked the candidate who would be the best, and then see others turn on your candidate with demeaning remarks and ridicule, calling your candidate a spoiler? Does it make you angry when you are told that a vote for your candidate equals a vote for the hated other side?
     
    Let me share with you one example of what I mean. This is regarding a Facebook page that I once admired… The page is called “We The People.”
     
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    I no longer trust or respect this page.

    They posted an article by Mother Jones, but it was their own commentary introducing the post that offended me.

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    I read it over and over again, hoping to find a silver lining, but there was none. I was angry and so I made a comment.

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    They did not handle my criticism well (I will admit to being angry), nor did they choose to give an intelligent, well-thought-out perspective. Instead they called me an idiot and banned me from commenting on the page at all. I would like to think that they were unsure how to handle me, but the truth is, this type of reactionary action and commentary seems to be the norm.

    Since then, they have escalated their attacks on my candidate and coined a new name for his followers. We are now Berniebots.

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    They have stooped well below the line of decency. They call themselves progressives and “Berniebots” are now cynics. Does the commentary with each of these posts show progressives in action? NO!


  • Dealing With Cancer XXX

    05/03/2016~ The secret is out so I am no longer obliged to keep the secret.

    My mother has just been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of lung cancer. Her lung has already collapsed and she now needs oxygen to keep her breathing normal. She asked the doctor who had shared this diagnosis with her how long he thought she had. He answered that she had four to six weeks. We were all devastated!

    After chatting with him longer, she learned that he was a professional tennis player from Calcutta, India, and as it turns out, he knows Jarkko Nieminen, a Finnish professional tennis player (recently retired). He looked at her with new eyes. She was no longer just an 80-year old woman to him, and he came back and ordered Chemotherapy. She finished her first series on Friday, April 29, 2016.

    We are now waiting for the results of her MRI/CT Scan on a new machine they have at Kaiser in Roseville. Ironically, my husband will be getting his MRI/CT SCAN on the same machine on June 13, 2016. They are worried that mom’s cancer has metastasized and is in her brain. He told her if that was the case, then they would try radiation therapy. She is happy just knowing that he is now on her side!!

     

    Dad, me and mom, migrating to the USA, 1964
    Dad, me and mom, migrating to the USA, 1964

     

    My beautiful mother.
    My beautiful mother.

     

    Mom and Dad on their wedding day
    Mom and Dad on their wedding day

     

    50th Wedding Anniversary,  mom and dad
    50th Wedding Anniversary, mom and dad


  • Dealing With Cancer: XXIX

    04/29/2016~ Poor Jim! He has no more delirium, but the memories have come flooding back.

    Jim was taking a nap on the couch and I was writing a new chapter in my book.

    “I made a fool out of myself this weekend didn’t I?” Jim asked quietly from the couch. I raised my head, knowing he was watching me, but I did not turn to look at him.

    “That sounds a little harsh,” I responded. “Remember what your doctor said? ‘You are a sick man Mr. Vogel.'” I turned to look at him, laying on the couch, eyes glistening with tears that had yet to spill over. I got up and somehow managed to sit on the floor next to him and gather him into my arms, holding him tight, letting him softly cry.

    I wanted to scream at the sky, and shake my fist… at no one, I was at a loss, but I have to be strong.

    Cancer is now taking another… Why does it want the two I cannot live without? Four to six weeks I am told.

    I scream and shake my fist at no one…

    Pablo Picasso
    Pablo Picasso

  • Dealing With Cancer: XXVIII

    04/25/2016~ The last three days have not been good days… Jim’s newest Chemotherapy side effect seems to be Delirium. He is exhausted but he can’t sleep. This is the most frightening ordeal we have gone through. I have asked him to call his doctor, but he refuses.

    He had a shorter episode like this a couple of weeks ago, but it passed quickly after he was able to sleep. I am at a loss…

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  • Dealing With Cancer XXVII

    We got great news! The last CT scan shows that his cancer had gone down significantly and the doctor felt that after a few more Chemotherapy treatments, he could go into remission!!!
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    The doctor had shown him side by side comparisons of the first CT Scan taken in December and the one taken last week. When Jim got home, he drew me a picture to show what he saw and what the doctor told him. The cancer on his spleen and liver had shrunk to about 1/3 rd of it’s original size. We would have been even more excited had we known he had cancer on his liver and his spleen. It was a little like getting bad news at the same time… Things were still worse than we had thought before, but the good news is that remission is around the corner!

    Jim had Chemotherapy for six hours on Monday and today he had one hour and he will have another hour again tomorrow. Jim let me take pictures of his chest today. They leave the tubing plugged into the “port” he had surgically implanted into his chest just for the Chemotherapy. Tomorrow the tubing will be gone and he will just have a ping pong ball size lump there. On the other side of his chest, he has his Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD).

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    This last one is not his chest, but I love this picture!!

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  • Dealing With Cancer XXV

    03/28/2016~ What is my “Dealing With Cancer” blog all about? It is not just about the cancer, it is how hubby and I are dealing with the cancer. I want it to be real, to explain what we know, what has happened, and what we expect. To keep it real, I am trying to be as honest as possible; sharing Jim’s frustration and then sharing my frustrations.

    I vent in this blog. I have no where else to vent. I am only the caretaker, not the individual with the lymphoma. I would give anything to trade places with him, but I know I cannot, and doing so might not help him at all. I have always been the stronger person…

    If some of my rants and frustrations make you see me as an uncaring person, then so be it. I feel they represent the truth and I would be a liar to pretend everything was perfect. It would be a lie to think either of us was perfect.

    The elephant in the room is the anger, the sheer rage that can overcome a cancer patient, and they usually lash out at their caretaker. I have been called every name in the book, and accused of things that are unimaginable. I have been told that all of this is my fault; he never should have married me because I am a tramp and a whore; he never really loved me; I am nothing but a fat pig; I’ve been punched while driving… The list goes on and on, yet I am still here because I know it is the cancer. He has gone out of his way to apologize, to beg my forgiveness. I have forgiven and will continue to stand by him. I love him.

    The prognosis is not good. He is over 60-years-old and he has high blood pressure and diabetes, his lymphoma is the aggressive kind, meaning if he makes it though chemo this round, he will have a chance to live three to five more years. A small percentage are completely cured, but they have been under 60 years of age.

    I have tried to purge all the hateful moments from the last 4 months because they will come back to haunt me. He knows what buttons to push to hurt me, yet I am numb right now, call it self preservation… for I know when they do come flooding back, I will be left to question whether… Never mind, best to stay numb.

    The problems I speak of are realities, I want to share it all without sugar-coating it. Does this make me a horrible person?