View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rocky trail on a broken down horse

This ole horse of a body of mine is being asked to travel down another rocky trail.  In my previous two cancers the ride was easy in that I was completely unaware that I had cancer, no glaring symptoms or pain beforehand .  Tests and examinations discovered them.  Once treatment was started, then the side effects of radiation and surgeries  became real up-close and personal, like “in your face, Bubba”.  Recoup time from Prostate Cancer took about two years, and I felt good for the next two years, started playing good golf, had my handicap down to a 12.  In 2010 the Mucosal Melanoma hit causing me to have two surgeries and another 6 weeks of Radiation  on top of the 8 weeks in 2006.  I never really fully recovered from the 2nd cancer.  I was making progress when Type II diabetes hit and then this new Lymphoma brand slapped it’s red hot iron in my gut. 

The Hematology Doctor Chen at Oregon Health and Science University(OHSU) is the lead researcher at the university for finding cures for Lymphoma and is the lead doctor in my treatment.  I may have said this before but his take on my case is that the cancer is very likely a result of 14 weeks of radiation and all the nuclear medicine that has been run through my body.  We knew this was a risk but the doctors at that time said that the Mucosal Melanoma had to be defeated or we would not have to worry about a third cancer.  So we rolled the dice and it has come up with snake eyes. 

As I write this I am in day three of the first round of chemotherapy and while it has not been fun, it has not been as bad as anticipated.  I think we all tend to anticipate the worst hoping to be pleasantly surprised.  I am surprised.   Don’t know if it is pleasant or not. 

I was infused Thursday and it took 10 hours, making it an 11 hour day, door to door.  Didn’t sleep too well Thursday night but did sleep a good part of Friday.  Of course all that sleep during the day just took it away from Friday night.  

Had an appointment with the Endocrinologist Friday a.m. because the Prednisone prescribed causes elevation in blood sugar so now I am on Insulin.  They also added six new prescriptions to control pain and do other things that I have no idea of. 

Yesterday, Saturday, they gave me a shot of something that was a 10 dollar word to spur the production of white blood cells.  Of course this causes pain in the large bones such as the knees, femur, hips, pelvic area, shoulders and sternum.  A side effect of Prednisone( a steroid) is it jacks up your metabolism so that sleep is disturbed.  So Saturday night was not a good night of sleep and was a bit painful.  It also gives you a unpleasant taste in your mouth and a terrible smell in the nose. The good news is I only have to take it another 2 days until the next infusion.  Then we start the cycle all over again.  

You may think our day is just sitting around watching me waste away, but it is not.  Number one, I am not wasting away, but have started to lose some weight and have had to start wearing suspenders to keep my jeans up, and number two, we spend a good part of the day trying to make sure that all the pills are taken at the correct time of day, appointments are kept and there have been numerous runs to the pharmacy.  Also the bathroom because I have been peeing like a doped up race horse.  Jeri spends a good deal of time sorting medical bills and determining which ones are bills and ones that are just notices of bills coming.  What a waste of paper! 

Rumor has it the hair will start to fall out in 10 to 14 days.  So sometime next week I will traipse down to the barber shop and get a buzz haircut to minimize the amount of hair that will be in the shower and on my pillow.  Yeah, I know, won’t be too much to bother with but it will help.  Our hope is that Randy’s hair will not have started growing out until after mine falls out so we can have a picture of the two of us as skin heads. 

All in all, the nausea has been kept under control with meds as has most of the pain.  Sleep is something we are still working on.  

Again, God has demonstrated in such a way how far he plans ahead for our lives.  The fact that Randy and Lani purchased their current home over 10 years ago just 12 min. from OHSU, then they remodeled the day light basement into a family room, bathroom and bedroom cannot be a coincidence.  Who could have had a clue as to what my needs would be except and all mighty and powerful God who has shown his love for me and my family in ways beyond imagination.  Why would Lani, an education major, change her field of interest – after graduation – to the medical field having no indication that her husband would come down with MS and her father would go through three bouts of cancer?  The Holy Spirit put those thoughts and needs to serve people in her mind, preparing her to be the servant that she is.  

This is what happens when you release your will to the will of the Heavenly Father, so that He can use you as He sees fit.  Your life will become a blessing to others, it will become so much more than you could ever do on your own.  Yes there will be trials and tribulations, but those will happen no matter who controls your life.  He promises in the 23 third psalm that He will be with us even in the valley of the shadow of death.  Who will walk with you if you do it on your own? Maybe Satan, but I don’t see that promise anywhere, and I’m pretty sure I would not want him by my side anyway. 

Bottom line is I am fair to middlelin, still vertical and on this side of the grass.  All is good.  Thank you all for your prayers, they are so appreciated and much needed. 


  1. I heard this today. "When a man of God lives in the will of God, he is immortal until God is through with him."

    Ron & LInda

  2. A profound statement, and so true. There is no retirement written in the bible, there is always God's work to do.

  3. Hi Mike, What a ride you're on!! Thank you for letting us in on all you are going through, not only to know what is happening to you, but educationally as well....and it's right from the "horse's mouth." :) It's inspiring for how it's wearing you down that you have an up beat attitude showing such strength in your faith! My prayers continue for you and Jeri for this trail you're on for endurance and steadfastness in knowing God's in charge. May God bless you, shine His light upon you, and give you peace for all that is ahead. Skin head is in!! Sharon D.