Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Yes, I'm back in depression. Not so far that I can't recognize it, but bad enough to be of concern. I've rid myself of the effects of the Oxycodone and am using an over the counter pain reliever. Doesn't relieve pain as well, but the side effects are easier for me to handle. I do need to take quite a lot of it; and that, I'm sure is not good, but until I can get my care givers to come up with something more palatable to my system it'll have to do.
I have this feeling that once you reach mid-seventy and beyond and have a terminal illness the medical community is not so enthusiastic to get involved. May be it's the insurance companies, Medicare and such, that seem to limit the procedures available to you. That's just my uneducated observation, I have nothing to back it, other than that I am repeatedly put off when it comes to some form of test to follow the progress of my cancer. Maybe under hospice care that isn't covered, and maybe when your under hospice care, you are not eligible for procedures under normal Medicare. I don't know. I know I have cancer, I know it can't be cured. What I don't know is; how far it has progressed, and how fast, is the pain I'm experiencing totally caused by the cancer, or perhaps a combination of cancer and old age. The answers to these questions would be a big help in my fight with depression, I'm sure. I think they could also be of help in convincing myself to use the more aggressive pain killers. Again I don't know that, I sure don't think having the information would hurt.... That's my whinny rant for the day, I may feel more like my old self tomorrow....I don't have much confidence it that though......
Please don't take me wrong, I'm not faulting the hospice program, or the people in it, in any way. They do wonderful work.....I'd just like to know.....
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Still in there
I'm learning all over again the havoc that the undisciplined mind can cause. Some how, the withdrawal from my short experience with the pain relievers, has me back on the verge of depression. I am having a hard time keeping my mind on the positive aspects of the past and of the future. I'm told that this slide toward depression will lessen as the my body and mind adjust. Still, with the hopeless feeling it brings on, I wonder is it really worth the fight? It probably is, at least I'm still in the game. I said yesterday, I thought I was over prescribed, it could be that I just have a very low tolerance. Hard way for me to learn that, but it will be remembered....
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
As you can tell, things in my little part of the world are much improved today. My head is clearing, with that, the pain is returning but not as severe as I recall. I'm sure that will change with time. For now, my outlook is positive, tomorrow will bring what it brings. Today I'll enjoy the feelings of wellness I recall from days before using the pain relievers. I will approach the further use of these medications with a great deal more respect and caution. They do have a place, but in my case, I believe were over prescribed. I have to remember, the health care provider can only suggest the quantity and frequency of the drug. The key word here being, suggest, the ultimate decision is still mine. Hopefully in the future I will be able to control the urge to, just stop the pain, no matter what the cost. It can be dear.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Revisit to pain
Stuffed up nasal passages don't help the breathing much. Afrin spray does help some, but the combination of that and oxygen causes some nose bleeding. I'm not sure if that's normal or not. This seems to be one of the worst seasons anyone, I've talked to, can remember. Along with the physical head problems; the pain meds, that I was so in hopes would help, are causing me more mental problems than I need. My thinking processes are completely disrupted. I suppose I have a choice, I can take the medication, I can suffer with the pain, or try varying doses of the medication. Until I find one that works for the pain and still leaves my mind functioning somewhere near normal. I have not taken any pain medication for several days, in hopes that I can start from scratch, so to speak. At least that's my plan for now.......
Friday, May 12, 2006
A small loss
Speaking of things to thank aging for, this morning as I was dressing, well putting on shirt and jeans any way. I found I was unable to stand on the right leg, while putting my left into the pants leg. I have had some really bad pain, while doing this in the past, it was a come and go thing. Got a little worse with each occurrence. This morning was it , the leg just wouldn't support the weight. It's been creeping up on me for about a year now, as have most other things. I can feel it when I walk as well. Not unexpected but unwelcome none the less. The thing is, I hate it. This means that from now on I'll probably have to sit, to put my legs into the legs of my jeans. After 70 some years of doing it my way. That's one of the things about aging and illness that bugs me. It takes away the little things we cherish, sure there are workarounds, and it's not the end of the world, but I'm gonna miss supporting my weight on that one leg......Now that I can't, I'll find a million reasons why I need to.....
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Back around March of this year I had this idea about investigating a care facility for me to move into, at some time in the future. The kids and I have done some very serious looking investigating and discussing of the various institutions available in this area. Turns out that may not have been one of my better ideas. I have no clue, at this time in my life, how many concessions I will be willing to make. Things that a short time ago would have evoked outputs such as, "never on your life" or "not this kid", I now do with little thought. The older I get the less these things seem to matter. Maybe that's the nature of things, possibly part of the aging process and possibly some caused by the various afflictions I have. I have learned to control my pain, it does leave me with a suspicion the I may not be functioning as well as I could mentally but, I am functioning and, doing so independently, for the time being at least. The care facility has been moved way down on the priority list. Until such time as all of the independent living options have been exhausted. It has been an informative exercise and one that the kids and I have all learned form. Perhaps in the desire to bypass some of the more unpleasant parts of aging I was in to much of a hurry. Maybe we need to live the bad parts too, just to make us whole.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
What it could be.
I read a thing, while looking for information on gall bladder pain, I can't remember if it was an article, or a news release, or what. Probably an advertisement. The point it made was, pain can show up in the oddest places. I think, what it meant was, pain that may appear to have the symptom's of gall bladder problems, may actually be caused by some other organ. There is nothing to guarantee that a pain starting out in the lungs or the liver, can't jump the track and appear to be originating in the gall bladder. I'm hopping that it's true, although I can hardly believe it, because that could go a long way toward explaining my pains. I have also given thought to the fact that pain can, and does, originate in the imagination. Those pains can be deceivingly genuine. I would think, though, that one would have to be intimately familiar with the symptoms. In my case and the gall bladder pain, I was not. I didn't know what it was until the doctors suggested, that's what it could be....As you can no doubt tell, the pain relieving tactics are working......All is well in my world this morning....Albeit, a bit confused......
Friday, May 05, 2006
We don't know.
I'm getting more used to dealing with my pain. Using the little tricks, that work for me, to minimize it's effect on my life. The Doctors and I are all puzzled as to the cause. The symptoms are indicative of gall bladder problems, yet, all the tests and scans indicate all is normal. Doing the Google thing yields more information than I could possibly read in a year, let alone understand. The thing comes down to, either doing something or doing nothing. Since I'm suffering no harm, other than pain, from what ever it is, I opted to do nothing. The something I could do, is have the gall bladder removed, a simple procedure and, with it possibly the pain. I say possibly because the jury is still out on whether it works in all cases. There have been many cases where the pain persists after removal of the gall bladder. I can find no reasonable explanation for that. Lots of theories but not many that mom would believe. I'll leave those for another post, some day....Maybe. Any way, the past few days have not been spent bemoaning my situation, rather, I've been trying to figure out how the decision I make today will fit with the ones I have made....Somehow it's all gotta' fit together....Life, ain't it sumpin....?
Monday, May 01, 2006
I can do this
Using a combination of things to control pain, I'm able to think straight enough for long enough to do a post, I think. When you have a nagging pain in the intestinal area it's hard to not let every thought have a negative leaning. I refuse to let myself get into that mode again. It's bad enough that the thoughts occur, let alone give them validation by committing them to writing. A fleeting thought is just that, unless I make it more, then it becomes part of my life. If that thought happens to be negative, then depression here we come. So, it's best I concentrate on the best part of a bad situation. In that light, there are several things I now know about controlling and living with my pain, as I learn to use them, life is livable again, not as before but livable just the same. I can't relive yesterday, I can only remember it. I can't live tomorrow, I can only anticipate it. So, I live today, and try to make it a pleasant memory for tomorrow......
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Pain, it hurts
I'm having pain problems. Severe, to me, pain problems. All people feel pain differently, I think I even feel pain in different parts of the body differently. I don't want to come off as a whiner, but this thing consumes me. I can't concentrate. Until we find which body part is malfunctioning, and how to fix it, assuming it can be, I'll not be posting as frequently as I have in the past.....
Monday, April 17, 2006
Things are working well this morning, pain relievers are relieving pain, as they should, and not all those other things they shouldn't. The oxygen has allowed another night of restful sleep, not the gasping and labored breathing of the past few days. The anger is just a faint unpleasant memory.....Totally amazing how one adapts to different situations......I know the emotions I have felt over the last few days are all a part of my life. I'm beginning to see that trying to avoid them would be like trying to avoid a part of my life. I need to experience them, and deal with them, as they present themselves. I need to feel the pain in order to realize the bliss of not having it.....I find myself wondering if I have reached a place where there is balance between the negatives and positives in my life......Something to ponder.....Am I becoming, like, normal?......
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Time, good medication.
I'm slowly adjusting to the changes resulting from the pain medication and use of oxygen at night. I still get weird feelings after taking the medication, but they seem to be diminishing as time passes. Each time seems to effect me less than before...The anger is gone, the feeling of stupidity for ever letting it happen, is also less as time passes. I guess time does heal all wounds, well maybe not heal, but it sure makes them easier to tolerate. Through all this, quality of life seems to be intact, if not slightly improved, and independence didn't suffer very much. Being tethered to an oxygen machine at night doesn't seem all that bad. Actually a blessing, when you consider the alternatives..... Life is still pretty good, all things considered.....
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Some things work some don't
It's been a frightening and enlightening 72 plus hours since I last posted. I made some bad assumptions a few days ago. I assumed that all my weird feelings were caused by the new medication, not so, some maybe, but not all. There were changes going on that I didn't suspect. I should have, after all I have cancer, a heart problem, and I'm aging. I should have anticipated changes. I was wrong. What I was, is angry. Anger caused by fear of the unknown. My comfortable old remedies didn't work, I had pain that wasn't going away, and subconsciously I knew it wouldn't. I'm not in the curing mode. I'm more in the lets make it as painless as possible mode. If I loose a little something along the way, that's O.K. I'm still having a little trouble digesting that. A result of all this has me now on the pain relief medication and night time oxygen, probably will become full time soon. I'll become accustomed to this in time, a week or so and it'll feel more or less the norm. I don't know which of the afflictions is the cause. I don't know how long it will be until the next acceleration, or what it might be. I'll try to accept it and not fear it. I'll, above all, try not to get angry. The anger only tends to make things worse. I know that. I knew that. Still I got angry. Like I say in the mast head to my blog "some things I tried didn't work". I guess this is an example......Maybe next time......
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Posting today is going to be futile. The mind wants too, but the eyes and fingers aren't cooperating. I know what I want to write, but the words don't come out in the proper order. I had the same reaction yesterday, but thought it was just a one time thing. Oxycodone, does a great job on the pain, but I'm not sure I'll be able to handle the side effects. I'm hoping I'll adapt and the reaction will be less severe as time goes on. I'm told it will. I think this is why I was so hesitant to start using it. Another scary thought, this is not a one time thing...... Nothing is getting cured here.....
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Pain and anger
Dark, almost black, broken clouds over Idaho falls this morning. I think that's a good indication of thunder showers... The view from the window is, threatening...Unfortunately, I'll be on the other side of the window today, one has to eat.
Yesterday I did a little ranting about pain relievers. I realize now that was just me expressing anger. I was angered because my usual methods of dealing with pain were no longer working. Not unexpected, but not desired either. Like I said yesterday, I don't know what's causing the pain, I know I would like it to be muscle cramps, but it could just as well be the cancer moving to a new body part. It's been with me now for two weeks, muscle cramps normally don't last that long. Constant pain, no matter how slight, can, and does, lead to depression in people like me. I don't need more of that. I've thought more about it, and may as well face the hard truth. This is not going to get better. Truthfully, I think it's the normal progression of the cancer. So I may as well use the prescription pain relievers. Resigning myself to the idea that I'll be on them from now on out.... None of this comes as any surprise to me. What bothers me, is my reaction.....The prescription pain relief is working, I'm told I'll be sleepy for a few days, but I'll adapt, and should be functional again shortly....Here's hoping.....
Monday, April 10, 2006
I've developed a pain, on the right side just below the rib cage, I think it's sort of a permanent muscle cramp. I went to Wal-Mart for an Ibuprofen type pain reliever. Tylenol doesn't help, and I can't take aspirin because I'm on a blood thinner already. I don't really want to start with the pain med's that Hospice would provide, as they are almost all addictive. I spent enough of my life wrestling with habits and addictions, I don't want to start that again until I absolutely have to. One of the Hospice care givers suggested Ibuprofen, hence, my trip to the pain reliever isle of Wal-Mart. I don't know what caused my pain. I just got up one morning and there it was. I don't know what kind of pain it is, it's the kind that hurts. It doesn't hurt when I lie down, so I guess that rules out P.M. types. I don't think its arthritis, it's not a joint that hurts. It could be from excessive activity, at my age it doesn't take much to be excessive. I got plain 200mg Ibuprofen. The instructions say take one tablet every four hours. If that doesn't help, take two tablets every four hours. I did, after eight hours I'm still hurting. Why is it in this modern world, with all the money spent on health care research, we can't have a pain reliever with simple instructions. Like, when it hurts like hell take one of these and relax, it may not stop the pain, but you won't care.... That isn't addictive.....I'm not sure if this is a rant or a post, but that's what I'm thinking today.......An it still hurts.....
Sunday, April 09, 2006
My two cents
The immigration debate seems to be hogging all the headlines and talk show dialog for the past few days, and looks like it may for the next few. I don't usually comment or post about political stuff. I know politics can lead to depression, I don't think it has mine, but I avoid it when possible 'cause it might. Anyway, back to immigration, in particular illegal immigration, and what to do about it. First off, I think our government, all of it, Democrats, Republicans, City, State, and Federal, should all stop trying to talk , walk, and chew gum, at the same time. The political brain is just not that flexible. First thing to do is fix the boarders, reducing the illegal immigration to a minimum, can't be stopped completely but it can be cut to manageable levels. This would also go a long way toward stopping the drug and human trafficking. Then reform the immigration process, set reasonable limits for guest workers and visitor visas with enforceable controls. By the time these first two can be accomplished the number of illegals in the country will have been cut in half by normal attrition, the remainder can be absorbed without to much trouble..... It's probably to simple.... It could work... BUT, our government has to do it backwards. Figure out what to do with 20 million illegals first, while another 20 million come across the boarder. Then fix the boarders, which by that time will be irrelevant.....I should stick with depression and cancer, subjects I know a little about, but heck I had to get my two cents in......
Saturday, April 08, 2006
I've been reading some of the comments left over from yesterday's birthday blog for Ronni. Some how I come away with the feeling that I should grab a broom and help Millie and Pattie with the clean up. It's all in my head, I know, but I somehow felt we had a real party. What a terrific group of people. Then to top it off that wonderful thank you post by the guest of honor....
Friday, April 07, 2006
Happy Birthday Ronni
HAPPY BIRTHDAY RONNI!
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Obligation: A social, legal, or moral requirement, such as a duty, contract, or promise that compels one to follow or avoid a particular course of action.
Yesterday I said I felt an obligation to post, I do, it's a commitment I made to myself when I first started blogging. I promised myself that no matter how strong the urge not to post was, I would not give in, I would post. If nothing else I would do a post about not posting. Just like I vowed to exercise some every day. These are a couple of the ways I keep the depression at bay. Keep the mind occupied. Kind of a, use it or loose it, thing. Same with the exercise, keeps the joints and muscles a little more limber. It's pretty much human nature to do as little mental or physical exercise as possible, if it requires effort, or can in any way be construed as unpleasant or, undesirable. The trick is to do these things even when it would be soooo easy not to. It's not what I blog about, but the fact that I do. It's not where I walk or ride the bike, but that I do.... This helps improve the quality of life, as well as helping to keep the depression at bay.... I sometimes give in to temptation and miss a day. Those times I end up feeling that it's not me controlling my life, it's old age and the cancer. They'll get their turn soon enough. I'm not giving in to them just yet....As I read this back I'm not sure it makes sense, even to me.....I know what I'm trying to say, just not sure it came out right.....
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
There is a down side to using the blog for therapy, as I get better at handling the down parts of my life, I find I need it less. Because of that, there is a tendency towards redundancy. Were it strictly for me, as originally intended, that wouldn't be a problem. Others have started reading it, and apparently derive some value from it, I'm at a loss as to what that may be. None the less, I feel obligated to post something. The problem is I don't know all that much about anything. I think a lot about things, like life, living, current events, and things like that, but most of my thoughts are so far out of the main stream I'd probably get flamed off the net....It just ain't easy being me.... I keep workin at it though.....
Monday, April 03, 2006
I stopped at the local Chinese discount store (Wal-Mart) to pick up a couple of items yesterday. Standing in the "twenty-items-or-less" checkout lane I noticed the lady ahead of me, in her mid-thirties, carefully counting the items in her cart. I mentally counted with her....She had twenty-five. Not a big deal, people do it all the time. This lady, however, very selectively picked up five of the smallest, balancing them between her right hand, forearm and bosom, while with the left, she placed the remaining items on the checkout counter. As the clerk neared the end of the twenty items, she put the remaining five on the counter. I assumed she was shopping for a friend, in addition to her own, and expected a delay while she juggled the cash to pay for both, separately. Nope, she paid for it all with a credit card, gathered her purchases and left the store. I'm sure, feeling good in the knowledge that she, in her eyes, had not broken the law of the less-than lane..... This has nothing to do with anything..... I wonder about the logic..... I guess I could have asked.... Safer to speculate.... Then again, I am from Mars not Venus, and so not really expected to understand....
Friday, March 31, 2006
Things happen for a reason
My disappointment of yesterday has lead to some good. Lending credence to the old saying "everything happens for a reason". Yesterdays article lead me to medicare.gov and lots of information on care facilities. With all this information at my finger tips, I'm ashamed of myself for not learning more about the many facets of the Medicare system sooner. Never to old, I guess....The information available on the local Medicare approved facilities are a great guide, showing what deficiencies have been found in the past, which are most common, and so forth. Since Medicare is my primary provider. I may have to stick with the Medicare approved facilities. Don't know, or understand, how that works yet. More questions than answers at this point.... Good thing time is on my side so far.... Guess nobody ever said it was gonna be easy..... I do seem to sense a reluctance to discuss these things before hand.... Must be that, don't-think-about-unpleasant-things-until-your-forced, syndrome. You suppose?..... It shouldn't be. We all face the decision, one way or another, whether for ourselves or our loved ones.....
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Just when I thought I had all the bases covered, an article in the Post Register (subscription required)this morning, has upset my apple cart. The article has to do with one son's complaints about his father's treatment in one of the local care facilities. One complaint is not all that bad. It does plant a seed of doubt. And that undermines the open-mindedness I was hoping for, in my search for a facility that would come close to fitting my particular needs. I was hoping to find a facility that would provide assisted living, with a transition to nursing care when needed. That's still my goal, but I'm afraid the search pace will be slower, less enthusiastic, and much more thorough. The article and the information it contained makes a big impact on me, just when I'm the most vulnerable. I was already experiencing some doubt about my decision, this has the effect of exacerbating those doubts. Fortunately, so far, time is on my side. I'm not forced to make a hurried decision, as I was when my wife required nursing care. I was extremely fortunate in my choice that time, I can't count on luck like that again.... Two steps forward one step back.... Part of life....
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Put away the crutch
I'm thinking I have the depression pretty much under control, it's about time to back off from the therapist just a little. Kinda like using crutches with a broken leg. As the leg heals you need to use it more and the crutches less. I think the same is true with my using the blog as a crutch. I need to use it less to sort out my thinking . I think I am able to control the negative thoughts, if not eliminate them altogether. The crisis, I think, is over. I'm functioning more like what is ,or was, normal for me. The last two plus years have been a nightmare. I'm awake now and the perspiration is starting to dry. I still have some hills to climb, but I think I've proven to myself I have the strength and determination to do it. There are a lot of "I thinks" in here, because that's what it is. I think. I wont know until it's done. I'll still need the blog to talk to, maybe just not as often, and maybe about something else.....
Monday, March 27, 2006
Still in contemplation mode
I'm feeling kind of good about myself. I've made it through the roughest parts of the care facility thing, the decision to start the process, without becoming depressed. I think I'm on the winning end of that problem. Discussions with the kids are, and will be, on going until all of us have explored ALL the pros and cons, and are in agreement. The length of stay also needs to be considered as does the timing. It's not a move one wants to make more than once, so it better be right the first time. I think if we all stay somewhat flexible it should come out right. Now to intermingle my thoughts and desires, with the thinking and desires of the other family members. It'll be slow and delicate..... Really delicate...... I have pretty level headed offspring, so we should be O.K. won't be all my way, but it'll probably be the best way.... And life goes on....
Sunday, March 26, 2006
I'm still struggling with the care facility thing. Along with convincing myself that it's the prudent thing and now is the time to start. I have my three sons and daughter to convince. I know they will be opposed. I think I know most of the reasons. Having gone through it, I know how trying a time it can be. If ever relationships can be strained that is the time. I know there is help available. Hospice has explained their program and the assistance that they can provide, but they also agree that what I think I should do has merit and needs to be seriously considered. The disruption caused a family when bringing in someone that may soon be totally dependent on them is monumental. Then, finding the situation is far more demanding than the average family can handle. The psychological impact of having to move them to a care facility is, in most cases, devastating. My thinking today is, I should do all I can to spare them and myself all that drawn out heartache with, what we can all agree, is a well thought out, decision. I think it's my responsibility to make sure it is indeed well thought out and discussed. That doesn't make it any easier, it just means that what ever is decided and what ever facility is picked, it wasn't done in a hurried emotional panic. No, that isn't making it easier, but it's starting to make more sense to me. I believe it's all part of living and dying and, in my case, doing so without fear....And sugar coating.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
I'm having trouble getting myself motivated to find a care facility. I must have considered every reason possible to not do this. I know these weren't reasons at all, but excuses not to. I have gone so far as to compile a list of facilities available in Idaho falls, but I don't seem to be able to move beyond that. I just look at the list. The thought keeps nagging at me, do I really need to do this at this time. That's just another delaying tactic, I think. A possible reason is, I would be acknowledging that my independence will be all but gone, or at the very least, much curtailed. If I don't go farther, in my mind, it stays intact. I have faced the fact that my life span is probably measurable in months. Why can't I as well, face the fact that my physical abilities will diminish as I get closer? Possibly, because I'm seeing a whole mountain. When in fact it will be a series of small hills. This is just another step along the path, I need to remember that. One day, one step, at a time. I wonder am I strong enough to do that?....... Only time will tell....
Friday, March 24, 2006
There is a wonderful guest post on TGB (not good with links)by Claude Covo-Fauchi. Her subject is one I have been, and still am, struggling with. I guess everyone does, mostly towards the end of their lives. In a way I'm fortunate to have the cancer diagnosis so late in life. When I was diagnosed at age 72, I was like everyone else, dying was that unpleasant thing that happened to everyone but me. I didn't have to worry for at least 10 more years, according to family history, and it was so easy not to. I'm not sure there is any way to do it differently, just as it's almost impossible to imagine any other catastrophic thing happening to us, the mind just doesn't let us do it. I think I can remember how I felt about it in pre-cancer days, so I can empathize with Claude. The fear is there, and as with most fears we can shut it out but, that doesn't eliminate it, just postpones it. We do this until we can't any longer then we're forced to deal with it. I also think that when the time comes she'll handle it, not that it won't be difficult. It's kind of built in.......Getting there is the really hard part...... I also think it's a little easier the closer I get..... Read the post it's a good one......
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Another stray thought
I'm still working on not letting my mental and physical problems monopolize all my time with my therapist (the blog). I don't know why that's become so important, but it seems it has.... Apparently I have some unconscious need or reason, so I say follow the instinct....
I was watching CNN last weekend, one of those reporter talk shows, can't remember the name, I wasn't really listening that close. Anyway, one of the reporters said that the mental picture that the public had of the reporter, as the reporter, was entirely different from the reporter, as the guy buying groceries at the corner market. I think that's true (wish I'd paid more attention), I think the same is true of the folks that write the blogs we read. I think we expose a side of us that just isn't there face to face. I'm sure I do. I reread my blogs often, that's how I use them to fix my thinking, and at times I really surprise myself. Face to face, I don't think I articulate all that well. Maybe not in the blog either, I don't know. I think the blogger me is the me I'd like to be, or more precisely, the me I'm working on becoming.... A little less introverted, a little less callous....A little more finished....... A work in progress? Who knows?