Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Next

I'm sitting in 6E at UCH waiting to get my last chemo infusion of this cycle. I'm also trying to find a voice for this entry, I'm rusty. This has been a strange cycle, the effects of what they are giving me are cumulative and daunting in subtly, it sneaks up on you and provides a blanketing malaise and inertia that I have not known in this treatment. As that builds, the cancer vortex that I've tried so hard to hover above, to some degree, some how snags a piece of your clothing like barbed wire and begins to pull into it. You've got cancer and pretty soon it owns your thoughts and begins to direct your life. I guess it's inevitable.

Tonight it's a week later, Thanksgiving Sunday and I'm reporting to UCH at 7:30 AM. I've had a good day today, but that's after being sicker than I've ever been in my life, ever. For the last 3-days- wednesday and thursday being the worst of it, I've had a reaction to the drug that I got on Monday, they lied when they told me that Friday was my last day of chemo and just threw one on me Monday. Zach came on Tuesday for Thanksgiving week and we had a great day goofing around and getting hard to find bike parts for his fixed gear bike and eating and seeing movies. Erica got here on Thursday and spent most of her time nursing me back to health, missing my really good day completely. However, it's easily been the best Thanksgiving on record just having my kids here in Oak Park. MJ went to South Carolina to be with her daughter, so for the first time I had my kids to myself for three days. I did however fade that night after dinner and just kept sliding until Saturday. Today it's like it never happened, so, there's my point- the disease and its treatment are predictably unpredictable and therefore not far from your mind- you either feel too good or too bad, but you never just feel.

So, here's what's going to take place over the next few weeks. I report in the morning and get a infusion of some magic chemical that is to protect my mouth and nasal system from the radiation. I begin radiation 3 times a day on Tuesday for three days. At that point being very low on a functioning hematological system, they rest me for 2- days and them begin the infusion of new platelets. The rest is watch, measure and wait for my blood system to rebuild itself on my sister's platelets. I believe this will be a rough go, it's basically taking a person to the lowest form of life function and rebuilding a healthy and valid hematology from that point.

I want and ask directly for your prayers, given in love and in what ever form and to what ever greater spirit you see yourself praying to. I believe that I can beat this, but like the first segments of my treatment, the love and meaning that all have brought to me during these last months has sustained me more than the chemistry. While I wouldn't want to do without it, the chemistry treats illness, love treats ones soul and that's how we survive in the end.

I've asked Erica and Zach to make medical updates to this blog for me as I progress deeper into the effects this course of treatment. While I may be able to post for a while, I can't be sure for how long and I want to stay in touch.

Lastly, this has been an amazing experience. The age and time we live in has made it possible for me to tell my story to so many people and feel the love and imagination of friends and colleagues in return. It is a wonderful life I have, it's wonderful to have the freedom to communicate my thoughts, fears, hopes and challenges to family and friends and colleagues. It's at once very private and very public and it couldn't happen but for living in these times.

Arnie

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Arn,

What a joy to see you posting again!

We missed you on Thanksgiving but you were there in spirit and in our prayers. We truly hoped that you'd be joining us for some portion of the day. Hopefully, you enjoyed some of the "Lovejoy cuisine" that the kids brought to you.

It is comforting to read your words again. Know that we will be with you as you travel the rest of this "chemical" journey. You are correct, this is a good time to be alive!

Don't Postpone Joy!

Sandi

Rhonda K. said...

Arnie:

You are in my prayers and thoughts as you journey into the next unknown. As hard as it pulls you down, you just pull right back. Rooting for you as always.
With love,
Rhonda

Mark Drozd said...

Arnie: I share the notion that it is wonderful to have you posting your thoughts and feelings yet again. The real inspiration for me, and the sign I get from you that your determination is still strong, is your absolute wonder. Your capacity for wonder has always moved me, made me think extra hard. But wonder for you isn't passive; it wasn't "back then" and it isn't now. Your wonder is your life force. It's your determination to understand, learn from, gain from. And now, thrive from. I believe in your wonder, I believe in your determination, and I believe in you, Arnie. I send my thoughts and prayers to fuel that amazing life force of yours.

Your friend,
Mark

Anonymous said...

Arnie-
So good to hear from you again. You asked for prayers and I want you to know you're in my thoughts always. Your strength of spirit is inspirational. Kids use the term "awesome" without really understanding its depth of meaning. You, Arnie, are awesome.

All my best wishes, positive thoughts and love,

Deborah S.

Kim said...

Arnie,
It is good to hear from you again. Have been thinking of you so much. Sending all of my love, prayers and general good juju to youyou. Stay strong.

Love,
Kim

Rich said...

Hey bud,

I left you a voice message on T-Day. Nice to read the new entry, although a little scary to me. So, I can only imagine how you feel. Can I call you, and if so, where? Are you going to need platelets like Sharon did? I'll run in to donate if you do.

JTG asked about you on Sunday. I appear to have the story straight about what happens next, so that's good. Tim is in Myrtle Beach with John R. I am traveling this week on Wed/Thurs, so I expect you will be in full crap mode by the time I return. Will we be able to visit and offer good cheer?

I played golf in Kohler 1.5 weeks ago. It was cold and drizzly, but otherwise generally crappy weather, but it was still fun to be out there. Play was fast as there was no one else stupid enough to be on the course. Oddly enough, I played poorly until I stopped to warm up my hands. I immediately parred the next two holes. Feeling confident, I decided to play on, but my scores started to get much worse. Maybe you've been right all these years about the value of warmer weather.

I think about you way more than I should, and I pray for your comfort and safety as you travel down this road. God protect you and your time here. I know you have at least one more golf trip in you, and I am ready to plan it. We can even go somewhere warm if you want.

Call me if you get bored.

Rich

Anonymous said...

Arnie:

Monica and I are with you all the way. Good to hear your continuing story. You are on the cutting edge of science. Who woulda thought.

Love You

John G.

Tripp Hudgins said...

Arnie,

You are in our prayers. Your have been inspiring through all of this. Thank you.

See you soon.

Anonymous said...

love and prayer to your domain. always.
-marcus

Anonymous said...

Arnie,
So glad to see a post again. Larry and I have been wondering but hesitant to call, wishing not to bother you at an inconvenient time. You are in our thoughts and prayers and we wait anxiously for the post that says you're done and going home. If Katherine's friend, Carolyn can do it, so can you! Soon two years for her. Take care and know that you are in our thoughts daily. Love, Jan

Richard Sorman said...

Hi Arnie:

So much like everyone who knows you my thoughts have included you frequently. Your eloquent writing informs me not just about your journey but further exemplifies the strong bonds that you create and nurture.

I just recently read this, somewhere, and it is directly relevant to you:

"The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping-stones is the way you use them."

While I believe that such is true, you have clearly elevated the thought to its highest point by practicing its teaching.

Stay as strong as you can - as brave as you are -

Richard