Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Where Has The Summer Gone (2)

OOPs, I hit the post tab and inadvertantlly posted. So this is a continuation. Please read the blog after this one, which is really the blog before this one.

Back in February the Neuro-Radiologist spotted a problem with my vertebral artery. To make a summer-time long story short, this 'problem' is under control and any risk of stroke has been minimalized. I did get to experience an angiogram at UCSF in June. At that Joyce shared with me that she has had enough of playing nursemaid to me and that she really hoped that would be the last surgical procedure that she would have to support me through. I hoped that would be the last as well.

In June I started my annual checkup process with my GP - Dr. Ghewalla. He has been my doctor for nearly 20 years, so he has seen me through a few life experiences. Anyway, part of the process was a "stress test". This is a way for them to see how your heart reacts under excercise. All was proceeding well, they said my heart had great capacity. I know, that is a surprise for my long-time friends. I said it must be a side effect of the chemo - radiation. :) Well, as my heart was recovering from the test I experienced PVCs. Its an extra beat the heart takes between its normal beats. I saw a look in their eyes I had seen before, a look I didn't care for. So, we scheduled me for a echocardiogram stress test. Its where you go through the stress test and when your heart reaches a certain heart rate, you jump (literally) on an exam table and the technician does an ultra sound of your heart. Kinda cool. Well, it seems my heart is OK. Structurally sound, good blood flow and no leakage. Another part of my body the doctors have signed off on.

I had the last part of my annual physical today - the colonoscopy. What fun that was. I know many of you have had this joyous procedure. I now can compare all of these things and share my experiences with those I am helping to support through SPOHNC (more later). I was told the prep work was more difficult than the procedure. And you know what, they are correct. My procedure came back "normal". Normal is a great word in my life these days. As I was waking up from the procdure, Joyce was there for me. We laughed about the promise after the angiogram. The good news is neither of us need another one for 10 years. We decided we would do them together in 2019. Cheers!!!

Last week (September 2nd) I called my good friend Todd Brookhart. You may recall, Todd and I are brothers in cancer. We also share the 2nd of the month as our end of treatment anniversary. His is April 2nd, mine is September 2nd. Through the summer Todd experienced many of the struggles I had experienced after treatment. It was Todd's 5 month anniversary. He had turned a corner and been able to quit taking the last of his medications. It was so great to talk to Todd and hear him feeling so positive about life. He has been a wonderful gift in my life, and I believe me in his.

I mentioned above a thing called SPOHNC (Support for People with Oral Head and Neck Cancer - pronounced suponic). It is an organization that, as its name implies, provides support for my brothers and sisters (through cancer) out there. I am not involved nearly as much as I would like, but have shared my experiences through emails. One of the things I have struggled with over the last 6 + months is why have I lived and others I know have died? I just can't believe in a completely random world. It saddens me and it really makes me think. I believe there is a reason all things happen - it just may be difficult to see. I hope one of the ways I can crete meaning in my life is helping others with oral cancer.

In summary I am completely healthy and life is as normal as life can be. I hope to see each of you in the coming months.

1 comment:

Monica Lawver said...

Glen, it was great to read the update.

We may never fully understand why some live and others do not, but I too am convinced it is not random. My parents have both been spared when all odds were against their survival, and both have recognized the gift they were given. Like you, they make sure the time they've been given makes a difference in the world.

I hope to enjoy many more years with you to come.