July 29, 2007

Sonny Days

We spent the last week at the Lake of the Ozarks. The weather was great, not too hot. The week was filled with activities!!!

One of our favorite things to do at the lake is just float. We all grab a raft and just float in the cove for hours and hours. It's unbelievably relaxing.

We also hung out at the pool for hours, ate well, BBQ'd and had a number of 'adventures'!

One day the boys went trout fishing at Bennett Springs State Park. We didn't do to well but caught enough for dinner. We had three on the
stringer when we began to pack up and make the 50 minute drive back to the condo. Brad and I were about to pick up the last pole and our tackle box when an elderly lady asked Brad "Do you want to land her?" I looked and her fishing pole was bent so it was obvious she had a fish on it. Brad said sure and I grabbed her net to help capture the rainbow trout. After I had the fish in the net she asked me if I wanted it. It was perfect, we had four for dinner and Brad could say he caught one! Here's a picture of me cleaning the catch!

Another day was spent at Big Surf Water Park. We've been going to my dad's place at the Lake for twenty years now, Big Surf has been open for the better part of that time and I have never been. The kids, both big and little all had a great time.

My brother in law also turned forty while we were there. Amongst other events, we stopped into one of our favorite local establishments; Woody's. It's a real dive, with cheap Busch Beer (a St. Louis thing) and free shuffleboard. Here's a picture of the birthday boy and his friend Jose!

I have a second week of vacation scheduled this week. I discovered last year how increably relaxing two back to back weeks can be. The second week will include a few days with family, chores and more 'Brad-Dad time'. A few rounds of golf, the pool, a movie or two.

My sister and nephew came in from Ohio. They drove over from St. Louis with my younger brother Dan. We mostly just hung out, went to the pool and ate way too much food!

Thursday night Brad is throwing out the first pitch at the Kansas City T-Bones game. The T-Bones are our minor league baseball team. Mary and I bought this at a cancer charity event last year. He's a little nervous but we practiced today and I'm confident he'll throw a real nice strike!

The best part of the both weeks was the amount of time I got to spend with Brad. To see his face change from disappointment to joy when laniding the fish was priceless!!!!

July 20, 2007

One for the kid.....

I have never told anyone besides Mary, but for the last eight years I have kept a journal for Brad.  I write a brief entry each month about things going on in our family.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  It has grown to over thirty-three single spaced pages.  I may amount to nothing, but I really think in the years ahead Brad will have a glimpse into who I was, what I thought.  I share a lot here, obviously I share a lot more with him. 


Here's an excerpt from this months entry I wrote earlier today.

Summer is almost over, again. It sure flies by. School will start on August 22nd and you will be in 5th Grade already. Wow how time is flying.  Brad I love you and mom so much. I get sad at times when I think about the possibility of my demise? I am hopeful and pray daily that things will go on for a long time. However, as a realist I realize that they may not. I worry about you going through your teen years without a dad. I worry about her without me…..I start to cry. 


Life, at times like these, really sucks.  My advice to you is instead of dwelling in the negative, the sad, you have to focus on the good things in life. You need to think about what you do have, and what lies ahead of you. Don’t focus on what you lost or are without.  God challenges us everyday. He challenges us to do the right thing, to make the right decision. Sometimes we don’t. But he is forgiving and I think he expects us to learn from those mistakes.


As you read this, you may be without me, I am not sure how and when I will ever share this with you? And so my message today is be strong. Take the time to think, morn, make tough decisions but be “mind strong”. What I mean is this; don’t feel sorry for yourself, don't have regrets don't be a worry wart. We could all spend a life time analyzing our lives, wondering 'what if I had done this or that differently" or what if this or that happens to me". Think about things, but make a decision and move on. There is always someone out there with a worse story. Yes, what happened to me (and subsequently you and mom) really, really is a travesty but look at the good that came from it, look at the positive impact we and the foundation had on those close to us and more importantly complete and total strangers.

July 17, 2007

Don't pull my leg and a flashback

I was released from the Orthopedic doctor yesterday and now I have a few less appointments to deal with each month! She said that I can go ahead and start putting more and more stress on my leg.  I rode our stationary bike for five minutes this morning with no pain, no issues.  Over the next few weeks I'll add jump rope and leg exercises that involve weights.  She just suggested I work my way back to my previous levels over a few weeks.
I played a full round of disc golf on Saturday.  We had a large crowd of 10 so we played partners. I was paired with Joe, we have a history of coming up short when paying on the same team.  We continued the tradition by missing 5 or 6 easy putts.  Joe carried us with his huge drives but I was able to hit a 30 foot putt from the bushes to card a birdie on the 9th hole, it was pretty cool! We finished second, one stroke out of the lead. I will continue to play with a modified throw for at least a few more weeks, likely the rest of the summer.  The traditional back hand throw puts a tremendous amount of stress on ones right ankle.
One year this week Joe, Pete and I were in Sweden and England.
It seems like a lot longer ago to me!  I'd like to thank Joe and Pete again for allowing me to join them, it was an incredible experience, I'd love to go back!

July 12, 2007

My Amarillo Sky

Over the weekend while we were in St. Louis I copied a number of CD's from my brother.
Being my big brother Doug, the genre is 100% country!

So this morning's selection is from Jason Aldean and the song is "Amarillo Sky".
Though it's about a guy, on a tractor praying to God for good crops, a successful harvest, etc., this line really stuck with me:

....and I send up another prayer,
He says Lord,
I never complain,
I never ask why,
Please don't let,
my dreams run dry,
underneath this Amarillo, Amarillo sky.

In all likelihood, Mary and I have a real big decision to make in a few weeks. One that we knew was inevitable, but was not directly confronting us for the last nine months. We've acknowledged and appreciated this time. I have no fears. As I said here early on; BRING IT ON!

We just talked at lunch and imagine this, we both settled on the same treatment (I won't share until we know for sure). I guess that happens when you marry your best friend sixteen years earlier, it seems that we almost always agree.

July 09, 2007

easy peasy lemon squeezy

On our drive back from St. Louis yesterday I had a lot of time to think. My thoughts mostly revolved around the current uneasiness in out lives.

Though we won't know until my August appointment, we may have reached a point where we are going to have to make a decision for my next step, my next treatment. My PSA scores appear to have bottomed out and has even risen a little over the past two months.

We've been spoiled for the last nine, almost ten months. The pharmaceutical regime has done it's job for the most part. I've been doing my best to do the right thing; taking my medications diligently, working out, eating well etc. However, Mary and I have not had to make any real medical decisions for quite some time.

We have a few options, which is good but one of them is Chemo......The others involve using additional medications that I will list in a future post.

This post is somewhat of a ramble but that does not make it unique for "the Big C'. Cancer really is horrible, advanced prostate cancer might just be the leader of the pack.

I am hesitant to add this next link. It is the website for an Australian man who passed away in May. He was diagnosed in 1997 at 42 years old. He lasted for ten years. I really shouldn't have but I just read the update his wife posted that encompass the month leading up to his death. If you really want to read it [Mary please don't!!!] here it is:
http://www.members.iinet.com.au/%7Ealbys/ Click on 'Prostate Cancer' then on 'Updated June 07'. You have been warned, it is beyond sad......

OK, so you don't think I'm moping around feeling sorry for myself, I have to close on a high note!!!! I played disc golf on the 4th. It was great to be out. I didn't keep score but threw a few pars and a lot of bogies. Bogies were good considering I had to throw side arm and keep all my weight on my left foot. No complaints though, it was awesome! I'll be back at it this weekend for nine or so holes again, slowly working my way back to full round!!

July 05, 2007

Test result day, plus 14 hours

"Are you awake?"
I roll over, look at the clock, it's 12:50am
Unable to sleep, she went downstairs and looked through the usual Prostate cancer internet sites. Looking for answer, knowing it wasn't there. The options we have may be there, the answer is not.
Even though I had been sleeping, we spent some time and discussed what we do next? In the end, what we do next is still in doubt. Chemo, or chemo as part of a clinical trial is the 'standard treatment protocol'. I'm not sure either of us is mentally ready for that at this time.  There might be a few other oral medical protocols we can try first. These again will only delay the inevitable, chemo. 
The decision will not be made in haste. There is no deadline, other than perhaps next month's meeting with the Oncologist. Though my number could fluctuate slightly again, the reality is we need to begin preparing for the 'what next?'.
And so this mornings drive in to work included this song by Matchbox 20. Like most songs I quote on this blog it is not about being sick etc. but as always, I reserve the right to apply personal interpretation!!! It means something far different to me, not  heartbreak, lost love etc. This is just part of the song. Just let the first line of the chorus and the last line sink in a little today.....
Matchbox 20 - Disease


July 03, 2007

Faster than a speeding bullet!

The title is only reflective of the speed in which I received my latest test results, just over 24 hours!!!
Not what we wanted to hear, but all in all, not terrible either. Another small change, but it's heading up.
And so, the next 28 day cycle begins. 
I think I'll take the opportunity of my upcoming time off from work to enjoy life a little more.  More trips to the pool, gradually of course with my leg and all.  Perhaps a few rounds of disc golf before the month is over? Time with family, fireworks, fresh tomatoes, floating on a raft in the Lake for a few hours, a good book [I'm on my third Clive Cussler book in the last month] and perhaps for a while forgetting all that is Prostate Cancer. 
However, I realize that after nearly two and half years letting go is not reality. If I can just stretch the times between obsessing a few more minutes or hours that would be grand.
For those of you Americans, enjoy the forth of July!
Historic numbers:
Date: PSA:
7/02/07 20.30
6/04/07 17.80
4/30/07 16.25
4/2/07 17.68
3/5/07 21.87
2/5/07 20.90
1/8/07 18.90
12/11/06 24.86
11/13/06 43.61
10/16/06 51.48 (Started "High Dose" Ketoconazole and Hydrocortisone, 10/01)
[at this point and for a second time we prepared for Taxotere.  First my Oncologist wanted to try High Dose Ketoconazole and Hydrocortisone.]
9/11/06 83.97 (started Zometa)
8/23/06 41.77
8/18/06 54.66
(no tests in June or July)
5/19/06 11.37 (stopped Casodex)
4/3/06 4.25
3/5/06 1.45
1/27/06 0.46
12/28/05 1.85
[at this point we prepared for Taxotere, chemotherapy treatments. First I had a new PSA test and new bone and CT scans, lymph nodes clear, spine clear, ribs, femur and hips stable.  The PSA dropped to 1.85 and the scans revealed marked improvement. Chemo was cancelled 72 hours before it was scheduled to begin]
12/15/05 7.18
11/03/05 4.64 (Stopped taking Casodex)
9/22/05 0.80
8/11/05 0.35
6/24/05 0.55
4/17/05 2.51 (taken at MD Anderson, Gleason lowered to 7/7)
4/06/05 3.51 (Six weeks after starting Lupron and Casodex)
Original Gleason scores (7/8)
Pre-treatment test: 2/?/05 219
Original test: 12/?/04 189

July 02, 2007

Pins, needles, and all the rest

Today I had my monthly appointment with my Oncologist. I have nothing new to report. I feel the same as I have for months.

[In regards to my broken leg, I’m out of the boot and walking in tennis shoes and a small ankle brace. I also have not used the crutches in over a week.]

So back to the visit, this was the first time my appointment was early in the morning. I had blood drawn at 8:30 and was waiting for my Zometa treatment by ten after nine. The treatment room was a much different crowd. There was nothing in particular, just some real odd characters.

I haven’t been posting much lately because things are rather boring. We hope to go to St. Louis in a few weeks and to the Lake of the Ozarks later in the summer. My sister from Ohio will be in St. Louis and travel across the state and spend a few days here in Kansas City.

In response to my Blog I’ve received emails recently from people all over the world! New Zealand, Louisiana, Marshall, Mo., Florida, Connecticut, Texas and probably a few more I’ve failed to mention. We even sent a little package of bracelets to the Kiwi’s, though two weeks later they have yet to arrive!

She doesn’t say so but I think Mary is a little worried this month. We both worry every month after my appointment, perhaps the worry is just a bit more this month. God has really blessed me with her, I don’t know how she keeps it up day after day, week after week etc.