Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One Day at a Time! Mahalo

Well, if there was a common denominator I took from Stef's curtain call last week, it was...


and live every day best you can. The fact remains however, as wonderful an event as it was and whatever the lesson that may have been learned, the curtain will never rise again, so I am in complete agreement with this notion (and even plan on taking my lunch today in the water as we are being treated to one of the best south swells we have had in years.) My outlook has certainly changed troughout this entire experience, yet I too must face the same hurdles in life as the rest of you so this can be difficult I know. The difference is in my perception as I approach the reality of the financial, professional, legal and moral issues we all encounter every day and prioritize how to address them in a positive, sometimes comical, and carefree fashion in order to alleviate as much of the "stress" as possible. Some may look at it almost as if I'm being aloof, but it seems to work for the most part as we are now living every day with a new sense of renewal-a second chance if you will to determine what is truly important.

That said, I feel this is a great time for a divergence in this blog and to take it to another level as I see about getting it out in print. Many of you have suggested I do something more with this experience and I agree-there is a lot of work here on all levels that may be useful to others either for its entertainment value or as a tool for those facing their own journey through the hell of the big C or other issues they may face. That isn't to say I won't continue here in cyberspace as I will and hope these posts still find their way to those that find them useful, or at least entertaining. Granted, I don't need them for myself as much as I did last year fortunately and they may not have the same value to those tracking my journey as they once did either, but I have enjoyed this outlet and find it therapeutic in a fashion so continue they will.

So, as August comes to a close, we can look at the approaching Labor Day weekend as an anniversary of sorts and this will mark the final post that is to be included in what will become a printed form of my journey. Not only was I actually a Labor Day baby back in 1964 and this weekend marks the beginning of another birth week thank God, but the Lahaina Return could arguably be called the real start of my recovery as it was the first event I could fully participate in post treatment where I had enough strength and ability to get back out there!

I thank ALL of you from the bottom of heart for all of your support through this life altering experience, with the keyword being LIFE. I also must admit that I certainly appreciate the feedback even though I laugh and get more than a little embarrassed at the constant flow of compliments you continue to shower me with regarding my mental resolve and appearance throughout and after this ordeal. I truly have no response other than...


and for now, thank God we are all fortunate enough to continue to be able to laugh and enjoy this life together



Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Here is the banner of the program we received as we entered Diamond Head Theater Sunday!

On Facebook, it was billed as "Stefanie's Final Curtain Call"
and what a show it was!

Ironically, it seems there were quite a few people that didn't understand the double meaning here and got quite a shock. I feel for a friend of hers I spoke with the other day that was on the mainland when he saw the post and called her cell, leaving a message apologizing for not being able to make her last show. I can't imagine how he must have felt when he received a return call from one of her friends explaining the true meaning, and he wasn't alone I understand. Outside of these uncomfortable moments, you really couldn't put a better feel good twist on such a not so feel good time.

As I have stated here on more than one occasion, I usually hit the "dislike" button on memorials and have been remiss, if not outright selfish as I have chosen to opt out of my share of services of late. First it was too close to Dad, and then a reminder of my own mortality. In this case however, I simply felt I had no choice for a number of reason and am oh so glad I did. Granted it was certainly quite the dose of said mortality, but this was an event. Kudos go out to her husband Jim as well as her hui of "angels", Katie, Spanky, Mia, Jen and Vanessa to name a few as well as the staff at DHT for organizing and creating such an amazing tribute on such short notice all the while dealing with their own emotion. As we heard time after time Sunday, Stef wanted to put on a performance as the theater was her church. She gave strict instructions she wanted a show of celebration and forbade any tears, and for the most part, was successful in her wishes. Not since Dads memorial have I seen so much laughter at what was ultimately a very somber time but when it happens, that is the way to do it for all. Great job everyone and all my best to her entire family.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Too close to home

So sad as lost a childhood friend yesterday and this one just too damn close to home. I grew up with Stefanie Smart and of course knew she had been a survivor for years-the scary thing is, just Tuesday night I was asking about her as I hadn't seen her or her husband Jim in some time. I knew she had re-entered the battle last year while I was going through my treatments as had had a number of conversation with Jim. He of course was devastated as apparently she had been complaining of back pain for some time and when she went in for her annual check up they found it had metastasized into her lower back. I've seen her since and assumed she had beaten it again but thought I'd ask when I was at the club Tuesday enjoying a beautiful Hawaiian sunset with some of her girlfriends. It was here I was told in a very hush, hush fashion that she actually wasn't doing well at all. Apparently not as yesterday as I'm showering after my workout, a buddy of mine was at his locker all freaked out and asks if I've heard about Steph. Oh no! He was having a very difficult time of it and it hit me pretty hard as well especially with his comment of asking if I'm all good and how I'm dealing with it all as "you have it too............"

Well not exactly bud but I got the message and a bit of wake up slap about all of our mortality as this one way to close to home. We'll miss you Stef!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Zapologist follow up

Alrighty then-I still stand by all my previous comments on how truly worthless this guy is and certainly the weak link in my team. The rest of the crew down there in the dungeon is still great though. Very efficient, timely and actually quite funny.

I check in with the girls up front all chatty as always and busing my chops about if this really is my scheduled appointment. An inside joke as I tend to "accidently" use their lot and then need to come down and get a validation as it's FREE! I go sit and start watching TV that as always is set to the Food Channel, a staple in these waiting rooms and that still blows my mind as most can't eat. I noticed a nurse I was unfamiliar with, i.e NEW, come through the doors with a clipboard in the standard pose to call a patient, look around then turn around and walk back in. I found this odd as amazingly enough there were only two of us in the waiting room. A few minutes later, I notice said nurse with another peering through the window and then she reappears and calls my name. I'm weighed-still keeping under the 200# self imposed limit thank you, and put into an exam room directly across from the nurses station. At this point I just loose it as they are like little girls-10 eyeballs all staring at me as unobtrusively as possible, and believe me, it isn't possible. I then see the problem, the most horrific photo I think I have ever had taken in my life is up on all the screens-there are 3 old nurses' I remember and 2 new ones and not one of them believes it is me. This picture was taken on my first zap visit right after I finished the chemo regiment so I was as pasty white as I ever have been, hairless and bloated up to a not so solid 235-Jabba the Hut and Humpty Dumpty got nothin on me in that pic but we had a good time with it and yes-new pics were taken. It was quite comical I must admit.

On Monday I posted in reference the episodes I was having with my throat and without a doubt the worst I have had since I was in treatment. Monday and Tuesday were horrible-I couldn't swallow anything without much or all of it coming back up and out my nose. It got fricken painful and I was forcing down with memories of what I did on a daily basis under treatment-both Mon and Pam witnessed this and they too had those memories I am sure-not as bad I admit but it sucked none the less! Yesterday was quite a bit better and last night was great-full meal and everything. I awoke this morning and had a little issue with that first cup of water and pills but not out of the ordinary.

By the time I got to my appointment here, all was good-even water wasn't a problem. (Ironically I had a harder time with liquids than solids, soft mind you, in the later part of this episode) This of course is a double edged sword of sorts, especially with this Doc, as there was nothing for him to see as far as symptoms and he hadn't a clue what to tell me had happened. "Geee Jeff, sounds like you may have had a virus of some sort or possibly some residual damage that acted up with the throat muscles....." Really? Is that the best you can do? Lucy and I got the same diagnosis of Web MD!!!! He then went on to tell me how important it is for me to remember and tell the ENT next week as she really the expert! WOW-now that's another thorough diagnosis.

It got better when he tells me everything looks great and he feels nothing out of the ordinary so he is quite pleased again with my progress. "Umm Doc-excuse me, you started to do your physical and do your thing feeling around the entire throat BUT you never actually got that far as you got side tracked so how exactly do you know you can't feel anything unusual?" We fixed that misstep with the same outcome fortunately however, not a great way to instill confidence.

Bottom line is the good news here is that I do seem to be fine today as well as in his finding-everything looks great and he sees nothing of concern so see ya in 6 months!

I'll take it and gee-you think I can remember to tell the ENT next week! YA THINK-LOL

Jeff out

Monday, August 8, 2011

Throat freeze!

One of the worst episodes Ive had this year that I can recall! Can't swallow without everything ejecting out my nose-a definitive disconnect with the muscles that control swallowing and this sucks! I was told this is nothing unusual as the radiation damage that occurred can have this effect but usually clears after a few hours or a day.

Woke yesterday with a bit of an issue but nothing that was out of the ordinary-laid low, didn't talk much and took it easy on the throat with what I ingested and that usually good. Considering I was racing in the bay on Saturday and had a big week at work, the throat will sometimes just say "'NUF!" and we do what I did yesterday and good enough-

Not this time apparently as here I am Monday morning working out of the house because I simply cant swallow, can't talk and generally uncomfortable so hoping another day of TLC and we are all good-Cant get in to see the doc until my regularly scheduled appointment next week so will just grit this one out and hope everything relaxes soon.