My life changed dramatically and forever when I lost TJ.

I welcome you to follow along as I adjust to my "new normal".

It is not all puppies and ice cream but it is my life....real and honest.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another Chemo Week Behind Us

One round down and two more to go. I don't know what it is but chemo week just wears me out. I guess the thought of what TJ is about to go through with the side effects keeps me from sleeping. Although, once he gets that nasty Neulasta shot I can suddenly sleep that night and I go into overdrive working at keeping him comfortable and combating the side effects for him. It is kinda weird.
So, the Neulasta shot was Thursday and of course he felt terrible yesterday and all day today. Heartburn, bloated, exhaustion, metal mouth; it is just terrible for him. The lotion I had the compounding pharmacist mix up seems to be helping some with the back pain. It actually seems to be alleviating the majority of it! And to think I have Twitter to thank for that!!! For me Twitter has been a fantastic source of information. At least I will be home the next two days to wait on him and make sure he has everything he needs and hopefully Monday when I go back to work he will be better.
Battle On TJ, Battle On

Monday, June 22, 2009

Scan Results

Can you say REMISSION? Well, not yet, but the news was pretty good today. Based on the scan, the cancer in TJ's lung has not spread and quit growing. Nabong said he wants to do 3 more rounds of chemo and after that he fully expects remission in his lung. As far as the brain goes, they will not do a scan on that for another 3 - 5 months, but as long as he is not having any clinical symptoms (i.e. severe headaches) they say he is doing fine.
To kind of put this into perspective, Dr. Nabong told us that if the lung cancer would have spread he would not have even bothered to do anymore treatments and would just have sent him home. I can't imagine how I would be feeling right now if that would have been the case. At least right now we have a little peace of mind.
We still are not looking forward to 3 more rounds of chemo especially since the side effects get worse each time. So, he started again this week and we will just keep plugging along and hope for the best.

Thanks for all the finger & toe crossing and the prayers also. Will keep everyone updated on how chemo goes this week.
Battle On TJ, Battle On

Who Flipped The Switch?!

Seriously, who flipped the switch, and most importantly, who is in charge of that switch. I would like to have a little chat with them and have them flip it quite a bit sooner. Friday, as though someone had flipped a switch, TJ began to feel better and had a great day. He in turn felt good all weekend. Saturday he worked on his car and then Saturday night Dave & Dena came over to play some Wii. We had a good time. Sunday I took him to breakfast for Father's Day and then got gizzards (YUCK!!!) for lunch and watched the race. All in all I think he had a pretty good Father's Day.
We will be heading out in a few to see Nabong and get the results of his scans last week. We are still hoping for no more chemo or radiation. We will know soon and will post the results sometime later today. We just don't know what will happen or what our schedule is today for doctor stuff.
Everyone cross fingers. Will update as soon as I can. Hopefully not from the chemo room!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What The Hell Happened!

After such a great weekend this week has absolutely sucked. First, I have had no internet service for 2 days thanks to Qwest and I don't think we will have it up and running for a while yet. Tired of it so went to Alltel and got an air card and am canceling Qwest. The price is about the same and I know Alltel is more reliable than Qwest since it has been 6 freaking years that they have refused to bury our phone line that runs in the dirt in front of our house. Notice how I keep say Qwest so anyone who does a search on blogger will see how unhappy I am with Qwest!!!

But even worse than the internet thing is that TJ really has not had a good week. His back has been hurting very bad this week and even the Hydrocodone don't really seem to do a whole lot to alleviate the pain. He still has metal mouth so nothing tastes good to him. He is hungry all the time but is bloated and does not feel like eating and when he forces himself to eat it just doesn't taste good. Kind of like a dog chasing its tail! It breaks my heart but there is really nothing I can do to help him with this, we just have to wait until it passes.

He went for his scan on Wednesday. We of course don't know a thing and it is really eating at both of us. I see depression and fear in TJ, and me, well, I am just terrified. They just don't warn you of all the emotions that you go through with this and how very, very difficult it is on the cancer patient as well as the caregiver. CANCER SUCKS !!

Today I was Tweeted a link to an article about chemo pain that included a formula that a compounding pharmacist can put together as a topical cream to help with the muscle pain of chemo. I typed it up and faxed it to a nearby formulatory asking if he would do it and if I needed a prescription for any of the ingredients. The pharmacist said I did need a prescription so I called Ironwood Cancer Center and spoke with the nurse about it. She said she would have to see the exact formula from the pharmacist and then get approval from the doctor. Within 3 hours the pharmacist was calling me to get TJ's address and birthday so he could finish filling the prescription!!! I was impressed and picked it up on my way home. They don't accept insurance and boy was it expensive but if it helps TJ to feel better then it was worth it. I put some on TJ's back as soon as I got home and will do it again before he goes to bed. Geesh I hope this gives him some relief.

I guess right now I am just hoping for a better day tomorrow. One day at a time is all I can handle. Monday we see Dr. Nabong to get the scan results and I have taken the day off since we really don't have a clue as to what will happen. Heck, there is even a chance they will dump more chemo into him, but we sure hope not.

Battle On TJ, Battle On

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Great Weekend !!

I think for the first time since TJ's diagnosis we actually had a great weekend (well, other than the weekend we got married of course). He is feeling really good and has an OK appetite. On Saturday morning we sat outside and drank coffee. Until Saturday he had all but quit drinking coffee so it was nice to resume a long standing ritual with us. The weather was so nice out that we cooked breakfast and ate outside too. Did the same thing again on Sunday morning. Beautiful weather we are having in Arizona right now.
Kinda funny how our life has changed the last three months. Neither one of us do the things we used to do on the weekends and even the weeknights are long and boring since we are not TV watchers either. No going out to dinner or meeting friends at the bar; things are just totally different. Well, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH, so on Saturday, against my financial better judgement and at the time to TJ's dismay, I went to WalMart (or as I call it Hell) and bought us a Wii Sports for entertainment. My justification was actually two fold. Everything I have read says that the best thing to do during cancer treatments is to exercise. TJ has wanted nothing to do with exercise and I know that I have even pushed him to the point of irritation on this ;) My thinking was that the Wii would be entertaining and provide some exercise at the same time. Oh My God was I right. Saturday night we played for almost 2 hours (bowling and golf) and today we are both a little sore; him more than me. We had a blast though so now we are both in agreement that it was money well spent.
I want to add some of TJ's car pictures but I just haven't figured out how to do it. I will work on that tomorrow and get them added next week. Keep all fingers crossed that his CT scan on Wednesday gives us good news!
Battle on TJ, Battle On

Friday, June 12, 2009

3 Good Days in a Row...YIPPEEE!!!!!

Today is day 3 of TJ's good days. It all started Wednesday when he woke up. Not sure what happened overnight but it was good. He spent all day Wednesday running around with his friends. He was tired in the evening but not overly tired. Worked well though because I went to dinner with girlfriends that night. He is still having trouble eating as things still don't taste very good to him. On Wednesday night he did not liked what he fixed while I was out so I helped him to choose something he would eat after I got home. I hate to say it are pitiful when they are sick and seem to enjoy being taken care of. I know most of you agree with me...LOL.

He has even been working on his car. For those of you that don't know about this car thing, he bought a rolling chassis of a 1932 Ford Coupe. This is a huge dream of his and is hoping to finish it soon. I will post some pictures of the progress later this weekend.

This morning was the best though. I was in the kitchen getting coffee and breakfast before work and TJ was in the shower. Shortly after I heard the shower turn off I heard something coming from the bedroom I had not heard in months. TJ was whistling!!!! I knew this meant he felt good today and I immediately went in the bedroom to see him. I was right, he said he felt really good and no, I wasn't hearing things he was whistling. Amazing how a little whistling can make your whole day great!

Battle on TJ, Battle on

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chemo Rears Its Ugly Head!

Those of you that have gone through Chemo or know someone who has know exactly what I mean. How can they expect you to fight the cancer when for three days straight they are dumping poison into your body. Oh, and the side effects even after it is over! TJ had Chemo on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday of last week and then that darn nasty Neulasta shot on Thursday. He participated in a trial to help alleviate the side effects from the Neulasta shot. Twice a day, the day before, the day of, and the day after his shot he took a Zantac (over the counter) and an Alleve. We think all it did was delay the effects for about 24 hours. Until this afternoon he had been in the house since Friday and most of that time he spent sleeping. His taste is all messed up and every morning and every evening is a struggle to find something that tastes tolerable to him. After work today I picked him up and we went to the grocery together hoping something would hit him. He settled on me making a meatloaf, still cooking so who knows how this will go.
Supposedly this was his last round of Chemo but they have him scheduled for another round beginning June 22 just in case. On June 17th TJ goes in for a CT scan with contrast to see how the radiation and Chemo have worked. On the 22nd we see Dr. Nabong (oncologist) for the results and that will determine if he has Chemo that day or not. Everyone please keep your fingers crossed for us that the CT scan gives us good news. I will be taking the 22nd off in hopes of celebrating. By the way, in my first post I said we had been together since 2004, boy was that a typo. TJ and I actually met in 1994, he gave me grief for eliminating 10 years of our relationship ;-D Oooops.
With TJ being down the last 4 days I have seen a bit of frustration in him and I don't blame him. I am at work all day and he does not feel like doing anything so he is just home alone all day.
The dogs only provide so much company after a while. Tonight two of his friends are here for a visit (Al & Steve), I am sure that will perk him up and yesterday his niece Phylicia called him and he really appreciated her taking the time to visit with him. Friends are vital in the healing process and even as I type this I hear him laughing with Al & Steve; that is a priceless sound to me.
Battle On TJ, Battle On

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Beginning

Where to start? I am guessing that most of you reading this in the beginning will already know mine and TJ's history but for those of you that don't I think it is relevant to give a brief history. We met on December 15, 1994 and have been together ever since. Like most couples we have had our tough times but even as many times as we threatened to throw in the towel (and believe me that was more frequent than I care to recall) we always ended up back together. I think it was because we had too much in common. Even with all we had in common in the beginning that has fallen by the wayside over the past years and yet we still stayed together and pursued different interests and friends.

Well, I am here to tell you that everything changed for us and our relationship on Friday, March 13, 2009. Yep, you read that right.....Friday The 13th!!!! That week TJ had been having headaches and had been to our family physician twice when Dr. Edwards made the decision to have TJ get an MRI on his head. He scheduled it for Friday at 10:00 a.m. We really did not think much of it. TJ took off work and I went to work. But, at 1:00 p.m. that Friday I received a phone call at work from TJ telling me to come home and pick him up and take him to the hospital, he has a bag packed as they will be keeping him..."they found a bunch of lesions on my brain". I work about 30 minutes from the house but it now suddenly seemed like hours to get home to him. I, like him, knew our lives were about to change forever and we both had the feeling it was not for the better. When I got home he asked if before we left we could sit at the kitchen table and drink a beer as he might not get to do that for quite a while. So, there we sat, in total silence, drinking a beer, and both of us scared out of our minds.

At the hospital we found out he had a spot on his lung and 20 brain lesions (10 on each side). They kept him overnight. The prognosis was not good from the Oncologist. That was the beginning of the journey we are on now. He was only in the hospital 3 days. Once released they started radiation on his brain for 3 weeks. After that they gave him a couple weeks off and then started Chemo for his lung. It has been a crazy ride for us, living with him on steroids and very hyper to being wiped out from the Neulasta shot and Chemo; from eating like a horse to me begging him to eat anything just to keep his strength up.
So, like I already said, I thought our relationship was strong but this has made it bullet proof. Nobody and nothing else matters when you are faced with this. Sure, we both have fantastic friends to lean on and family to talk to, but we live this reality every day, every minute and until you have walked in our shoes there is no way you can understand. My one wish for each and every one of you that read this is that you will never have to walk in my shoes, but more importantly I hope none of you ever have to walk in TJ's shoes.
On a happier note, based on this new found bullet proof relationship TJ and I decided to marry after all these years. There were those that were happy for us, those that were confused by our decision and kinda just indifferent, and of course we had a few that were just downright displeased. Once again though, nobody and nothing else matters when faced with this. We were married on May 30th and shared it with those who love and care for both of us the most and everyone there was in the category of being happy about our decision. Mostly we heard, "It's about damn time!" I will post some pictures as soon as I get them from the photographer.

Currently, hopefully, his last round of Chemo was Wednesday and his Neulasta shot was on Thursday. He is wiped and does not have much of an appetite. I will keep this updated with maybe sometimes very minor details and sometimes major events in this journey we are on.