Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Mental War

Yesterday was a flurry of activity. It started with me getting to spend time with my sister, Linda. She's 6-years older. I love Linda dearly and we have never been super close, per se, but when I saw her yesterday I grabbed her and we both just sobbed, holding each other as if life depended on it. This cancer thing is leading to a lot of healing in me, my friends and family and people like you who are realizing that life is too short for taking people for granted. Even when I kick this cancer square in its ass, I have a feeling that the hugs between my sister and I will continue to be deeper and more meaningful. She is a blessing to me.

Linda was sitting by my side when my arm's "donor site" decided to erupt... (no worries, I'm not posting photos of this). Dr. Liv Harmon was the sole person concerned about fluid building up under my "dragon tail" scar... it was red and bulging some. Her concerns were set aside as I was discharged from Virginia Mason. So, for the record, GOOD CALL, DOCTOR! At the point where the oval on the forearm intersects with the "tail", fluids found their way and a great deal of fluids gushed forth. I'm not a doctor, but my medical back ground helped me "milk" the rest of the fluids out while not disturbing the tender graft from it's new home. it's all bundled up nicely now and the river of fluid has ceased. But, that was fun.

In the early evening my best friend, Cory, came for a visit. It was probably the most emotional day I've had in a while. Cory and I have been friends since my first year in college at Western Washington University (Go Vikings!)... we used to go out every week for $5 steak night at a local steak house and talk for hours. Cory and I have gotten together for "Bob & Cory time" ever since. It's been over 30 years of friendship. There are even a few episodes of "The Bob & Cory Show" on YouTube that we tried earlier this year. A reboot seems necessary when I can talk better. Cory and I have traveled the world together and gone through a lot of life along the way. He is the brother I never had.

Cory's father got cancer when Cory was only 16. They weren't able to cut out his father's cancer like they could mine, so they just treated him with chemotherapy and radiation. His father lasted just a year after diagnosis, but that process forced Cory to grow up faster than he wanted to. 16 is a horrible time to have to help your father fight a battle that isn't winnable. His father died.

My 18-year old, Holly, is my youngest and the only daughter that lives with me part time. She shouldn't have to, but she is bearing the emotional weight of this more than any of my friends or family because she sees things that I can usually hide from others. Last night there was a wave of emotions as Cory and I spoke... he told me of his father and how it affected him. He had told me some before, but his was different. He revealed details I didn't know about and his tears rolled as he explained how it had affected him. He lost the one man that meant the world to him. He doesn't want that to happen again and he made me swear I wouldn't give up and would fight this. Even more tears flowed as I hugged him and promised. I had to be here... especially for my girls.

Holly caught me in the kitchen prepping my medications for "tube insertion" and I was still tearing up. As she grabbed me for a hug, she could feel me quivering, trying to hold back. She could feel what I was trying to hide... thoughts of not making it, thoughts of leaving my girls way too soon, the sadness I felt for Cory and what he went through as a child, and thoughts of the pain that was making it so hard to believe the best at that moment in time. I couldn't hold it together and I just leaned over the kitchen counter, folded, uncontrollably crying while trying not to pull any additional stitches. This was more of a mental war than I had expected it would be, and the chemo and radiation have yet to begin.

Cory came back around the corner and saw what was happening. He grabbed us both and encouraged us as he always does. From his pain, he was doing his best to bring hope. I am so blessed to have Cory in my life.

In just a few minutes, my tears dried and the quivering stopped. Peace was filling my heart again and I could breathe. Thank you, Cory. I hope all of you have a "Cory" in your life, a friend who is there for you no matter what. I'm a blessed man to have that kind of friendship.

The next morning, Linda came back over and I made her breakfast... my "famous" scrambled eggs, Dave's Killer Bread toast and coffee... She ate and we communicated via my laptop as I prepped my yogurt with protein powder and vitamins. Linda felt bad that she was torturing me. She wasn't. Just because I can't eat or taste much right now doesn't mean I don't enjoy cooking for others. I was living vicariously through her taste buds... amazing how my memory can help me enjoy food I can't eat. The fragrance of the food being cooked... it was almost as though I was able to taste it.

This liquid diet is having an effect on my weight too. I was about 208lbs when I entered the hospital on September 30th. This morning, I weighed in at 192lbs. I have hunch I'll be losing more.

Tomorrow will be a good day. I get to start editing my latest seminar video footage, getting it ready for distribution. It will be a bit of a tease hearing myself talk for hours, but a reaffirming experience as well. I WILL get back the voice that God gave me, and when I do, I will use it with more purpose than in the past. I can still see myself in front of thousands of people wanting to hear the message of hope, blessings, love, pain, growth and how not to waste what we take for granted... every breath I take is a gift. How will you use your gifts today to bless others?

A Blessed Man

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  1. Hi Bob, hope your days are getting better and better in every way.
    Re. getting your voice back: I know we are much more than the voice. I can identify with that, because I used to believe my singing voice was a blessing. I, temporarily, I pray, do not have that quality at present. But we can have hope and pray! Keep seeing yourself as using it again to be a blessing.