Saturday, April 16, 2011

Comfortably Numb.

Wednesday April 13 2011, the day it all became too much. The combination of a broken toilet and being told there's nothing more they can do with my vehicle and the cost to fix would be double what it is actually worth. That was it, enough, no more.

I just did not want to do it anymore,, I didn't want to have a broke down vehicle, I didn't want to have a broken toilet, I did not want to have to go to Detroit for my appointment or possible treatment. I did not want to have to worry if my CD of my PET scan from London would arrive on time. I did not want to have to worry about how I was going to pay for my appointment in the U.S. next week. I did not want to have cancer. At that moment in time I did not want to do any of it any more. Just make it go away!

I've been holding it all in and trying to shoulder it all for too long now, so enough is enough. I'm going to try to not worry about all these things and just let things fall where they may. That, however will be new territory for me and is going to be easier said than done, but I have to do this to get my mental health back in order.

Again, easier said than done, all you survivors and people still in the fight, caregivers and patients all know this too well. I'm treading into pretty dark territory here speaking about this and I'm not even sure it's the right thing to do by putting it out there. However it's done, I just said it, for that moment in time all hope was lost, and the emotional and physical pain of it all finally boiled over and I just did not want to do it anymore.

I grabbed the phone to call my social worker and she was not available, however someone got back to me, and talked me through a calm down phase, and actually Brenda putting on some calming music put me to sleep. When I awoke the rest of the day was pretty quiet, and it was an early night for me.

Why am I writing this one?, well it's because I've been about sharing my story since the beginning, I've always felt that sharing my story, my thoughts, my emotions would be a good thing if it even helped one person who was in this battle. That's is what this blog has been all about, with a few distractions along the way.

It's hard, and that is part of the "new normal", learning to deal with the hard part, I've had a great team with first and foremost my wife Brenda who has been there through every moment of this journey. Every single appointment she's been there to help me remember what was said, been there for every single treatment I've had. Seventeen cycles of chemotherapy and all the nasty things that has to offer. Every radiation appointment, all forty five of them, and every thing that comes with that. Every hospitalization, here and London where I spent three weeks during my stem cell transplant and the stresses of that.. Many scarf's, blankets, and hats were crocheted during that time, and thus a few people with new scarf's, and hats to keep them warm during the cold winters. Been there for all the drives down the 401 to London in every imaginable type of weather. Seems it was always winter and the worst weather when we/she had to make those trips.

Maybe it was Brenda who should have had the meltdown, lord knows she has a reason to. But she has held it all together but not without the problems she has had to go through with the accident, dealing with the insurance companies and lawyers, her own issues, and then me, trying to keep me together as well. Caregivers and the people on the front lines of the life of a cancer patient do not get the credit they deserve.

I know the government is working here to put together a program for caregivers and to support them when they need to take the time to deal with us ill patients, it's a program that has been too long in the making and they just need to get busy and dot the I's and cross the T's!

Am I fixed? does it all go back to normal now? Not a chance in hell, the problems are still there, the challenges are still there, the how to deal with it all is still there. It will continue to be a work in progress, there will be a whole process of  finding a new set of programs to deal with all of this. There will be the trip across the border this coming week to deal with, and the outcome of that to deal with as well. So there will be lots of trips to the supportive services area at the cancer center and programs at the Hospice as well. We are both taking advantages of the services offered through them.

There also is one of the most crucial parts of the team, the social workers. If you have access to them please take advantage of that. I think we at the Windsor Regional Cancer Center have some of the best workers in the province and I thank them for everything they do, and the challenges we put in front of them. By the way, who takes care of them!

Then there are the oncologists who strive every day to get us the best quality of life that they can. To seek out new and challenging treatments all the time for us. To explain to us, all the options available, and when those become few to offer, they point us in the right directions, to seek out second opinions, to offer their opinion on clinical trials that may be available to us, even if in a different city, province or country.

Then there are the nurse practitioners, and nurses of the systemic therapy departments, the technicians and nurses of the radiation department, and diagnostic imaging. All of those in the pathology departments who get us our blood work and biopsy results.

All of the front line staff at the various desks you have to get by to get to see your doctor or to guide you where to go. The volunteers from the Canadian Cancer Society, the yellow jackets as I refer to them, always there with a cheerful greeting and helping hand getting to the right area when you don't know where to go.

So you see, your never alone on this journey. Although you will feel that way at times, feel hopeless at times, you have a whole team out there, take advantage of it. Sometimes you will get so wrapped up in it all you will not think to use their services, but they are there, there for YOU! They may not always get back to you as quick as you think they should, we always want it right now, but they will get back to you. They have hundreds if not thousand of patients just like me or you, but never forget they are there for you.

So when you get to that point, the point a meltdown, pick up the phone, look next to you, but just do it, they are there for you. Look into programs and services that are available to you and your family by your cancer center, or the local hospice, they have great programs, and are a part of your team as well. There are many different services out there, just ask some one to help you find them. Most of these services are free of charge due to the donations and help of the community your in. So seek them out.

Cancer or serious illnesses are not easy to deal with and have heaps of challenges associated with them, you can not do it all by yourself. You will need to ask for help. There will always be someone, somewhere, that can help. Big Tim has found out he can not do it all, and does not have all the answers. I do know that help is there, and where and how to ask for it, the hard part is actually doing it. Actually saying your scared. Actually saying you don't want to do it anymore, and then, asking for help dealing with those emotions and issues.

Here is a link leading to a video of My team and what they do at the Windsor Regional Cancer Center.

My cancer center, My team.

Love and hugs to all no matter where you are in you journeys.

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