Dealing with cancer in a bad economy.
Sounds like an odd title, but without a doubt, plenty of folks have the same problems that I face. A diagnosis of cancer, dwindling benefits, and fear.
I thought I'd diary today on what I'm thinking, feeling, and going through today, maybe a follow-up tonight. Who knows? I'm in a state of not knowing, and I want to know!
So what else is going on? Positive actions and fear.
Fear of the severity. I haven't had my biopsies or body scans yet, because my doctor's out of the country on a medical mission trip. That's the urologist, I should say. I don't know who my oncologist is supposed to be yet. And because of some extraneous circumstances, I have to drive two hours each way for an appointment. But I'll have the biopsies Aug 2.
Fear of costs. How much explanation does this one need? not much. People all over are financially insecure with or without cancer.
Fear of losing unemployment when not able to work. That's my only source of income... so without it, how do I pay COBRA? Child Support? Purchase the adult diapers I'll need at least for some time after my surgery?
These are the big fears right now, believe it or not. I don't worry about whether I'll ever get an erection again following surgery, or whether I'll wear diapers the rest of my life. I simply worry about how ling that life will be, and hope for the best.
But positive steps and positive encouragements keep coming my way. My personal trainer and gym know the need for weight loss, cardio, and strong abdominal muscles, and they push me. Not just because it's their job, but because they see my obsessive-like determination.
I've also noticed that I no longer worry about telling anyone-- a complete stranger, old friends, you all. I haven't posted it to facebook, because I don't want a bunch of pity posts. I have a disease, and I'm approaching it the best way I can.
Sleep-- I didn't sleep more than 2-3 hours the first few nights, but Saturday and Sunday nights, I was in bed by 8:30, genuinely tired. I slept 14 hours sat-sun, and 12 sun-mon. I don't think it's depression, I think I was, quite simply, worn out. I'm sure sleep will return as a problem, but I don't think it will be tonight.
Diet... The most confusing issue. It took six days for me to read the papers given by the doctor. Among them was a simple diet used by cardiologists for patients who need to lose huge amounts of weight in a few weeks. The diet purports to allow the user to lose 40 pounds in a month. So I'll be starting that. It's not the healthiest diet in the world, but it's better than no surgery to remove the cancer.
Family: Two members of the immediate family went into 'blame the victim' mode-- "you drink too much, and that's why!" Well, heck, maybe that contributed, but let's not close the barn door after the horses are gone, okay?
My South American family are lighting candles, and praying. My ex told me not to worry about child support payments until I'm able to pay again, and she said she's sending my son up for Christmas. When I told her I couldn't afford to pay for the tickets, she said "Don't worry about it. He needs to spend time with his father."
Friends: aside from y'all, only a few know. Not a secret from the others, I consider the vast majority of my life now an open book. But all of them have mentioned how calm I act. Well, what can I do about it? Jesus isn't gonna miracle away my prostate gland.
Exercise: Better than almost any therapy I can think of, except spending time here on TL arguing with folks. First, endorphines, second, I'm working on re-becoming a "lean, mean, fighting machine." I have regretted how out of shape I've become, but part of that was underactive thyroid, and for six months, exercise has been on my "gonna get to" list. Now it's priority 1a. Priority 1? my son.
Things I have learned... doctors' offices don't readily communicate with each other. I'm calling one, and they have not sent the information to each other. I consider this one point important enough to place here, because there are many more lessons, but this may be the most important to date. Stay on your doctors to communicate with each other. I'm lucky to have a family doctor who actually listens, and actually explains. Of course, getting through to him if it's not an appointment seems impossible. But he did have his office call me at night on a Friday night to tell me about the possibility of cancer and to begin trying to set up a referral.
Mentally I'm not sure where I am. Probably still a little bit of shock, but even more determination to get into Ranger shape within the two months I have before surgery. If I drop 80 pounds, I won't be unhappy. I don't need to drop 80, but I remember how I could run or ride a bicycle or carry a 90 lb pack all day, sleep a few hours, and then do it again. Did it hurt? yep.
But no pain, no gain. I am blessed that my heart, cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. don't create an issue.
So-- comments? I'll be around to answer for a while. As I said, my life, at least this part, is an open book.
I'll be asking the medical professionals about disability and other things, since doubtless they have to deal with it. IF they don't know, other folks...
Now to get ready for an hour of cardio tonight.
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