Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A week later ... ... ...

I think that if there is phase that best represents my last couple of weeks would be "Better Living Through Chemistry". I have been thinking that maybe I need a t-shirt.

It is really shocking to me when I think about the number of different pharmaceuticals I take in a week at different times. But while I am concerned about side effects and I do not like to normally take medication, these wonders of the modern era have allowed me to have somewhat of a normal life. It has taken me several weeks to find the right balance of medication and what and when to take meds dependent upon certain symptoms, but I am having a pretty good life. The one issue that does not seem to change is the fatigue. I am so easily tired. Sometimes I am able to carry out normal life activities and at other times it is really hard to get out of bed or a chair. It is not only physical fatigue that drags me down from time to time but the mental fatigue is the most frustrating. I really struggle with new information. I struggle when I meet new people and their names and faces, I make all sorts of little errors all day long, and I have problems doing everything from our bills and staying on top of the medical appointments. My absolute savior has been Em. No better example than this last Friday when I had my first appointment with the radiologist and I felt awful. I was so tired and out of it that I when we registered with the check in nurse she had to ask questions twice and even three times before I was able to respond. It was like I heard what she said buy my brain did not do anything. There is no way I could be doing as well that I am if it wasn't for Emma Lee. She has been the one to do all of my scheduling, transport me to the appointments, and has just been my wonderful support. She take care of my radiologist, home health nurse and supplies, oncologist, and on and on. So nice.

Like I mentioned, this last week Emma Lee and I met with the radiologist for the first time in the Tri-Cities. Just having that meeting reminded me that I am certainly not through the woods by any means yet and just the seriousness of cancer. There are so many consequences of cancer treatment. I have just begun to accept the realities that chemotherapy has meant for me for the rest of my life and now I am trying to grip the realities that radiation therapy to my thoracic cavity will mean. Unfortunately, my radiation field will include portions of my heart, lungs, and esophagus and will certainly cause me some issues immediately and potentially quite serious in the future. Too much to think about, I wish I could just get away sometimes.

I was so happy this weekend. I was able to accomplish a Herculean feat. It took me all weekend, multiple attempts but I did it. I mowed my lawn. It is funny what sort of things that I consider accomplishments but it felt so good to be able to do it myself. Now the only problem is the grass clippings in the back of my pick-up; but one thing at a time please. It also was so nice to be outside. I must have been quite the sight though. To protect my skin from the sun I was wearing a long sleeved shirt, long pants, a big Aussie type hat, and a medical mask over my mouth and nose. I looked like I was working toxic waste sight and not my beautifu lawn.

Oh yeah. We had a guests. Diane and Eric Harp and two of their kids stopped by our place on last Friday night on their way to visit reletives. It was really nice to see them and catch up a little. I am so amazed how big their boys are getting. I remember when Diane had Taylor and tha just does not seem like that long ago. Those were great times in the old Heritage High planning room. I think about those years a lot. Steve and Lori; Jim, Russ, and Diane; Carol, Mat, and Eric; Jennifer, Kathy, and Tim. What a crew and wonderful times and memories. Oh yeah and thanks Steve for that big chocolate bar you gave to me my first year of teaching. I do not remember why you gave it to me but I for some reason remember you giving me a great big Hershey Bar.

Well, good freinds I think I am going to bring this entry to a close. Thank you former Heritage teachers now at Union for the letters and good will wishes. Lisa I was so excited when I got your envelop and read your words. Dave your letter was classic. To the Hermiston community who has so opened their arms to me and my family I want to say;

thank you so much.


  1. Chris,
    I each time Cameron gets home from school and is having difficulties with an assignment(yes, it just happened yesterday) I think of you and what a wonderful teacher you are...wishing he we were blessed to have you here still. WE MISS YOU and pray for your well being as well as your sweet wife. God Bless you all.
    Dayna and Cameron

    PS Do you realize what a profound inpact you had on our son? Thank you so much!

  2. How are you doing? Long time no talk. Hope you're hanging in there & still out mowing lawns for fun! ;)

    I need to come visit! Might try to make another road trip east soon... maybe on the bike! (weather permitting)

    Thinking about you & hoping you're doing OK.


  3. It amazes me that going through everything you are, that you'd even attempt mowing your lawn. Though I should know better, you've never been one to sit on your bum. :) You are an amazing human, demianew.