Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day 208 (4/6/2021)

Yesterday I received the results of the lymph node biopsy; unfortunately it was not what I was hoping for. The lung cancer (which it seems is in remission, had metastasized into the lymphatic system. So now, not only do I have to get my heart repaired, I have to go through more chemotherapy for lymphatic cancer.

But once again, I will do what I need to do to fight this, I am confident that my oncologist knows what she is doing and will give me the best care I can get, and I have faith in my new cardiologist. The rest I hand to God to do His will and help me and my family maintain faith that His will be done.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Easter Sunday (4/4/2021)

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning and I am sitting here listening to music while watching the birds come to the feeder. On the radio, CSNY starts with the song “Our House” and I am swiftly transported back to 1970, when I was 12 going on 13. I am standing in the sitting room, in front of the stereo, of our house on the corner of Orange and Oliphant Streets. On the turntable, which is cranked up to 10, is the album Deja Vu and I have the broom “microphone” in my hands while I sing along at the top of my lungs while no one else is home.

Outside, the sun is shining just like today and it is a great day for a young man to be alive. After the album finishes, I turn the volume back down and run outside to see if the neighbor girl, who is a year behind me in school, but the same age, is home. Her name is Amy Sheriff and she is very pretty and kind. Her parents are going through a breakup and I think she hangs out with me as a coping mechanism. We spend a lot of time in her basement watching Sesame Street and listening to Carol King’s Tapestry album.

Thinking back now, I do believe I had a crush on her then. She went on to a liberal college and got a degree in social work and then eventually moved to California.

The song ends and I see a pair of cardinals have landed on the feeder. They are very cautious feeders picking a seed or two and then surveying their surroundings to ensure it is safe to continue. On the radio, Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty” starts up and I am now driving my 1971 Impala down a highway in Texas, headed to my next duty station at Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas. It’s a warm spring evening and my windows are all rolled down while I have the stereo blaring. It’s important to pay attention to the road on evenings like this because the armadillos like to walk on the asphalt at night because it warms them up. I have dodged a few already and don’t want to hit one and wreck my car.

I think about the air station for a bit and how the training squadron I am assigned to sits in hanger right on the water front. I think about my barracks and all the times I returned from duty and found the room reeking of burned marijuana that my roommates had just smoked, and then the song ends.

I see there are Cedar Waxwings now feeding, and Ann and Nancy Wilson start singing “Alone”. I am sitting in the bowling alley at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, wolfing down dinner from the snack bar because I have to get back to the unit and return to my charge of quarters duties. The unit was directly across the street from the bowling alley and made it convenient. We used to do our morning physical training in the parking lot of the bowling alley at 4:00 AM every day but Sunday, before the air force personnel started showing up for their duty day. There were benefits of being in an Army unit on an Air Force base, but we were also the base’s bastard children that caught all the nasty chores that the Air Force didn’t want to do like cleaning the trash out of the creek that ran through the base.

The Wilson girls finish their song and I turn off the radio before I time travel to another song. I want to share the experience before I head off to another time on the wings of a song.

With that, I wrap up here with “HE IS RISEN!”

God Bless,

R. I.

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Passing of a Generation

Today, I became part of the oldest generation of my family (on my father’s side). My aunt passed quietly at 5:15 PM. She was a teenager during World War II and decided to become a nurse. In 1947, she attended the nursing program at the University of Iowa.

She was engaged to be married at one point, but her fiancé was killed in the Korean War. After that, she never pursued romance again and focused on nursing and family. She was a nurse in San Francisco for over 20 years before moving back to Iowa.

She worked the night shift at the University of Iowa Hospital until her retirement in the 1990’s. She loved working the night shift and again focused on her vocation and family. She loved cooking meals for the family. I remember many times running down to her house from ours to eat freshly baked sourdough bread and milk. Other occasions we would go to dine on her Teriyaki steak.

She always had dogs. She had her own and took in strays. When my father passed, she took in his dog and kept him. She was just a pure and true nurturer.

Several years ago, she stated she didn’t know why she was still alive after her siblings and friends have all passed. I told her that God still had plans for her.

This past few months she had been going downhill pretty fast and because of that I chose to disobey my doctor and the missus and I drove down to see her. Even though my brother had told her about my cancer against my wishes, she was still shocked when she saw me and that hurt my soul to see her concern for me, because I never wanted to hurt her.

Over the years, while many of my family were too busy to go help her, the missus and I would drive down and deep clean her home for her, clean the siding, replace her rotted deck, and many other little things that needed to be done. She would always chide me that she didn’t want me to come down and work, but she always enjoyed when we came down and visited.

She was a great person and she will sorely missed for a long, long time.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Waxing Philosophical – 03/20/2021

When we are born, though we have been alive and growing in our mother’s womb for 9 months, we exit the womb as we are, all by circumstances totally beyond our control.

As we grow through our formative years, some of our ideology is formed by our family and environment and some through choices of our own.

As we reach the age of majority it gets real. Now, almost every event in our life becomes a result of choices we make, others are determined by DNA that we inherited from the our ancestors, and still some others by fate?

My father was an active alcoholic to the day he died. I have been in recovery for 28 years. My father also had pancreatic cancer contributing to his death. I too have cancer that will be the death of me. My father also smoked cigarettes until the day he died. I quit smoking 11 years ago and felt great until I started coughing all the time last June.

Was my years of smoking a factor in my cancer? If it was, why did the cancer only rear its ugly head in one lung? Was my cancer from exposure to chemicals throughout my military career? Was the cancer from something I was exposed to after I retired?

From the time I entered the military, other than where I was stationed, Everything I did was based upon choices I made. I have pondered whether or not I could have avoided this cancer had I made different choices. Pondering these questions is nothing more a waste of time and energy because, even though you can change your future by changing you present to a degree, you cannot change your past.

I accept that face (if my doctors are correct) that my days are very limited. I can accept that I will soon find out whether or not my faith is correct in that I will stand before God for judgment. If I am wrong, and I don’t believe I am, I will not know it because consciousness will not be possible after death on this world.

20+ years ago, I was in an extreme depression that also had physical pain associated with it. I got to a point where I had no ability to continue on as I was. I called out to my God and begged Him to either lift the depression and pain, or bring me into His arms away from this world.

I then heard a very strong, yet compassionate voice tell me that “I never asked you to walk alone.” Since I was home alone, the only voice it could be was my God telling me to turn back to my faith, and so I did. The pain and depression passed that day.

Up until I begged God for relief, I had been choosing to live in the City of Man, not the City of God.

My mind is now wandering from what was my original thoughts for this post and I can’t seem to get back to the original path. So, I will just say that our path through life is heavily influenced by the choices we make. Don’t make those choices lightly.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day 189 (3/18/2021)

Today I received what basically a death sentence. The cardiologist I was to see for a cardiac catheter, explained to me that the cancer that started in my lung and discovered as a Stage 3B cancer, is now Stage 4 cancer that has metastasized in my lymph nodes and my heart. The doctors will treat the cancer but my outlook is “dismal”, as the cardiologist put it.

I have been given up to 12 months to live. under optimal conditions. I am giving myself 3 months to make all my arrangements so it is not left up to my wife or kids to try and deal with it.

This all comes a few hours after learning someone very dear to me (a former military comrade), passed away last week.

I guess the longer you live, the more friends and relatives will to on to the great reward at a faster rate..

God Bless,

R. I.

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day 184 (3/13/2021)

This coming week I start another 9 day period of tests and probing. I hope for the best, but am preparing for the worse. I am purchasing cemetery plots, wrote my last will, sat down with my children and explained in detail my wishes, and spent quality time with my grand children.

Tried to discuss what is going on with my wife, but her old fashioned culture tells her that if we prepare for the inevitable, will will hasten that inevitable event.

My grandson asked me today if the doctors had taken my cancer away from me. I explained that we don’t know right now but doctors will be doing some tests on my body to see if the cancer is gone (although my health record is annotated that it has metastasized from the lung to the lymph system).

My oldest granddaughter asked if the doctors are going to fix my heart like they did her maternal grandfather’s heart. I told her that I have a test on Tuesday and a meeting with a heart doctor on Thursday to see what the doctors want to do.

Then my youngest granddaughter, who turns 3 on the day they do lymph node biopsies, said “Papa, you’re a good guy and Papa is my bestest friend. I love you Papa and I hope so you’ll be okay.” Then she gave me a hug and kiss and gave me her favorite ‘binkie’.

From the mouths of babies straight to the ears of God (I hope).

184 days ago, when I first started this journey, I was concerned and in a bit of denial. Today, I have gone through the denial and anger, and have now reached the point of acceptance that the inevitable comes to different people at different ages and if I am to go soon, it must be because my parents chose not to get an extended warranty on me. (hehehe). I will take what the Lord gives me and not go in a state of depression or self pity.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Thought for Today

When your goals appear too far away to attain, turn the binoculars around the other way, you’re looking through the wrong end. ~ ME

All I’m saying is that your perception of what lays ahead will determine whether or not you reach your goals.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day 177 (03/06/2021)

I started a blog entry a few days ago and found myself going to the dark side and even though I was trying to be level headed, I was headed towards a pity party for one, so I decided to wait until I knew something before typing.

I received my results from the 3 day heart monitor and it wasn’t good but still manageable. Then yesterday afternoon I got the results from the PET Scan back. Turns out a part of my heart has quit working all together and so I have an expedited consult to the cardiologist. I was told to avoid stressful situations and strenuous activity until the heart issue is resolved.

My lungs show no more cancer in the right lung!

The radioactive particles were drawn to my lymph nodes, but the oncologist states it could be an infection or lymphoma, they do not know which it is until they do some biopsies.

So, I know:

  1. I will limit my activities to not further stress my heart;
  2. I will keep my faith in God strong and a positive outlook on life;
  3. If I have lymphoma, that is out of my hands and I cannot dwell on the what ifs; and
  4. If God has decided it is my time, there is nothing I can do about it.

Therefore, I choose to control my activity levels, keep every day precious and positive while not worrying about the what if’s and other possibilities that I cannot control.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Thought for Today (2/22/2021)

In today’s society, I cannot believe I have to bring this up again, but I find it necessary to do so.

If you eat turkey meat that did not have totally white feathers during its life, you have substandard intelligence.

If you wear clothes made out of 100% cotton, you are a racist.

If you eat white rice, you are culturally insensitive.

Vanilla ice cream is racist.

Every one of these statements is FALSE. Domesticated turkeys are more readily available and the taste is personal preference. Cotton is a natural material for clothes and is naturally white. The most common rice grown has white grains. Vanilla ice cream is white just as chocolate is brown.

Basing your ideas on things dependent on the color of that thing is totally ignorant; the color has nothing to do with the quality.

Why am I bringing this up again? Today a commercial came on for an upcoming show had a commentator who said “Black people cannot be racist, only white people do that.”

The fact that the speaker stereotyped all black people as being unable to be racist, in itself is racist. In fact, it qualifies as being as black supremacist.

The color of the container has no relevance to the quality of the contents; that includes people. Until all people realize this, there will be no equality for all.

Enough.

God Bless,

R. I.

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Diary of a Lung Cancer Patient – Day 161 (02/18/2021)

It’s been a while, so I’m just going to give you all a quick update:

I’ve been hospitalized twice since my last post. Once for pneumonia, the other time for A Fib.

I’ve been having issues with my pulse being all over the charts. On its own, it will jump up and down between 45 bpm and 145 bpm.

My blood glucose is running between 100 and 200 no matter whether I eat or not.

Other than that, all is good.

God Bless,

R. I.

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