Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July 27, 2009

I made it back to Frazier Park, and it is good to be back in familiar territory..... I expected to be happily writing humorous stories about the trip west, but I can't seem to do it. All is not lost however, Claudia has documented the trip very well. Check out her blog..... “Black dogs house on wheels”.

I have spent a couple of days doing chores and taking stock of my business interests. There is so much to do, and so many decisions to make. Yup, stress is attacking me from all angles, and the wolves are still circling.

My next appointment is about 4 weeks away, and anticipatory anxiety seems to have found a spot in the back of my brain. Knowing that stress is bad for me seems to cause more stress..... Anyway,I am trying to put off as many decisions as possible until after I find out if the BCG treatments were successful. I have never been comfortable making decisions with incomplete information, and now there are so many “unknowns” in the equations that there are no reasonable solutions. As of now, I am unable to form a plan that makes sense..... very disturbing.

The question of the day....... Should I be faithful, and go back to UPMC for the scheduled “poke and peek”, or start a new relationship with the pros at USC Norris?.... (One of the top bladder cancer centers in the country.) There is a lot to be said for each of these choices. I already have an intimate relationship with the folks at UPMC.... no “first time” jitters there, and they already know what to expect in my bladder. I would kind of hate to break up with them. USC Norris however, is very attractive, and available. A classic dilemma. There is also the insurance issue, Health Net would like to hook me up with USC Norris (in my network), and is still unhappy with my affair with UPMC, and is still refusing to pay...... about $64,000 at this point.

My advice, read the fine print, all of it.... and maybe record all conversations with the insurance people...... they seem to have a very short memory. You are really not in the “good hands”.

Sorry about the complaining nature of this post, but after several attempts, this is what happens when I start typing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July 22, 2009

Just another update..... I am in Logsten, Or. and will be leaving here tomorrow for points south. I spent a couple of days in Elkton, Or, visiting Sandy and Bob, and have been visiting the Win's here in Logsten, Oregon since Monday. I have been getting my last taste of vacation before getting home and engaging the many issues that await me there. As always, near the end of an adventure, my mind has been shifting from the enjoyable events here, to the necessities of life that will be my focus for the next 4 weeks. I have much to do, but will have to hold off any major decisions until after my Dr. appointment on the 19th of August.

I am now 2 weeks beyond my last intimate encounter with my BCG nurse, (I haven't heard from her, not even a phone call...) and am beginning to feel much better. My bladder is still somewhat annoyed with me, but seems willing to forgive and forget, and appears to be rebuilding it's lining in an effort to return to normal.

I will try to post some trip pictures after I get settled in Frazier Park.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 15, 2009

Hi all, Just a quick update...... For the first Wed. in a long time, NO BGC TREATMENT. Woo Hooo. I could almost feel my bladder cringe when I started the motor home this afternoon. Now I will get to see how it feels to be 8 days since my last treatment.... much anticipation.

Claudia and I have made it to Bozeman Montana, and expect to reach Oregon in a couple of days. I will try to post some pics soon.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

July 12, 2009

Hi all, As you all know, I finished my BCG treatments on Wednesday, and am not due back to the doctor until Aug. 19, so there really won't be much medical news until then. I am feeling OK, but still have no stamina. I expect to feel better soon.

I picked up Claudia in Pittsburgh and headed west. We spent the first night in Cambridge, Ohio. and are now in Iowa City, Iowa, parked behind a strip mall for the night. We plan to stop at Mt. Rushmore for a couple of days of sightseeing, and then on to Oregan see friends and to meet up with the Wins.

I have said good by to my parents and siblings for a while, and look forward to seeing all of my friends soon. I will try to post a trip report and pics. as soon as I get back to Ca.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 7, 2009

I will be leaving Pa. for points west on Sat. Claudia, assuming that she survives the Mt. Whitney expedition, will meet me in Pittsburgh, and shepard me back to Ca.. We are planning to go across the top of the country, spend a few days in Oregon, and then south to Ca.

I have very mixed emotions about this. I have found that I really enjoy being around my family, yet going back to Ca. seems like going home to the family that I have adopted. My underlying thought seems to be that things will get back to normal when I get back to Ca, but I realize that things will never be back to the normal that I remember..... For me, normal has always included an optimistic view of the future. Right now part of me is pessimistic, and only sees the doom and gloom, and part of me is optimistic, aware of all of the good things, and expecting life to get better.

The standard answer is to feed the good thoughts, and starve the bad ones. I am having a hard time doing that, as the doom and gloom stuff refuses to be ignored. Treatment decisions, medical bills, reluctant insurance co, RE melt down, expiring building permit, eviction, and foreclosure (the foreclosure is regarding money owed to me)...... all circling me like a pack of wolves. The good things are there, family, friends, possible retirement, travel, adventure, etc..... but the wolves are always there, just outside the fire light.

I am receiving my last BCG treatment Wed, and will be done for 6 weeks. I am tolerating these treatments reasonably well, my bladder has gone from irritated to angry, and the rest of my body is annoyed with the entire process. Altogether not too bad. Best case scenario, I am cancer free at my next checkup, (6 weeks) and then cancer free at all of the following checkups ( every 3 months for 2 years, then every 6 months for 2 years, then every 1 year forever). Most likely scenario, cancer returns, followed by life without a bladder. Worse case scenario, cancer travels to other organs, and an early demise.

People with experience in this area say that anxiety will build as checkups approach. It will ease up as checkups pass, but will always be there. Now add in the items from the previous paragraph, and it feels like bears and buzzards have joined the wolves. Now I have always known that anxiety/stress is not good, and have always tried to avoid it, or fix the source. Unfortunately, I have never been able to deal with these kind of issues without a fair amount of stress, which likely is why I have cancer in the first place. (can you appreciate the irony?)

I guess that life has always been perilous, but now it seems that I must learn to live life with a new set of dangers.

In order to end this dreary post on a high note.... I attended a Sunday evening, drive in church service, with the rest of the family, in 3 different cars. The Baptist church owns some vacant land just outside of town, and have set up a stage there. They offered an hour of gospel music by a group from the next town over. There were about 30 cars there, with some of the people in folding chairs and the rest in their cars. The fun part came when people blew their horns in place of applause. The singers were a bit shocked at first, but seemed to enjoy it as well. Apparently this has been a tradition for the last 20 years, but a new experience for me.

In the interest of fairness, this weeks pictures are of my sisters bed and breakfast.... The Victorian Loft. Guests are pampered, and family and friends are always welcome. I enjoyed many fine meals here.