You are my density…

Posted on August 27th, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Had a fantastic day today.  It started at about 7am as I took a car over the pits to have inspected and licensed here in WA – passed first time in about 40 mins!  VERY happy!  Had an Osteopathy appointment which is absolutely brilliant for me getting movement back into my bod.  From there, picked up my cuz Clayt and we did a road trip down to Collie, during which I was able to register the newly licensed vehicle with one of the local police stations.  They were incredibly welcoming as I came into their town, turned on their flashing lights and everything.  Then they issued me an infringement as they saw the road passing too quickly under my car.  Then tonight, caught up with two amazing friends.  Life is good.  Life is soooo good.

Tomorrow morning I will be having a bone density scan.  Nothing intrusive, just a bit like an x-ray really.  I haven’t had one for a while.  My results last time placed me in the 26th percentile – which is pretty good for a 98-year-old (long deceased).  Not flash for a live 33 year old.  I hope my results are a little better this time around.

I am so overwhelmed by the great things happening in my life.

1 comment.

Whole and happy

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

This may seem strange, but I am the happiest at this point in time than I have been in a long, long time.

Last Friday was tough, sure, but a peace has settled in over the weekend and I have no fear whatsoever.  The underlying grief is still there, but that is something to take hold of to add to our reality authentically so that we can empathise and connect with the brokenness that surrounds us on levels not possible otherwise.

I have everything going for me at the moment.  Incredible family, incredible friends, an incredible medical team and an overseeing Creator who is very much in my situation, not standing by.  More and more, my predicament and the predicament of others I meet leads me to a deeper understanding of the  bigger picture, the one where I am thankful for the Hope I have, rather than bitter at this temporary discomfort this life holds at this time.

More than ever, the suffering I experience, and that which I see around me, leads me to a deeper understanding of my need for a saviour – not from my sickness, but from the bigger brokenness we experience in this life.  As I have said for many years, if the brokenness of this world wasn’t so ugly, riddled with grief, unjust or painful, we would have no need for a saviour – a caretaker to mend the little things would do.  Our deep sense of loss that we feel when unfair things happen get covered up by another ‘unfair’ version of restoration through Grace.

What I hope for is this unfair restoration.  A broken body to be restored, countering sickness.  An eternal relief from the physical and emotional destruction – but preferably the restored body at this time!

I have got it good.  Really, really good.

1 comment.

Numb, but want to be more numb.

Posted on August 21st, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

I guess I am still in a little shock, and numbness of mind.  I haven’t prepared for this next phase, and I don’t like what is happening already.

My body is so very sore, all the time.  My hip freezes up with pain often, I felt dizzy all day yesterday and today, and my whole body is in constant discomfort. I want to see if I can get rid of this naturally before my next blood test in 3 weeks.

I am very tired, both emotionally, and for having some sensational late nights.  I just want to be able to move properly again, not be in pain for the rest of my life.

Oh.. I don’t know…

2 comments.

The good, the bad, and the aesthetically challenged.

Posted on August 21st, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Today was a swinging pendulum day.

It started well.  I had crumpets with peanut butter and honey.  Then pretty shortly after that it went down hill rapidly.

My appointment with Dr Brad was around 9.  To be honest, I was going to be floored if the results were clear.  I know my body better than I ever have, and I know when something is wrong.  I have been waiting for the pain in my ribs to go away for a month now, but they haven’t.  And I know what pathological pain feels like.

It was great to see Dr Brad again, I miss him for all the wrong reasons, in that I only really get to see him if I am unwell, or at least under observation.  When I miss him, it is because things are good and I don’t need to be at the clinic.  After the brief catch up, we went through my results, and as I assumed, it’s back.

My indicators are not high (kappa light chains 44), but a damn sight worse than the 6.6 I had previously.  So it indicates that there is active cancer in my bod again.  It is not too bad, in that there is no traces in my whizz.  Chances are it is just in my rib cage.

Dr Brad requested a CT, and I was able to get in within an hour or two.  Walked in, cannulated, injected with contrast and scanned.  Within a couple of hours I had the report.  Definitely a sus mass in my ribs, evidence of previous myeloma scarring, and now some nodules in my lung.  My spine is a mess,which explains why I wake up in excruciating pain every day.  No lesions there, just a whack-load of damaged vertebra. Spinal cord ok.

So from here, I will need to have a biopsy under CT guidance.  I hate these.  There are few things I enjoy less than being fully awake while they insert a rather large cork-screw or needle into your bone to take a core sample.  It punctures the skin, then they push it through the bone wall, and when it is already painful to touch, I find it very difficult to think of running through the lush mountaintops during spring.

I am lined up for another course of radiation, and then may be on a chemo trial that will be for  a year.  Great that it will keep me going for a year hopefully, but living part time in a hospital and felling like crap all the time is no fun, contrary to popular belief.

I held it together till I started to walk out of the clinic.  Then the sunglasses came down, and the invoice went over my face as I walked back to the car through the hospital, weeping like a 36 year old guy who had just been told his plans for the next year have just been screwed over, again.

The aesthetically challenging part was the report on my spine.  It is a bit of a mess.  Damaged bone, twisted, and not as strong as it should be.  My Thai massage options have closed completely.

The good, well, that will  come out in due course, I hope.

Thanks all for your loving support.

Here we go again.

7 comments.

Watershed

Posted on August 19th, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

This is it for me, again.  Another watershed.  At 9:15 tomorrow morning, I find out weather I am heading toward life, or back on the treatment pathway.  My rib is my main concern.  It is sore.  It feels pathological.  It has churned my thoughts over the last month.  I have had too many great things happen to me over the last month to keep my focus positive – it has been wonderful.  Tonight was a highlight.

I am desperate to stay in this life, more than I have ever desired before.

Let me stay longer.

4 comments.

The Underlying

Posted on August 14th, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Things are still going well. Life is good, but life is hard. Really, really hard. The most difficult thing I am struggling with at the moment is a constant, underlying grief. It is a grief that expresses the loss that has been physically, mentally and relationally, and it seems to be around for the longhaul unless more changes come about.

The physical loss is sometimes obvious, sometimes not so. The hip still gives me constant pain. There is not a minute of the day or night where I am not in pain – very severe in some cases. My back also constantly hurts, and the general pain I feel is all over my body – it just doesn’t go. I am not complaining, rather just stating for the record, but I really hope I can get back to some pain-free life without drugs. I have been off the narcotic painkillers for about two weeks now, though I still wear patches, no tablets. My rib concerns me. A month now and the pain of a fracture is still there, for whatever reason.

I watch people walking and running, riding and jumping. It almost hurts me to watch them do it, as if I feel that they must be feeling the same pain that I am, but they are not. I have taken my mobility before this year for granted. When every step is painful, there is no way to escape the memories of what has happened.

I am an uncle again, to an incredibly cute Harrison. Going to visit Carms and Harrison in the hospital the last couple of days has been an ordeal. I felt like having panic attacks as I walked through some familiar corridors where I have had procedures. The smells, sounds and commons sights in hospitals haunt me. I feel like I am going to break down in tears still when I walk back into a hospital. Terrible feeling.

The underlying grief has not left, and I am not being pessimistic when I say I am not expecting it to. I don’t even know how I would feel if I didn’t feel any pain – I might still have this constant sadness mixed in with the joy of living. I certainly have had times recently when the sadness has outweighed the joy, and those times are really very difficult. It feels like a gradual death, rather than one that comes swiftly. I feel I have died about 20%, so I grieve the death of that portion of me. This exists at the same time as my happiness to be around.

So I am hoping for some gradual distractions to take my mind off what has happened. Things to make me not feel the pain, new experiences to create a new life, and doing what I can to use the grief to deepen my understanding of others’ lives in their difficulties. Not long now.

0 comments.

Harrison Alistair John Bain

Posted on August 14th, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Big welcomes to my newest nephew Harry! Carms, John and Stella going great, soaking up some hospital love. Nice work everyone!

0 comments.

Good

Posted on August 8th, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Life is good right now, no doubt, but it may be more relative than absolute – and that is fine for me for this time. I am incredibly blessed to be around the people I am around, working on the jobs I work, and experiencing life with the second chance that I feel I have been given.

But whoa nelly rebuilding is tough. I have high hopes that my body may return to a state where I am not in constant pain – that is one of the main things at this time. I finished taking painkillers yesterday, and I am hoping that a nutrient course I will be starting next week will help my body recover. My hip is still the most painful part of my body. I feel it is not skeletal, which is great, but the muscle or ligament damage is significant, painful and not getting better. There are times where I am glued to the spot I stand because I can’t move from the excruciating pain. Whenever I see someone walk, run, or do anything that is involves physical mobility, I still look at them wondering ‘How can they do that without being in such pain?’. I am embarrassed about the chunk of hair missing on my head and so much damage has been done to my body through treatment it has changed my life forever it seems. I still hope that I will be healed in these ways too.

I saw a documentary the other night on a state penitentiary in Georgia, USA. It followed one man’s story how, after 20 years of being on death row, he received a reprieve less than 3 hours before his execution. As he was told the news, his legs collapsed, and he could not walk – he was an emotional mess, as you would be. He was then allowed to live in the General Population section of the prison. He had not been around so many people in 20 years. The realization hit him as he took his place in his new cell block that although he was saved from execution, he was still facing a future of incarceration without parole. The last comment of the doco was how thankful he had been given a second chance of life, but given that his existence was still incredibly difficult, part of him wished it had ended at the execution room.

I grieve for what I have lost, but at the same time I am grateful for what I have been left with. Within me, there remains much deep grief that I can’t bear to talk about, and it disturbs me to think about. My goals for the future include the necessary decision to rebuild, move on, recover and not let the difficult realities of my situation overcome the value of what we have in this life.

One of my ribs is on my mind. It has felt fractured for about three weeks now, and has not been getting better. I can’t remember knocking it, and it feels pathological, so whenever these things happen it sends my mind into a spin – try as I might to suppress it. I am not ready for another battle – really not ready.

0 comments.

Instead

Posted on August 1st, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Today is a special day for me – a very special day.

In December last year, Libs and Carms accompanied me to see Dr Brad, and I was not feeling at all well. I was still in a lot of pain with my new hip, and I was at a very low point. To make things more difficult, Dr Brad and I were signing off on paperwork to let my employers and superfund groups know that, from a medical perspective, I had less than 12 months to live. Things were not at all good.

It was a very tough time, for every aspect of life for me had crumbled, and now it seemed like the approaching Christmas would indeed be my last. Not that it is all about making it to the next Christmas, but there is a lot not said at events like Christmas, birthdays, etc in regards to it most likely being the last one. I was really beginning to feel the overwhelming feeling that I had lost this fight.

I felt completely down, completely unwell, completely sore, and completely exhausted. The reassurances that I had been making to my family and friends that I would not take my life stopped that week.

About a month and a half later, I was walking back from a gig I had just seen and was feeling so distraught and alone, even though I was surrounded by great experiences, family and friends.

I was praying that night, “Father, I have to believe things will get better than this. Father, I have to believe things will get better than this. Father, I have to believe…” . I kept on praying this over and over, as I limped home weeping uncontrollably.

I made a very clear and definite decision that night, and told God that I had now had enough. It was a very easy decision to make at that point. It had now become obvious to me that the most caring and logical thing I could do for myself was to take my life. I hate to say it, and it wont make sense to most, but it was a very easy decision to make. I knew that the enormity of the grief, physical and mental pain that I was in at that time, and had experienced for so long, had taken its toll, and I could no longer live. It was time to go.

The only thing that I was sure of was that there was hope that things could get better. What I wasn’t sure of was if they would or not. I told God that I would live in this condition only 6 months more, and that was going to be a push as it was. I had my exit strategy worked out, and the day was going to be after Ma and Lib’s birthday, and before Dad’s, so that it didn’t land too close to any other event or anniversary. The final week was locked in, and as a few months went by, I decided it would all be over by the end of July.

Today, my mind is as far from that place as you could get. A miracle took place a few months ago, and my life has turned around completely. This is a brief intro to a topic that I haven’t talked about with but a few people. There is a lot that went on during this time in my life, and of course for those around me.

Today, the sun was out, it was perfect weather, I was at a wonderful wedding for a wonderful couple, and sat at the banquet table with just the most fabulous people. The reminded me how good we have got it, in being able to share in each others’ lives, bless each other, and make our time on this earth vibrant and rich. This was the perfect day to celebrate the simple fact that I was rescued from the grave, both by disease and by choice. I have been thanking God all day saying, “Father, you are good to me, you are so so good to me.”

6 comments.

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