Clear results

Posted on September 20th, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

That is probably the first time I have ever written a heading that states it as it is.  I received my results back from my bone density scan and my spine MRIs.

The MRI indicates a strong, solid spine with no evidence of any lesion or compromising fracture (all scarring and pitting is in keeping with healed myeloma).  So at least now I know that my spine is strong – I can pick things up again, bend over a little – without fearing something is going to snap.  I can’t begin to explain how debilitating the mere thought of that is, and how it affects how you operate every minute of the day.

The bone density scan came back on the same day.  The report said that my bones are as good as anyone else’s in my age group.  Yeah baby.

Receiving these good reports made me feel so much better!  They were like medicine to my bones.  Funny that.

After being in pain for another few months, it has been necessary to get back on the pain gear to make it through the day.  Oxycontin has once again become a friend whom I have come to depend on.  I get frantic when I run low, and panic when I run out.  I know what coming down can do to me.  After watching the last 10 minutes of a Dr Phil episode the other day, it seems a lot of people are affected by it.  There is a doco called The Oxycontin Express – I would be very keen to see it.  Pain medication has had a massive impact on my over the last year especially, to the point where I feel I have a personal relationship with my drug.  Thankfully, now it is under control and does its job well.

Here’s to strong bones.

7 comments.

The Spine Who Loved Me

Posted on September 13th, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

I had an urgent MRI on Friday night, as both myself and Dr Brad were worried that the disease was in my spine.  My back problems have been an issue for numerous years now, but with everything else going on, they have been put on the backburner until now.

I have been in constant pain with my back, usually when I first wake up in the morning, but I got to the stage where sensations in my lower body have been compromised, and getting worse.  I thought either my spine is compressing due to bone density issues, or there may be lesions that are pushing on my spinal cord causing various problems.

I got the slides back today, and the report had not been completed, as they need to wait for a spinal specialist Dr to analyse them.  I assessed the slides myself, and I am glad I did because it put my mind at rest insofar as I could not see any sign of cancer that I have noticed in other disease-ridden bones on previous scans.  I had terrible thoughts that my spine was full of disease, and about to snap, collapse or get into my spinal cord.  I will have to wait to see what the REAL doctors say, but for now, I am breathing a little easier.

We had church camp over this last weekend, and I have to say it felt like the best weekend of my life.  I can’t remember being happier.  I know some of the reasons why I was so incredibly happy, but overall, it is an absolute miracle that I am in a place where happiness is possible.  It was only about April where it was a given I would be dead by July.  Only God could have changed that circumstance.  It was a hopeless situation without Him.

My church family make me so incredibly happy – a group of real, honest people who don’t mind sharing the good with the bad, the struggles with the wins.  The leader, Grant, has demonstrated an authentic passion for Christ centred living, and the people who go minister to me in more ways I could ever imagine.  I am so thankful for them all.

Now, every part of me is passionate about staying alive.  I have many people to thank for that.  It is hard to imagine what it will be like to have a healthy body again, but I believe it is possible, and I intend to do everything I can to live this life to the full, to love as I have craved, to have family as I have yearned, to live out the dreams and desires I have had all my life.  I just pray for more time, and wisdom.  Not just a little more, but 50 years more, and a lot more wisdom.

I plan to celebrate my 50th anniversary with someone, have kids, grandkids, and great grandkids.  This is my hope at least, and if it is all I have got, then that is enough.

4 comments.

Hospital day

Posted on September 9th, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

This morning I woke up with a very sore lower back, and I knew that it was time to act quickly.  I have had the sore back for months now, but only recently have I felt it was possibly connected to the cancer.  So I emailed Dr Brad, and called his rooms.  I explained my concerns and he called me in straight away.  Within minutes of being there, I had a request for an MRI, some more tests and an infusion that was due next week.

Dr Brad’s concern was the same as mine.  It seems to be either a tumour pushing on the spinal cord, or some compressed vertebrae.  Neither of these are good news, we just need to see exactly what it is before it gets any worse.  It grieves me to think of what else I may lose in the near future, and what I may have already lost.

This is tough, no doubt, but I am still drawn to see the big picture.  I am happy, have so much to look forward to, and more passion to be alive than ever before.

I just pray to be around to enjoy my new life for a long time.

2 comments.

Back, Ribs, Heart.

Posted on September 9th, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

I have been rather busy this week, with a combination of things, hence the lack of writing.

Monday, I had a couple of scans.  Firstly, I had a bone density scan to see how my bone strength is going.  Then in the afternoon I had a CT scan to measure up for my radiation dose to my ribs.  All went well, a few new tattoos on my chest to locate the radiation.

Tuesday was a big day at Uni, tutoring 3 classes almost back to back.  It is a long day but I really love it.

Yesterday, I had a GP appointment in the morning to sort out my pain medications.  My back has been very sore and I am losing sensation from my waist down, so I fear nerve/spinal damage.  I have had to be back on the oxycontin to get any sleep, and during the day I feel like my spine is going to collapse – very unnerving.  In the afternoon, I had my one and only dose of radiation to kill off the tumour in my ribs.  I have felt rather nauseous since, but good to know that the tumour is on its way out.  My back now is my biggest concern.

Today, I am meant to supervise student teachers all over the place, but we’ll see how things go.  I have emailed Dr Brad requesting an urgent CT/MRI on my back.  The last thing I want or need is paralysis.  I fear there is a lesion in my spine.  It is difficult not to speculate, but the symptoms are quite severe and have been getting worse rapidly.

I am back to see Dr Brad tomorrow.  It is in this session that we will talk about further plans for my treatment.  I am keen to stay off chemo, but it will depend on the extent of my condition at this point.

My heart is the healthiest it has ever been I believe.  Despite the difficulties, uncertainty, underlying grief of loss and physical pain, my heart is happy beyond what I ever thought possible.  It was only six months ago that I was wanting to depart this earth as soon as possible, and had my date with death planned.  Now, I am the complete opposite – and that is the greatest miracle of all!  I have a passion to stay here, to experience further restoration.

I never thought I could love so deeply again, enjoy my work so passionately, fight so furiously to stay alive, or recognise such love as I feel now.  I do not fear death, but I am completely terrified of leaving those who I love too soon.  I believe in complete healing, so I will continue to pray for that to happen.  I am chatting with my pastor at the moment in regards to having a healing service in the next month to pray hard and faithfully for healing in my body and others.  I will post information once we have worked it out.

I feel like I am in the best situation now for getting better.  My head has been healed of torment, my heart is completely ecstatic.  I am so incredibly thankful for those people God has put in my life.  Just when I thought it was a better option to give into death, my reality changed and now I have everything to celebrate in life.  My body just needs to come in line with my head and heart – then it will be the strongest, happiest, healthiest, hunkiest body I would have ever had.

There are events that have happened recently where I feel God has sped things up, in His perfect timing, to have me looked after, loved in a way I have not registered before and full of ideas, hopes and aspirations for the future.  I can see a future of wife, family, healing, wholeness, peace and celebration – a far cry from months on end of depression, sadness, torment and imminent death.

If I had to go through the last 3 years to get to experience my last month, I would do it all over again, in a heartbeat.  The news gets better – I can only see things getting better.  No matter what my body does, my future is secure.  The temporary nature of what we have on this earth is heavy in my thinking.  The beauty of eternity is also big in my thoughts, but I am happy to hang here for as long as I possibly can to enjoy everything I have been given in this chapter of life.

I have just received a call from Haematology, and the CT/MRI requests are on their way.  I will hopefully get in today or tomorrow.

2 comments.

Tribute

Posted on September 4th, 2010 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

It was my Dad’s birthday yesterday, and Fathers’ Day tomorrow.  Mum’s birthday was not that long ago.  It is fitting that I let people know how much my folks mean to me, and how they have helped me get through these years.

Dad is my hero.  Always has been.  Always will be.  The heroism has been transformed over the years from the invincible, immortal nature that a heroic father has through the eyes of his son, to a more realistic, human version of a hero.  For many, I can imagine that this movement from invincible to human versions of a father could be a bit of a let down.  For me, the heroism of my father has just grown and grown.

Dad is a doer.  He can make anything work it seems.  When I was growing up, I would work on a car or be making something, and I would come to a point where I might have needed a hand.  I could have worked it out eventually I guess, but I would go and get Dad to help me out anyway, just because I liked working with my Dad.  I am still growing up, and I still want my Dad to help me out doing things.

People often say that I have a very diverse range of skills and interests.  Well, this comes from Dad.  He has worked as a house mover (not removalist, actually putting houses on trucks and moving them), silversmith, worked for an engineering firm, became a theology student, pastor, builder, farmer and a whole host of other professions.  He has been the shaker and mover to get schools, churches and retirement villages built and operating, he looks at the impossible and gets it done.  My perspective has been established around the mentality that everything is possible, because I have seen Dad do it.

Dad has remained strong and consistent all the years I have known him.  He does anything for anyone, and does it well.  Dad was always around when we were growing up – something I will always be thankful for.  Anytime I needed Dad to help me with anything, all I would do is ask and he would drop everything he was doing to be with me.

Now that I am mid-thirties, and he is mid-sixties, very little has changed.  He still drops anything to help me out, still is the strong Dad I knew as a kid.  He still builds, works silver, farms, leads churches, Grand-dads etc with an amazing level of energy.  He has been well looked after, and he looks after others unbelievably.

If ever there was a benchmark for generosity, Mum and Dad are it.  They have poured their entire lives out for others, giving generously their time, skills, money, belongings and love.  We are the ones who have benefitted mostly from their incredible characteristics, not necessarily materially, but in how we have learned from these aspects of their character.

And then there is Mum.  No one has a Mum like ours.  Where Dad is the doer, Mum is the lateral thinker.  And when I mean lateral, I mean Mum makes Edward de Bono look like the God of Linear.  Mum will see solutions in problems where people just see problems.  Not to say Mum’s solutions don’t create their own set of problems, but that is not the point here – the ‘solutions’ over the years have brought us much joy, few minor injuries, and volumes of stories that need to be recounted by various independent witnesses to be believed.

But aside from that, Mum has not stopped making our world the best it could be since we were born.  Our dwellings were palaces because of her creativity and passion for hospitality.  There was never a time when there was not enough food on the table for us or whoever got invited over at the last minute for lunch.  Mum would be able to take whatever ingredients ‘Ready, Steady Cook’ could throw at her and whip up an absolute banquet.  And at least one of the dishes would turn out to be her famous baked potato with corn, bacon and cheese delights.

Mum’s passion and main focus in life has been to ensure that us kids had the best we could have it, and she not only succeeded, but has started a legacy that has already continued with my sisters’ families.

I am in awe of my Mum as I am my Dad, and together there seems to be nothing that is impossible.  They have given us the stability, opportunity, passions and example that have been vital for our wellbeing and outlook on life.

So this is a tribute to you Ma and Pa.  You know that my presents these days are usually word-based, rather than a new electric drill or stab-mixer.  I can still get you these if you like.  Words of affirmation are free, but they cost more and are often difficult to cash in.

Much love,

Cambo

2 comments.

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