Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Yeah. Another year's gone by already

Well, there's another year gone to heck.

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was sure I'd never get used to a year with a 20 in front of it. Having been in the 19s for 51 years. But, just goes to show you... I don't actually know what it goes to show you, but it must go to show you something.

I also couldn't tell you when New Year's Eve went from a meaning great party, complete with next day remorse and January resolutions, to meaning just another day, albeit one where my stuff all got a year older overnight.

I was saying last week that Christmas usually finds us looking back on Christmases past. I think New Year's tend to make us look back at things in general. Right?

Sure, you can spend time considering specific New Year's Eves and how much stupid stuff you may have crammed into one evening, but surely you 1) Wonder where the years went and 2) Remember some fondly, some not fondly.

Here's a funny thing you might not have seen coming: there isn't that big a difference, looking back, between the years since I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and the years prior. What?!?! Yeah. Truly.

It ties in with something that I've been saying all along- I'm much more than a guy with cancer. The years I live are about waaaay more than having cancer.

So when I look back, I think about- friends, lost and living, each still an important part of my life; places visited and visits not taken because of health reasons; visits from family not completely driven by their concern for my health; our cat Kenzie whom we lost to intestinal disease and our cat Wolfie who has already added so much to our lives.

And what about my cancer, you ask? The treatment has changed a lot this year. I stopped taking the oral chemotherapy because it was making me ill; likewise the medicine that was helping repair the damage done by cancer to my bones. My blood work has shown wonderful results almost all year long.

My stomach ailment, though. My stomach ailment is something else all together. It has gone from a mildly irritating pain in my intestinal area to really severe stomach pains and daily waves of nausea. I have spent more hours feeling ill than I have feeling well, many more.

I've tried treatments from methods suggested by my doctors, to holistic healing involving passing hands over my stomach, which had a basket full off bottled tinctures and things on it at the time, with a side trip to acupuncture.

Virtually every medicine I was taking at the beginning of the year has been changed to something else, all in an effort to fix my intestinal woes.

As the year winds to a close, I have hope that some of the latest changes have been successful. We are, obviously, I think, pretty guarded about our optimism, but there is some sense that the latest round of changes have had an impact. I still feel really sick in fits and starts, but they seem to be coming less often and are a little less severe when they do come.

As 2016 gets under way, I, again, have no New Year's resolutions to tell you about. I remain convinced that anything worth doing is simply worth doing. Decreasing the amount of gluten in our diet, for example. At one time in our lives, we would have put it on a list and likely postponed it until the next time we made a list revolving around our health. Now, we're just doing it. Not full scale yet, but baby steps. We're beginning with the obvious, even as we still are researching what the obvious might be, and we'll go from there. That's a new approach for us.

Like a lot of things we do, the decision on eating gluten is only tangentially tied to my having cancer... eating healthier can only help.

We do wish you a Happy New Year. May you meet your challenges and successes with the same spirit and may you grow stronger because of them.

There are a variety of versions of the story that gives this blog its name. The pony is the constant in all of them. A man is on his way to a party when he comes across a young boy shoveling ass over tea kettle at an enormous mountain of manure. The man asks the child if he wouldn't rather go with him to the party than shovel all that poop. The kid says, “No way man. With all that poop... there must be a pony in there somewhere