Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Look who's back, just in time for Christmas

Four in the morning
Crapped out
Longing my life away
I'll never worry
Why should I?
It's all gonna fade

Still Crazy After All These Years
Paul Simon

Hi. Remember me? I didn't die, or anything. Fatigue has just won the last few rounds of my ongoing fight against cancer.

The fatigue... weariness. You know it's nothing new. It's been a constant complaint since I got sick. I'm used to standing up to it and getting stuff done. Not much, perhaps, but some.

So, why haven't I written in weeks? Well, to be true, my fatigue has sucked any/and all desire out of me to do anything, and that includes writing. I just don't care to write... about anything.

I certainly have plenty to write about: another Thanksgiving with cancer; my daughters came to visit me for a few days, without the grandkids or family; my latest treatment. All valid and all things I've written about in the past, in one form or another.

This time? No thanks.

I think I might be depressed. I know what you're thinking... who wouldn't be depressed, given his circumstances. But it doesn't work that way. Justified. Not justified. Depression is going to make you weary and you certainly don't need to have a good reason.

This is about the fifth column I've started since the last one I wrote and I think I may actually have found the root of the problem. Maybe.

See, brothers and sisters, I'm in the midst of a radical new treatment for my multiple myeloma. It is pretty complicated and the medical staff and myself and Sheri are all finding out things about it as we go along. It involves heavy doses of steroids, which we all know I hate. We are through the first part which involved eight, eight-hour treatments, one each Friday. It took so long because of the number of medications I had to take before we even started, and then because we had to administer the principal chemo very slowly.

At this point, right in the middle of it all, I still go to the clinic once a week. One chemo is given intravenously and takes one to two hours, and the other remains a seven to eight-hour process.

And the things is... it's working very well. VERY well. Prior to introducing this latest therapy, my kappa light chain proteins had gone up month after month and showed no signs of topping off. After one session of this new treatment? Bam! They dropped from 72.1 to 1.01, startling not only Sheri and me, but the entire medical team working with us. The proteins have since been lowered to 0.69 which gives us all more faith in the results. Initially, it was sooooo startling, that everyone, and I mean everyone- except maybe Sheri, who is never so- may have been somewhat skeptical.

And, of course, that is all well and good. But... But... I remain fatigued, distressed and depressed, and here's why: with this treatment, we're winning the fight against multiple myeloma. No doubt. However, we are losing the side effects battle. I feel so poorly so much of the time that knowing we are managing the cancer seems to matter only a little. That's not really true. It does matter, a lot. But...

So, the days go by and I hope to keep up the fight; hope to get past the side effects and into reveling in the absence of cancer and the presence of better health. I think they call it hope.

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