Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Last Day of July!

It has been two years since my last chemo cocktail, that voodoo combination of lethal drugs administered by the nurses while adorning hazmat suits in the cancer ward.  I am a survivor!
I am sometimes asked what advice I might have for someone newly diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma or even some other type of cancer?
   Maybe see your doctor sooner might be at the top of my list.  I had noticed a small lump on my neck while shaving at least six months before I went to my doctor!  I kept my eye on it as it grew and became bigger and harder, always thinking that it might go away.  By the time I went for my physical it had spread throughout my lymph system, into my spleen and down my spine.  An earlier visit and I might have gotten away with six chemo sessions.  I had twelve.
   There are some things I would do differently.  I would go to my dentist before I began treatment and get my teeth cleaned and a dental check up.  I developed a blood clot along the way, not all that uncommon, and was given warfarin, made from rat poison (these chemists don't work with fine Scotch!) and because of the potential of bleeding, the dentist didn't want to see me.
   I would have gone to the eye doctor to get new reading glasses.  There will come a time when you will not have the energy to do much else and a good book can become very important.  In fact, I would line up ten or twelve good books and get them in advance, knowing now that I wouldn't even have the energy to look for them.
   I would eat!  I would splurge on food and wouldn't care whether it was healthy or not. During this chemical process I pretty much quit eating and lost almost sixty pounds!  I would find a friend (we all know one!) who has access to marijuana and ask them to roll me a couple joints...just in case!
   I began Blogging during this time and that might have saved my life.  You never know why you survive and someone else doesn't?  The guy who played Sparticus on the television died from Hodgkin's Lymphoma or died from the cure!  Stronger people and those with more faith than I have succumb to this cancer.  I liked blogging.  It was a world without time or direction and I could become reflective or jubilant and my reader's would not care.  I met a lot of friends in the blogging world and always looked forward to their encouragement.  While I might fall asleep in front of the television, blogging kept me awake and I had stories to tell.  And questions to investigate.  I did it this way, how did you do it?  Surviving cancer is best as a shared experience.
    Oh yeah, if I had to do it again I would win the lotto first!  I was lucky and had great insurance but cancer is very expensive.  Health issues are the number one cause of bankruptcy in the USA.
   Anyway, July 31st, two years and here I am!  Still after that "perfect tomato" and once again, strong and welding, making my metal art.  Who would have known?  I post here sporadically now, updates.
My main blog, day to day art and what I am thinking is http://www.jerry-carlin.blogspot.com and, if you are curious, my very first blog was on my ArtWanted site and that will give you a day to day, blow by blow view of the experience I went through.http://www.ArtWanted.com/slate
   Mt next check up with the cancer doctor isn't until October.