Saturday, October 31, 2009

For all of know who you are!

I don't even know where to begin this...being sick is such a selfish thing and I've had a hard time dealing with that side of it. I hold a lot of guilt because I've had to miss some of my best friends weddings, births of their children and various other major events because I haven't been well enough. I'm so tired of that bullshit excuse and I think at some point I began to withdraw myself from people because I didn't want to disappoint them anymore. I think at times I can look quite well to the outside world but looks are deceiving. There have been stages in the past 9 years where I've had some treatments give me a better way of life especially early on but the past 3 or 4 years have been rocky. It's hard cause as time goes on people have families, advance in their careers and all I can say is that I'm still fighting cancer, still waiting to start my life. Don't get me wrong I worked up till a year ago and did what I could to advance myself and was very grateful to have a forgiving workplace. But I didn't have the energy to fully commit cause I needed to use that energy to fight.

Anyway I'm really grateful to all my friends from growing up in Lethbridge, to West Van High, my North Van gals, my Louisiana life(my home away from home), the NSWC and my Hollyburn peers. I've learned so much from you and you've given me so much support. I really appreciate you all and the laughs we have many laughs. That's what I enjoy about facebook you can keep up with everyone from as far back as you remember, see their children, wedding photos, everything they're willing to share is available for viewing. I guess I just want people to know I'm thinking of them on their special days and I often reflect on our times together...cause I got time to think....cause that's what I do! Just cause you don't hear from me doesn't me I don't care and that I don't tell Megan all our crazy stories. Looking forward to new stories and more laughs. Until we meet again......


Before I continue I'm happy to say I'm at home now thanks to my amazing Doctors (who have become more like friends)who understand I've spent enough time in hospital so as long as I can manage, home is where I need to be.

...Once my mother gathered herself from hearing the news- did I mention she started passing out and had to lay down in the doctors office while I paced around. It was really funny actually and we've shared a laugh about that a few times but I'll get to my mother later. Looking back I should have known something was up as our appointment time was noon and there was no one in the doctor's office not even staff. Guess they thought we might cause a scene and shoot the place up! I remember the first thing that filled my mind once being diagnosed was how will I tell Katharine, who is mourning the loss of her brother, that I now have cancer. You can imagine how that went but she was tough and we embarked on this new adventure. I'm not sure I can put into words the feelings that came over me in the following few days and weeks but maybe the closest thing would be.... euphoria !?

Within a few hours of being diagnosed with a disease that usually hits people over sixty I began treatment. Blood cancers are very complicated and to this day I don't understand half the terminology but multiple myeloma effects cells in the bone marrow weakening the bones, immune system and so on. In the next few days I would be sent to the specialists at the VGH Bone Marrow Transplant Unit where I've spent much of my time since being diagnosed. Due to my weakened condition they immediately started me on high dose steroids and a bone strengthener and it was also decided my best chance at extended life was a bone marrow transplant....hunh! How they do that cut into every bone and shoot marrow into you?!-which is what i thought. I was put on a worldwide list and the search began as did my euphoric summer.

I wasn't unable to continue work which had been getting tougher for me the months leading up. I had bone pain throughout my rib cage to the point where I was breaking ribs while playing tennis and unable to sleep from being in too much pain. I had bouts of pneamonia and was coming apart at the seams but I still went to the gym the morning of my diagnosis. I was lucky all my debts were insured and I didn't have to pay them while I was sick. I collected unemployement and had family close who helped out when needed. My life became about one thing enjoying every moment and that's what i began to do. Those steroids made me feel better fast but it's not real they actually weaken you, make you crazy and really really hungry. Each day i'd wake up early, take my steroids, take Katharine to work then start my day. The summer of 2001 was particularely hot and I enjoyed every moment of it. I'd usually wake one of my friends up to have breakfast then either have a light workout or play par 3 golf. The afternoons would always be saved for long motorcycle rides and waiting for Katharine to get off work so we could begin the evening festivities. It seemed every night we'd have our friends over to bbq salmon, eat cherries and laugh the night away. We smoked plenty of pot which really helped me wind down from the steroids and keep my mind off things. The support of all our friends, family and coworkers played and continues to play a crucial role in getting through this. This next one is for you................

Friday, October 30, 2009

Meggy "Interlude"

Megan and I have had a very rough 24 hours-we both have the swine flu and it takes alot to knock her down. I've never seen her totally out of commission but she is watching episode after episode of gossip girl and recovering nicely. I was taken in by ambulance yesterday with swine flu, congestive heart failure, pneumonia, poor kidney function....and the cancer problem which has been escalating lately. Once again the doctors gave it to me straight and for many hours yesterday I thought I'd never make it home again to be with Meg. After you run through the emotions the fight begins and there is no other option but to make it out of there. I've been in these situations more times than I care to remember and each time I've been lucky to come out of it. It does take its toll on the mind and body and I have felt myself deteriorate with each challenge. Facing your mortality is life changing, facing it over and over is just fucking torture. In the past eight and a half years I've had; two bone marrow transplants, total body radiation, many chemo's, been on and off steroids, had every myeloma treatment available and I'm running out of options. Ten months ago I had my second transplant from my original donor whom I owe the life he's given me. Things went bad and I spent several weeks in intensive care then several more in cardiac care. It was the craziest time but Meggy hung in there with me and we got through it. I can't even imagine the torture this has put her through. The months after proved to be even more trying for us since I required so much help. Meg was just starting a new job and then she has to come home to this creature curled up in a ball who couldn't feed himself. She would stand behind me with calming words while I moaned and screamed while trying to pee out blood clots the size of smushed slugs. She has endured night after night of my cramping that puts me to tears from the pain while she rubs me and gets my gatorade. This is a 24 hour job for both of us. I just want to give her the life she deserves that's why I fight so hard now. Can you imagine being her, dealing with this day in and day out. She's the most special person I've ever come across and she's just getting started. She's my confidant, my support, my love.

Here we go...i have nothing to hide

...D Day was May 17, 2001 after months of testing for everything under the sun I was diagnosed in the late stages of a cancer I'd never heard of called Multiple Myeloma. The crazy thing is I had just lost a close friend 2 years earlier to testicular cancer and now me!? He was everyones best friend and the most amazing guy - it makes me cry to think of him but I'm glad he will never be forgotten (he's a whole other story to be told soon). His name was Jay Sedgwick and I was dating his sister Katharine when I first got sick. It's strange to think back on being diagnosed -my mother was in the hall while the Doc went through what seemed like pages of results before I heard the word cancer. I remember immediately standing up calling my mother in while I gathered myself in the hall. It's funny hundreds of words were said by the doc and all I remember is CANCER and my mother asking if it was TERMINAL. There is no cure for multiple myleloma but there are treatments that can keep you going in hope they keep coming up with new ones. The average lifespan for mm patient's is 5 years... so they say. I don'tbelieve it's fair to give people timelines and % chances of surviving this and that. You can never underestimate the human will to live.......


I've decided to put it all out there whether it reaches anyone or it's just a way for me to get it out so I find some peace. I've been battling cancer and all that goes with it since I was 26, just a kid two years out of university. I was in the typical post university gloom trying to adjust to the real world. I spent too much time in the weight room and bars on the weekend binge drinking, doing a poor job of picking up ladies. After bouncing around several shitty odd jobs for the first year after univ, I finally landed a so called "career" job with a multinational company working in an office with 50 of the most unhappy, unhealthy people you've ever seen. That lasted 8 months before I couldn't take it anymore so I left to coach tennis something I had done in the summers during high school and university. The money was good, the freedom was better, the sun and the people were fantastic. I had a love/hate relationship with tennis at the time but that's another story. I had settled down and was living with my girlfriend Katharine (still a close friend and special person). Things were going well except for the horrendous debt I had accumulated in just a few short years. Student loans spent on beer and lame nineties clothes-line of credit spent on month long trip back to states where I bought a car- credit card maxed from eating out..let's say $30,000. Then everything changed forever - just like that....