Thursday, June 25, 2009

Introduction to My Health

All mine: 3 kidney transplants, a pancreas transplant, 27 years of type 1 diabetes, 4 plus years of metastasizing cancer, a broken leg, elbow, wrist, both feet, hands, skull and ribs (yes I might be accident prone from time to time,) plus all the secondary illnesses that waltz along with these problems (osteoporosis, Gastroparesis, cataracts, chronic facial swelling (also known as moon face - see photo,) gall bladder failure, impacted bowel, chronic bleeding, etc...)

I have survived over 40 years of ill health. Sickness does not dominate my life. And okay, this is about my health, but it is also about yours. I have learned to live a life of chronic patienthood where I am not dominated by illness. I have managed to focus on goals that have nothing to do with illness. Living life for me is learning to surf above the uneven terrain of my health.

I had chemo Tuesday. Again. I’ve lost track of the months I’ve been on, but I started 7 drugs and two years ago after two years of surgery and radiation. And it IS a drag! So, to divert myself from the on-coming nausea and tiredness, I started this blog today.

I hope this blog will help others who are living with chronic illness, to laugh. Also, if you are already a friend, this will keep you updated on my health. Most, my wish is to help other patients realize hope and gain knowledge through shared experiences. (No one wants to, or should have to, deal with chronic illness on their own.)

Today’s word: GEMCITABINE, my current chemo drug. Don't ask me to say it, please. Pronouncing it would be difficult for an intact person and, as it is, I have only half a functioning tongue. 2 weeks on and one week off. Side effects: nausea, puffy skin, and fatigue. And fatigue. It seems to slow down the cancer, (metastasized squamous cell carcinoma that started in my rear tongue and spread to my lymph nodes and then (now) to the sub layers of my skin on my neck and chest. It hasn't stopped me.

I get up each morning and remind myself that I’m going to be swollen, tired and nauseous. So if I get something done, like epoxy the hatches of the kayak I’m building, it’s a great day!! Or if I get through all my (liquid) food, it’s a great day! Or if one of our cats comes up to say hello, rub itself on my leg and settle down for a nap near me…yep: great day!

Today is a great day! Thanks for reading.