One Day At A Time, My Friend

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9/12/2010 11:38pm
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Replies: 9

September 12, 2010

 

It’s been 7 weeks since the original surgery on his leg/groin area; 2 weeks since his last surgery to fix the lymph channel/fluid leak and infection and it’s the best he has felt since this has all began. It’s a reminder that my husband, Bob didn’t feel sick or in pain when he was first diagnosed with this life threatening disease just before Father’s Day. A lump in his leg was his only warning signal to get checked, the diagnoses of stage 3c melanoma.

 

My husband and I were sitting in the morning sun having coffee earlier today, a beautiful day in the northwest, when he turns to look at me and says, “just one day at a time, that’s how I will try to take this. Look at this day, it’s gorgeous, take it in will you… what more could I ask for?”

 

Really? I could give you a list, I thought to myself… the summer vacation we had to cancel because of the surgery you had to have. Halloween decorations, which we do big every fall that take 3 months out of the year are being postponed because we don’t know what to expect because of your treatment or your health? The deck we want to build next summer. New patios added to the house? New flooring downstairs? I mean just where does this list end? We were talking of getting remarried again… planning these things, the timing, our future together? I couldn’t help wonder to myself just where this melanoma road would lead us.

A smile on his face, his blue eyes twinkling at me and I knew his heart was speaking to me. Our lives were being forced to slow down due to his health no matter how much we hated it. No matter how difficult it was for us to deal with, maybe we couldn’t do everything we wanted to, when we wanted to, maybe we had to choose what was important to us.

 

We both were feeling that time was our enemy now, and needed to find a way to work around it, to adjust. The secret was how… how to look at each day through eyes like a child to be explored and to not take life for granted now. To take one day at a time on a conscious level and try to leave the stress behind. How to live daily and still get the things we needed to get done and not be too greedy? Boy, do I have some personal work to do…

 

I love you my dear husband.

 

 

If you would like to leave Bob a message please send one here:

bob.rogers2010@gmail.com

 

 

If you would like to follow our family blog page please go here:

http://redesign08.blogspot.com/

Hi,

  Its funny how cancer and especially melanoma cancer gives you a different outlook and all the changes, big and small that happen...I am stage 3a for 4 years but nothing I have done has eradicated the beast from my leg.....just Friday I renewed my driver's license.....the lady said 2 or 4 years? I said 2.....I'm thinking "Am I going to be here in 4?" Why spend the money....in the past I wouldnt have hesitated......morbid perhaps to some but not when you know this beast. Yes I do stay positive most days and I feel like I am fighting like hell, and I am living each day, thats all we have anyways....make it your absolute best and make every contact with anyone be genuine.....

  My best to you both and your family, and keep fighting!

Vermont_Donna

stage 3a

Not sure if this will make any sense.  My melanoma dx was in 2004 stage 2B.  Our hospital did not have equiptment for SNB and when the wide local ex was done, I was admitted to the patient list of a major cancer hospital in a local city here.  That was 2004.  watch and wait, and remove stuff when it comes to life.

 

I developed LMM  (lentigo malignant melanoma on my lower left eyelid, and after many surgeties including one for a 3rd primary on it, the whole lid was removed, and a full thickness garft was fashioned.  I call it with tongue in cheek, my "ear-lid" that was in spring and summer of 2007.

also in that same year,  Autumn of 2007 for some reason totally crazy I developed what is called Normal Pressure Hydrochepalus, and that ended up needing a Ventricular Peritoneal shunt installed in my brain, (was only 57 at that time) My symptoms were that of senile dementia resulting in falls, and gait disturbances, memory problems over and above what is expected.

Moving along I have never yet gotten to the point of only having yearly checks...it goes from 3 months to 6 months, and in 2009 I was pretty well 5 years out from my orig melanoma dx.  So I went ahead and had a long needed (like over 30years) needed breast reduction.  A fun thing for me, a good happy thing for me,  until 3 weeks after, the pathology came back on the tissue (I swear 500 pounds of tissue)  showed 3 types of Breast Cancer.  in 4 weeks from that path date reading, I was back in hospital just 2 months out from my longed for bilateral breast reduction, found me having a HUGE big bilateral mastectomies.

I have no chance of reconstruction due to the brain shunt and its distal tube doiwn my chest, to abdomen.  And just last week, I had the excess large balls of fat, tissue, skin and stuff removed from under each armpitl

Waiting on path for that. 

I am trying to show you, that yes one day at a time works, but so does planning.  We never stopped our planning, and even though my choice is not to drive I still renew my license for 2 years, as I know I will one day drive again.  I also plan our camping  holidays every year, and thus far we still go.  I went to our sons wedding with drain tubes still in my chest, and the destination was a 2 hour car drive, and hauled along my 92 year old disabled mother as well.  (first grandson getting married) 

With you it is your husband who is undergoing this beast and all its horrid warts, which means YOU must take the lead and plan, it is  not the end o f life as you know it.  I have been married for almost 42 years, and had my 60th birthday last July at camp (we camp in tents, and love the outdoors)  I am never that far away from medical problems, but I choose to just try to go o n with what I have been given.

If you want a deck built, then the diff is ONLY you will get outside help to build it.  If you want to travel, that is perfect nothing is stopping that. We have a small reno happening, and even though I am as useless as 'tits on a bull' right now, I held the vaccum hose when he needed to clear plaster, and bits of dry wall.  (I cannot bend over or use both arms yet)  He has several age issues as well, and we KNOW we will need help to finish major things.   Yes we never have stopped planning and dreaming.  I pick up the slack when I can and are able, and we don't EVER think of what we could have done, or cannot do now, as NOTHING is out of the park.  

Your seven weeks is not much time to be used, and used for all  your 'what ifs"  or we can't do this or that.  Of course you can....it takes extra hard work perhaps on your part, to see that things that you and your guy are wishing for, but Melanoma is not a reason to stop with the plans.  We had our bedroom floor hardwood stuff, and even though I cannot help Bob anymore, we did NOT ask for help, and lo and behhold our son decided he wanted to learn, and next thing you know, our son, and daughter, was handling the grunt work of laying real hardwood down.  AMAZING  they knew it was a Mom and Dad job, but that Mom is unable, and Dad had weakened in areas he was strong (age he says)

 

But do not give up your plans,  dreams, just realize them in a slightly different light.

 

Bonnie Lea

Just Keep on Hanging In

JoanR - (9/13/2010 - 10:15am)

I can relate to your heartfelt post. It is a difficult path as a caregiver, wanting so much to help, make things different, and mostly just get back to your life before melanoma. All of this is impossible once mel is part of your life. Your husband has a wonderful positive attitude and appears to be at peace, which is a blessing.

I have 2 friends where I live that have been dx with mel since my husbandsdied. One asked the onc if she should be buying her clothes at Saks or Walmart..she's still well after 7 years with stage 4 !! The other has chosen to not have treatment but still participates with our bridge groups goes on cuises etc...

Attitude has a great bearing on the wellness of a patient.your husband's attitude will take him a long way ..and be such a comfort to you as well.

ps. I just sold a 5 year political membership to a 93 year old !!

Enjoy each and everyday and be thankful you have someone that loves you...Cheers Joan

sorry... I feel stupid just now.  I realized this post is from her blog, and not really directed persae to us.  I really thought Deb was posting to this board in seeking advice.   My Bad.

Just Keep on Hanging In

Bonnie Lea,

I have posted this same story also on my blog to keep my family and friends aware of what is happening with my husband. When I post here on this discussion board with the same story I do so with the hope that someone responds with suggestions to help us get through this process. I'm sorry if I confused you. Extra help is better than NO HELP. Family seems to only worry and wonder why my husband isn't getting treated by his physicians with chemotherapy by now. Melanoma is just like any other cancer, right? It's been hard trying to explain the difference to everyone. So they wait every week for updates.

Your response has humbled me. I will make sure my husband reads all who respond back to me, he is very grateful. He is getting more active with the MRI site and reads it daily now. I hope he finds the courage to post his own thoughts and questions so you can get to know him.

Both my husband and I have learned through others here that courage lives on this discussion board and no matter what I post I learn about myself, and I transition through this disease right along with my husband. As far as my topic goes for this week? I didn't say I was going to stop planning since being diagnosed, I think I said we were rearranging our planning of the importance. Our vacations happen on his Harley and they have for the last 6 years. You can't ride on two wheels after surgery. We were planning to remarry in Fiji again on our 10 anniversary (that's where we were originally married). That is another 1-1/2 years away, I think it best to make that re-commitment to him again while life is still good. My husband does all our remodeling on our home and it has been a process for the last 10 years. I have been there right along with him as his gofer, like a thorn in his side. IF interferon or some other treatment is in his future could make him sick physically than these projects we have planned in our future come to a standstill. So... either we make a backup plan to get them done (with help) or don't plan so big. He is only one man and just maybe he will have to pay for some of those projects to get done? It's those kinds of things to think about.

Our lives are full just like everyone elses and when this disease took over our dreams it seemed we had to look at them again because they just doesn't seem to fit us anymore. I didn't say we couldn't get them done... but just not the way we have been doing them and that has been "full steam ahead".

Best to you and thank you for sharing your story,

Deb

Loving wife to Bob, stage 3c

 

joy_ - (9/13/2010 - 10:19am)

Hi Deb,

One day at a time is exactly how we take it too. 

Has he decided what follow up treatment to do?  My husband is starting interferon today.  26 days and then it looks like we'll be on the other side of this thing (hopefully for good - staying positive).

You & Bob are in my thoughts.

Tracy

wife to Bill, stage IIIc

Deb,

 

All those things on your list are just that, things. My husband is stage IV and I watched him go through the first surgery at Stage III, then IL-2, then two more surgeries. I don't care as much about things anymore, I'm just grateful that my husband is alive and we also look at each day very differently.

It's an adjustment.  I know we have a 4 and 6 year old and this was definitely not how we had planned our/thier future. I think somewhere along the line we conveniently forget that we all die.  We also just don't really want to know how and when and if your husband is like mine I'm sure these thoughts are going through his mind.

 

Wishing your husband quick healing and sending prayers that he does not have to deal with it again.

 

Rebecca

 

Believe

Deb,

 

All those things on your list are just that, things. My husband is stage IV and I watched him go through the first surgery at Stage III, then IL-2, then two more surgeries. I don't care as much about things anymore, I'm just grateful that my husband is alive and we also look at each day very differently.

It's an adjustment.  I know we have a 4 and 6 year old and this was definitely not how we had planned our/thier future. I think somewhere along the line we conveniently forget that we all die.  We also just don't really want to know how and when and if your husband is like mine I'm sure these thoughts are going through his mind.

 

Wishing your husband quick healing and sending prayers that he does not have to deal with it again.

 

Rebecca

 

Believe

Phil S - (9/13/2010 - 8:24pm)

Deb      At only seven/eight weeks, you are still in the very early stages of adjusting to the world of cancer.  Believe me, my husband was diagnosed with melanoma (anal/muscosal) in January 2010 and two months later I was still spending my free time lying in bed wondering why me.  But slowly, very slowly, we both started to realize that any time is a gift and our two small children (ages 6,7) deserved a wonderful childhood, and we didn't want our new circumstances to affect them.   We both came out of the FOG at the same time, and by May 2010, we were spending some moments not dwelling on cancer.   So, I would say our little family totally enjoyed our summer (Drive-in movies with PJs, swimming, amusement parks, trips to the ocean) and life moved on.  Of course, as I have said before on this bulletin, each of us needs to find their own path.  My husband and I faced the unknown and decided we needed to do some form of treatment for our mental health,  and he was only offered interferon.  So, he has finished over four months, and although we know the odds, we get some piece of mind that we are fighting the fight.  Phil has never missed work (even in the intense high dose interferon month) and continues to work, do all the yard work, cut all our wood for the winter, and play with our children.  Now, our whole life perspective has changed, and we both feel blessed that he has handled interferon so well.

And, I view my job as trying to piece together a good family life, and have lots of laughs with our kids.  I also recently planned a Disney cruise for March 2011. Does it cross my mind that March is kinda of far away, and depending on Phil's health and scans results we might have to cancel, of course.  But now, I am much more practical and have already gotten a special insurance policy on our trip for pre-existing conditions.  As many have said before me, hope for the best and prepare for the worst!    Be kind to yourself, life does get better and you will adjust to your new reality.  

Valerie  (Phil's wife)