Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm afraid of falling asleep

I haven't been in a good way since we last posted. I got sick and couldn't get rid of the cold. It lasted a couple of weeks. I was sick through chemo treatments.

Then my B symptoms started up. B symptoms are the type of side effects for people with Hodge type B. That's the bad hodge. And usually the onset of symptoms is a bad thing. It means that the cancer is growing more aggressively and is all over your body in big chunks. It basically feels like the cancer has taken over the majority of your body. I'm supposed to see my doctor on Monday. He doesn't have office hours on Monday but he's coming in to see me. He's also bringing his second in charge and my whole team. They've had meetings about me. 

Believe it or not, I have been too overcome with B symptoms to even worry about the latest progression of cancer. These "symptoms" are basically side effects from the cancer. Easily the worst is the itch. Now, I know that would surprise you. How bad can a little itching be? If only it was a little itching. Every day, every second, I itch all over my body. It's not like a skeeter bite, either. This itch starts with a shock to the skin, much like a knife tingling and then an unrelenting urge to itch. And it happens constantly and completely randomly throughout my body. So if you imagine that my body were a Christmas tree with random blinking lights, that's what's happening every second of the day and night. It is hell. 

The doctors keep trying different steroids but none are working, which isn't a surprise. The docs basically will tell anyone that nothing alleviates this itch. Remember the good old days when I can just pop an oxycodone if I wasn't feeling well? I tried. I tried really hard. I popped a lot of oxy and it doesn't really do anything.

This morning at 5 am, I had a marvelous conversation with a guy at the drive through at McDonald's. I was on benedryl, steriods, sleeping pills, oxycodone and hydrocodone. But I was wide awake because I was itching all over, much like the many nights before. During this, the itching stopped. It was an unbelievable feeling. Peace. I ordered my breakfast burrito and the itch soon came back, faster than the breakfast burrito came up. 

Now the second of three main B symptoms have started. Night sweats. Because cancer now owns your body, it fucks with your temperature. Some older women have described it as the worst, most hyperactive case of menopause. While you're overcome with this itch, a wave of heat from within your body will blow through you. You sit and sweat for ten minutes. This happens about every hour or so. What you have left is one really slimy body. 

The first inclination would be to take a shower to help with the temp and itch. But the water hitting your body stings like knives even more. Plus, your temp goes up so while you're trying to clean your body, at the same time, it's sweating.

Right now, it's midnight and I need to sleep. I'd like to tell you more. Like how, for instance, the treatment leaves my feet in constant pain and my hands always tingly. Once a day or so, I cramp up somewhere, in the hands, feet, leg mostly. And because my body is losing a war inside, I have no energy to do anything on the outside.

When I was in pain previously, I go to bed. But I am so afraid of what happens when I wake up that I would rather go back to the McDiddies at 5 am again to talk. If I end up sleeping, in a couple of hours I will wake up sop and wet. The sheets will be wet, there could even be a puddle. My shirt is wet and I'm freezing. These are the night sweets. 

At this point, I lost the benefit of being able to completely sleep. So I slumber. With sleeping, I don't feel the itch. With slumber, I feel everything. I can't go back to bed because I wake up to the itching body, the itching stinging body. I slomber for a couple more hours. Now as I slumber, I itch and sleep, then sweat, itch and sleep. Finally, I give up. Waking up and giving in to the day of the itch. 

I don't fight any more. I've been fighting cancer for going on three years now. Every day, I have had to wake up with the mental exercises of overcoming the fear of cancer. Every day, I have to do other mental exercises trying to overcome the pain of the cancer. Now I no longer have the benefit of waking up to anything. The cancer has invaded my sleep. I get up from slumbering in a sweat, cold with this dominating tingling and itching feeling all over my body and all wanting attention right now. I don't pysche myself up for the day anymore. I don't set goals. I don't think,"I should show Sherri or McKenna how I used to be for an hour today." Now, I just get up. 

I have no interesting thoughts anymore. I just have the itch. Some people want to go back to before they had cancer. I'll settle for an hour or two a couple of years ago when I felt normal. I never feel normal anymore. I want to remind my wife that I didn't just sit around and do nothing. A long time ago, I helped her out. Now she can barely stand to look at me because I am a waste. She has to dicipline the kids, she has to watch over Conner, she has to take care of Maddie. She works, then comes home and does all the housework. She is two parents and wonders when the fuck will I do something to help out around here. She bears a burden now and I am the reason. Why should she look at me with anything but hatred?


  1. As I get older I'm finding myself less and less inclined to be religious, but you are in my thoughts all the time. So I'll say some prayers for you. For remission, for relief from your symptoms, for peace in your family life, for whatever you need.

  2. "... Why should she look at you with anything but hatred?"

    Because she loves you. We all do. It's just that simple.

  3. Itchy and the Nightsweats, that song they had in the 1960's was awesome. Too bad Itchy decided to go solo.

    Here's the thing about wives, they all think that we sit around too much instead of helping around the house. You simply have a better excuse then the rest of us. I would advise that you don't lose any sleep over it, but I guess that's sort of academic at this point anyway.

    I don't have any recent humorous stories from work. It seems that while my clients continue to do stupid things, the stupid things they have been doing are not funny, just stupid. It makes for less entertaining work days and blog comments. I need material as I am not capable of being funny on my own. Even the wife and kids have not been providing the type of material that makes for humorous stories. The only entertaining thing any of them have done lately was my 13 year old asking if he could have 3 girls sleep over on Saturday. He was serious. I calmly explained that while I am not opposed to him having group sex with 3 girls, I would prefer that it not be at our house. Besides, he had a baseball game in the morning.

    Hope your meeting goes well today and that relief is in sight.

  4. As the fight within you escalates, free will have lost control of your body but not your mind. Send a love note to your wife, kids, dog, to expression of your heart's devotion to them. McKenna knows who and what you are.....she's grieving already..yes, it's a burden, but it is what it is and love thrives where chaos prevails. You have the right to be melancholy, depressed, angry...a random individual out of millions who was stricken. It sucks...really BIG. You are exhausted, sick, fed up, and tired of the whole damn thing! Easy to succumb...and why not? That, dear Michael will be your next can's your gig, it always was. Over the last few years, I have marveled at your ability to share and document your tribulations...truly remarkable and we have all benefitted from your story. I pray that you be blessed by your Source with serenity, comfort, hope and Faith.

  5. Hi Michael,
    It's been a while since I have last posted...sorry. I have followed your blog for the past few years and I always marvel at your bravery and candor. I am immediately drawn in to your calm sense of self and circumstance that I have to remind myself that this is real and you are a friend and there is very little that I can do to help you other than positive thought and prayers. I usually read the latest entry and then immediately want to write something funny or off-beat to entertain you and try to add to the other heart felt comments. My intent of comment is usually stifled by a feeling of what do I say to you who has been through so much? What could I possibly convey that would register?
    Well, to that end I say this... "Here is a toast to you, Michael, the unique and humorous man, the wonderful son, the devoted husband, the loving father, quintessential coworker/boss and the faithful friend to so many. A toast to your faith, your strength, your positive attitude, your endurance, your tenacity, your intelligence, your expressiveness and your big heart!"

    We your friends, family and followers wish that we could lighten your burden and scratch that elusive itch.

    Keep up the fight brother and always remember that no one who is loved by so many as much as you are could ever be a burden and don't mistake your wife's actions for anything but LOVE for you. You would do the same for her!