Starting The New Year As A Cancer Patient

I’ve been thinking about what it means to start the new year as a cancer patient. I was diagnosed in 2013 but my cancer had already progressed to stage 4. In case you are here for the first time, I have carcinoid cancer which is a subset of neuroendocrine cancer. Neuroendocrine cancer is often abbreviated as Net Cancer. So, I’ve been living with this disease for a while now. You know…. I ignored my cancer for Christmas! That was my gift to myself. Still, the new year is different, right? It’s full of resolutions, fresh outlooks and new starts! That’s why I am writing this. Can I start fresh?Β  Is it possible? Sometimes I wonder with cancer. Does losing weight matter? Should I resolve to eat more veggies? Should I bother? I don’t think starting the new year as a cancer patient is as simple as a new year’s resolution. I think that somewhere between “fresh start” and “who cares” is the right balance for me.

My Outlook For 2018

So, here’s the deal. I know that 2018 has some nasty surprises in store for me. I’m not being pessimistic but I am being a realist. My PRRT is nearing the end of it’s effectiveness and, to be honest, I am dreading to hear the words, “Your tumors have progressed.” Now, if you’re not educated regarding PRRT, it is typically effective for about 3 yrs. I’m rolling up on year two so, I’m nervous. Still, it can work for much longer so, all possibilities are on the table. My immune system has been very weak and I catch a cold all of the time and have been in the hospital quite a bit lately. Our finances have taken a beating too.

So, I guess it’s over! I give up. Nah, I can’t do it. Look, I don’t know why I’m built this way but I am. πŸ˜€ Don’t get me wrong, I do have my moments where life gets me down but then I allow myself to grieve and then I get back up. Maybe it’s because I’m not alone in this journey? I have Lisa and David to care for and all of you to travel with me and support me! Then there’s my church. What wonderful people. Of course I believe that God loves me so, it’s hard to stay down when you keep that in mind. So, I guess that I would say my outlook for 2018 is sunny with a chance of rain.

Looking Back At 2017

I won’t lie, 2017 was rough. As I said, the hospital was my home away from home the last few months. When I look back at 2017 I see a lot of bright spots as well. Lisa and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in November, David turned 10, I was home more because I wasn’t traveling to get cancer treatments andΒ  David’s school work improved because I was home to help him and healthy enough to do so. I was able to capture some beautiful photos of birds from my window since I cannot get out much. Lisa started a new job that she likes and David helped me build a computer. So, 2017 was not a bust, and in fact, wasn’t bad. πŸ™‚

Here’s My Plan For 2018

Get Healthy: Well, as healthy as possible. Here’s the thing, I didn’t write lose weight because I cannot participate in a typical weight loss program and exercise. Just walking is difficult enough and when I try to restrict my calories my body gives me a hard time. I get light headed and weak. You would think that I hadn’t eaten in a week. So, my plan is to eat foods that are less likely to cause weight gain and, if I am wise in my choices, may even cause some weight loss. Regarding exercise, I was trying to rebuild my stamina by walking up and down my driveway (the famous hill I always write about) and had gotten up to 2 trips up and down the pavement.Β  Well, the hospital set me back and now going to the kitchen is a lot of work. My plan is to try and get out again and build my stamina back up. Maybe I can ride a bike this year with David. πŸ˜€

My Organic Garden: Oh, my poor veggie garden! πŸ™‚Β  I just couldn’t keep up with it. My bean vines took over, the squash bugs ate my cucumbers and squash and forget the corn!!! What to do? Well, as it turns out the garden is there just waiting. Just like 2018, it will give me back what I put into it. How does that go again? Oh yeah, you reap what you sow. πŸ˜€ I’m going for it again!Β  Woo-hoo!!!Β  The plan is tons of peas and lettuce in the spring and beans and tomatoes in the summer and some fall veggies too! I plan on not feeding the squash bugs this year!!! πŸ˜€

Family: Sheesh. If that boy wins one more wrestling match I don’t know what I’m gonna do! I raised him to be strong, have a good sense of humor and, like me, he is a terrible tease! So, this is a perfect storm for me. I walk past him and give him a jab. Yes, I am usually the instigator. Here’s the problem. I’m as weak as a kitten because of the stupid cancer and the boy’s on me in a second flat. Pretty soon, I’m yelling, “STOP! Daddy’s tired! STOP!” Except he doesn’t stop because I tease him all of the time and so he double’s down with a huge grin! πŸ˜€ Lisa has had to pull him off of me so many times it’s crazy. Lisa gives me the standard lecture and then I give him another jab…maybe within a few minutes…maybe as soon as he turns his back! I need to beat his tail in 2018. Papa needs to win a match! πŸ˜€

Except for recent history, I have been able to keep the housework done and keep some pressure off of Lisa. I want to keep this up and, I hope, do more around our home. πŸ™‚ I do cook but not consistentlyΒ  because I am not always well. I would like to start creating large meals and freezing the leftovers.

There’s a few more items on our plate as a family but, that’s my basic plan for 2018. No, no resolutions and no fresh start but I am not quiting! πŸ™‚ I think that’s a good balance for a stage 4 cancer patient!

What are your plans for 2018?
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  1. Embarrasing to admit,but I’ve been letting myself get down. Can I just say…THANKS i NEEDED THAT! Your upbeat attitude is inspiring!

  2. You are doing great Ed. Salivate over all the seed catalogs. They are the best part of the experience. Forget about the weeds after the 4th of July. Get up each day and check your big toe. No tag there it must be a good day.

    • I am so loaded down with seed catalogs it’s crazy! πŸ˜€ My favorite is Baker Creek and then Johnny’s. πŸ˜€ Ha! Gonna steal the big toe thing πŸ˜€ Thanks πŸ˜€

  3. Hi Ed,

    It’s Christine from Lafayette, Louisiana. My husband Jim and I had the pleasure of meeting you and Lisa in Houston in August 2018.
    First,- Jim’s doing very well after his 2nd treatment of PRRT treatment.
    Second – I can’t believe I found your blog. I’ve been up since 1;30 am and reading everything with hope. But most of all, strength to get through the rough days Jim may have on the next PRRT treatment.

    Please keep in touch.

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