Hard to believe that it’s almost six months since my last post. This is indicative of how better I feel and how sickness no longer takes center stage. I will try and get caught up.
The end of 2013 was fairly miserable. My two favourite holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, were sad affairs at Blaylock Manor. I had vain hopes of being able to taste food normally but it was not to be. Everything still tasted and smelled terrible. There was one shining bright star revealed on the final day of 2013. I was in remission. The last scan of the year revealed no signs of cancer whatsoever. It was a wonderful way to end our annus horribillis.
In the early part of 2014 I started vomiting daily. I would feed myself through the tube and then seconds later vomit it up in a most spectacular way. It was a wonderful display of human plumbing. I’m not quite sure why this went on for so long, but there were times where all I would do is feed and puke, feed & puke. By this stage I had lost 100lbs. I weighed less than I did when I arrived in the USA. The Doctors prodded and stuck scopes down my gullet, took tests and then finally just chalked it up to a side-effect of treatment and prescribed Ondansetron and anti-nausea patches much like the kind used for sea sickness.
As long as I used them everything was fine. But I would forget occasionally and I would start puking again. Finally I got into the habit of including them in my daily medicine regimen. I still found it hard to eat by the mouth but try I would. We visited Eva’s Father and, instead of taking cans of Osmolite, I vowed to eat normally. I did, but hated pretty much everything and was on the verge of nausea many times. Restaurants in rural Georgia tend to have a lot of fried foods and the smell, and taste made me very queazy.
In April I was very lucky to be invited to a weekend fly-fishing retreat hosted by Reel Recovery. They are an organization that invites men who have cancer or have had cancer and takes them on a weekend long trip into the country, with lodging, food and fishing all for free.
I’ve been a fly-fisher for about 30 years so I didn’t need to learn the basics, but you are hooked up with a guide, typically somebody who has attended before, and they help you get onto fish. I caught this large sunfish, biggest I’ve ever caught, and also a catfish. Catfish fight like hell and are lots of fun on a fly rod.
All that weekend I tried to eat the food on offer, only resorting to cans a few times. The weekend was a lot of fun with the camaraderie and laughs and a few tears. A couple of times a day we would have a guided discussion about our sickness and our lives before, during and after. For some it was obvious that they had never shared how they felt in public or maybe even in private. It was gratifying to see over the weekend how some who had been recalcitrant were now willing to speak. I’m an old hand at ‘group’ so it was nothing new for me. But I left the weekend feeling more connected after spending a weekend with people who didn’t think it was weird that I could not eat whatever was on offer.