Tryin’ To Keep My Dauber Up…

dauber

Just threw the pic in because it may be the last one for a while with hair.

I’m sure you have all used or at least heard the phrase “Keep your Dauber up” or maybe “Don’t get your Dauber down”. Out of curiosity, I Googled the phrase. I was interested in the origin and real meaning.  There are various opinions on the origin; the meaning is simple. Just words of encouragement; keep a positive attitude, show courage etc.

It is often associated with sporting events.  The game of baseball; you strike out with the bases loaded or the curve doesn’t break and you give up the “walk off” game winner.  From the dugout or the stands you hear “keep your dauber up, you’ll gettum next time.”

The sport of rodeo; you buck off at the seven second mark or you wipe out the third barrel on an otherwise winning run. As you leave the arena you hear “don’t get your dauber down”.

On the job, following a little chat with the boss, a coworker is kind enough to speak to you about the position of your dauber.

The phrase has been on my mind as it applies to the game of life, you have this thing called cancer and you have three days to absorb the fact if the treatment plan is successful your next normal meal will probably be sometime around Christmas.

Yes, I made the mistake of looking too far down the road and “let my dauber down” for a few days. It is back up and don’t ask me about day after tomorrow.  I know about down the road but I am not looking past tomorrow.

Now, let’s talk about what has happened since I was here last, also it looks like one of those sleepless nights.  If that is the case I may share some insignificant thoughts; I’ll try to stay away from the serious stuff.

Radiation and chemo have started.  I have had six radiation treatments and two rounds of chemo.  Radiation only takes about 20 minutes, chemo is about 3 ½ hours.

So far it has gone extremely well; just some very minor nausea, re flux and the normal fatigue.  I have been completely capable of driving myself for those appointments.  Some of the other chemo related side effects will probably begin to show up but at least we’re off to a good start.

About 90% of my food intake is through the tube, I haven’t totally accepted that as a way of life but it is going OK.  The weight gain I bragged about last time was temporary, I have lost the gain plus a couple pounds.

I had an initial consultation with the surgeon who will replumb me (his words).  I like him and was impressed with the Stephenson Cancer Center.  He didn’t give me a lot of detail on how he would do it, basically an overview of what he would do.  I think that was good because I am still trying to absorb the what, see the “dauber down” paragraph.

I will summarize:  estimated timeline on the surgery is early September.   He will remove my esophagus and use my stomach to build a new one.  The surgery will take about eight hours, followed by at least a 90 day recovery.  I will get my nutrition through the tube for most if not the entire 90 days.  I didn’t ask specifically, probably wasn’t sure I could handle the answer.

I will need to do some pulmonary and stress testing to determine if I am physically able to withstand the surgery; I don’t think there are any hidden issues.

That’s about it on the factual stuff.  I was right about the sleep, I think it is a day of chemo side effect, so I will proceed with a couple of those insignificant thoughts.

The short one first.  One of the typical chemo side effects is sores in the mouth and bleeding gums, making eating very difficult to maybe impossible. That won’t hamper my ability to eat because I eat through that darn tube. Gotta’ look at the bright side.

Many times over the past few years if you stepped in my kitchen the pleasant smell of roast beef, spaghetti, bacon and eggs, takeout pizza, chili, goulash and the list goes on greeted you.  Recently you would have been greeted by the repulsive smell of Ensure.

Repulsive might be a little strong but it is more descriptive than pleasant, and because I was cooped up with it, I kind of had a come apart.  With a tremendous amount of aerosol air freshener, a couple of strategically placed candles and an emphasis on immediately washing the serving pitchers and throwing the empty bottles in the outside trash I kind of have a handle on it.  Just another of the little unforeseen issues in this battle with cancer.

I have a radiation appointment in a few hours.  I probably should see if I can find a little sleep. I’m not sure when I will be back, probably next week after chemo (not really).  Thanks for reading what I write.

Keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless

Dave

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Ahhhh. . .Breakfast!!!

Nutrition experts continually remind us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that we should start each day with a healthy breakfast.  In my world a healthy breakfast has always been bacon and eggs with hash browns and a side of biscuits and gravy or maybe a good loaded western omelet with a couple pancakes on the side.

Hello new world.  Pictured is this morning’s breakfast and if I follow the Dr.’s prescribed menu this will be my breakfast for the foreseeable future.  I am already about ten days into this routine.  Oh yes, if I remove that little glass pitcher to the extreme right, this is also my lunch and dinner menu.  The little pitcher contains a delicacy served only for breakfast; it is called Miralax.

breakfast

The process works like this.  I attach that syringe looking thing with the numbers to the flexible tube that now protrudes from my belly; I’ll do you a favor and not share a picture of that.  After the apparatus is assembled I simply pour all that stuff down the tube.  It seems to be working, I have gained about 3 pounds.  It is the first time I have been happy about gaining weight since high school.

I am not totally dependent on the feeding tube, I can still eat small portions of selected items via the old fashioned put it in the mouth chew it and swallow it method.  I just can’t eat or drink nearly enough to maintain the level of nutrition and hydration necessary to get me through what lies ahead.

Speaking of what lies ahead.  I had anticipated being a few days into the radiation/chemo process by now, however we encountered a few typical delays.  The planning, coordination and all those things are complete and treatment will begin Monday.

The first chemo is scheduled for 8:00 am; they are planning 4 to 4 1/2 hours for the first one; Radiation will follow at 2:10 pm.  If everything goes well I just might have time to come home and pour a bottle or two of Ensure down the tube between the treatments.  The finalized plan is for 25 radiation treatments and, I believe, 5 weeks of chemo.

I am more than ready to finally proceed into battle against this cancer deal. I am optimistic that the battle will be successful, however I am apprehensive and a little nervous as I face the unknown.  The side effects of chemo and radiation can be very vicious or they can be reasonably mild, I have personally witnessed both extremes.  I am hoping for mild, expecting somewhere in the middle and trying to prepare for the vicious stuff.

I still don’t have any real detail on the proposed surgery.  It will be performed at the Stephenson Cancer Center in OKC, I will see the surgeon next week for an initial consultation.  I have done a little research and will limit my uneducated comment to it appears to be a pretty major deal.  I think that is what my oncologist eluded to without scaring me with the details.

I am adapting reasonably well to the sudden changes in my lifestyle, my attitude is good and I believe that really is light at the end of the tunnel; not the proverbial “oncoming train”.

Please mention me and the family as you say your prayers and consider a donation to the cancer research organization of your choice.

Thanks for reading what I write and we’ll talk again in a few days.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave