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Archive for January, 2011

Tribute to Debbie


Tribute to Debbie

January 23, 2011

t has been a 10-days since my trip to Vermont.

I had to think this through. I got back from Vermont with many things weighing on my mind. It was not so much about the amount of work I brought home to myself, but it was about the time spent with my friend, Debbie. She entered a milestone that few of us dared to enter: the end-of-life phase for cancer patients. I must admit to being scared about this phase but in Debbie, I saw she entered it with welcoming arms.

What courage I saw in her.

Yeah, you can call me a wimp, Deb. You took it seriously when the doctors advised you to go home and enjoy time with family and friends. In that short time I spent with you, I saw your family gather around you when they heard news of your decision to stop further treatments. Your brother Mark flew in from Virginia and another brother, Frank (stuck in a snow storm in Florida) was trying to be at your side. There was also your sister, Susan, your nieces, Cassandra and Amber, and your nephew, Vincie. Let me not forget your loving mom, Connie (she reminds me of my mom too). I am sure many have gathered there before and visited during family occasions but this time around it is different.

Count us in, Deb. I came to bring comfort and message from your friends and colleagues at work. We want you to remember that you made a difference in our livers one way or another.  Each of us can come up with a story of how they remember you.  You are well regarded by many.  If were to share my story, mine would go like this;

Dear Deb.

I am glad we shared sometime together at work. You were among the first one to welcome me when I first join the team and I truly appreciated that.  Office rumors warned me to stay away when you are focused on something but I did not. I stuck around you like a bee to honey. You were always willing to share your knowledge with me, especially on SAP. I willingly volunteered to do SAP application reviews with you, so at least I could learn how to spell it (joke). You willingly shared you knowledge and helped me along the way.

It came naturally for you. Seeing you again, surrounded by your loving family, I caught a glimpse of the ‘true’ Debbie again. Unburdened, loving, and serene. When Vincie, you nephew, asked your opinion about what book to read. You stood up, hobbled to your bookshelf, and picked two books for him. Vincie will be lost without you. I too will be lost without you.

Also, you made me realize that I need to update my “checklist”. I thought my “checklist” was complete but it pales in comparison to your “checklist”. Who puts in their checklist to interview potential funeral director? But like you said;

‘But Bo, I want to know what type of person who is going to take care of me when I am gone.   At least now, I have I say in it.’

Wow. But you also said, it takes the worry out of your family and that hit home. Now, I have to update my checklist and interview potential funeral director too.

Joking aside, you and I know that having cancer (and living with cancer) makes you realize the importance of family and friends.  We need to be surrounded by love to be assured they are fine.  It is also about the sharing of whatever you can give inspite of the disease; a hug, a book, a touch, a joke, a meal, a phone call, or a memory. All these matter if given with complete and unselfish love. You gave them willingly to everybody.

Deb, I want you to know you have given me a lot. I will be left alone together with your family and friends. We will be ok. Just watch over us.

I love you, Bo.

 

Me and Debbie: January 10, 2011

That’s my tribute.

Cheers.

UPDATE:  I called Debbie today to check how she is doing.  I spoke to her mom, Connie, who said that she is having a hard time talking now and very much medicated.  Lord, ease her pain.  I will remember you on Tuesday, when I have my scheduled chemo maintenance.

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About my chemo maintenance

January 9, 2011

ave you decided?” My friend and yoga buddy, Lisa, asked as we were packing our mats. She was referring to stopping my chemo maintenance as suggested by my oncologist, Dr. M.

 

She was not the only one who had asked me during the week. Friends, family, and colleagues have asked about it. The true answer is: I don’t know. The one-year anniversary of my monthly chemo is in August 2011 and from there I will have to make a decision. I pray that I will have to courage to choose between: to stop and have a full life or continue my maintenance and be tethered.

I will let you know when the time comes, Lisa.”

For now, I try not to think about it. There are miles to be run, races to finish, and many more sun salutations to do.  I remember writing before: that for every mile I run is a victory for life.  That I intend to do.

I have started training this week but my miles are low. I came across this article from Runner’s World magazine, ‘Way of the Renegade‘, which preaches low miles but more speedwork and strength training. The less is more training program is espoused by two brothers Keith and Kevin Hanson. I am intrigue by it and will try to include it in my training plan. During the week I started doing speedwork (run fast for a minute, then recover for two minutes) and strength work (run on an incline multiple times and recover). Then today, I did 4.5 miles are marathon pace (12 min/mile).

It is still too early to tell if it will work. The wife has been busy with work lately that she is unable to run. But we managed to put one in one afternoon. It was a cold afternoon when we set out to our usual running trail, and it was just a wonderful care-free run. Like always we talked and it our way to free our minds from our busy lives. We avoided the topic of my chemo maintainance but I am sure it was weighing in her mind.

Tomorrow, I leave for Vermont for business and at the same time see a good friend who is diagnosed with liver cancer.  I hope she is doing well.  Got to send her “Whole Lotta Love”….hit it!

Cheers.

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Happy New Year – 2011

January 3, 2011

s the year, 2010, started to close I decided to see my oncologist, Dr. M,  just for a quick checkup and discuss plans for 2011.

So how are you feeling, Bo?” Dr. M greeted me with his usual warmness.

I was just thinking the same the thing before he walked in.  2010 was a challenging year for me. Our journey started in January with six cycles of chemo treatments, a pause for a liver resection in April, then six more cycles of chemo.  There after, two months of hard training to run the Chicago Marathon in October and a final half-marathon on Thanksgiving weekend in November as a finishing kick. Whew!

I am feeling fine. A bit nauseated since I just had my chemo maintenance a couple of days ago.” I replied.

Concerned, he explained that my monthly chemo maintenance should not give me discomfort or inhibit me from doing my daily routine. I have completed all my treatments and suffered enough during that time and this maintenance was not intended to give me further sufferings.  It is a precaution for the recurrence of my cancer, yes, but, it should not inconvenience me or give me further discomfort like nausea and constipation. He is going to reduce the dosage and see how it works out for me.

One of the reason I wanted to see him was to find out plans for 2011: chemo maintenance schedule, PET scans, colonoscopy, etc. I have marathons and races lined up, vacations, training schedules, and work that I need to fit in. Sometimes I resent being tethered to my monthly chemo maintenance. I have this three -week high on life and then a one-week crash.  It is my version of PMS period. (See ladies, I can identify with you…hehe).

Huh? What’s that Dr. M?

Maybe we should consider stopping your maintenance all together. The original plan was to do it for two years, make the assessment, but I think we should consider it for 2011.” He commented.

Stop.  Set me free?  Oh shit.

The prospect of stopping that soon did not occur to me and it jolted me to my senses. I remember the times when my wife would appease me as I get irritated and short-tempered on the eve of my monthly chemo.  It is when my childish senses gets the better of me throwing tantrums and finding it unfair that I cannot play with other normal kids.  Wah…wah…cry…cry…tears…tears

What do I do now after we stop it? I wait for the cancer to come back…again. The last time we stopped (after completing 12 treatments in October 2008) I complete changed my lifestyle, dropping coffee, red meat, and started running. Then it still came back (November 2009). Do I take that risk and enjoy life fully or stay with the maintenance?  Gulp….

Life is good.  Life is also complicated.

Cheers.

PS: I would like a shoutout to my runner-friend and realbuzz.com blogger Michael aka MTS who sent me 2011 calendar of historic landmarks from north east England. Thanks, Michael, I love it and will use it.

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2010 in review


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,100 times in 2010. That’s about 15 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 58 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 73 posts. There were 117 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 62mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was April 27th with 137 views. The most popular post that day was I hurt but I am ok..

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were mail.yahoo.com, realbuzz.com, webmail.aol.com, mail.tools.sky.com, and facebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for waddling tales, chemo pump, portable chemo pump, chemo pumps, and portable chemotherapy pump.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

I hurt but I am ok. April 2010
5 comments

2

About October 2009
4 comments

3

First day at school…chemo school January 2010
2 comments

4

What’s next: chopped liver March 2010
3 comments

5

Early Easter for me: Hallelujah April 2010
17 comments

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