Rain in Movember

Four treatments down, almost ten per cent of the way.  When I put it that way it doesn’t seem like very much, it sounds like I have just started, which is odd because after my treatment yesterday it felt like this is part of my routine; like I have been doing this for a long time.  Perhaps all of the planning, the preparation, the diagnostics and the anticipation have made it seem like I have been at this for a while.  I have thirty seven more to go; another in a few hours.  I think it is 37.  I have an appointment with Dr. Tseng today to sort out the photon plan and to review the proton regime to date.  I hope the photon portion completely replaces proton treatments and does not add any.  It will be good to get the overall plan, find out when we add photon, how that integrates with proton therapy, and determine dosage.

I am leaving shortly for today’s treatment, and it is not raining this morning!  I think this is the first day that I am heading out without rain.  I think the grey and rain is contributing to my feeling of fatigue.  Figuring out the bus system has also been draining.  The system is a very efficient means of getting around Seattle; it just means careful planning around timing, carrying everything I need for the day with me and a lot of walking to, from, and between stops.  Yesterday I walked downtown and caught a “RapidRide” bus that gets from downtown to an area near the Proton Centre in about 20 minutes.  The walk is about 20 minutes on each end which I enjoy as well.  I was tired, feeling down and it was raining (did I mention the rain?  It rains a lot.).   The stop is across the street from Macy’s, who were playing Christmas carols.  Seriously! It was election day.  November 4th.  The only people feeling like Christmas yesterday were Republican senate and house candidates.  The carols seemed to depress me further.  The scene at the bus terminal was surreal; it was a mass of young people high, stoned, and desperate, a crowd of the addicted and mentally ill. It wasn’t scary or threatening, just depressing.  I watched open drug deals on the corner.  It made me want to go home, hug my daughters and never let them out of my sight.  I then had a very strange experience on the bus, that came back to visit me in my sleep last night.  It involved a destitute looking woman, Marshawn Lynch and a baseball.  Strange, but it lifted my spirits for a while.

I will be at treatment five shortly.  While on the table I have been thinking about the tumor, about chordoma, about cancer.  I don’t think this is good and maybe why I feel so down after each session.  I talked to a gentleman before I came here who encouraged me to meditate during the treatments.  I had forgotten that.  I will today, mediate and try to get out of my “cancer head”.  Meditate, or think about golf, which can be mediation in a way.

Despite Macy’s carols, it is not December, it is MOVEMBER.20141102_180730 (3)  I have not done this before, but it is impossible to both be living in a cancer residence and getting treatment at a facility primarily treating prostate cancer and NOT do Movember.  On Saturday I stopped by a barber shop that was shaving men in anticipation of Movember (I think you need to start clean shaven; I’m sure that’s in the rules.).  For a small donation to prostate cancer research they shaved off my beard and got me ready for this.  So, since I’m growing this mustache, please support prostate cancer research.  And give blood.  I gave blood regularly for my entire adult life and never once, sitting in the chair, did it ever occur to me that I would need it myself.  It felt good to be doing something for others, but when I needed blood in July it was sure great to know it was there.  So, support prostate cancer (or whatever cancer research strikes your fancy, it doesn’t need to be prostate – chordoma research is good, too) and give blood.  And be an organ donation candidate.  Yeah, do that, too.  When I was at UW on Friday I found out that my organ donor declaration in BC is probably not valid here in Washington.  Not that anyone wants my organs, but it would be a shame to have them go to waste.  So, if you have not done this do it today.  Support cancer research, give blood and sign your organ donor card.  And get a library card.  Everyone should support their public library.

Treatment 5, time to kick this chordoma.

25 thoughts on “Rain in Movember

  1. Great picture Paul! I wish you the best of luck with the treatments. Did they say you might lose your hair? (If so, no big deal). Good luck with that mustache! Glad to hear your reports about how things are going for you. Hope the bus ride gets easier instead of harder.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey. I agree that rain can be depressing … I live where it is sunny almost all the time and even when we get a day where its cloudy and maybe rainy… I get so down. I like to sleep when its that way. Amazing too what you see on the streets and in a bus. Makes me wonder what is going on inside of them that they hide themselves in drugs or alcohol. Anyway…just rambling on your post. You got me thinking.


  3. Your description of your day made me feel like I was down there walking beside you, seeing and and experiencing what you were seeing and experiencing.

    Your organs may be a little worse for wear (: but they will be good again!


  4. I work at Canadian Blood Services here in Red Deer so I think it is great you were a regular donor and the message of importance to donate to your other readers. My organs are signed up to be donated, I have an expired library card and I will continue to support cancer research. ☔🌞


  5. Paul, that story brings back so many memories from our days back on University Ave. Our trips over to CAB to donate blood followed by a quick walk back to SUB so we could take advantage of our dminished blood volume at RATT. Or when you recommended Swizzlesitx for a haircut and straight shave when that cost more than we spent on food for a week.

    37 treatments until you can shout out a hearty “Good me…..YOU!?!?”


  6. All the best in your journey toward health and well-ness. In India we believe that all disease is ultimately psycho-somatic and has its roots in the mind: thoughts and emotions that may go a very long way back. Hence to counter dis-ease, one way is to trick the mind into being ‘at ease’ and meditation is a good tool. The mind definitely does not like it and hence keeps trying to distract the person with thoughts and counter-thoughts.
    Another tool is to focus and chant a MANTRA (mystic sounds) that may appeal to you. I have found it easier than meditation and just as effective. Any name of God that you like or even a syllable like OM. If you can, the GAYATHRI MANTRA has a very powerful soothing/healing effect on the mind.
    Kudos to your courage and positive attitude.


  7. I’m glad you shaved your beard. You’re such a handsome fellow (not that you’re not with it) and not having it makes you look so much younger. I tried to give blood once, but the alarm kept sounding. I have such baby veins and the needle they use is to big for them.

    I am an organ donor. After all when I’m dead I don’t have any use for them anyway. And I am a proud supporter of libraries and librarians everywhere.

    Just curious with your radiation and surgery, can you do yoga? I found that when I was going through my biopsies and breast surgery that helped me a lot. Someone else told me they did Tai Chi when they were doing chemo.


  8. Hi, Paul! I so appreciate that you are willing to write and share your journey, and I hope it is helping you to feel more connected to people as you slog through this! Meditation during treatments is a great idea; I was not particularly good at that, but I did get better at watching my breath. I’m a fan of counting, and trying to make that exhale twice as long as the inhale did actually help keep me from being stuck on cancer thoughts. The other thing that was crucial for me was consciously doing something to nurture my body–radiation is certainly a proactive treatment, but I was a bit uneasy with the whole thing, so I needed to do something that I could believe in unequivocally. For me, that involved yoga and acupuncture. Everyone’s path is different, of course. Anyway, know that I am channeling prairie calm from Edmonton in your direction! And my library card is very active!


  9. I just looked at my plastic DL there is no place to sign to donate organs. You would think by this point in the game, we would all be microchipped – just like we do with cats and they could tell right away if your parts are good to go. Better yet, make it so you have to hunt down paperwork to opt out of being a donor and it is automatically assumed the parts move on to someone else.


  10. Hi Paul, good to hear how the treatment is progressing and also about your perceptions on this phase.
    You communicated it so clearly and articulated your thoughts and feelings so well that it felt like I was riding the bus with you and having a chat.
    I see you coming back to the meditation topic and thought I ought to tell you that you’re right; golfing is a kind of meditation as much as writing this post also is. It’s your way of meditating and if that is working for you, why not?
    Every teacher I had always told me to not fight resistance and then it happens.
    Yours is an enduring experience and you’re showing tremendous strength and resilience that touches me and many others deeply; thanks.
    Also thanks for the reminder. Donor. Yes. Support research. Yes. Library. Will do.
    Take good care and keep strong.


  11. Paul welcome to Seattle and our beautiful liquid sunshine! You said at the beginning that you were “four treatments down” and also mentioned that it rains a lot here. You must have arrived not too long ago. We just went through 6 months with very little rain. And I admit, the beginning of this November, 2014, is making up for lost moisture in quick measure. I love the rain and I have a post scheduled about it. Sorry, I digressed there a bit. I wanted to tell you that I love your cover picture. It elicites feelings of happiness, warmth and safety; three important things a person needs when dealing with cancer. I give you a thumbs up for thinking beyond your own need to write and providing obvious links to educational materials meant to educate the random blog visitor to the reality of cordoma.

    Now, on a more personal note, your writing. 🙂 I love the line where you say, “The only people feeling like Christmas yesterday were Republican senate and house candidates.” It was sadly funny… who would have thought that oxymoron would exist, sadly funny? I really appreciate that you are sharing your thoughts during this big life journey you are on right now. Thank you for thinking of all the other people who are sick or in need and encouraging all of us to help society in whatever way we can. You are a wonderful writer. Don’t give up yet! Keep on writing, keep on meditating. Maybe try looking for beauty you would not have noticed before you discovered you were sick. Mediate on those things,, let them warm you from inside, write about them, think about them… not that you will miss that but revel in the fact that you had never noticed that special sight, sound or smell you’d never noticed before. Journal about that separately and when you are feeling down, go back and read it, rediscover all the wonder in the world around you and let it build you back up and give you hope. Good luck getting your donor stuff worked out and continue to be the brave and strong man you obviously are. Support cancer research, give blood and sign your organ donor card. And, if you have someone here with you ask them to bring you an application to get a local library card. You can search online for books, reserve them and your friend can pick them up. Reading is great escapism when you find writing is taking you into darker places. I mean, everyone should support their public library, right?


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