Monday, February 13, 2012

Aloha e na hoa......

Aloha e na hoa - Welcome friends
Bear with me as I am dragged from the "stone age" into this new world of technology, this is my first ever blogger experience......I am a horrible speller and even worse with whats the word for periods, commas, exclamation points.....yea what ever that word is. I was once told in school I was "King of run on sentences"...... where do we start??? I guess you wanna here how I got to this "dude battling 2 cancers" place in life......
So life was going great, just spent my first year living life in Hakipu'u, was still working perdiem as a PICU nurse at Kapi'olani Medical Center, and crewing on Sailing Canoe for Hawaiian Ocean Adventures. Photography was really picking up, was doing more work with Ocean Paddler TV, had my first magazine cover as a photographer. Continued trying fill my role as President of Malama na Honu.
Had just come off one of the most amazing years of my life, did my first chanel crossings racing sailing canoes, got to travel to some of the most remote spots on most of the main island chain - Highlight was for sure Kalaupapa. Had been meeting so many new and interesting folks, old friendships growing stronger.....was for sure the happiest I think I have ever been (I know cue the duhn duhn duhn duhn music)
Got through the 2011-2012 holiday season things were CRAZY busy, I was working a nutz schedule between crewing on the sailing canoe and working at the hospital. So when I was completely wiped out when I got to a day off , I thought nothing of sleeping a whole day away.......first of the red flags?!?! nah not really I'll fill you in on those in another post.
So was right around the first week of January when one morning I swallowed my handful of vitamins and had a feeling in my throat that one never went down, looked and throat was clear so shrugged it off and thought "ah great getting sore throat" .
As the days went by the little scratchy feel started to feel more and more like a weird pressure, kinda like if someone put their hand around your throat and was squeezing a bit......then I started to notice a weird swelling just at my supraclavicular notch. There was this weird little sac like thing that seemed to be growing.
Being a nurse to the core, I of course self diagnosed and "convinced" myself it was a goiter (although it would have been off by an inch or so from my thyroid) and was "too busy" "too many folks depending on me" had to push on and push through, you know "I'll deal with it later"
By January 11 I knew I had to address the issue, went and got some lab work done as well as a chest xray. All results were normal, blood work all within normal ranges, no thyroid issuse, and (odd now that we know what we do) my chest xray was CLEAR ( ya we going deal with that soon enough)
I was of course relieved, still not sure what was going on , convinced it was just some kind weird infection, asked the docs for a weeks worth antibiotics and went on about life.
While "going on through life" this thing continued to grow, I could feel it putting more pressure on my airway, would wake in middle of night coughing like someone choking me and began to notice I was getting winded easier and easier. But of course things had to get done, I was a busy many, living an amazing life and getting stoked for things that were coming in the with the sick stuff later right.
This was for sure the point I was in my deepest state of denial. Somehow I knew what was going on in my body, the signs were there, asking folks for what oncologists treated their loved ones. "Bumping into" folks/kids who have already left this reality we call life....all kind weird stuff like that.
To be honest it wasnt until Tuesday January 24 after watching the movie 50/50 that I knew I was going into the ER the next morning and it was time to deal with this. (If you havent seen the movie do see NOT what you expect)
Wed January 25 I show up at the ER doors Castle Hospital and as I walked in I had come to peace with the knowledge that life would never be the same, there was no going back.......
Didn't take more than one look at me and listen to my breathing I was rushed pronto into the ER, no waiting room for me.
The staff was amazing, the attending doc got me right into the CT (after I had to prove to the IV tech I could start my own IV).......CT with contrast of neck done.......sitting in room waiting......doc comes in and informs me they "saw something questionable".....but were going need to do a second CT of my whole chest....this one would also require contrast....thats when I knew I was FCUCK'D!!!
Having been around the medical world long enough to know you never give a patient two rounds of contrast in short period of time unless absolutely HAVE TO......lucky for me they knew enough to give me a few liters of iv fluids to flush my kidneys before slamming me with the second batch of contrast......I can thank my beautiful, healthy functioning kidneys to them!!
So just like you see in the movies, sitting in the room (size of a closet) waiting waiting waiting.......but never "making the deals" you know "Please  (fill in your own  blank) if you  get me through this I promise to start......."  Never really was my style - well except small kid days worshiping the porcelin god after too much adult beverages!!
The attending walks in......and no joke he got tears already forming in his I immedietley stop him in his tracks, ask "what they never teach you about that in doctor school" - get a laugh out of him and then I tell him its ok to tell me I have cancer.......and that he does.
"You have  a 6cm mediastenal mass and there are other nodules spread around your chest"........everything goes silent.....slow stops spinning......turns upside down.....I'm floating away........the SLAM I am back in my own body, everything is louder, brighter, smellier........and the tears come......
Pulled my self together, talked options of being admitted to Castle Hopsital on the spot, but explained I need to get home and get "things in order" ...promised to check into the hospital in the morning and they knew I meant The Queens Medical Center......If you have cancer in Hawai'i thats where you go.....oh and I made sure I got a script for some Valium!!!
Had a good long talk with the nurse, got my stuff together and off I went. When I hit the mat and the auto doors opened I was hit in the face by that warm breeze and had confirmed that reality had been forever changed.
First phone sister and best friend Amy......that is the hardest phone call I have ever had to make. Her calming energy and spririt immedietly calmed me. Explanined and asked her to start breaking news to family. Was too much for me to handle at the time. Of course she took care of it.
Second call to two of my besties at home, leting them know what the outcome was and that I was on my way home.
Calm quiet, reflective drive home.....I think they call it a state of shock?!?!
Stoppped for my Valium on way and as was pulling out of lot recognized the beautiful warm smile of a close friend I don't get to see as often as I would like. There she was, the perfect calming prescence I needed at just that moment.....I am not sure how I dropped the news, I think I just flat out said the hug I needed so badly spent time talking little bit story, then I was headed home to Hakipu'u.
Once home I am not sure what flowed faster the tears or the Jaegermeister....... phone calls to family, close friends, texting, talking. More laughing crying with the besties......reality was setting in.....
Sleep that night, not too much.....up early cleaning house, packing a bag, making phone calls, facebooking, cleaning more, orgainizing, paying bills.......anything to put off going to the last ditch effort at denial.
Terry came and got me and off we went one of the most beautiful drives on O'ahu headed for the last place I wanted to be going..............

OK.....cliff hanger time (thats how I get you folks keep coming back right).....there is plenty more to come but its late, my body and brain are tired, and some of this "stroll down memory lane" not so much fun!
I will do my best to get the story told quick and get us up to present day as I move forward on this my lifes next adventure.
I have said it before and will say it again and agian........I am so blessed to have so many on my side, behind my back, caring , supporting, loving......
I will do my best with this blog,  like my new reality some days are going be good, some not so great, some total shit and other pure excellence.....but you know me, I am going to be honest, open and forthcoming through all of this......I have been "trained" by too many kids that I have battled along side for their lives to let them down by not being honest.
After all, If we all truly lived a life of honesty would this world be a very very different place.
Lots of Love and Aloha to you all!!
 The cure for anything is salt water - sweat....tears....or the sea. - Isak Dinesen


  1. You are amazing Patrick and we are all here for you! Blog on!

    1. Mahalo!!!! hmmmm tricky try to guess your identity by your "whalehugger" tag... but 99% sure I got it, no worries got you anonimity protected (but you can go ahead and sign me up for site leader at Ka'ena for 2013!!!

  2. Your cure will be sweat, tears AND the sea. Your first entry is great! And I Don't mind the run on sentences because it's more like listening to you talk ;) my first reactions: 1. WTH?! Normal labs and CXR? 2. Phew on following your gut/ heart/ instinct! Xo

  3. LOL! going be plenty healing time in the islands waters for sure!! yea hows that , up till I got first round of chemo ALL labs normal, chest xray.......yeah the official read was "normal" but the films on the way to my house and the law team on standby ;)
    Lots of love to you, say hey to all the folks at CMH and let em know soon as kick this I WILL be back for a long overdue visit!!
    Love you ~P