Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentines Day!!! Was one hell of a day here, plenty challenges/stresses.....but by end of day plenty lessons learned...most of all the reminder I am not in this alone and am so blessed to have so many amazing, dynamic and different folks with different strengths and personalities that can and are willing to help me....(how's that run on sentence) and I need to let go of all the unnecessary  stressess and focus on  my physical, mental and spiritual self so that I am strong and ready to fight on the 23rd for chemo round #2, because after that one we are going fast hard and deep with the 4 following treatments and I gotta be in top shape for that battle. So that is my ONLY duty for the next 10 days!!

Let's see where did our story leave off.......So Terry and I are in the car headed over the Ko'olau Mountains, destination Queens Medical Center. Lucky for me I have a close friend who is a doctor there, and her advice go right to ER to get "my foot in the door". Place is packed, patients on gurneys in hallway because no more rooms. In walks this healthy looking(damn handsome) 43 yr old dude who says - "I am having trouble breathing"....points to obvious mass on top of chest, and while sitting calmly heart rate sustained 130's and blood pressures 180's/120's (not so calm on the inside 'eh)....needless to say, a room opened up and in we went!
In walks doctor and I'm all "Aloha, I'm Patrick. Yesterday I was diagnosed with cancer. Here are the official CT results, seems I have a 6cm mediastinal mass and some other "freinds" scattered around my chest. heres my chest xray report (ya I don't know how they said was normal either), and here are my blood work results (yah I know weird they are all within normal ranges too I know)  I'm small kine having troubles breathing, plenty pain in my chest - could you folks help me?"......."oh and did I mention I have no health insurance"............
Bam they truly hit the ground running and took excellent care of me. Oxygen on, IV in and 5MG Morphine STAT....I've given plenty Morphine in my career, never been on the receiving end of it....thats some MAJOR HEAVY SHIT!!! I went right to my happy place!
lefMy good friend Anna hooked me up with the right hospitalists to oversee my admission and get the ball rolling.  Was a few hours in the ER waiting for an inpatient room entertained/entertaining Terry. Plan was to do a needle biopsy of one left side node( in hindsight I should have asked if they were aware of how screwed my vascualture is on the left) - the CT shows complete blockage of alot of my veins, just like a big boulder in a stream and my left side jugular no more....complete block/shut down, that bulging vein on left side of my neck....thats all collateral if you think of a major freeway, lets say H1 here on O'ahu having complete blockage all the traffic starts to flow around to the side surface streets to get around the blockage, luckily my "side streets" never got totally blocked like the roads do here on O' body has been "morphing" and doing what it needed to make sure I kept going..........
Call comes down, room available, off we go. We are actually met at the elevetor by the pathology folks that are going to do my needle biopsy......ok this is where shit gets seriously funny......(not going into full details - gotta save some for the screen play yea) .....elevator doors close....... I look over and......wait for it comes....... the one pathologist is someone I had a HORRIBLE SET UP/BLIND DATE WITH A YEAR OR SO AGO!!!!! No joke......I am dying to just bust out full on belly laughing, but dont want make an already uncomfortable situation any worse. I wish I had the words to describe just how bad the "date" was, but it'll be more better when you see it as one of those flash back moments in the movie they are going to make of all this when I am done.  
I sucked it up, we got to the room I put my head back and there they went jamming the needles into my neck just above my collar bone.......good thing I had a nurse who thinks like me and she showed up somewhere between needle #2 and 3 with a healthy dose of Morphine!!! I know if felt like hell (although I would know the true meaning of that statement a few days later when experienced my bone marrow biopsy) not sure how bad it looked but at some point I heard Terry say "Okie it's time for me to go to the car and get your bags" bless her for staying strong and making it that far....I can not imagine how it must have felt to just have to sit there and watch this.  So biopsy pau, everyone gone, Terry's back in room and I have the chance to share the "blind date/pathologist who just shoved needles in my lymph node" story and we had a damn good long laugh!!!    The message here matter what always treat folks with kindness and when possible depart with a smile on your never know when fates are going to throw you an unexpected waterballoon to the head!!!! 

So I am settled in to my room (on the transition unit) no room on the Oncology Unit yet, all can do is wait for pathology/biopsy results the next day......then the "innapropriate douche bag cancer comments" start.......hey we all have our own ways of coping.....and I had plenty of them saved up that I've had the kids use on me (or I've encouraged them to use on others) over the years.
First is the battle with the nurse as to why I can not wear my own clothes and "must wear a hopsital shirt and patient shorts"......the patient shorts, well there wasn't too much of a battle once I pointed to the large prominent hole that does not close in the front of them and explained to here that when I said "I go commando" I wasn't making threats to blow the place up........she gave in, but wasnt going to give in on me wearing my own yeah I went there.....the first few dollars were place in the "douche bag jar"after I heard myself say......."I am going to wear my own shirt and do you want to know why? BECAUSE I WAS JUST DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER" ......yea yea need say it I got all the lectures when shared the story next day........but I did go to bed that nite in my own t-shirt!!!

Sleepless nite due to many factors, brain wouldnt shut off, noisest night staff nurses of all time on the unit and the roommate I got at 1:30 AM......not at peak perfomance the next day....waiting and waiting for results......I meet my Oncologist - super cool local boy and we hit it off instantly (not going to rat out who gave him the nickname "Dr. Mc Hottie Hawaiian")....I think we waited most of the day to find out the pathology on the biopsy was "inconclusive" and it would be necessary to do a surgical biopsy .....and what with it being late on Friday the surgery wouldnt be possible till Monday. WHAT? you didn't know folks aren't sick and in need of the same care on Sat/Sun they need Mon-Fri......I always wondered if the hospital administration thought we dischared patients late Friday nights and re admitted the real early Monday mornings........lets just be thankful we weren't right in the middle of the holidays....I might sitll be laying in the hospital!!!
Luckily they found me a room on the Oncology unit and there I would sit and wait till Monday. I know at this point alot of folks were thinking same thing you might be thinking now......why not get on a plane and head to States for care at one of the "premiere cancer treatment centers" FIRST- I had the utmost trust and faith that I was where I was meant to be......SECOND - because of the pesky little problems of the little "tumors" blocking my blood flow and the "big one" at this point having successfully deviated (moved) my trachea/esophagus about an inch to the right ( picture looking at me and when I swallow you see my adams appled sliding up and down about and inch from the center of my neck......get it?) I was the last one anyone was going to want to be on a plane with crossing the Pacific Ocean.......If I am going in a box boots up -LAST  place I had better wind up is LA!!!!
So I became an official "oncology patient" it was over the next 24-48 hours that I realized the blessing that was going to become apparent and stay with me as I go on this wild/crazy cancer ride....that was the outpouring of LOVE, care, concern, support, prayers, positive vibes etc etc etc that came my way from all over the world....
Was sucky to have to get cancer to get me to slow down long enough and re-connect, make stronger connections with amazing wonderful people I have been blessed to share life with.
It didn't take me long to realize that what should have been a complete shit experience and situation (dont get me wrong being diagnosed with cancer is as shitty as it comes) was turning out to be one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, making me aware, unlike at any other time in my life, about not only how many amazing folks I had in my life, but also how many folks who's lifes I had effects on ..........was a heavy heavy trip......found myself referring to it as "being alive at my own funeral" the verbal and non-verbal exchanges that were happening were beyond beautiful and meaningful and I was quick to realize/question - why is it we ALL do not live out lives like this everyday.....being sure to show appreciation, affection, love to others....I am not just talking significant others, kids, family, close friends......but EVERY PERSON we encounter as we navigate through this maze called "LIFE"......
Why does it seem like it is so much easier to say something negative about or to someone, "go off"on so and so because he/she did something "I" didnt like.........BUT we make it seem soooo DIFFICULT to take the time to say a kind word, give that random person a compliment, smile and acknowledge our fellow human beings........
How lucky that in this time of "darkness" so much light could be shed on what truly matters in my life!

So, my tale will take a pause at this point......been aong day tail is screaming for its spot on the sofa!!! And the monster in my opu is reminding me time for kaukau!! (theres your google assignment Ang).....
closing todays blog with the shot of how today started for me.......Hope you all had an amazing Valentines Day and were surrounded with LOVE and ALOHA

be sure stay up ....the weekend hospital boredom antics, the wooing of the nursing staff, the power of pule and best of all the immediate crush Keahu developed on my surgeon, and surgery day....I promise will get us caught up to present day as quick as can......


  1. Happy Valentines Day brother! Just catching up with your blog and enjoying the read! Go Gettum Tigah!! ~Ni

    1. Great to have you along for the "ride" Ni!!! Mahalos!!
      I'm still salty about not being on Hawai'i this week, but will hurry up and kick this and when I'm through first trip is visit to Kilauea!!! Then I going need you introduce me to the "secret ponds"!!!
      Love to you-P

  2. PUN intended! NO RUSH GOT THIS BUGGAH....mahalo for sharing your journey with us! Love you lots and lots and continuing to pule for you!!!!!

    1. Mahalo Nani!! The energies from your pule are making it to me.....I am feeling strong and ready for round 2....with you love and support kickin' this buggah going be easy squeezy lemon peasy!!!!
      Love you~!!

  3. Happy Valentine's Day Patrick! Rest up for next week! If there's anything I can do to help please let me know...I'm good at paperwork but haven't dealt with the medical crap yet that I know can be so bad...reading about all the bills and paperwork got me thinking that there should be a non-profit to help people take care of all the BS so they can focus on getting well...when you are cancer free (soon) let's start that in our spare time :)

    1. seriously!!! the most stress of all of this and the cause of most of my angst is all the BS paperwork, the back and forth, your approved your denied your approved again.....blah blah blah time to focus on being strong and ready to battle the cancer cause Im too busy battling the system that I have paid into my whole life, the system that is supposed to be there when we need it!!!

  4. Patrick, Can I be your editor? But...I don't think your story would flow the same without the runs ons and ....
    thanks for catching us up. I look forward to your almost daily notes. Know that Chicagoland is praying for you - esp me.'re right. For the past 6 years I've "worked" as medical crew for the 3 day breast cancer walk. don't worry..tho, as a nicu nurse I do the medical records. Cuz I am NOT touching any of those big feet that are bigger than some babies I took care of! But..I come away every year saying exactly what you said..why can't we be this loving and expressive every day? I think everyone you know will now try.
    love you Patrick.

  5. the one with the long number is Carol R. Someday I'll learn how to do this !!!