15... that’s how many bags of blood I’ve needed over my two journeys with cancer. It is funny the stuff you remember. I’ve had more bags of platelets. I can only imagine how many people have given blood and/or platelets to help keep me alive. To everyone who has given blood, you don’t know this but you saved someone yesterday, today or you will save someone tomorrow. If you’ve ever thought about giving blood... do it. Be someone’s hero, even if you don’t get to meet them.
I shot this image for Nike Basketball at the middle of the year but I’ve used their mantra for over 20 years. JUST DO IT... I get “ALOT” of questions daily on how I can just push through and not “stress” about possibly dying from leukemia. If anything my first round with Leukemia taught me was that we are all vulnerable and to find yourself a driving force. Well, fortunately my driving force was already installed into my life... no need for upgrades. Zoey and Zenaida are my driving force... they are what gives me energy in the morning when my levels have bottomed out for days and I haven’t been home in 3 weeks.
Days like today where I’m having acid flux and every bite I swallow burns going down. It’s all good though, I KNOW I need to eat so I try and have some Maalox ready. Getting those calories in is way more important than being comfortable at the time. That’s my mindset... JUST DO IT. Whatever I have to do, JUST DO IT, JUST DO IT for them. Is it easy? Hell no, fuck no, but to me I have no other options. It is either you do this or don’t... no two ways around it.
I know this sounds like a hard, unforgiving and messed up plan to follow but I like all cancer fighters have been given a hard, unforgiving and messed up set of circumstances. Now I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me... I’m blessed way beyond I should be.
Just a reminder when you “think” you “should” do something but you are being apprehensive... JUST DO IT. You never know it might be what you needed to get you by.
Well what can I say…. I’ve been in a massive fog for about 2 1/2 weeks. Whether it be the pain meds from the back surgery or the chemo meds, not really sure. But I’m out of it and am feeling my normal self…. finally! Finished chemo last Wednesday and am waiting for my levels to raise back up so that I can get out, hopefully in time for Christmas. I’ve continued on with SEPTUA since I feel I should still be documenting this process. Hopefully when all curated and formed it will show a suitable representation of what leukiemia could be.
As of right now, I’m pushing forward and continuing to keep in contact with clients, send my normal promo emails keep them in the loop. This will not stop me, I’ve came this far and still have so much to go! I just wanted to say I have no words for the level of love and support ThAt we have received from our friends, family, clients and co workers. I love all of ya’ll and and truely feel blessed by all of you! Thank you!
Life ain’t always glitter and rainbows... how much you choose to be negative about directly influences how your life will end up. I will always find glitter in old soggy confetti.
Today is the day... I guess I get a new birthday today along with my new immune system. I am so at a loss for words right now. Really I just wanna be with Zoey, Z, mama and sisters. I want to be with my sister while she is going through the process of harvesting the stem cells. I know that isn’t easy. So much going through my head right now... just know that I am eternally grateful to everyone! Ya’ll strength and praying has brought me here. Even if you didn’t pray your well wishes provided momentum. I love you all!
These 15 vials of blood represent hope... 6 months of hospital stays, chemo, crap load of drugs and uncertainty and it is all coming to a head. A couple of weeks ago we found out that my little sister is a half match for a bone marrow transplant! My sister is saving my life, I still don't think I've processed it completely. I don't know how to thank her... I thought this would be a easy post. I'm just now realizing the gravity of it all... she is saving more than a brother. She is saving a son, a husband and a father. My little sister is saving my life, the person I called Monkey Face Jones all through high school is saving me. I'm trying not to cry while I type this (at the dentist). I'm at a loss for words right now... but am also in a good place and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'll make a more cohesive post when I can gather my thoughts.
Ask not for a lighter burden but for broader shoulders. - Jewish proverb
Almost there, just have to strap in and push through.
Bone biopsies are weird, I've had 6 and don't remember a single one. I know years ago when you received a bone biopsy it was carried out with just local anesthetic. Well I'm a big baby, so they knocked me out every time and I'm very grateful for such kindness. I received a non pain medicated spinal tap once... NEVER AGAIN! I learned quickly that I don't like pain. Ha... ha.. ha...
I took this image on the day my life changed for ever. My doctor called me and told me to go to the nearest ER because my platelets were extremely low and I was at risk. On the way to 2nd ER (the first was a 24 hr Small ER) my lower back pain was excruciating, my one smidge of comfort came when I folded myself up and put my feet on the dashboard.
After 6 hrs and many, many vials of blood later, I had my diagnosis. Z and I cried for a minute... to be honest, as soon as I heard the words "Leukemia" Zoey popped in my head. I started to think about all the things I wouldn't be able to teach her and all the memories I'd miss. That's why I cried... I didn't give a damn about what was wrong with me. People get diagnosed with cancer everyday, I am no different.
Now this post isn't gonna be all sad and mushy, I'm happy to say I've been in remission since late May. My job is to keep that streak going and that's exactly what I will do. I will be around for a very, very long time friends.
While I'm at the hospital about to start my 4th round of chemo this image marks the end of my first round of chemo. Going home for a week, the nurses had to remove my pic line. If you don't know what a pic line is, it is basically a direct line to the heart when inserted.Going home for a week, the nurses had to remove my pic line. If you don't know what a pic line is, it is basically a direct line to the heart when inserted.
It is where they gave me the chemo, where they withdrew blood and where they gave me infusions if need be. I thought that since this thing has been inserted in my arm for a better part of a month, that it will hurt like hell coming out. To my surprise, it didn't... it felt like string being dragged over my chest and on to my shoulder. Very weird sensation. All images after this will be from my 2nd and 3rd rounds of chemo.
This is me at a bloated 197lbs (13lbs in 4 days) up from a lean 184lbs... they have to bloat me with water to help flush the chemo out of my body as quick as possible. I want talk to ya'll about weight loss and psych, I'll been one way for the better part for 24 years. I made it up to 270lbs in my early 20's, was squatting over 700, deadlifting almost 700, benching high 500's. Then I got into bodybuilding. Cut down to 210 and never looked back.
When you are known to be at a certain level, a level you worked soooo hard to achieve... it should bother you when you lose it. Well it didn't really bother me to lose weight as fast as I did until I hit 180... that was a 50lbs loss. I haven't been 180 lbs since 7th grade. I know after this is all said and done I will gain it back but it kinda feels like a piece of my identity was taken way for now.
To combat the effects of chemo I have to down a assortment of drugs,
I've never taken this much medication before but I must say that it is doing it's job! besides a couple day of being extremely tired I haven't had any real bad days... yet.
Two vials of blood every night between the times of 12:00 - 12:45am. They do this for labs so that they can monitor your blood levels everyday to see if you might need a blood infusion or platelet infusion. Waking up at 12am or so isn't as irritating as you'd think it would be when your life depends on it. I just learned not to go to bed until after labs are drawn.
One thing I've learned during my first round of chemo is that there are a multitude of different chemo therapies and they all vary in toxicity. I also learned that chemotherapy isn't just for cancer! Whaaaaa... (answering myself) I know! Hospitals use it for a lot of auto immune dieases as well. Either way, no matter what type of chemo... the nurses have to wear what I call a "chemo jammie". Basically a big blue sheet with sleeves, extra precaution in case the IV bag burst or spills. I know it is about that time when I see then getting ready.