Sometime in the past I wrote about seeing an older gentleman in the local home improvement store whose hands I noticed, worn from the years of labor.  His face was also weathered and it is clear he lived life, it was clear he spent time working with his hands, using his body to effect the toils of the day.  At the time I observed him, looking for different signs of age while wondering how I would display my years of toil, many on a farm, some driving a truck across country and others at a desk working on a computer.  I recognized whatever  envisioned would never come in this world, in this material world, given my condition.  While moving, I learned of more, more things that are creeping upon me as this disease infiltrates my body, I learned I am loosing my ability to work, to do those physical things I had so much enjoyed.

While in my youth I was able t carry pigs weighing over 200 pounds several hundred yards and once carried a new-born calf nearly half of one mile, in my current state I am finding these distant memories.  As one may expect would come with age, I am weakening and my body has lost some capabilities, but it is much more than that, it is a greater diminishing than ever imagined.  Gone are the days when I could unload 48,000 pounds of watermelons from a truck in a couple of hours, load 3,000 or more tires in an hour and then drive 1,000 miles or lastly, unload nearly 2,000 bales of hay in just half a days work on the farm.  As expected with age, and working in an office environment, my muscle mass declined, but what really came to light with the move was the depth of my weakness.  I tried to lift things normally easily done by me not more than six months in the past, but I could not, I tried more rapidly and more importantly, I hurt, feeling the pain of the many bone metastases with which I am now afflicted.  Affecting the work became a matter of managing the pain, of taking pain pills and with each attempt to do that which was formerly simple, I learned of more limitations.  It was sobering really, not expected and hard to accept for until recently I rarely concerned myself with such pain and easily managed that encountered as a result of my disease.  It was another blow, another test of my resolve and one I sometimes failed, breaking down in tears from the incessant hurt, hurt either exceeding the capabilities of the pain medicines or resulting in my not maintaining the schedule with the pain medicines.

Again, the experience was sobering, it underscored how really close I am to the end, how I must now carefully manage another aspect of my life in order to maintain its quality, in order to sustain my sanity.  It is now another thing forced upon me, a premature aging, an unexpected twist with a progressing my disease.  I look upon the events askance, trying to absorb the surreal, to absorb that which is closing in on me.  The experience introduced a new element in the process of dying, the whole of the order in which the disease shall rob me of my various abilities and with what pace.  When speaking to Ron about the situation, about the process, he noted it is likely death would be the result of congestive heart failure given disease infiltrating the lymphatic system.  He, we, also discussed that should I be affected with spinal metastases, there is a real possibility of my losing function of my legs or other limbs depending on the location and severity of the invasion.  The whole of this, while real in discussion, seemed far away given the etiology of my disease, the characteristic that even with a rising PSA, the disease burden remained minimal.  However, my move, the events of the last month, demonstrated my PSA is not reflective of my disease burden, that disease is progressing more rapidly than previously thought.

Over time I’ve written how I refuse to de, how I intend to continue living despite my disease, how I will defy its being and deny it taking my spirit.  Doing so requires a certain mental resiliency, an ability to manage expectations based on the available data and circumstances.  I am good at managing expectations, I have always been god at managing them so it should follow I would manage those surrounding my health in a similar manner.  It is interesting to me, in many ways, that I am now beginning to fail at the one thing enabling me to get through this process thus far, to manage expectations, to understand the probabilities and to prepare for certain eventualities through application of a probability timeline.  I guess, or at least so it would seem, my cancer forgot to attend the class on managing expectations, it seemingly failed statistics class and misunderstood the meaning of averages.  It seems that of late, my cancer even failed to attend the class on rules because it is making up its own as I write.  It seems I am now faced with a new paradigm, a new pretentiousness when it comes to my cancer’s arrogance, it seems I must now prepare to expect the unexpected.  It seems I can no longer depend on probabilities, but rather must find the mettle to absorb all thrown my way.  It seems that should I want to continue to live, to deny the effort to take my spirit, I must develop a new paradigm, a new means fo shrugging off the disease and maintaining a clear mind to prevent my becoming the disease.  I must find a new approach to living.

Happy reading, happy thoughts and happy trails.

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