Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bail out the Big 3 or National Health Care

I have been hemming and hawing about the surrounding funding for the Ford Chrysler and GM for some time. We (the people) and our government are in a Catch 22. If we bail them out, we are enabling them to keep going making their substandard products. If we don’t bail them out and they go BK our recession is going to be that worse. When I am in a Catch 22 (as I was most of last week) I try to look for alternatives.

Fridays Democracy Now! Had a great piece with Greg Shotwell , an activist involved in the debate. He made me realize how the US fails to make a business friendly environment by putting the burden of funding health care on the employer. Our cars cost more to make and there is less profit for the big 3 (when they make product in the US) so it is hard for our guys to compete:

I would like to see, first and foremost, that we have national healthcare,
because this is the one solution that would help everyone. It would help the
employers. It would help the employees. It would help the consumers. And that is
the biggest factor that takes away our competitiveness. That’s the one factor
that would level the playing field, because all of our competitors have national
healthcare and stronger pension systems in their country—and by “pension,” I
mean government pension—so that when Toyota, you know, imports all these cars,
they’re not paying for healthcare, they’re not paying for the pensions on those
employees that are working overseas.
Greg Shotwell on Democracy Now
Click on this link or paste it to your broweser for more info:

Democracy Now! Is a great radio program you can stream the piece I am talking about, download a podcast or you can read the transcripts of the interview on line. It is a deep issue that is not oing to get solved overnight. The government has been subsidizing the automakers for years. That makes them complacent like fat children who don’t have to work too hard. They don’t have to be competitive with the rest of the market because they’ll just get bailed out. At the same time if we the people had been putting those subsidy dollars into a national health care system, then everyone would be insured, the car makers would have to be lean and clean but their profit margins would be significantly higher as they would no longer be running and funding their own healthcare system.

Health update: In the last three weeks I have been diagnosed with 2 infections; Cellulitis and C-diff (an intestinal thing.) I am also on antibiotics for pneumonia. There is also some kind of inflammation in my left foot that is making walking pretty darn painful. I think it is plantar fasciitis. It has been about as fun as pushing a road bike through 20 inches of sloppy snow. My attitude is OK I just feel grumpy but I almost always do this time of year.

The kids are really fired up for Santa’s visit tonight. The CH has been baking up a storm. It has been raining like crazy and snowing in the hills above us. Next year maybe we’ll all be snowboarding.

Happy Holidays and the best possible 2009 to all of you out there.
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good News, The Best Possible News

My Kappa Free Light Chain test was drawn last Friday, I met with the doc yesterday and the results were already in, which is unusual. They were the best we could hope for; they are within normal ranges! The cancer is out of me. My body should begin to heal. The bones should already be starting to repair themselves. It hasn’t really sunken in yet. I cried for a few minutes in the doctor’s office yesterday but I have yet to feel a big sense of relief.

I have had SO MUCH bad news in the last year. At every point where things could go bad or worse they went worse. At every point where there was 30% (or whatever) chance that I would get some complication from some treatment I would get the complication. Then there were the complications that were completely random like Fanconi Sydrome that just kicked my butt. Let’s not forget that I have fought off now two infections in the last couple of weeks. After so many conversations with doctors where the tone is grave, and I end up saying, “OK let’s do that treatment too, I can handle it.” The doctor leaves the room and I cry and bracing myself for the next insult to my body and often dignity.

My guard is way up. This must be similar to how a soldier feels returning to life after being in battle.

This is the guy who tries to live in gratitude as much as possible. I try to count my blessings all the time. Maybe I have lost track of that lately.

Here is the Blessing Count: Cancer out of my blood, being married to the ChickenHawk, two beautiful daughters, a wonderful supportive family, a community that is the best that I can imagine and helped my family through a really really rough patch, I have a job to go back to and the list could go on and on.

OK , that helped. It is a big transition. I can start making long term plans again. I will see my kids grow. I will be a husband to my wife rather than a patient. I can plan on a future instead of saying, “that would be nice to do… if I’m feeling up to it.” Training will have meaning, like I’m not gonna’ die before whatever-it-is that I am training for.

Still, my life is different than it was a year ago. I am still trying to find the new normal. I’ll do it one step at a time.
There is more to write but I’m tired. I’ll try to post more soon.
Thanks for reading and thanks for your support

Monday, December 8, 2008

Coming Back

I was just reading my little bio up there in the right hand corner of the page. "....fighting cancer so I can get back to all that stuff." What high hopes! My life has changed and changed permanently. I've got to change that bio. The truth is I am feeling ripped off, angry and sad. This weekend was a big freakin' let down. I had really fun events scheduled for both days and have been looking forward to them for a month or so. Instead I spent the weekend contemplating my mortality and feeling like poop. I am feeling a lot better today, no fever, cough is getting better blah blah blah ok it is good news. See my last post for explanations

Getting sick means another management issue. Another doctor that I have make appointments with, another set of meds to take. These IV antibiotics I am taking take me an extra 20 minutes 3x a day and not when I take my other meds. That means an extra hour a day of dealing with meds. Luckily it doesn't go on forever.

I am feeling ripped off from getting to live a "normal" life. I have to live the life of a cancer survivor. All the work, pain, constant vigilance, the lack of security about the future (both immediate and long term) are starting to wear on me. The luster of leaving the hospital is fading and the transition to life in general is kicking my ass right now. I get a lot of positive feedback from all of my friends about how I remain so positive, and I appreciate it. But jeeez my attitude sucks right now. I know that is OK. My plan is to roll with it until the wheels fall off of that ugly huffy.

Yesterday the IV that I inject the meds through needed to be redone. That means I have to call a home health nurse to do it. It is great that they come to me! The alternative would be an ER visit. So the nurse drove an hour from Roseville, started the IV looked at it with an "oh shit" look and said, "I just used the wrong IV." She pulled the needle out, went to the car to look for the right equipment and returned empty handed 20 minutes later. She drove all the way to her home in Folsom (45 min one way) got the right thing and drove back. I felt bad for her. But I was really feeling bad for me.

That's all for now thanks for reading

Friday, December 5, 2008

One Step Back

It is to be expected…. Two steps forward one step back. Yes I am talking about recovery and not cycling. I go with what is in my face. Two days ago I noticed some swelling and pain in my left ankle. My excellent home health nurse jumped all over it. It was quickly diagnosed as cellulites. It is an infection of the skin basically and can be really dangerous because it spreads really fast. So yesterday I got some IV antibiotics and the chickenhawk will be dosing me through the IV in my hand for the next few days until the infection clears up.

I am feeling like I’ve got the flu; no energy, weak, fever. It is funny how my tolerance for feeling this way is really high. I am not as much as a basket case as I was before the cancer. I’m just sick and these are just symptoms, and they ‘aint so bad.

Speaking of basket case, when I first learned about what was going on I pretty much freaked out. I was sure I would have to go back in the hospital. That made me feel terrified, depressed, angry. It really brought up some major feelings. I know full well that I’ll be back in the hospital at some point, I need to get my brain around that day. I’m not sure how I am going to do that. Well one day at a time.

So for now I am curtailing my activity and just chillin’ around the house.