Weekly Progress Report #39

This has been an editing week. I’m really liking ProWritingAid as it points out more things I wouldn’t have even thought to look at. For instance, I have several paragraphs where I start every sentence with “I”. Currently rewriting those paragraphs to make the flow better and not sound repetitive. I’m currently at three (3!) passive sentences, down from originally 56. I’m struggling to rewrite the last three, but I’ll get there.

Speaking of struggling, this weekend is the half-way point of my Weekly Writing Challenge. To me, this one should be special. Stupendous, marvelous and, above all else, astounding. Unlike last week, where I could have gone in a dozen different ways to write the challenge, this one is pretty straightforward. And I’m drawing a complete blank. I can’t visualize anything but a boring story.

I’ve sat down many times in the last couple of days to see if I could come up with something that doesn’t completely suck. Usually, I’ll write a first sentence and the story will come to me. This time, not so much. I’ve written at least a dozen first sentence’s and every time it leaves me stuck. Could this week finally be my doom?

I’ve not written about cancer lately, due to me being cancer free, but I’ve noticed a peculiar thing. Every little ache or pain causes me instantly to think, “Cancer!” It’s almost as if I’ve become paranoid. I went to the dermatologist and had a mole that has been bothering me removed. During chemo, the mole dried out and split and has been flaky ever since. I can’t help but wonder if this is cancer. Friday, I received a call and the tests show it was benign. What a relief!

During my annual physical, I complained about my right arm hurting. The doc thinks it is because I had a rash of boils under my right arm. The scar tissue may have contracted my muscles. To be sure, he had me do x-rays of my arm and shoulder. I finally got to see the results yesterday and contrary to my fear of having bone cancer, it showed my bones are good. Looks like physical therapy is in my future.

It’s going to take a long time for me to get over this irrational fear of cancer whenever I experience anything different. I’m not used to living in fear and I don’t like it.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.


The Plot Thickens

Photo by Mitja Juraja on Pexels.com

It’s Thursday and that means it is tumor board day. If you recall, my radiation oncologist that is very excited about Fenbendazole curing my cancer, said he is going to present my case.

Sure enough, he must have because I got not one, but two calls from the Cancer Center. Surely this must mean that my case interests them and they want to know more.

Au contraire my friends, both calls were to schedule me for radiation treatments. I was aghast! Why would they want to radiate me when I have no detectable cancer. My radiation oncologist had wholeheartedly agreed that radiation therapy didn’t make sense at all for me.

Then I remembered that ugly word that I’ve come to hate. PROTOCOL!

The doctors there are baffled and instead of using their brains, they fall back on protocol. Protocol may help the majority of their patients, but it doesn’t and can’t help all patients. I’m one of the ones where protocol may actually harm me.

Of course, I declined the radiation therapy and stated that I had an agreed upon monitoring plan with my radiation oncologist and my primary physician. I’m not going to follow their protocol.

Mrs. D thinks that they are trying to cover the bases to keep me from bringing a lawsuit against the Cancer Center. That sounds a bit far-fetched to me at first, but thinking about the way the medical establishment is now risk-averse, it makes sense.

I’m now waiting to see if they call again. Both of the previous callers had stated they were messengers and had been asked to call me. If I get called again, I’m going to ask who exactly wants to radiate me and tell them I won’t talk to anyone else except him personally.

I have my suspicions which doctor it is that is making this call. I wasn’t impressed with him the previous times I met with him and he is high on my suspect list.


Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

Saw my original radiation oncologist today. Showed him the results of my MRI and PET scan I got from the second opinion doctor. Also confessed that I had been taking Fenbendazole since last October. After reviewing everything and seeing the results of my latest blood draw, he too is convinced that my unconventional treatment worked.

He was genuinely happy for me. Also he was amazed that it worked so well. He told us he planned on presenting my case to the tumor board to show that sometimes out of the box solutions do work.

It felt like a true celebration that I’m cancer free. I must admit, my eyes did well up a bit.

He also agreed with monitoring my PSA and testosterone levels for at least the next five years. If my PSA stays very low as it is now, then there will be a 1,000% certainty that my prostrate is cancer free.

I should have been able to celebrate this news with the second opinion doctor, but he just wanted to radiate my prostrate regardless. I told my oncologist about that and he said, “Why?” It made no sense to me then and it made no sense to my oncologist now.

Cancer Free and feeling good physically, mentally and emotionally for the first time in a year.

Cancer Story

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

After getting my blood draw results Saturday, I am finally able to complete the first draft of my memoir “My Cancer Journey – Stage 4 to cured in 10 months” I did the first round of editing and then sent it to Mrs. D to look over. She pointed out some things that I didn’t remember correctly and has been reviewing all my medical records to ensure that my story is accurate.

In addition to that, we have been talking about the whole journey. Mrs. D liked that I shared how I was feeling even the bad times. Over the next week or so, I’ll also be interviewing Mrs. D on what she was feeling so I can add it to the memoir.

The reason for that is no Cancer journey is a solo effort. I felt like the burden was all on me most of the time, but in reality loved ones are just as involved. So it is important to get her true feelings written into the story also. Even the times she was scared I was going to die.

I believe by writing this memoir with my thoughts and feelings and Mrs. D’s thoughts and feelings is important. Almost everything I read about people going through cancer treatments is that you have to have hope. Hope is hard to come by when you are going through treatment. I also want to show that it is natural to feel depressed and hopeless at times. So many stories either ignore that or gloss over it..

I also want to share what cured me. It’s unconventional to say the least, but it did work. My primary physician said he was okay with me doing the unconventional treatment as it wouldn’t harm me.

Meanwhile, my sci-fi book is on hold as I’m concentrating my time on this memoir.

Weekly Progress Report #36

Had good progress the first part of the week, then my PC died. Got a new one and am hoping to get back on track this week. I had bought my old PC about 10 years ago. Did a few upgrades over the years. The new PC cost me way less than my old PC and runs much faster. Go figure. Got the main part of tweaking the new PC done. I’ll be doing minor tweaking as I go.

Sent Part 1 of my book to a couple of Alpha readers and got great feedback. Started a revision list of things I need to do for Part 1. I should be able to get Part 2 first draft done this week.

I missed my Weekly Writing Challenge yesterday, but I’ll make it up this evening. Just didn’t have enough time to write it due to PC issues.

In health news, I got my annual physical Friday. My PSA is still very low, which is a good thing. My testosterone is slowly rising. It’s now at 20. Normal is about 200. I can confidently say that I’m cancer free. I’ll be updating and doing editing and revision of my memoir. I hope to have it ready for publication by September.

My blood sugar percentage is still slowly going down. Unfortunately, my bad cholesterol has risen. Making some dietary changes yet again.

Due to a rash on my right underarm I got during my cancer treatments, it’s tightened up my arm and shoulder muscles. I’ll be getting an x-ray this week to make sure that’s what it is and not some other issue. Then I’ll be doing physical therapy.

I’ve started Wellbutrin again. Last time I was on it, I managed to quit smoking. I was on it for 3 months. A few weeks after going off of it, I started smoking again. Doctor agreed I need to be on Wellbutrin for at least a year so I can permanently quit smoking.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Weekly Progress Report #35

So-so week in writing. I didn’t get much progress done on my book. I did edit Chapter 4. My routine that I rely on was disrupted by a holiday. That tends to throw me off quite a bit not only in writing but also at work.

I did end the week on a positive as I returned to my roots of writing dark fiction in the Weekly Writing Challenge. I think it is one of my best works to date. I had pulled the prompt late on Friday. Usually I pull the prompt on Thursday to give me a couple of days to figure out how I’m going to use it for the story. Friday night, I slept horribly. I kept waking up through the night and then going right back to sleep.

It is rare for me to remember my dreams, but I still vividly remember the dreams I had on Friday night. Possible story lines for the prompt kept going through my head. Every one was discarded for various reasons. Some were tired tropes. Some fizzled out. Others made no sense.

As I sat down on Saturday evening to write the story, my mind was blank. Then I remembered when I was growing up one of my chores was milking the family cow. The winter months when it had snowed were a special time of peace. From there the story unfolded almost magically from my fingertips.

This Friday, I’m going to see my primary physician for my annual physical. He is also going to draw blood to test my PSA and testosterone level. I’m anxiously awaiting the results. Hopefully they are good levels. If so, then I can finish the final coda to my memoir. After that, I plan on being consumed with editing and revision.

The plan is to publish it on Kindle by September. Which means I’m going to also have to learn how to do book blurbs, formatting and coming up with a book cover.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

A Small Surprise

Came home from work and was greeted by my biggest fan. My mother is visiting us from New Mexico for a week. Things haven’t always been this way between us. For a long time, I actively avoided seeing or talking to her. Through time and a lot of introspection, I’ve put aside the past hurts and disappointments.

We spent a couple of hours before dinner visiting and talking about my writing and her fostering of dogs. It was enjoyable and a memory that I’m sure to treasure in the future.

It was about this time last year that I was diagnosed with prostrate cancer. I look back at all the changes I’ve made in my life in one short year and am amazed. I don’t know where I’ll be next year, but I’m sure it will be interesting.

Oh, I also got a bit of writing done on my book tonight. I’m about a third of the way through a longish chapter. I’m figuring on three or four more chapters after this one to complete Part 2 of the book.

Weekly Progress Report #33

It’s been a roller coaster of a week. With the hormone therapy slowly exiting my body, my logical mind thinks that it should be a steady progression. That is far from the truth. Some days I feel much better and then there is a setback for a day or two. Stress definitely causes me hot flashes that can go on long after the stress is removed.

I didn’t post that much last week but I did get a bunch of writing done on my book. It’s progressing quite well and getting exciting to me. I did try to keep to the routine of a regular writing time, but fell a bit short last week. Hopefully I can stick to the routine this week a bit better.

Goals, let’s take a look at where I’m at. I’ve cleaned it up a bit and deleted the completed ones.

  • Rewrite short story Lump -In Progress
  • Rewrite short story The Curse
  • Finish first draft of Part 2 of The Altered Wars – In Progress
  • Continue the Brandon Sanderson lectures

I had designated Thursday’s as my editing and rewriting day. That was the day I was exhausted and didn’t get anything done.

For the second weekend in a row, I got out to the garage and continued organizing. I also started a small project. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any woodworking. I was spoiled when I was in New Mexico with a huge workshop. Now I have a one-car garage to work in and Mrs. D likes to keep her car in it. So it has been a challenge.

Mrs. D is excited that I’m even attempting a woodworking project. I think she had given up hope on me ever doing any. Especially this last year when I was battling cancer.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

New Routine and It’s Working!

After being inconsistent in my writing, I have in consultation with Mrs. D to set aside a definite writing time each evening. From 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm it will be my writing time.

I sat down tonight and it was slow for about the first 10 minutes. Then all of a sudden I shifted from first gear to fourth gear and took off with my writing. Next thing I knew, I had written about 750 words.

For all intents and purposes, my memoir “My Cancer Journey” first draft is done. I still have to wait on results of my next blood draw next month. I’m going to let it sit for a few weeks and then start the dreaded editing process.

I have two different stories that need editing right now, so I’ll work on them each night unless I’m going to be doing a Brandon Sanderson lecture. Hopefully, I’ll get more comfortable editing by the time I finish the stories. Then it won’t be such a chore to edit my memoir.

For the last six months or so, I’ve been pretty consistent about posting every day about 6 pm Eastern Standard Time. With my new routine, I’ll be posting between 9:30 pm and 10 pm EST instead.

As always whenever I have a plan, it is subject to change and probably will, but for now, this is the new schedule.

Hope is Painful

Original Artwork by Mrs. D

For several days, I haven’t been able to continue writing my memoir. Not that I had writer’s block, but I felt that it was missing something. I couldn’t figure out what the problem could be. I would sit down each evening and write a paragraph or two and then delete it. Nothing felt right.

Last night, Mrs. D and I were watching the last episode of Season 1 of “The Good Doctor” on Hulu. Towards the end, one of the characters that had been diagnosed with brain cancer stated, “Hope is painful.”

I felt like I had been kicked in the head at that moment. Emotions started welling up out of no where. I struggled to contain them. I got a bit snippy with Mrs. D and realized I needed to remove myself less it got blown all out of proportion. As I sat on our back porch, tears flowed from my eyes. I didn’t know why that phrase had triggered this emotional outpouring.

I realized that I had been repressing emotions and feeling for the last year, trying to at least look strong in my ordeal. They had bubbled up and now overflowed. After a time, I felt like I could control my emotions and went back into the house to apologize to Mrs. D. for being snippy. She didn’t even realize that I had done that. We talked for a bit and the emotions got stronger once again.

What is going on?

I felt silly and a bit ashamed, but Mrs. D. reassured me that I had gone through a very tough time and it was okay. As I went to sleep last night, I couldn’t help but think of why I was going through this now.

This morning, waking up refreshed in body, mind and spirit, I came to the conclusion that the events of last night were necessary for my mental health and also kickstarted the beginnings of an idea of how to continue my memoir. I had fallen into the trap of “This happened, and this happened, and this happened and so on”.

I knew then that I needed to put in a section about how hope is painful when you keep getting your butt kicked.

I had a very long day of driving over 200 miles and doing deliveries. See the below picture of one of the loads I hauled.

Septic tanks

After work, I came home and in a burst of writing, finished Part 3 and got a good start on the Aftermath. I felt like I was in the fabled writing zone. It was a great feeling!