February 16, 2019 - One year ago today (And it is a rather lengthy post)

winkyduck

TYVM Morgan William!!!
#1
***This is a long post. I am not sorry for it. But this is coming from my heart and it took about 2 months to be able to write and get through because doing so brought about a wide range of emotions. I asked JK if he wanted me to post it here. He said he did – so I am. I AM BEGGING ALL HERE: PLEASE LEAVE POLITICS OUT OF THIS! If you want to rip me about my political thoughts there are other threads to do it. PLEASE DO NOT BRING UP ANYTHING ABOUT POLITICS HERE! PUH-LEASE! (JK please delete ANY reply that has anything political to do with it - OK!)***

###I had to do this in 2 posts because I exceeded the Word Count for a post so I had to chop it into 2 posts. Que sera sera###


Valentine’s Day was 2 days ago. For me the one day of the year I will make sure to honor loved ones took place 365 days ago: Feb 16, 2019.

It was on this day that my family did a “Divine Intervention” and in doing so………SAVED ME! After missing another in a long line of events because I was in such tremendous pain my family had enough (I missed my oldest niece graduating from the Police Academy on Jan. 10 because I got no sleep and was in pain but I was able to make it Jan. 30 when she officially got sworn in). This time it was not being able to go to my uncle’s place so we could celebrate the birthdays of his youngest son and the boyfriend of his oldest daughter. My family finally had enough of me screaming in pain every night. They had enough of me walking around like a zombie because it was a good night if I got 3 hours of sleep. Usually it was less. If I was lucky I got an hour but most nights it wasn’t even that much because laying down in bed caused me tremendous pain. Actually I did not sleep in a bed because doing so required lifting my right leg up high enough to get it in bed and I couldn’t do that. I “slept” on a futon from Halloween thru Feb. 16. Doing so allowed me to go to the bathroom at night because I would just crawl to it and then crawl back to the futon for several more hours of laying on the futon wishing I could get any kind of sleep at all. It also made it possible for me to get up and with a crutch, walk around the house for 30 minutes to try and alleviate the pain enough to get some sleep since standing up resulted in the pain going from intolerable to very tolerable and minimal. I thought I had Sciatica issues since I had that a few years earlier but PT and even and Epidural did not help (I got the Epidural on Feb. 6 and felt great. I thought my issues were over. But the next night I went to sleep on my futon in Mom and Dad’s bedroom since they were gone that night and Mom’s beloved dog won’t sleep any place but in their room and by midnight I was in the same amount of pain as I was before getting it – which only frustrated me even more. And the one thing I most recall about the Epidural was the Doc saying how my Sciatica issue was on the left side of my body and the pain was on the right side and it made no sense……….until we found out what that right side pain really was). I was getting both dejected and somewhat desperate to find out WTF was wrong with me.

I remember it like it was yesterday. The family left but I had to stay home since sitting in a car for the 60-ish mile drive was something I could not handle. The night was the same as most nights. I took a pain pill (Norco) at 4P, another at 8P and then some Advil around 9P and then went to the futon. Because I stayed home so did the dog and that also meant I had to feed her and take her for a walk – while holding the leash in one hand and my crutch in the other and then having to bend down low enough to pick up after her. The family came home about 9:30P. I was in a bedroom but screaming in pain as I had too many other nights to count (My father recorded some videos of me screaming – I have no desire to ever hear them since I know what it was like but if anyone does). I heard them come home. I didn’t care. Like every other night I was in excruciating pain and since a heating pad and pain killers did not work I was left to scream and suffer until the pain went away enough to allow me to get an hour, or so, of sleep. Next thing I know my nephew opened the bedroom door, grabbed my blanket and said they were taking me to the Hoag ER. I said I was fine (typical guy speak – even though we rarely are when we say that) and I had an MRI scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 20. Thankfully they would not budge and insisted I was going. I put on warmer clothes and my father drove me (and my nephew) to the Hoag ER. I quickly put some stuff together in a bag just in case I would be admitted to stay overnight. They got a wheelchair for me because I was too exhausted to walk. I was cold, exhausted and very scared of what they might find but also hoping they would find something. I had been to too-many-doctors-to-count and had been told a million times “I don’t know what it IS but I know what it IS NOT!” I knew I could not continue going on in as much pain as I was. Just getting in the car for the ride to Hoag was hard since I had to lift my right leg to get in. Before this I avoided driving as much as I could because I knew lifting my right leg to apply the brake would be difficult. I also never drove with anyone in the car. If I rode with someone they drove because I was fearful of falling asleep behind the wheel. I would have been OK if I just hurt (or worse) myself but I could not bear the thought of hurting someone else in my car or, even worse, crashing into another car and permanently changing the lives of all inside – not for the better. I didn’t want to drive and run into a car of a family of 4 and kill multiple people and leave the others in some form of a paralysis or the loss of a limb, eye, etc.

Around 1A I got an MRI on my Pelvis and when I left to ER to get it I told Dad/Nephew to go home – and they did. I got wheeled into the machine but had to immediately wheeled out because to get an MRI you have to be still for about 20 minutes. The pain made it impossible to be still for 10 seconds. I got shot up with Morphine and then got the MRI. I got wheeled back into the ER around 2:30A (Honestly I have no idea the exact time) and for the first time in about 2 months I slept more than 3 hours since I was pain-free. What I did not know until a few weeks ago was that the ER people wanted to send me home but my brother said NO! I was tired, scared, hopeful and relived. I was tired because of not getting any sleep for 2+ months. I was scared because I knew something was wrong but didn’t know what and knew past attempts at finding what was went unanswered and this might have been my “last best chance” at someone finally saying “I know what IS wrong with you.” I was hopeful that someone might FINALLY find out what was wrong with me and relived that something of substance was potentially going to happen.

FINALLY being able to get ANY sleep was something I cherished. Around 7A I got wheeled into a room on the 4th Floor looking directly over the same ER entrance I had used about 9 hours earlier. About 24 hours later some doctor came into my room around 8 am and told me I had Malignant Cancer but I could beat it. He wanted to see me on Friday Feb. 22. Needless to say that was a very long 100 hours until I saw him and did so with my Bro, Mom, Dad and Uncle (Retired Surgeon) who flew down for the day just to be with me/us when I saw the Doc (I can’t even begin to put into words how incredibly awesome it was to see my Uncle there and for the entire length of my treatment he was a massive part of it – when I saw the Doc I called my Uncle, put the phone on speaker and he heard everything that took place and contributed when he felt he had something important to add – and he did many times).

But it was on this day one year ago today that my life finally turned around. For the better.
 

winkyduck

TYVM Morgan William!!!
#2
###Part 2###


I do want to add one more thing: My final 3 nights (Feb 19-21) my father stayed with me and slept on the fold out couch bed they had. I said he didn’t have to do it but having him there was nice. Especially the one night I had to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (Later on I had pee bottles in case I had to go but not for this first visit). I got up and my right leg immediately went limp on me. I would have fallen if not for the wall on my left. I used it to help get me to the bathroom but I had to get there crawling on my knees (During the ordeal, before the MRI, my motto when I felt pain was “Get to the Ground” and by that it meant if I felt any pain get down on the ground and on my knees so I wouldn’t fall and risk hurting myself even worse). I peed and then could not get back up on my legs. I could have pulled some lever and had the nurses come but instead called out to Dad to get me some help and soon some help came. But lifting me back up was something they could not do since I was 180-ish pounds of dead weight. In order to get me up they had to get some machine and it took about 6-8 medical people to load me on to the machine and lift me up to get me into bed. I have never felt more helpless in my life. Here I was someone who officiated 50+ HS Hoops games every year and a good 100+ other games, too. I was physically active and while not in the same kind of shape I was as a teenager I was in damn good shape. I weighed 25 pounds more than HS but my waist size in HS was 32 and to this day it still is so you can see it was mostly muscle and not fat that I gained. Once in bed they immediately took me to check to see if I suffered a seizure. Like many other things that would happen over the next 5 months I remember them wheeling me out of the room, down the hall to an elevator, into a room with a lot of bright lights, intimidating pieces of very expensive machinery, a decent amount of people in the room and the room being damn cold – something it had to be to maintain the machines. There is no more feeling of true helplessness than being wheeled from one place to another in the hospital and really having no say in what is about to happen (In reality I did but I also knew objecting to something would have been incredibly stupid and harmful – TO ME!) but knowing what is about to happen is being done for your potential betterment. Thankfully I did not have a seizure but I was not told this until later that day after they looked over the results.

***I am sorry for this being so long but I needed to do this more for my therapeutic sake than anything else. I realize it may not be an easy read but just know as hard as it may be to read it was hard to write and even harder to live through. It took 2-ish months to put this together because doing so made me tear up many times recalling the HELL that was my life from October 31, 2018 to February 16, 2019 and then culminating around 10 am on Monday July 23, 2019 when I was discharged after my very last Chemo treatment.***
 

John Kelly

Born Gambler
Staff member
#5
Great support from your family is a big help.

Having an uncle, a retired surgeon, fly in for the ordeal was a big pick-me-up.

You're a lucky guy, Wink.
 

winkyduck

TYVM Morgan William!!!
#10
Great support from your family is a big help.

Having an uncle, a retired surgeon, fly in for the ordeal was a big pick-me-up.

You're a lucky guy, Wink.
"Scared what the doctors may find but hoping they would find something": I KNEW something was wrong. And having countless docs not able to find out what was the scary part. I really didn't care what they found - just that they found something,

My doc is a great guy. I saw him a few weeks ago. Since I cannot ref this season, and last, I ran the clock for the Boys/Girls Varsity games. In this league the Boys and Girls Varsity play B2B - Girls at 5:30 and Boys at 7P. A few weeks ago a game involved the school where my Doc's middle child attends. She is on the team. She is a Soph and doesn't get to play much. During halftime I went to see him and his family. I took a pic with him and thanked him. I pass by that place somewhat often as well as Hoag and every now and then will bring them cookies or donuts or something else.............lemons from my parents' tree, too. I do recall him saying if I had ANY other kind of Cancer he would have worked to make the last few months of my life as pain-free and compassionate as possible. THAT was when it really hit me what I was dealing with.

My Uncle part: No way to put into words how much having him there helped. I trust the Doc but having someone who can speak to him on those terms was great.
 

winkyduck

TYVM Morgan William!!!
#14
Glad to hear your progress and I've been following it. My wife was diagnosed right around the same time you were, in Feb of 2019.
What was she diagnosed with and how is she doing? As you found out - when someone has Cancer or any situation like it - beating it is a WE and NOT a ME journey. You are not the one with the situation but without your help the person afflicted by it has no chance of beating it. In my case my family had to deal with massive mood swings. Chemo is a mind altering drug. It is great to save lives but the side effects are brutal. When I was in the hospital for 5 days and just beaten up by Chemo I was too tired to be an asshole. If I came home on, say, Saturday morning, it took until about Wednesday for me to start feeling OK because it took that long for the Chemo to filter out of my body. My parents were my everything - nurse/chauffeur/cook and more. I always tried to pause an extra second, or two, before I did anything because I knew if I didn't I would "snap" at them when I really didn't mean to do so. Thankfully they understood and when I did get angry and upset at them they realize I was not the one yelling at them, it was the Chemo doing so.

Hopefully your wife is doing better now. When one goes thru a traumatic experience recovering physically is far easier than mentally.
 
#15
I never knew all of this. Sending nothing but positive thoughts and vibes to my favorite poster and friend here.

Big love to your Dad and Uncle for stepping up. Life is so fragile.

Pain and immobility are something you can't convey to others in words.
Once you are immersed in it, you feel it will never end.

The most important thing is that you are Here Now.
That maters to so many people. Glad you are a fighter and recovering Winky.

I knew you were going through something serious but didn't want to ask. Keep improving.
 
#17
Keep improving is right.

Good thoughts, Kev.

And now let's think good thoughts for Mrs. VALUIST.
Amen brother. Where there's a will there's a way and I always think the power of the individual can overcome so much.
Big Love and Light to Mrs. VALUIST. We are all with you and we here know that every day is a fight.
Keep the Soul strong and the Body may end up following.


 

winkyduck

TYVM Morgan William!!!
#18
Amen brother. Where there's a will there's a way and I always think the power of the individual can overcome so much.
Big Love and Light to Mrs. VALUIST. We are all with you and we here know that every day is a fight.
Keep the Soul strong and the Body may end up following.

March, 1991. I am about a month into my time in Bristol. I am the Stage Manager for the earrrrrrrrrrrrly morning SportsCenter hosted by Robin Roberts (as big of an angel as there has ever been - working with her is like stealing money - it is that easy). Dick Vitale and Jimmy V are on the show since it is NCAA time. My job as Stage Manager is to basically be the "control person" on the set. Everyone has access to the control room in their earpiece but I am the one counting us back from commercial and more. Jimmy V was a RIOT! He was great in the pre/post production meetings. He made us laugh all of the time.

If you recall back then ESPN had this massive bank of TVs right in the middle of the set. It was called "The Giz." Well at times when we got a shot of Robin, Jimmy V was in the picture so I had to use my right hand and push it to the right which he knew meant he needed to lean a tad to his left to get out of the screen. He was not happy about this but did it since thr producer/director told him he had to do this.

During the commercial breaks he was always making us laugh. That was Jimmy V. He didn't care if you were laughing AT him or WITH him. Just that you were laughing. Prior to last year I appreciate his speech but never really appreciated it as much as I should have. Ever since last February I watch it regularly and every time I do I watch it in silence. What he said was something I heard but it did not resonate with me. Now it does. .
 
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