Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sometimes Reality Sucks!

This is tough. Here I am facing my own health issues of colon cancer, chemo/radiation treatments, two surgeries and just the stress of the health issues. Added to that is my Brother Chap Smathers who appears to be in the final stages of congestive heart failure. He is now in a nursing home where they are attempting some rehab programs, but there is no doubt this is the late stages of that disease. It just breaks my heart, I've known the man for over 60 years. He is truly like a brother to me and I love him dearly. Chap is one of those truly good hearted people you have the privilege of being close to.

On top of that, I have an organization I direct that has taken some direct hits this year. I lost my information techie to cancer two months ago. I watched him go through a truly agonizing two year treatment program that left him sick and in pain for much of the time. We would talk and discuss outcomes and I visited him in the hospital the day he passed. He was 37 and left a wife and two kids ages 1 and 6.

Ninety days ago the man who has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Old Miss and is our mechanical and hydraulic instructor was seeming healthy and looking forward to the challenge of this new school year. Then bang, he starts putting on two pounds of weight a day and they run tests. The scans found a tumor that had taken one kidney, was intruding on his heart and liver and was deemed inoperable. He now is resting in a hospice in Jonesboro, AR. This guy is also a good hearted man and perhaps the most intellectual of our group. In addition he plays violin, was active in Civil War reenactments and period presentations, played all over NE Arkansas and was known by many. Now we shall lose him.

Finally a computer instructor who had her female check up in January started experiencing some abdominal pain in March and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Surgery removed most of the cancer and chemotherapy seems to have taken care of the rest. She still has four treatments to go and is up and around, teaching some classes and looks good. But ovarian cancer doesn't usually have a good outcome. I pray this one does.

Thats a lot of death and pain surrounding me all of a sudden. I do not know if I have accepted the inevitable or I have detached from the reality. I don't seem to feel anything but a strong obligation to reach out to these people and talk to them and wish them well and try to do what I can for them. But I also have my own issues to handle. In some way this distraction takes away from my own recovery and that seems to be progressing quite well. Regardless, this period of my life is unique in my experience and I hope once it is passed that it doesn't occur again with this intensity.

I still look out the window and see a beautiful sky, or scene. I still marvel at the love and care our dogs extend to my wife and I. I have come to appreciate my children in new and expanded ways and still want to live many years to experience all the joy life has to provide. Right now however, it is just tough, a day to day, put one foot in front of the other and plod along existence.

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