Judgment Day #1 - October 23-24, 2008

The events that transpired and the emotional, intellectual, and willpower swings on this day defy my ability to describe them. I will start with a factual description of events, and we'll see what comes through. First off, the week leading up to this day has been a whirlwind of busy-ness. Your US government decided to perform a surprise audit of my company against a standard that was not required. Furthermore the standard was invented last year and the work was performed five years ago. Despite the unfairness of it all we always choose to do the right thing, and so we dropped EVERYTHING to start preparing. Normally it takes six months or more to get ready for these, with two internal assessments (and time to fix the gaps) before the official team comes in. We have voluntarily done two of these since 2003 (even though not required), and it's always come out very well. This time we had TEN DAYS to prepare, with no time for internal assessments or remediation. Fortunately we didn't see any big gaps. Unfortunately a lot of us spent a lot of hours to get ready and stand by to fetch any piece of data desired by the audit team. I just received an email from my boss with the results of today's outbrief. The general who ordered the audit flew in and heard the entire report and said, "I see nothing but good here." So we did well, even if it nearly killed us!

This situation did create a scenario where I was working long hours and weekends (though far fewer than my boss or others), especially on Wednesday, and I had no time to contemplate the upcoming procedure on Thursday. That's the good news. Bad news was tiredness and lack of sleep, which at least allowed me to sleep through the night before in dreamless exhaustion. I got up late and went through the mechanics of shaving, showering, dressing, etc. Did some work on the computer and in no time it was time to go. During the hour drive I worked on my deep-breathing relaxation technique. This helps the time pass quickly. After signing in we had a short wait before being shown into a new and different room. This was a much bigger place with a full surgical table, so I supposed that Dr. Hopkins would be able to do a biopsy right there if he needed to. I gave the obligatory urine sample and disrobed from the waist down, and lay down in the supine position with a paper blanket for modesty. I did more deep breathing for about 15 minutes and then Kathryn massaged my scalp to help me relax. The doc and his nurse came in like a whirlwind. He smiled, greeted Kathryn, and shook my hand. He asked me how I was feeling, and I told him, "Great!" He said, "I'm about to change all that!" It was funny, and it was also true. I looked at the nurse, who was holding a big cotton ball, and told her, "We've got to stop meeting like this!" eliciting a wry smile. Dr. Hopkins explained that he had not contacted Dr. Lamm yet, but that he would today, as he felt confident all would be clear. He and the nurse assumed their positions and looked at me. I started slow, deep breathing through my mouth and nodded. As they proceeded I can tell you that it is MUCH WORSE than the BCG instillation process, but I handled it much better than the first time last March.

My two company-provided stress balls got a vigorous workout (interesting that I have NEVER needed them at work!), as I maintained deep breathing. We were able to talk to each other, and soon he announced, "The right side is very clean - a little scar tissue from where I did surgery. " A few seconds later, "The other side is clean, too." And then it was over. Prepared in advance, Kathryn gave him a note to sign for work absence to do the BCG treatments and a copy of some recent blood work. And then he was gone, and we were on our own. The whirlwind continued as I went to relieve myself painfully while Kathryn scheduled the BCG sessions for the next three Thursdays. Kathryn asked if I wanted a steak dinner to celebrate. Instead we decided to stick hard with the anti-cancer diet and picked up some fresh yellowtail from the best fish market in town and headed home.

The good news took a while to settle in. We both gave silent thanks to God as we drove home. I called my parents and pastor and emailed my boss. All were thrilled beyond belief. I put out an update email when we got home. And I felt like I was walking on air - fifty pounds lighter on my feet. Urination was very painful, so we have an update of everyone's favorite picture on the right side of this post. About two hours later I crashed - hard. Physically, emotionally, intellectually, everything. I could hardly move or think all afternoon. I could not even sleep. It's not that I wasn't happy and thankful - just completely and totally exhausted in every way. Dinner and an excellent bottle of Pinot Noir were good, but perhaps wasted on me. At 10 we went to bed, and I was still too tired to sleep. I flipped channels on the TV and finally hit the hay at 1:30 AM, sleeping fitfully. The next day I woke up with a headache, scratchy throat, and head/upper respiratory congestion. Apparently my collapse was so complete that I contracted a head cold of some sort - the first in years!

Today, Friday, I feel pretty awful - as if I had been beaten physically, but still very happy. I will spend the weekend preparing the bathroom and paraphernalia to cope with BCG treatments become Biohazard Man again, for three more weeks. I figure this cold will be gone after a day or two of bedrest and heavy fluids, easier now as the "affected area" is improving gradually. A few of you have an idea that the diet was effective and have asked us for specifics. It will take some time to get the details put together and correct, so you should start by ramping WAY down on stuff listed in THIS POST. And ramp up on all fresh fruits and vegetables, especially broccoli, garlic, grapes, curry, and green tea. The idea and the science behind the diet are that you stop eating the bad, fertilizer, steroid, pesticide, and chlorine laden foods that press all the cancer buttons, and start eating the things that tend to push the cancer-fighting buttons. I have not yet discovered one book that concisely sums it up, so it will take a while to get organized posts from the three we used to get you all something useful.

Another thing to keep in mind is that I am doing many things to fight the cancer: diet, vitamins, Oncovite, MCP, and lots of prayer. Who can say if it's one or more or some combination that's working so far? And soon I will be adding the hated exercise to the mix. I will try to explain the scientific rationale behind each of these in upcoming posts and book reviews. So stay tuned for more excitement here on the blog!


JB in NJ said...

Just outstanding news!

Hondo said...

A thumbs up Steve to you!!! So glad to hear the outcome was positive...your mental perspective is super and your physical area is coming in line with all it also. Keep it up...we all are rooting for you!

Deb said...

Wonderful news Steve! Congratulations!!!!!

toenyreed said...

Great Steve! I have been following your blog and thought of you (prayer too) on the 23rd. I too have made big changes in diet, exercise etc.,have lost considerable weight and feel great...(still a few beers though). I go in for my 3 month cysto on Nov. 6. Can't wait! Ha!

Doug (beer+turbt)from Michigan

Steve Kelley said...

Thanks to Jon, Jim, Deb, and Doug for the good wishes. Always great to hear from Doug - my formerly invisible beer buddy in Michigan! Best of luck on November 6! I will do some post-BCG hydration with a fine beer in your honor this week!

Kathiesbirds said...

Woot! Woot! Woot! and Hooray! I am so glad for you both! I know how you hate the exercise but they say it really does help your body to fight cancer. I need to up my exercise level as well. I can't wait to hear what you decide to participate in. Just make sure it's fun on some level or you won't keep at it! I know that it is hard work to be healthy. Looks like it is paying off for you.