Top 75 cancer tips — Making Treatment Easier

Im so excited about these tips that I got from a friend in the Facebook group. While it makes it more “real” it also prepares me a little bit more for the storm.

Bill's General Thoughts

Me in my hospital room. Me in my hospital room.

Top 75 Cancer Tips for Burkitt’s Lymphoma, But You Can Use Them for Almost Any Cancer Journey. Really You Can

Tip #1 – Take a tape recorder to your first oncology appointment, The information comes so fast it is impossible to take it all in the first time around. The doctor won’t care – he’ll probably appreciate it.

Tip #2 – Only wear t-shirts with pocket and wear them inside-out so you stuff your catheter lumens in the pocket so they’re not jangling and tugging on stuff.

Tip #3 – For PICC lines Instead of gauze get some old athletic tube socks and cut off the toe and slide that up your arm to secure all the tubing.

Tip #4 – For those of us that deal with health insurance. Most insurers have a case management office that handles dangerous illnesses like cancer, heart disease…

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The Baby is Here

Jameson Jeffrey Hemsath left the safety of his mothers womb to live in a world marred with imperfection and we couldn’t be any happier. He came out perfectly aware of what he got himself into as he indicated by his voracious cry. With a head full of hair, long, slender fingers and toes, bluish eyes, and a pink body, Jameson came crashing into the world with the help of a C- section. Theresas body just did not respond as we had hoped and she never began labor, never dilated, never had contractions. After 41 weeks, the doctor scheduled the procedure for today at 8:30 am and we arrived at 6:30 am. Theresa was instructed not to eat past 10pm of the night prior and no water beyond midnight. Needless to say we arrived at the hospital tired, anxious, hungry, and dehydrated. Well, Theresa did. I had a large cup of coffee while the remnants of an off-brand rice crispy cereal dried on my shirt.

Anywho- we began the process almost immediately. The doctors have a three room system: a prep room, an operating room, and a recovery room. In the prep room we watched TV as I filmed the current events so Jameson can look back on them. We made jokes and goofed off with the nurses. Im not sure they appreciated it so much. At one point, they had Theresa attached to all sorts of tubes and then asked us:

“Do you guys have a will?”

“Excuse me?”

I made a few jokes and the nurse didn’t respond much to me after that. Everyone’s a comedian. Linda and Barb arrived and we all spent some time together before the scrubs walked in to take us out. Our OB looked at me humorlessly and said, “where’s your scrubs?” I took that as my cue so sneaking off to the bathroom I put on the Jenny Craig after-picture sized paper clothes. I felt like JD in a fat suit (SCRUBS joke). The hair net, however, takes the cake. I really felt comfortable in it. I may just buy a few for casual wear. Now, I look just like the rest of them while Theresa sat in the bed talking with the anesthesiologist and I had flashbacks of that episode of Twilight Zone where the pretty girl had the operation to look like a pig person (the episode is called “Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder”). They led us to the next room.

In room two they split us apart. Theresa went in to the operation room to get the epidural and the doctors began to prep their tools for operation. I sat and waited… and waited… and waited. Two minutes later, I realized my impatience. The total wait time ended up being around 20 minutes before they called me in. I walked into a room and a blinding light met my eyes. Just like the movies! The pristine room held machines, tools, tech, and beeping things and I couldn’t help but recall the brainwash scene in The Manchurian Candidate. They led me to my wife whose wandering eyes illustrated her drugged induced state. She was seriously loopy. I immediately sat beside her and began to stroke her hair. She loves when I do that. I confessed my love for her and shared my absolute joy over our child. I held back the tears as my fears of birth defects and abnormalities came racing back (thank you… Satan!). Oh how I desire a healthy child!!  I beat back the thoughts and moved in to kiss my wife. Well, my face mask touched her face mask… ahhhh, the medical industry.

I moved my camera above the paper curtain before the doctors told me not to. I sat down. After all, I wouldn’t want someone to film me in the event of a massive screw up. They told me the light may bother the baby’s eyes. I didn’t argue. Nor did my camera have a light. I sat and sang a made-up song to my wife and she told me they were close. She began to breath heavier and the doctors told me to look! look! look!

I rose above the curtain with my camera to see a pink and purple little human stretching and clawing and crying. He looked perfect and I couldn’t have been more proud. Although tiny and little, he fought against his aggressors and looked for his mamma. He wanted milk but the police state wanted him marked. They inked his foot and poked and prodded at him, he cried and cried and cried.

I had to draw the line.

So I leaned in close and whispered to him the way I would at nighttime when I saw him moving in mamma’s belly. “Your daddy is here. Your daddy is here. It’s okay.”  Immediately after I spoke to him- IMMEDIATELY- he stopped crying. The boy knows his daddy. A calm came over him and he almost looked up at me (almost because his eyes remained closed). I stood amazed at the power of heredity until the nurse gently whispered to me- “we need him to cry so he can clean out his lungs.”

Crap.

I followed him around with a camera until they brought him to mamma. I put him next to her face and she began to whisper to him- “I love you so much, I will never leave you, I will always protect you, you have nothing to worry about, nothing to fear…” She whispered and he listened. I can think of no better example of the bond that exists between a mother and her child. It’s something that exists between them- it’s palpable but it’s not material. It’s not in the genes and it’s not in the cells. If it were it could be destroyed, it could mutate. It would disappear when the baby left the room but it does not. The bond remains even when the baby is taken to the nursery. It exists in the realm of thought, of beauty; the immaterial and the transcendent. To think there are some who would deny this is silly. That position has never been more ridiculous then when watching a mother and her newborn.

 

This perfectly designed human is mine. A million and two different parts. 30 billion cells and even more proteins, amino acids, and polypeptides- and that’s just his body. So many different parts arranged in the right way at the right time. A complexity so rich it’s irreducible. At so many different phases any one part or particle in billions that malfunctioned in anyway could have ended the child entirely. From conception, to gestation, to incubation. This was no accident. No result of natural forces. He is beautiful but that beauty does not exist in his genes. It’s not in his skin cells or his hair. If it were it could be taken from him with a bruised knee or hair cut. No. The beauty that exists in him is a part of him but separate from his physical features. Darwin didn’t just have the science wrong, he had the philosophy wrong too. How ironic that in the aftermath of death of his daughter, Darwin abandoned his wits and adopted anti-theism.

The third room is where we rested until the doctors “allowed” us to see our child (yes, you read that right). I picked up Kanan who spent some time with us before going back to his dads. Family came by and a few friends. We are so grateful for them. Things have since calmed down and we are enjoying some down time. Jameson is sucking his fingers now and looking at me through the plastic tub in which he rests. His eyes open and close depending on the speed of my typing or the volume of my voice. He flinches in panic from time to time as he remembers that he is not in the womb any more. Little known to him he has entered a fallen world, a disgusting world of greed and envy, pain and suffering. Though we will try to protect him we will not always be able. Like Neo, he will awake to start his training; fighting evil and those who love it. He is sleeping now…almost. And it’s a good thing too.

Tomorrow is gonna be a hell of a day.

One of Theresa’s Favorite Bible Verses

Revelation 21:4

He will wipe every tear from our eyes. And there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain because all of the old ways will be gone.

Thank you Jesus! When I read this, I remember why you came. You came to give us the truth. You have saved those of us who put our trust and love in you, our Lord. And you will come back and restore this fallen world to the beautiful perfection it once was. And you will dwell with us, your children who love you.

This is what will get me through this miscarriage. And I pray that this give any other readers who are suffering,  a glimpse of your love and grow a thankful, believing heart.

–Theresa

The Pain of Miscarriage

No sooner did we announce the pregnancy that- like a cruel joke- we have to rescind.  And on April Fools day too.     We are so sorry guys, we are not having a baby after all.

When we first noticed the bleeding, we figured it was something normal, the body trying to menstruate or the cervix stretching out, but as it continued we started to get worried.  Both of us frantically searched the internet looking for good news.  We saw things we liked, things we didn’t like, and things that horrified us.  We prayed for God to save us from what we did not want to face.  We prayed for signs and for miracles.  One thing was for sure, we had to get out of Utah and get back home.

When we got to Nevada, Theresa came into the bedroom with a smile.  “Things are looking better!” she said, “Maybe it has stopped now and everything is fine.”  Our friends and family members made us feel better when they told us, “oh yea, this happens.  It’s normal” and so on and so on.  We put it out of our minds and continued our trip home.  Kanan was being so good, he even used the “big potty” a few times on his own (peppered with accidents here and there- sorry AM/PM), and we were feeling better.  Then, it started all over again.

I knew by the tears streaming down her face that something was different- maybe even worse.  Her head shaking confirmed that feeling.  We didn’t say anything to each other.  We just hugged and cried.  Even Kanan knew something was up.  He just sat in the back seat oblivious- and Kanan is never oblivious.  He always knows when Mama is crying.  We still had 4 hours to go before we got to California so we just kept driving, praying, and crying.

When we got into town, Mike picked up Kanan and we rushed to the Doctor.  She saw us right away and sent us to the hospital for more tests.  Once there, the tech informed us that although she knew the results she could not share them with us for legal reasons.  Theresa got an ultrasound and I kept my face down on my Ipod.  I wouldn’t know what I was looking at anyway and didn’t want to get all confused.  It would just hurt more.  Besides, I was feeling foolish anyway.  I mean, just 10 hours ago we were announcing to my family that we were pregnant and posting status updates on facebook.  We were 8 weeks in.  We had just seen the doctor 3 days ago and she didn’t mention anything like this.

We got a call a few hours later from the doctor, it went to voicemail.  When we called back we were transferred to an answering service that did not know how to contact the doctor.  In a panic and in my jammies, I ran out the door and drove to her office (a block away).  Locked out, I climbed over the wall, jumped onto the roof before sliding down the palm tree and into her office courtyard.  From there I began to knock on her office door and the windows.  No luck.  Lights were out.  That’s when my phone rang.  It was Theresa.  The doctor had called her back.

She told us that we would not know for sure but that no case like this had ever not resulted in a miscarriage.  There was no reason to think we were different.  I got home to find my wife writing in pain as her body terminated the pregnancy.  I watched her laugh at the Brian Regan DVD we were watching then grab her belly and scream.  She got Vicatin.  I got a bottle of wine.  We sat there together in awkward silence while the baby died inside of her.

Today was a harder day.  The test results came back as we expected.  It was a chromosomal disorder common to 98% of American miscarriages.  No abnormalities per se, just a bad deal.  There is no reason to expect we cannot conceive again and carry to term although that’s what the doctor said last time too.  We’ve received a rush a phone calls, texts, and emails from friends and family who want to know “what’s happening.”    You have all been great.  We are dreading the sob stories and elongated conversations as (praise God) we have not received any yet.  Just condolences and offers of support.  We appreciate it.  Anything more than “I’m so sorry and I love you” is too much.  We just need to deal with this.  After all, the baby is still inside her and there will come a time very soon when it will pass.  I dread that day.  I cannot even imagine what that will do to my wife.  In addition to all her pain, it is still not over.

There is no way of knowing the larger reason of why this happened.  Biologically we know that the body did not want a deformed pregnancy and so nature took its course.   Spiritually, we know we are dealt a blow and must either cling or withdraw.  We choose to cling.  God did not take our baby, no.  Adam took the fruit and thereby allowed sin and deformation, death, and decay to encroach on God’s perfect World.  We never held our child, we never saw him breath or cuddled him while he slept.  Perhaps this happened to teach us greater compassion.  For as we mourn the loss of our unborn child, my sister and thousands of other parents are watching their children live with terrible diseases.   And as we are hurting we know they are hurting and we all hurt together.  Perhaps all of us loving on each other and sharing the love that God has blessed us with will cure the pain of miscarriage.

Kanan is three!!

Kanan making a silly smile on the morning of his birthday.

Kanan turned three on March 11th of this month. He has grown into such an amazing little boy—so handsome, and smart, and funny. He loves trains, trucks, snowboarding, skateboarding, running, eating pasta and blueberries, and jumping on our bed in the nude. He is very out going and friendly with mostly everyone. He loves girls and he loves playing anything with Owen. He hugs me often and says the sweetest things like, “Mama, you’re soft.”  He adores singing and his current favorite song is “Be a Man” from Mulan. He also loves Ariel’s song, “Part of Your World,” and “Hacuna Matata” from Lion King.

He hates brushing his teeth and learning to do his duty in the big boy potty. He is such a blessing and my heart just swells thinking about him and praising God for him.

Thank you God for bringing Kanan to me. He is such a little light. I pray Lord that you keep your hand on him—love him, talk to him through your creation, and show him The Truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.