Posted by: Andrew Reynolds | 04/01/2012

Did I Write This?

I started this blog a year ago during holy week as a bit of an experiment. Today is Palm Sunday so I thought I’d update you on how the experiment is going. It’s still an experiment without defined goals or end points. I only have one expectation and that is to write.

Today it is possible that the only important thing that comes out of this entry is that I have written something. I don’t feel inspired or energetic. I don’t have any grand insights or anything I want to preach to you about.

There have been more than a few good ideas in my head. Here are some of the better ones:

  • Palm Sunday and its spiritual significance in my life.
  • Why I’ve never read Moby Dick and what is stopping me.
  • A detailed analysis of Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy and how it impacted my life.
  • The scroll saw as a metaphor for living
  • Work as a prayer or how my spiritual discipline this week is cutting a fret-work cross on the scroll saw.
  • The post treatment depression experienced by 80% of all prostate cancer patients.

Did I just write that last sentence?

Let me check… Yup that was me.

There is the problem with cancer – it won’t go away. About ten days ago I wasn’t feeling well and decided to see my doctor. I had a number of little things out of sorts. Nothing big but just lots of little stuff and just having finished radiation treatments I naturally was concerned that I was about to die.

Okay, maybe not die, but I was concerned that I was still having some side effects. Of course the more emotional side of my brain was concerned that something cancer related was happening. My rational brain was trying to reassure me that it was likely just a needed adjustment in medications and perhaps a bit of stress from work.

So off to the doctor I go and it was all of the above – stress, the meds need a little tweak and how are you sleeping?

What? The question caught me off guard as I hadn’t been sleeping well, but just had chalked it up to work stress, worry about cancer, and not having anything good to write for this blog.

- insert very long pause, took 5 minutes for me to write the next line -

My doctor got very concerned about my sleep and then mentioned the word, “depressed.” I recall this very kind but firm little lecture on how depression is a real medical condition that causes both physical and mental symptoms. I wish I could remember it all because it was a very good description filled with good advice. Some of which I’ve actually done – okay I sent her a follow-up email just to make sure I am doing everything she told me. I do recall someplace in her conversation that she said, “80% of all post radiation patients get some form of depression and it really takes six months to fully recover from the radiation.”

So here I sit thinking about it and it’s enough to make you depressed. I mean really – I just finished dealing with cancer and now you want me to deal with being depressed!

The thing that really gets to me is that my doctor is likely right and I am not as close to being recovered as I’d like. If I were to be honest I’ll admit to a certain level of depression, possibly even clinical depression. I’ll admit to not feeling well and I’ll admit that it’s hard to gather much enthusiasm about – well anything.

All I will claim today is that I have written, and that I’ve done my best to follow the doctor’s advice. I’ve been exercising and working in my shop. I’ve finished the taxes and sent it to the CPA (a minor stress point during the last week). My job has become a little less stressful and I am building a Lego castle in the living room.

This week is about readjusting my expectations for recovery. The radiation has stopped but the damage to my body, mind and soul remains.


Responses

  1. Thanks for the post. I hadn’t heard about the six months to recover from radiation. That may help explain why I still feel so far behind the curve.

    On books and religion, did you get to the second book of Dune, Dune Messiah? It’s one of the most thoughtful books on religion that’s not about religion I’ve ever read.

    • Well my radiation oncologist says it could take a year for the PSA to reach it’s lowest level so it makes a little sense that full recovery might take a little longer. Frustrating but possibly true.

      I did read the Dune books. Still have them around here somewhere. Read them in my teens when I was more interested in spaceships than understanding matters of the mind and spirit. Just noticed that I don’t have Frank Herbert on my to reread book list – I’ll have to fix that.

  2. Andrew, I continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Sometimes this can sound a little trite, but I hope you find some comfort in knowing that others are wishing, hoping and praying for you, your family, and your full recovery……dave

    • Perhaps but still it means a lot. Thanks.

  3. I am reading David McCullough’s book Truman. President Truman was always upbeat and never depressed. He experienced many decsions that could have caused depression: the atomic bomb, establishing the UN and NATO, the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War, the Cold War, rebuilding the White House and more. I guess being a farm hand and a having great wife sustained him, plus a shot of bourbon each morning. You seem to be doing the right things, but you don’t need a daily shot of bourbon. Keep wood working,
    Marv

    • The McCullogh book I read was on Ben Franklin. I like McCullough’s work – missed that he did one on Truman. Interesting character Truman. I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon in the shop. I’m hoping for good weather next weekend – hoping to get a start on the deck.

  4. Thanks for sharing…


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