Kindness Misunderstood

I am writing this because of a situation I encountered last evening when I was leaving the laundromat here in town. Most of you know I have mobility issues, and I use a cane. Last night, I had finished my laundry and was wheeling it out to the car with one of those rolling baskets provided at the laundromat. I was using my cane with the right hand and trying to maneuver the basket with the left hand. A gentlemen saw my struggle and walked up to me and asked if he could help.

Many of you may not know how stubborn I am, and I try to do everything I can on my own. That being said, I surveyed the situation, and noticed a truck parked very close to my van on the driver’s side. So, I asked the man who had walked up to me if he knew who owned the truck, as I would appreciate him moving it so I would be able to enter my vehicle.

He said, “No, but he’s sitting in the truck.” At that time, the man in the truck got out and approached us. The man who had been talking with me turned and addressed the man who owned the truck. He said, very gruffly and unpleasantly, almost sounding like he was demanding, “You will need to move your truck so this lady can enter her van.”

The man from the truck took the first man’s demand offensively and began yelling back, using loud profanity and, quite frankly, scaring tears out of me. The guy who had originally approached me got really mad at the other guy and screamed profanity back at him. They both began yelling they would kick one another’s ass. I was getting nervous, as I was standing on a curb, holding a cane and balancing on a rolling basket.

I was only a car length away from my own vehicle, but I could not get past either man. I was pleading with them not to fight, but my pleas were falling on deaf ears. Both men were so angry, their only focus was with each other.

Finally, the man from the truck started to get into his truck to move it, but the other guy screamed more profanity at him, calling him names that would make anyone mad. At that time, the man from the truck again exited his vehicle and said, “Fuck it. I’m not moving my truck.” Then he walked around the truck and started toward the laundromat entrance. The guy helping me moved toward him and began yelling even louder. I mentioned earlier in this blog post that I was getting nervous, but scratch that. I was scared shitless. It passed through my mind at that moment, “This is how people get killed. This is how shootings happen.” I was mortified.

Yelling continued, and I was was crying, but managed to maneuver myself, my cane, and the basket to the passenger side of my van. Shortly thereafter, the man who had originally tried to help me appeared suddenly at my side and said he would load the laundry in my van and help me enter from the passenger side. I let him load my van, but informed him, “Unfortunately, with my back issue, I cannot easily enter from the passenger side, and I definitely can’t climb over to the driver’s side.”

About that time, the guy from the truck came back out the laundromat door and the shouting match resumed. That pissed off the guy helping me, and he said he would call the police. Screaming continued. During this part of the altercation, I managed to go around the back of the van and reach the driver’s side door. There was not much room for me to enter, but enough to get the door opened part way. The method I use to climb into my van is a bit involved and takes a little time, and while I was trying very hard to climb in, the guy who had been helping me said, “Wait, I’m calling the cops.”

I informed him at that time that I believed I could make it into my van, and needed to go because I did not like to drive after dark. While I was saying that, he got the cops on the phone. He actually calmed down long enough to speak respectfully to the police dispatcher and describe the situation in terms that didn’t make him sound like an idiot. While he was speaking to them, I made it into the van. I told him that I was fine but I really had to get home. (Seriously, I just wanted to vacate the situation.)

He informed the dispatch that I was able to enter my vehicle, but the man who had not moved his truck was still being threatening. I remember how strange that was to me that he would say that when he was actually the first one who did the threatening, and continued to do so throughout the whole fiasco.

I’m not sure what happened to those two men because I got the hell out of there.

My point in writing about this was to say that the first man’s whole approach to the situation was wrong. While initially intending to do an act of kindness for me, he rudely approached an individual who might have otherwise, been amenable to helping by moving his truck. There could have been multiple acts of kindness happening, but if one component of that kindness is missing, no one gets help. The other man was also completely wrong by losing his temper immediately and fueling the fire with yelling, profanity and threats.

Seriously, that’s how people get hurt and even killed. It happens somewhere every day. There were numerous people at that laundromat, to include little children.

Kindness. Do it. But remember to respect one another. A short explanation from the first man to the man in the truck, along with a “Please” and “Thank you” may have gone a long way.

Have a great weekend. Be careful out there.

Down the rabbit hole

Today, I started looking through professional articles in my school’s library (online). My original search was the word “mindset.” I was searching for articles explaining a researching mindset and how it correlates with critical thinking. And blah blah blahYou get the gist.

Well, I came up with 3,245 articles and immediately realized I needed to refine my search.

Uh, big mistake. If you don’t know where you are, you shouldn’t necessarily start out for new horizons.

I typed in, “researching mindset”.  I got 2,344 articles. The first one was titled “If You Have Your Mind Set on College, Do Your Research First.” 

Things went downhill from there. Why? Because I’m new to Doctoral school. I get confused on an hourly basis. Don’t give me words out of order. My head will explode. Better yet, don’t give me words. Just take my little hand and lead me to the damned article I need.

It’s like surfing the net. But on steroids.

I’m sure you’ve typed in a topic of interest in Google, and planned on perusing them all, until you realized there were pages upon pages of information/pictures/video on your topic.

What the hell?

Don’t they know we have all evolved into internet surfers with the attention span of a gnat? Okay, go ahead and look up “gnat”. I would wait, but you won’t be back for hours. There’s “How to Get Rid of Gnats,” “Gnats vs Fruit Flies,” “What are Gnats Attracted To?” I cannot compete with that level of entertainment. Even when I post pictures of my pen collection.

So I will press on.

There is really no central message to glean from the above mumbles and grumbles. I write my feelings. I eat my feelings. I just try really hard not to feel my feelings.

Now I’m hungry. I definitely feel that.

Thanks for visiting and reading my craziness. Comment below if you are so inclined. I could use the company while trying to navigate this freaking rabbit hole. Have a fabulous day, and I hope you find everything for which you are searching.

Warning! Credit Card Usage Probable!

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and do all your Christmas shopping online this year? I’ve been shopping online since way before the COVID made its debut, so I feel I am amply qualified to deliver a few pros and cons to you before you embark on this new and nerve-wracking journey.

1) First of all, let’s talk about your alcohol consumption.

Pros: You can drink wine and you won’t get carded, stared at, asked to leave, or arrested for public intoxication and/or indecency.

Cons: Your purchasing decisions may be altered somewhat. (See picture above).

Life is a balance, am I right?

2) Let’s talk about People.

Pros: When you shop online, you don’t have to worry about running into your judgy Mother-in-Law, your ex-lover, a friend to whom you still owe money, or your smelly neighbor.

Cons: In my opinion, there are no cons here. Avoiding people is an art. Be proud.

Sometimes life gives you lemons. Throw them at your neighbor. Aim with a purpose.

3) Let’s talk about spending money.

Pros: If no one sees you shopping online at 2 AM, are you really spending too much money on a new iPhone, ear pods, a lightning charger, 4 pairs of shoes, a case of fresh pineapples from Hawaii, and a book on how to get rich data-mining? I think not.

Cons: Sure, I understand your purchasing a must-have item for a $1000, but you should shut that shit down when you have to pay a $7.99 Shipping Charge! Freaking highway robbery! Just sayin…

Online shopping is better than traditional shopping because it gives you

a reason to live for the next 7-10 business days. 

I think I need more pens and another coffee mug.

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Judgy Fudgy

Judge much? I try not to, but of course I judge. I judge people who judge. I judge narrow-minded people. I judge people with zero social skills. I judge my invisible friend when she does stupid stuff. Yes, I judge.

However.

It’s the time of year when we are supposed to be good to one another. We should be experiencing frolicking, merriment, eggnog, and mistletoe kisses. We are supposed to be kind to our fellow man, etc. We are supposed to be patient with those who are less fortunate and/or disabled. We are supposed to be happy for our friends and loved ones who embark on a new challenge.

We are NOT supposed to judge.

This Thanksgiving, I judged, and I feel badly, so I am coming clean right here on my blog that has at least two readers. I judged one very over-bearing, hard to get along with person…for being just that. It almost ruined my Thanksgiving, until I took a deep breath and checked myself.

You see, it wasn’t just MY Thanksgiving. It wasn’t all about me. Yes, I do like things to be all about me, but don’t we all? However, when one finds oneself in a small space with a dozen or more people, and loses one’s shit because of a loud, rude person monopolizing every conversation, one needs to examine one’s options. One could try one or more of the following:

  1. Vacate said premises immediately, quietly and politely, of course.
  2. Get another plate of food and eat until one falls asleep in the corner with the dog.
  3. Find the key to the liquor cabinet…open it and climb in. (Make sure to close the door)
  4. When said person goes outside for a cigarette, lock the door.
  5. Smile and try not to look at the clock so often. The clock still works.
  6. Talk to a kid. Any kid in the room. Kids don’t care who is rude, drunk, loud, etc. Kids just want someone to turn the TV to cartoons. Watch cartoons with the kid.
  7. Play on your phone. So many people do it now, it’s not considered rude. Play a game. Text anyone/everyone, “HELP ME.” Write your feelings. You can do that on a phone. There’s a ‘Notes’ app. Use it. F-words are completely acceptable.
  8. Lastly, if the first seven options are unacceptable to you, take the most painful option and just wait. Said person has to go home sometime. One can only hope.

I’m not quite sure how I managed to include the word ‘one’ at least 9 times in this post. I digress and even imagine I’m a writer from the olden days. You know, those days when there were a lot fewer people and using the word ‘one’ instead of ‘I’, ‘we’, or ‘they’ seemed appropriate.

One wonders if there were annoying people at those Thanksgivings?

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday Season. Be kind. Be patient. Be Fabulous. You know you are!!

Doctors and Scholars and School Bells, Oh My!

Go on. Go ahead and ask me. I can wait. Okay, I can’t wait, so here goes. I’m back in college! But this time, I’m going for the BIG FISH. Yeppers, I will be studying for my Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. Most of my studies will be online, but I will also attend a week-long residency once a year on campus.

Am I excited? Oh yes. Enough to pee.

Am I mortified? Hell yes. Enough to pee.

Am I smart enough to earn a Doctorate? Oh gosh, I sure hope so, as I’m still in shock over the cost of the Student Loan for which I’m responsible. And I’m quite sure “Buyer’s Remorse” is not an option for withdrawal.

There are 21 of us hopeful scholars at this time, and we have to interact online by posting discussion questions, etc, and giving feedback (and accepting feedback…UGH). So far I’ve posted 8 times, and my grade is currently an A. No big whoop, as it’s just the first week and I probably won’t be flunking out until at least next week. Introductions are easy. After introductions week comes the SEVEN LAYERS OF HELL. Or so I’m told.

The diversity of my classmates blows me away. There are athletes, teachers, stay-at-home Moms, a stay-at-home Dad, a firefighter, several school administrators, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Sorry, dang Christmas songs are everywhere…already.

Well, folks, now that I have something ongoing about which I can passionately write, I’m looking forward to venting here. Join me. We will put our heads together and come up with something clever. We are, after all, scholarly and doctoral-minded.

Well, one of us is. The other one is probably just here for the pizza and beer. Or cannibus.

That’s college-worthy, right? My overly-exercised brain thinks so, anyway.

Cannibus. Definitely the cannibus.

Depression. Grief. Anxiety. All Dangerously Real.

I probably should have started my recently rejuvenated blog in a lighter manner, but I wanted to write about issues that were on my mind right away, so my thoughts were fresh and true. That being said, I’m going to jump right in.

About two years ago, my world began crumbling and the downward spiral was practically debilitating. My partner of 21 years fell ill and, for seven months before she passed, she was shuffled back and forth between hospitals and nursing homes. I followed the ambulances, and did my best to be by her side as much as possible. Without going into a lot of detail about her illness, it was a heartbreaking period of time for all concerned.

Days and nights blended into one another, as I tried to deal with my own health issues and finances while advocating for her rights and fighting for her to get decent care. I am not detailing Joan’s (my partner) illness in this post because she was an extremely private person and would not have wanted her suffering shared on the internet. My message here is to relay the toll depression, grief, and anxiety play on an already taxed individual.

At the ripe old age of 67, I grew up “old school” where you didn’t run to the therapist or pop a Xanax when you had a loved one get sick, or experienced other difficult issues in your life. So, when Joan fell ill, I ignored some dangerous warning signs of my own as time went by.

My depression either had me forgetting to eat at all or binging. When I was at home, I sat in front of the TV and stared at it, hardly moving, and frequently sleeping the night through while sitting straight up in the chair in my living room. Anxiety seemed to come in the middle of the night, and sleep became nearly impossible. I walked around in a zombie-like state for months.

Joan’s illness progressed quickly, and even though I knew things were most likely not going to improve, I kept praying and kept my vigil by her side as long as I could. She passed away in March of 2019, and to this day, grief and sadness take up a part of my daily life. The grief is ever-changing and becoming more manageable, but what I really want to convey is that it’s not something that can be completely controlled. It may look like everything’s fine on the outside, but the inside is where the truth lies.

I should have reached out for help. I am a strong woman, but it just about broke me. I didn’t listen to anyone who suggested for me to seek a specialist or therapist. People I loved the most, and those who loved me, gave me sound advice, and I didn’t listen. I was stubborn and determined to handle everything, including my mental and physical health issues, myself.

Of course, my plan of action, which was no plan and no action, especially after Joan died, was a fail. I ended up with a serious issue of edema with my legs, which impeded any mobility progress I had previously made. I also had kidney failure and was admitted to the hospital last New Years’ Eve.

That’s when I realized, after the doctor came in and told me I’d better start taking care of my self, that my old-school ways were hurting me. Joan wouldn’t have wanted to see me like that. All who knew her would agree that she would have read me the “riot act.” Indeed!

Shortly thereafter, I began doing good, positive things for my health and reaching out for help from people who have experience with depression, anxiety, and grief. I’m still not seeing a therapist, but my health issues other than that have improved greatly, and I’m finally getting up the courage to seek professional help with my mental health issues as well.

To anyone going through pain from loss, please know that this is not something you can do alone. You need help. We are social beings. We are not meant to solve everything ourselves. It’s too much for the 10% of our brains we actually use. I say this with the utmost sincerity and reverance for your life and well-being.

Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to leave your comments below. I am not a professional of any type. I’m just writing my feelings. And I really appreciate your stopping by to read them.

Old Broad’s Perspective

Hello internet! First day back on What’s in Terri’s Head in a very long time! I’m in the mood to share and it’s time to start writing again. That being said, I have been wrestling with the whole theme, idea, or writing purpose, if you will, that I wish to convey. Sure, I want you to read my blog, but I want to enjoy writing it. That’s why I’m back. I’m hoping this is the beginning of much writing (and reading, on your part) enjoyment!

Since I left you, my partner of 21 years, Joan, passed away (last year) and it’s been a long, painful road through grief and toward recovery. I’m not there yet, and I expect I will be working through my issues for some time to come. However, my outlook toward life has greatly improved and I’m doing okay now, for an old broad.

I will catch you up on the two year lapse in future posts, but for now I want to say hello and welcome back! I even hope to get some new readers, so if you like my ramblings, please recommend me to a friend or two.

What will you have to gain by reading my blog? Well, I sincerely hope you will see an honest, sometimes blunt approach to life at my age. There’s a lot of misconception, misinformation, and down-right misguided assumptions about people of a certain age out there. I’m not just stating opinion; I have real-life experiences and facts with which to share my perspective.

An old broad’s perspective. I like it! I think I’ve found my niche, or at least a place to start! Please check back often, as I’m hoping to share every day I’m able.

Halloween – Humpf!

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Happy Halloween Eve!  The magical night of frightful fun and frolicking is nearly upon us and I must confess to being underwhelmed. I’m not even dressing up this year. I’m not EVEN turning my porch light on to summon trick-or-treaters. I’m such an old biddy just not that into it.

Get off my lawn, you little fairy princesses and shrimp-sized super heroes with your cutesy faces and your little plastic pumpkins! I swear I’ll turn the sprinklers on ya!

Where was I?  Oh yes, I suppose you are asking whatever could be my reason for excusing myself from these nationally accepted and revered holiday traditions?  Not in the mood. Hey, a girl can’t always be in the mood for sex, so why can’t that same disinterest work for Halloween?  

I have gathered a list of my top ten excuses for skipping Halloween and provided them below, for your reading enjoyment.

Read it and deal with it. Bah freakin humbug.

  1. I have a headache.
  2. I need to wash my hair.
  3. I got my period. (and after 5 years without one, it is blowing my mind)
  4. My treat will be wine. My trick will be doorbell avoidance.
  5. Chocolate doesn’t last ten minutes in my house, so there’s nothing left for the snot-nosed little goblins.
  6. I couldn’t afford candy. But if you ghosts and goblins, Wonder Women and Scooby Doos would like to leave some cash in the can near my front door, I can save up for next year. I promise.
  7. I’m thawing out the turkey for Thanksgiving.
  8. I’m entertaining a gentleman caller. Shhhh, Joan doesn’t know.
  9. I need to dance like no one’s watching. I mean No One! Not even a pint-size version of Khaleesi or John Snow.
  10. I have Kampanaphobia. Fear of Bells. Doorbells, in this case. It’s a thing. Ask not for whom the doorbell tolls, because I’m not going to answer it.

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Seriously, wishing everyone a very Happy and Safe Halloween!  

 

 

Embrace your Lazy

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Do you ever wake up and not want to make your bed? Or brush your teeth?

Or remain upright? Yea, me too.

I am lazy.

There are different types of laziness. Some people are just lazy in their dreams, meaning they think about not doing stuff, but they eventually muster up enough chutzpah to get stuff done anyway. Those people are Lazy Wannabees. They work hard for an hour or two all their lives while dreaming of retirement, a beach chair, a good book, and a pina colada containing lots of rum and one of those tiny umbrellas. Whatever gets you through the day, I suppose. My dream would include a mug of hot Bailey’s and Coffee, hold the umbrella, and park my ass in a rocking chair on the porch of a cabin in the mountains.

However, I’m probably lazier than that, so let’s press on.

Other folks might be Selectively Lazy. This type of person has no problem leaving her bed unmade, but will painstakingly brew the perfect cup of coffee, if it takes her all morning. She might leave a sink full of dirty dishes, but vacuum twice a day because it feels good to have control over a naughty, ferocious, roaring beast loud piece of heavy equipment. Actually, she might have some other issues, but we won’t go there in this post. A selectively lazy person might sit in an easy chair for hours, and not get up for food, beverage, or to use the facilities. She has either found the perfect book, is binging the latest Netflix original, or lost in thought, contemplating world domination peace. Selective laziness. It’s a thing.

I’m pretty close to being that lazy.

The next level of laziness moves beyond selective and lands right smack in the “you should be ashamed of yourself” category. This person is lazy beyond reasonable comprehension, yet still manages to somewhat contribute to society. I call this type of lazy Downhill Slide Lazy. If you fall in this category, you never make your bed. Hell, sometimes, you can’t even find your bed for all the clothes, beer bottles and pizza boxes lying around. You manage to show up for work, but you don’t smell very fresh. You wonder about that look everyone is giving you, but soon your thoughts move on to a lunch menu and how many bath room breaks you can get away with before being fired. Your love life is lacking, as well, unless you are so attractive your partner(s) can forgive the smell or your inability to provide them any stimulation other than an occasional grunt of approval.

I’m pretty sure I’m not that lazy. I have a sensitive nose. I think I’d know.

My kind of lazy can’t really be pigeonholed. Some days, I don’t make the bed. Some days, I don’t do dishes or vacuum. That vacuum cleaner holds no power over me or my dominatrix tendencies.

What?

Most of the time, I use the fact that I am retired to excuse my lack of productivity, whether it be housework or reaching my projected writing word-count goal for the day. Also, my mind wanders. I don’t like multitasking, but my brain is still recovering from a life-time of meetings, deadlines, annoying coworkers, and office potlucks. Anyone who has not yet retired will find out about this soon enough. It’s like a train going full-speed for forty years and then trying to come to a complete stop immediately. Your scrambled brain spawns laziness at this point to protect you from possible impact resulting in internal combustion and/or the zombie apocalypse, whichever concept appeals to you. This might be Preventive Laziness. No judgement. No apologies. No regrets. It’s okay.

You do you. I’ll do me.

**DISCLOSURE:  The above is only conjecture. My personal coping mechanism, if you will. Kind of like a child sucking her thumb or grasping her blankie. I need to rationalize my behavior, and then soothe my tendency to over-compensate by eating my feelings. It’s not my fault if I don’t possess the rational facts to back it all up. Not to worry, though. No animals, doctors, or therapists were harmed by this post.

But, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am still not making my bed today.

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Interview with a Warrior

Last winter, I met the most amazing man. His name is Tony Nicholson and he is my cousin. I was almost grown when he was born, so I never really got to know him when he was a child. Then we lived thousands of miles apart, and, well…time goes on. Finally, we touched base online and had an amazing connection. Tony is 49 years old, married to a lovely woman named Sherry, lives in Tennessee, and is a Cancer Warrior. His journey has been one of bravery, personal resolve, and intestinal fortitude, and I am honored to have him as my guest. Please welcome Mr. Tony Nicholson…

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Tony, when did you find out you had cancer?  Did you fall ill or find out from routine testing?

I was diagnosed the first week of January 2017. I started having some stomach issues Thanksgiving Day, 2016. The pain was bad, but I hadn’t been to a doctor in 20 years. No way was I going because of a stomach ache. By Christmas, all I could do was work and go home to bed. The day after Christmas I was pretty much bedridden. I broke down and went to the doctor a couple of days later and he and I both thought it was my gallbladder. I went for a test, my gallbladder was bad, and was scheduled for surgery for the following week. I didn’t make it that far. I was so weak and so sick I honestly thought I was going to die. I remember taking a shower so that I would be clean when they found my body.

My wife took me to the ER where they immediately took me back and started testing. The on-call doctor first suggested that I might have cancer. It was confirmed a few days later when a biopsy was performed during surgery.

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I woke up from surgery without my gallbladder, without 13″ of my colon, with a colostomy bag and when tests came back, a stage 3 cancer diagnosis. I was devastated.

How did you feel when you got the news? Did you resolve to fight right away, or was there denial before acceptance?

I was hospitalized for 13 days. Thoughts were running through my head: Am I going to die? Am I going to be a burden on my wife and family? How am I going to pay bills and keep my house if I can’t work? Thoughts also of chemo and the side effects…

I knew I had to fight to stay alive. I promised my wife, my kids, my sisters, and my baby Grandson that I would fight with all that I have. I promised my Grandson that we would go see Mickey Mouse someday. I’m determined to keep that promise.

What was the diagnosis and treatment plan?

I met with the Oncologist in my hospital room. She told me that I would require 6 months of chemo every other week. She also said that the odds were 50/50. She told me that she simply didn’t know. The cancer had spread to my lymph nodes.

How did your family and wife Sherry react to the news?

Sherry was stronger than me. She kept telling me that I was going to be okay. My family supported me the best they could. My sisters came to the hospital every day.

How long before you began chemo?  Tell me about your first chemo experience.

I started chemo on Feb 15th. I was so scared, but I was trying not to show it. They took me back and took blood, took my vitals, and after a checkup with the Oncologist, I was off to the treatment room. Sherry was by my side the entire time. We sat in the reclining chairs. I can remember asking Sherry to move an IV stand because I couldn’t see that face of hers that gives me strength.

The nurses at Tennessee Oncologists were beyond great. They calmed my nerves. They stuck a needle in my stomach about the size of a pencil. It hurt like hell, but was necessary to help control nausea. Then they ran some other anti-nausea meds through my port that was put in the week before. Then came the chemotonychemo

drugs. It was scary seeing Nurse Barbara dressed like she works at a nuclear power plant. I was holding Sherry’s hand and she kept asking if I’m okay. The entire process took almost 6 hours. I had to wear a chemo pump for 2 days after each treatment to keep giving me meds slowly over time.

Did you bond with some of your fellow cancer warriors and did you have any special care givers who made your journey easier/better along the way?

When you spend 6 hours a per day every 2 weeks in the chemo room, you get to know the staff and other patients. You become part of their lives and you let them into yours. The tough thing is getting attached, then realizing the patients have cancer just like you. I began talking to a man named Mark. Mark had colon cancer just like me, stage 3 just like me, and a colostomy bag just like me. He got his shots in the stomach and from what I could tell, had the same protocol as I did. For some reason, Mark’s chemo didn’t take and he lost his fight on Sept 11th. Could’ve been me.

Nurse Barbara stands out as far as my nurses go. She named me the “Chemodale Dancer” and made me a bow tie that made some of the other patients laugh. She also heads up the cancer support group that has helped me tremendously.

How did you come to call yourself a “warrior”?

The term “Cancer Warrior” came from a fellow cancer patient named Barry Rinks. When I was diagnosed, I reached out to him to ask about his fight, his treatments, and his outlook. Although he didn’t know me personally at all, we talked a lot about treatments and about God. He made me see that death is nothing to fear if you have God. He helped lift such a burden off me. I didn’t know at the time that Barry was so close to losing his battle. He went home to Heaven around Labor Day.

I understand your wife Sherry was your life-line and your primary care giver. How vital was she to your ultimate and overall recovery?

Sherry was/is my care giver. Without her, I would be dead or in nursing home. There is not enough time or space to tell all she has done for me. I know this seems short, but if I start listing things, it is going to be extremely long. She has kept me alive.

How many months were you in treatment? How did you cope with daily life? Did you stay home a lot or get out as much as you could?

I did chemo for 6 months. I was out of work for 3 months. The nurses at the oncologist office did a great job with my nausea. I had some but it was manageable. The fatigue, on the other hand, was awful. I had never felt so constantly run down. I couldn’t eat, drink, or touch anything cold. Trying to get the colostomy bag fixed to where it wouldn’t leak and make huge messes was a big issue. The mental part was harder for me than the physical. I had 3 months to think about my life and how I was going to make positive changes, be a better husband, father, brother, son, and grandpa. I told God if he decided to take me I’m ready, but if not, my desire is to be that man who I want to become.

I stayed at home a lot. I had to get out and take care of some things because Sherry had to work. After 3 months and against doctor’s orders, I went back to work. It was hell. They took my office job away from me while I was out and cut my pay. I was also told that if I couldn’t keep up, they didn’t need me. So, I would leave chemo and head directly back to work. Because of this, I developed blood clots in both legs and kept a barf bag on my table in case I got sick while working.

Tell me about your last day of chemo.

My last chemo treatment was on July 13th. Sherry made signs for me to hold while taking pictures. I rang the bell as I was leaving. Then I cranked up the music as myself, Nurse Barbara, another nurse, and a volunteer did The Conga up the hallway.

When and how did you get the news that you were cancer-free?

After my last treatment, I went for tests to determine the condition of my cancer. We got the tests back a week later, and the cancer was gone. My Oncologist told me during my checkup.

How are you now and what is your next step in overall recovery?

Right now, I am still battling the residual effects from the chemo. My fingers and feet are both numb and I have balance issues. I have joined a gym and can ride a stationary bike. I’m working on my weight so that I can get a colostomy reversal.

What message would you like to convey to the world regarding your journey and the fight against cancer?

If you think something is wrong with your body, then something might be. It’s better to know for sure. Go to your doctor and get checked. Please get those colonoscopies, mammograms or any other cancer detecting tests. Most insurers will pay 100% for preventive care. Everyone should get a colonoscopy before age 50 (listen up, Nicholson family!) They’re not fun, but may save your life.

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tonysherry

I would like to thank you, Tony, for sharing your story with my readers. I am sure everyone is just as thrilled as I am to know you are cancer-free and moving on toward a full, wonderful life. The world is indeed a better place with you in it!

Please leave comments for Tony below. He would enjoy hearing from you all!