Friday, April 29, 2011

Paula Poundstone and the Goblet of Methadone

My wife, my nurse, my mother and, in her own subtle way, even my dog are trying to convince me to up the amount of methadone I take on a daily basis. I'm reluctant and fighting it harder than Donald Trump in line at Walgreen's for the last can of hair-spray.

I've shared that the "screening interview" we went through a couple weeks ago for Medicaid affected and hit me pretty hard. It put my situation and mortality into an all-to-clear focus. While my experience with chemo and other treatments for my cancer included some ups along with the downs. Hospice and the treatment I'm now receiving won't involve a lot of, if any, ups. My "ups" are a thing of the past. At least... physically.

There are still moments, sometimes hours, of great joy. I am still, with the help of God, my wife, friends and family, able to choose joy in many situations. It's just that sometimes it's less a choice and more a forced perspective. (Wow. Never imagined I'd use a phrase like "forced perspective" so incorrectly. But I did it. And I did it well.) My joy is now, more often than not, a forced perspective. Granted, that's not the "choose joy" motto I've struggled for, for so long. But it is joy. These days, with these pains, I'll take what I can get.

My methadone prescription has stayed right where it's at. We have received approval from my oncologist to raise the dose. I've just refused it thus far. Thankfully, Kristin, who has always remained true to her word to me, has agreed not to up the dose without my permission. Why would I choose to suffer through the pain I now bear of this cancer eating away, or through, the lining of my liver? Why? When I have available drugs to stop or, at the very least, dull the pain?

I have explained in the past that the longer I go without the drugs now, the more opportunities I'll have for moments of lucidity later. As I reach the end, the less drugs I've consumed now will mean the lesser drugs (I hope) that I'll need to consume then. The hope is that these choices will leave me more lucid in the end and give me the opportunities to communicate, at least to understand, with my wife, family, friends and, most of all, my God.

But now there is a new reason. Since the "screening interviews" which have forced me to see with a clearer reality how close and fast my end approaches, I have experienced a much higher level of depression. So while I attempt to choose joy or live with the new "forced perspective" there is another new problem I face. For the first time in year... The first time since I was last suicidal back in 2006... I want to be drugged. I want to be done with this and just go to sleep. I'm not ready to die yet. I'm not ready to say, "Goodbye." But there is a part of me that no longer wants to struggle. That part, for whom that raised level of methadone sounds like a waiting angel, is not concerned with covering the physical pain so much as just closing all the drapes and turning off the lights. It's not time for that yet. So, since I'm aware it's not time to turn off the lights, my need to turn them off is not the wisest decision, nor the healthiest.

Probably late into next week, as early as Wednesday or as late... well... as late as I can push it... I will have to up that dose. The pain is now at a point where I'm having trouble facing it each day. It's higher than I should have let it go already. Soon I will choose the higher dose. Then I will fade a little further into the background... or the fore-ground. Depending on how you view your ground.

But right now I still have a Princess. She still reaches out her hand and is willing to walk through this magical rabbit-hole with me. I just want those moments with her for as long as I can have them. I want to see her eyes and know what they say without a word for as long as I may.

Please help me. The more I know that some of you are still "choosing joy", the more I can endure my new "forced perspective". The more I feel like this blog, or even those little purple bracelets, somehow help you... The more I can find the courage that I need on this last crusade.

I'm going to continue to find times and places to get out of the house. Mostly time with Kristin. But as many moments as I can receive or make happen. Tonight, with much thanks to some friends, I'll be going to see Paula Poundstone. I probably shouldn't. I know the pain will be unbearable about twenty minutes in. (No, not because of her comedy. I actually think she's very good.) I'm going to try to do what I can, when I can.

You may have noticed I've posted less as of late. I have less urge to post. Thank you for reading. One day, sooner than I'd like, I'll probably be posting a goodbye. I want to do that while I can. I want to say all my goodbye's and thankyou's before the doses on my medication reach that point where I'm just not me any more.

Thank you for your help. Your prayers, your encouragement, keep me as focused as I can be. Hmm... I've gone and babbled again. I guess you should get more and more used to that. Or not. We'll see where the drugs lead.


Ronnie said...

I love my "choose Joy" bracelets, I pass them out whenever I can ~ along with your story. The recipient of the bracelet always feels special that I have shared YOU with them. Just like the people I give the bracelets to, I have never met you ~ and I won't this time around. You have made a difference in my life. I will never be the same.
You're a good man, Aaron. I love you.

Lisa said...

Thanks once again for your honesty, Aaron. Your blogging is an inspiration in several different ways. Praying tonight.

singeraprildawn said...

On the topic of "choosing joy..."

My husband and I found out I'm pregnant last Sunday. We had a really rough week...we're not in a position to have a baby right now. FInancially, it's a TERRIBLE idea. Emotionally, we're both still young and so not ready for a child. Physically, I'm worried that I won't be able to handle the strain of a pregnancy. At first, we came to the conclusion that an abortion was really the best choice for us. Neither of us was happy with the week went on, I came to realize I just couldn't do it. We've decided we're going to keep it...maybe we'll give it up for adoption, but that is still up in the air. For now, though...I'm terrified and ridiculously happy all at the same time.

You are in our thoughts and prayers every day.


Jeanne Gibson said...

Aaron, hope you got to enjoy your evening out. Still praying for you and thanking you for being an example of courage to us all. We are praying for you. No matter what, God is still on the throne.

Aaron/Amy said...

Hi Aaron. I was childhood friends with Kristin. I have only been able to meet you once, but my perspective has changed reading what you and Kristin are going through. My heart aches for you both.
Last year, I was misdiagnosed as having "the flew".I almost died from Mastitis and was hospitalized for 4 days. This year, I went into premature labor at 11weeks and lost my baby.
I was first trying to understand why I'm going through this. Now I see, God's plan for my life is sharing with others, their pain,hurt,sorrow,the feeling of I can't or I don't know how to deal with this.
What do I do with this pain? These experiences have thought me to be open-hearted and listen.
I will pray your pain level is lowered. I pray for peace for you and Kristin to enjoy every last minute together. The best thing is knowing we will all see each other soon in Heaven. Jesus is coming quickly!

Stephen said...

Aaron, thank you for taking your time to remind me and others to "Choose Joy." It's one of the few things that we can control in this uncontrollable world, and it's an important and affirming message. It's really worth sharing.

May God hold you and Kristen close to Him.


missy said...

I love you. I don't know you or your wife but I love you both.
I was lucky with my cancer, and have many-many more years with my hubby. My heart aches for your wife, and for you.
God bless... You're in my thoughts everyday and you have given me strength during my journey.

Katy said...

You do not know me; I do not know you. But I've been reading your blog since last fall. You inspire me... completely. The fact that whenever I check your blog you usually have a new post... The brutal honesty you choose to share with others, even strangers like me. Your commitment to choose joy even when you have to ask for reinforcement of that goal. You, Aaron, have touched my life and I have never met you, I have a different belief system than you do, and we will never really know each other. But your struggle and the way that you have chosen to handle it has given me a renewed perspective on humanity. Much love to you and yours and thank you for your words. I wish you the peace which passeth understanding...