Know Your Audience and Rough Patches

I’m scared today. A lot has happened over the past 8 months that has scared me and continues to do so, but this is kind of different. I’ve been presented with realities like “you have cancer”, “you have a tumour”, “you have a blood clot that must come out”, etc etc etc… No brainers basically. This is what you have and this is what we have to do to intervene at this point. No major choices to make.

First of all, let me tell you that I had a shitty week. I spent Monday through Wednesday in the Surrey Memorial Hospital emergency ward because of shortness of breath. Some other stuff happened too, I think, but Wendy would remember that better. I felt shitty, to say the least. I may have been getting pneumonia, I’m not sure. They eventually drained almost a litre of fluid from the space between my right lung and rib cage. I felt better after that and was released. That was a long, boring and somewhat traumatic 3 days. It kind of wore me out for a number of reasons. I won’t get into them at this point. I’m tired of complaining about them. Lol.

On Friday I was given a choice to make that can and will affect the rest of my life, however long that may be. Based on the tone and comments made by Dr. H., he was suggesting that I don’t have much time left (that’s where knowing your audience comes into play). He even commented on Wendy’s enthusiasm with respect to my recovery and laughed. It didn’t really sink in until after the appointment. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this in the past, but that’s a major peeve of mine when visiting specialists. They make me feel like death is right around the corner and they are here to help me get there in relative comfort. The problem is, I don’t want to die right now, and I was hoping they could help me get through this rough patch until the next one. Clearly we don’t see eye to eye.

Okay, wait a minute. I just got sidetracked. Here we go again…

On Friday I was offered a chordotomy, which involves severing a nerve in the cervical spine to eliminate pain on the right side of my body. It is a permanent procedure. There is no going back. I am apparently a good candidate for the procedure as I am in palliative care and my pain relief threshold through narcotics has been reached. Blah, blah, blah.

The reason I am scared is simple. I want to pull out of this death tailspin and get back to living, but every Doctor I see makes me feel like “this is it. The end of the ride is near and it’s time to get off.”

The chordotomy will remove the sensations for temperature and pain on the right side of my body, from the neck down. That means down my right arm as well. That means it may affect how I play the guitar. As I write this I see how stupid that sounds but it’s still really important to me. I don’t want to be in pain and I hope the procedure works, but it may mean that I won’t be able to feel guitar strings anymore. I’m not sure. The Doctor seems to think that I’ll be fine and should feel them but no one is 100% sure.

Another reason I am scared is because I can’t seem to pull out of this tailspin right now. The mental one and the physical one. I can usually pull out of the mental tailspin pretty fast. I would like to think I am mentally strong but this one is dragging on and on. I see my body melt away in the mirror and I watch the numbers on the scale go down everyday, and I have to admit I feel like my body is failing me. I get focused on that and then I can’t get back on the mental fast track. I’m finding it really hard this time around. Maybe that’s why this chordotomy thing is bugging me so much. I don’t know.

So if anyone out there has some spare mental strength they can throw my way, I would appreciate it. I’m having a really hard time right now. This has been the roughest patch so far.

15 thoughts on “Know Your Audience and Rough Patches

  1. Remain strong and focused ben. I’d get the cordotomy. The brain has amazing abilities and you’ll be able to learn how to play guitar like you did before procedure. If the cordotomy addresses the pain then you’ll be able to focus your energy on healing. Go for it ! Praying and thinking of you brother. Kal

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have strength for you. Zak, Jaime, Raegan, Mom, Dad, Barb, Lisa, Jeff, Mario, Kirby, Connie, Beth, Nancy, all your troop mates …. I could go on and on. We all have strength for you. You don’t have to borrow from us – just let us hold you up. You have been a source of strength for so many, for so long. It’s our turn now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Also… Dr. H was not laughing at my enthusiasm / optimism in the way you think. I just pointed out that you are going to get healthy on the Nivolumab (duh!) and he said he liked my enthusiasm. Remember, Dr B always says that one does not go to specialists for their optimism – just for their knowledge of how to fix you. Dr H is a ‘fixer’ of pain, not of cancer. Thats what he was trying to say. Dr. H did not mean for it to sound the way you took it. Trust me. xoxoxoxox

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  4. Ben, I know nothing about guitars other than they have stings, come in various colors and sizes and nice sounds come from them with the help of a talented musician. My money is on you playing sweet music again, better than ever, after the cordotomy because your body will be relieved of the all consuming pain. Picture yourself being pain free, playing your guitar, surrounded by your beautiful family and I bet your mental tailspin will reverse itself too. This is what I’m hoping for you.
    On another note;
    You are an extremely strong person who spent his career doing a job many of us could never imagine and could never handle, and for this I thank you. Thank you for making BC safer for all of us.
    You deserve so much better than the current hand you’ve been dealt. I’m sorry you had a lousy week. I truly hope next week is brighter.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you should listen to Wendy on this one. She is right about all the people out there who are pulling for you. Keep strong. Next week will be a better one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think about you every day Ben and how unbelievably strong you and Wendy are. I’m sending extra strength, love and positive vibes your way. Stay strong, and when you feel like you can’t, let those who care about you be strong for you. 💪🏻❤️✌🏻️

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  7. Ben; I feel that my writing to you about strength is like Cupid’s son, Bliss counseling Hercules before his twelve labours. But if I were Bliss, I would tell Hercules that in times of doubt he should listen to the counsel of those he trusts most.

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  8. Ben, I am so sorry that you have had such a crappy week. I agree with Wendy and your friends who have posted that the cordotomy will give you the pain relief and strength to focus on healing. I too believe that playing the guitar will happen for you as well. My bet is on nivolumab to kick cancer in the ass. You deserve and I BELIEVE that positive changes are just around the corner. Love, prayers and strength are being sent your way to you Wendy and the kids from coast to coast. We love you!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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  9. You can do it Ben!! Rough patches are to be expected but it’s just a “patch” …things will turn around!! Listen to The Bride!! Your Bride!! I’m thinking positive thoughts and praying for you!! Xo

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ben,

    I don’t know how to give you the strength to continue to fight what may seem to be an insurmountable battle. What I do know is you need only ask and we will be by your side.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think about you and your family daily, your children, that they stay strong, your wife (SHE IS AMAZING) and YOU…omg you, my body actually hurts when I read posts such as these, I BELIEVE in miracles, they happen everyday, the power of positive thinking and LOVE…LOVE (and you obviously had an abundance of that in your world) you CAN beat this !!! Anything is possible! I thank you for continuing to blog, even when you just want to curl up into a ball, you all inspire me. I will continue to think positive and pray !

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Ben, you WILL pull out of this mental tailspin, the cordotomy WILL work and the Nevulomab IS killing those nasty f’ing cancer cells as we speak. I don’t know a lot about the cordotomy, but I do know the nerve pathways for touch are different than for pain and temperature SO, guitar playing WILL be in your very near future. I’m so sorry your week has been the shits. I’m praying for you to be pain free after this procedure.
    Sending all my strength and lots of love your way. xo

    Liked by 1 person

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