The Update

So to resurrect the blog, I guess I’ll do a little update. As most of you reading this blog already know, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma just after Thanksgiving. Large B cell NHL to be specific. Stage 4, throughout my abdomen. Spent ~30 days in the hospital, some in Okinawa, most at Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu, Hi. It was pretty much the suckiest time ever. I have spent the better part of the past 5 years working in a hospital, and I love it, but 30 days as a patient is a whole different ball game.

As a nurse, I understand most of the medical lingo, doctor speak, procedures, etc. As a patient, I was still scared as hell. Understanding a procedure doesn’t hurt, the biopsy needle in your back does. And waiting on results, well, let’s just say that’s no fun either. I can’t describe the feeling you get when the Oncologist is there telling you that it’s cancer. It’s pretty close to the feeling I had when the Family Practice doc told me I had Pancreatic Cancer. Yeah, I’m a guy, but I have to say it was real hard not to cry. I mean, what the hell do you say to that? Cancer. Really. At 36. Really?

The good news is that I made it through so far with no significant complications (if you don’t count the week in the ICU with borderline kidney failure AKA: Tumor Lysis Syndrome). The most difficult thing has been figuring out the military side of all this. We knew we were going to end up in San Diego, just not when. Turns out we left the Tuesday before Christmas. We are still waiting on orders to be here permanently. Looks like I will get temporary limited duty orders until I get better. Pretty crappy don’t you think, makes me think they don’t think I’ll get better. Oh well, just have to prove them wrong. On a positive note, we have managed to get into housing, buy a car, and get a small amount of house stuff together to make this somewhat livable until our stuff gets here from Japan. And So Cal is pretty nice. I’m not sure I’ve seen a cloud since I’ve been here. 70 during the day, 50 at night. Not bad for January.

Chemo is going well. The first round almost killed me (or at least I thought so). The second round wasn’t so bad. The first time around I had a reaction to one of the chemo meds, heavy duty nausea, and 4 days in the fetal position. This time, I went to the gym on day 2. I wasn’t exactly bringing down the house, but it’s an upgrade. I hope the next 4 rounds go this well. Maybe I can still catch a marathon this year.

Before I go, I want to say a special thanks to a few folks. #1 is my family. Cancer doesn’t just suck for me, it sucks for the whole family. Angela and Hannah have been awesome throughout this whole ordeal. I’m not sure I would be handling it so well. I am blessed for sure. #2 is my parents and extended family. You guys are wonderful. #3 are all of the folks who have helped us out through this process, namely Jeff Petitt, Shelley Perkins, Colby O’Quin, and Bill Wiegmann. If not for these guys (especially Jeff), I’m not sure where we would be. Thank you guys for taking care of the Okinawa end of this. There will always be a cold margarita waiting on my deck for you guys. #4 but certainly not least, I would like to thank the following people: the Hinkle family, Kroger family, Bolling family, House family, O’Quin family, Oliver Mattoon, Maria Yamzon, and Sandra Berg for your donations. Next time I see you guys, it’s on me. I can only hope it won’t be that long until I can make good on that promise.

So that’s the update. Cancer, chemo, San Diego. If you would have told me all of this on Nov 1, I would have been very skeptical. I guess it just goes to show, you never know what’s just around the corner. Until the next installment…


6 Comments on “The Update”

  1. Monica Laramore says:

    Praying for you and your family. Don’t give up the fight. God bless you.

    • Liz Kroger says:

      Thanks for the shout out! We miss you like crazy over here but know you’re in good hands with Angela and Hannah. Please keep the updates coming.

  2. shannon Jones says:

    I just want to say you are such a strong man. I will keep prayers going for you and your family. Take care

  3. Yong Daniel says:

    Thanks Don for the update. I’m glad you all made it to beautiful SD safely. I will continue to be praying for you and your family. Stay strong and if there is anything you want or need, please let me know. We miss you here in Okinawa.

  4. Kathy Smith says:

    There are no words more terrifying for a mother, father, wife, or husband to hear than the ones you heard…cancer. I have to give God the praise that it was found in time to treat and for your healing. You have so many people praying for you and sending up love and support. I am very proud of you and will be here for you any time.

  5. Don, I’m so happy I found your blog after the mentioning from Weigmann. I’ll have to share it with Colby. I’m sure he’ll be flattered that he was mentioned. I know he does most of the talking when he calls you, but I try to get updates from him as much as possible (man of many words, you know). We are both so happy you are in good spirits and doing better…it is definitely difficult to be in a bad mood in San Diego. We are looking forward to visiting you and we talk about it often when that might happen. We are always looking for an excuse to go to SD. I do believe there is a golf game in the plans. Much love to you, Angela, and Hannah! Again…let us know if we can do anything for you! Keep your head up, my friend. If anyone can fight off those “crappy” cancer cells, it is you..we are all pulling for you!
    xoxo Maggie

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