Alcohol = Body Pain…

God Bless the Internet (sometimes)

Alcohol consumption does many things to the human body. One of your ancestors explained it thus:  

Macduff: What three things does drink especially promote?  

Porter: Marry sir, nose-painting, sleep, and urine.

Lechery, sir it     provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance…           Macbeth (Act2 scene 3)

However this Porter did not have the benefit of the internet and 21st Century science. Alcohol inhibits the pituitary secretion of ADH ( Alcohol Dehydrogenase ) which acts on the kidney to reabsorb water. Alcohol acts on the hypothalamus/pituitary to reduce the circulating levels of ADH. When ADH levels drop, the kidneys do not reabsorb as much water; consequently, the kidneys produce more urine. You also retain fluid which in turn can collect in the joints and increase the pain level. Alcohol also is known to increase the retention of purines and the metabolic end product of purines is uric acid. An increase of uric acid is what causes gout or in your case, possibly, gouty symptoms. I do not advise that everyone jump on the wagon, if that happened I’d be out of a job. I would advise that you consult with your doctor and do some homework on ADH and gout, in the mean time have Larry get you an ice cold O’Doules and enjoy the game. — JDShine

And another thing…

What does it mean if your joints hurt when you drink beer?  

Certain food or drink can be a trigger for arthritis pain.  Besides the obvious (DONT DRINK BEER), I would consult a Rheumatologist.  A Rheumatologist is best equipped to diagnose and treat the over 170 different diseases that fall under the general heading of arthritis. Char “Remember, I’m pulling for ya’.  We’re all in this together.”  Red Green

(I have to reschedule my visit to the Rheumatologist by the way)

I have had bouts of recurring pain since I was done with the chemo in 2007. Some bouts have been really, really, really bad, much like the bone pain I had on a regular basis during my treatments. I received a shot of Neulasta the day after chemo, to boost white cell production. The bone pain experienced then was excruciating at times. My Onc told me to take Tylenol, yeah right. More than a few times did I need to take a Percocet in order to sleep. When I told my Onc about the recurring pain he looked at me like I had 3 heads. So I dropped it.

Anyway, 3 years later I still have these occasional flare ups that ruin a week of my life at a time. But according to my wife I have not had a problem since the last time I had a beer. (went out for a friends birthday in January) it’s been a good 5 months…This past thursday after a really crappy day at work I had two beers. (Coors Light)…no big deal. Had another one the next night. Still no big deal…

On Saturday of this same week we were celebrating my wife’s birthday and my 3 years in Remission with some friends at a local restaurant/pub and I had 3 beers and a shot that night. I drank 1 Black and Tan and 2 Black and Blues. And the shot was Cafe Patron…got a little buzzed but that was it.

By Sunday evening my bones were making noise like they often do, but fairly loudly. Enough for Dawn to hear them. Shoulders, Knees, Wrists, (today ankles) lower back, all hurt. That’s when Dawn and I put together that the noise my bones often make hadn’t been heard in some time.

Just prior to connecting the dots on this we had read another friends account of similar pain issues/possible auto immune issues/previous cancer experience (minus the chemo) and I think she mentioned cutting out alcohol and it occurred to me that I had not had a drink in a while and had felt just fine for a long time.

Not thinking at all that alcohol had anything to do with it. But it appears to have everything to do with it… File this under: “Food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food”, I am poorly quoting Hippocrates here. Unfortunately our food is going to kill us, I figure the Barley or Wheat in the beer is responsible for inflammation and then the arthritis pain that follows.

According to what I found on the web (see above) Kidney/Chemical response or inhibition there of has a lot to do with it and my having only ONE kidney probably has everything else do with my personal response to alcohol as well. I cut back to begin with because I don’t want to continue to stress it out. (see previous posts about Adrenal Fatigue) …but now that I know beer (or whatever is in beer) causes a negative reaction I will have to stop drinking beer.

BUT…in the time between flare ups (January to May) I had tried O’Douls. Just because I had developed a taste for beer after our trip to Milwaukee last year and I noticed I had NO PAIN with the O’Douls.

So it’s more alcohol than what’s in the beer. Right? O’Douls is non-alcoholic and I was happy with it as an alternative.

I know about as much now as I did before I sat down to write this post. Damn Internet.

So it seems further experiments may be needed…Wine doesn’t affect me this way. I understand the dehydration issue but to have pain for several days in a row? All bone related and severe at times?

Can’t just be dehydration…but the similarities to our other friend who also has this pain and had NHL stop here. She didn’t get chemo, I did. I was blaming all of this as fallout from chemo.

 Now I’m not so sure.

I hate trying to figure this out. Next stop has to be a Rheumatologist. We’ll see what that yields.

…Oh yeah, my wife just reminded me, before I was treated for the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma I had a beer or two when grilling (prior to 2006) and never had bone pain of any kind regardless of the explanation above I found on the web this morning. So I still can’t tie this together but human nature wants me to.

-Be well.

Remission Day 2010

This morning as I post this I am waiting for the sun to meet me. Seems to be an overcast kind of day. Not much sun at this hour.

It’s just getting lighter out. 

For the 3rd year in a row on May 18th I have gotten up to meet the sun, today is the anniversary (if you will) of the day I was informed the chemo had worked and the CT scan to check for any remaining cancer found none.

NED (No Evidence of Disease) has been my status since 5/18/2007 and after 3 years of looking for it via PET/CT scans and check ups etc my Onc recently let me off the hook. We are no longer “looking for it” and life moves again.

This morning the only thing meeting me because the sun is not are the birds, I hear the birds chatting up a storm this morning. I have my coffee in a new mug purchased in Orlando having been to Disney this past week, sitting in shorts and a t-shirt listening to the birds “talking” amongst themselves  as the day dawns.

It’s otherwise very quiet at this hour. The world outside my town house is quiet, no one moving, no cars, no people, no dogs. Just me, my coffee and the Birds.

I sit here and think about “What If” not in a morbid way but reality being what it is, you know What If…?

What if the Kidney cancer had metastasized? or the Lymphoma was more aggressive?

The answer is: I wouldn’t be here typing this post right now. I know what the odds are (or were) and none of this is lost on me. I’m still here by the Grace of God, science and chemistry.

But the point is, I am still here. 

I am still here to love everyday even for the mundane tasks, still here to watch my kids grow up, to love my wife another day (and argue if necessary) I’m still here to remember Steve who passed away a year and a half ago and it still feels like a punch in the gut every time I think about him.

I’m still here to dwell on why.

I’m still here to remember the people we know we have lost to cancer who don’t have the option of drinking coffee on their front porch listening to the birds chirp this morning.

I’m still here in some sense still estranged from my family but aware of my mother’s condition, thinking about a man from California I never met who lost his battle with Kidney cancer and went on to be with the Lord. I read his wife’s blog almost everyday. We are friends on facebook and I think about her a lot too. She is still here, living with out him now and how my wife (to certain point) understands what she feels.

My wife felt the pain of knowing how fast this could unravel and entertained the “What If.”  

Realistically having to ask: What if the cancer didn’t respond to the chemo? What if I died on the table in surgery? What if the kidney cancer has spread? What if she ended up a window with 2 kids under the age of ten? All very real possibilities. At the time these questions had to be asked and considered, by both of us. (as far as I know we asked and considered these questions by ourselves, internally. Everything happened so fast we never really talked about all of it or any of it.) IT JUST WAS.

Unfortunately my facebook friend in California  knows exactly what that “What if” feels like…and my heart goes out to her every single day.

The spouses who have wrestled with the same questions, whether with their cancer afflicted mates or internally…have all grappled with the possibility of death after a cancer diagnosis. My heart aches for the afflicted as well as the spouse who was thrust into the unforgiving role of “care giver” and for them it’s an almost thankless job because the spot light is always on the survivor.

Well, we (the survivors) know who held our hands in the infusion room, who we said goodbye to as we were wheeled into surgery. We know who the UNSUNG heroes were beside us as we dealt with the physical and emotional sides of cancer, our wives/husbands/family members dealt with their own emotional anguish when dealing with the cancer that was forced into their lives too. It screws up the whole house and turns life upside down in a split second, everything changes. Forever.

Today is 3 solid years of Remission. No cancer to be found. No Evidence of Disease. Amen.

I celebrate with the birds (and the sun behind the clouds) and will go to work and do all the usual mundane Tuesday things that need to be done today and unlike many who might see today as just another day in the week, I see it as a marker that I am still here. The Cancer didn’t win and even doing the everyday mundane is an adventure.

Because I continue to dwell on what if

Some people might think I shouldn’t think about what if and enjoy my life from here forward. I do. I am continuing to live but I can’t help but think about how close I came to not being able to think “What If”

What if keeps me aware.

My scars are reminders of What If.

I think What If is the only way I can look at life right now, thru the chemo stained lenses of my journey from December 19th 2006 until July 3rd 2007.

May 18th 2007 was part of my journey to where I am this morning. 

Today is May 18,  2010: NED 3 years and counting…

 

Be well, Scotty

I dream of backyards and swing sets….

1. All good things must end.

2. Everything tastes like chicken.

3. Life sucks (then you die).

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Mistakes, I’ve made a few. Regrets, I have those too. I took a chance, I knew better, fell thru the cracks and screwed up. Hurts too much, lets dance!

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Hell truly hath no fury…

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There is no room to grow, we’ve gone as far as we can go. It’s all down hill from here.

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Maybe we tried too hard. Maybe we didn’t try hard enough.

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We loved each other for a lifetime, one night.

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Love is an adventure. It’s always twinged with just enough sadness even in the good times because we know the good times don’t last, but we take the risk anyway.

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It’s nothing personal, just life got in the way. I’ll miss you, I’ll think of you all the time. It’s nothing personal, that’s how life works. We all have to answer to someone else. Can’t look back, never look back.

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Just because your family…

It’s not going to work out between you and me in this life. See you “on the other side”, maybe we’ll get along again then.

Just because we are family doesn’t mean I have to like you.

In fact I don’t like you. I never have. Things have to better on the other side, otherwise we’re all fucked.

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I’m trying to make it all fit, the clutter gets too deep. I can’t see past it, less is more, more or less. Try as I might I can’t escape, I’m in too deep. You stole my heart when I wasn’t looking. Life moved on…

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I love the smallness of your feet. The way your hand fits in mine. The sparkle in your eye. The way I make you laugh…

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The ritual of coffee…?

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I have no idea what I am doing anymore. That’s all I’ve got. Maybe I need something symbolic to happen, something HUGE to redefine who I am. I need to acknowledge what has affected me as a human being. I need to get past the pain and hurt that being a part of this family amounts to. I need to start over again.

 I need a new beginning. Something to signal a re-birth.

Burn something down or blow something up.

I need to put the past behind me. Just can’t seem to do that.

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I need some decent karma. Not even “good” karma, I’ll take decent half good or gently used karma. I need to start somewhere.  Anything.

Maybe I need to let the person I wanted to be die off with my youth. Why am I holding on to this ghost of myself? I need to embrace who I am today. Where I am in my life. I can’t do much about the life I didn’t get to lead…

I have a lot of unresolved shit with my parents and my church up-bringing and the “christians” I shared 16 years of Sunday and Wednesday services with who are not in my life in any way shape or form…they weren’t in my life when I was in the middle of chemo and they represent the absolute worst in human nature. The Pentecostal church really screwed my life up. I’m not blaming Jesus. It’s the lemmings in the Assemblies of God churches who damaged me.

Doctrine be damned. Worst thing you can do to a 10-year-old mind is jam elitist bull shit church propaganda into it.

But I digress…

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This is me at mid-life. Hey Now! Guess I have to get used to it.  

10 years in this house and except for our son being born here NOTHING good has come of this place. Maybe this place was cursed. It’s time to move.

Came here with a 3 month old. 2 years later I was laid off, spent a year looking for work. Found low paying jobs and started working for bennies. My wife starts working from home and making some OK money. I get cancer. She loses her last client the month I start chemo. We spiral into major debt. Fall to welfare. Social services and the extreme kindness of strangers. 3 years later after bankruptcy and uncertain mortgage issues we are till being harassed by condo management association and it continues to get worse…

Life never lets up. This place has been a blight on our lives. We are not taking it anymore. Fuck you and your birthday! “DONNA” you know who you are!

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The 40-year-old me wishes I could have a short conversation with the 20-year-old me. The things I could pass on and warn myself about. What a difference a life makes. Never expected to not get a fair shot at the American dream. Maybe I did, but life kept blocking my shot.

All I want is a warm dry place for my kids to sleep and food in our bellies. A small back yard we can call our own would be nice. I never thought life would be this hard sometimes. I was a stupid kid who thought it would all work out. No bumps in the road, no detours, no bullshit, no cancer.

It took ONE disease. A major disease at that, but Renal Cell Carcinoma and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma fucked up my plans. My dreams. This was supposed to be our “STARTER” home. We moved here with one kid, about 4 years into our marriage just looking to take the next step. Put down some roots, have another kid (or two) we entertained the thought of 3 at one time. My wife wanted to be in one place for a minimum of TEN years. (her parents moved around A LOT when she was a kid) …so we settled in.

We ran into trouble right away and life kept piling on the shit.

Eventually cancer showed up and wrecked everything. We survived it and live in spite of it, everyday. But the damage has been done. We need to pick up the pieces and put life back together, but not without some cost.

My hopes and dreams of that house with the nice back yard and the swing set are just out of my reach.

I drive past people’s houses sometimes and admire the landscaping and the swing set I can see in the back yard and my heart literally aches. Not entirely for me but for my family. My children especially. I want that for them. I don’t want them to live in fear of illness stripping you of everything you have, want and dream about. I don’t want them to wonder if they can call the house we do have “home” tomorrow or not.

It’s a private pain I struggle with all the time. I feel like I am stealing other people’s good fortune when I envy the lives they have established with all the bells and whistles that come with it. I’m not talking about the oversized TVs and one too many cars in the driveway. I am a simple guy. I just want a place I can feel secure in. A place I can call ours.

I havent felt secure about anything (work, life, home or health) since December 2006.

I know that the people whose good fortune I envy is hard-won and worked for by them too. I’m not discounting their efforts for what they have. I just want a fair shot at it too.

Maybe I had a fair shot before cancer. But I damn well didn’t have a fair shot after cancer. Life keeps taking that away.

I can’t take it sometimes.

Sometimes I wish I was a rock. 

Life as rock has got to be pretty simple.

I’ll let you know, if I ever find out. In the meantime I will keep moving, that’s all I can do. If I stop moving life is gonna take me out. I know it.

We all have a number. I came close to having that number called in 2006…I was “Lucky” that is not lost on me either.

But I’m still here, currently rebuilding. One of these days I will get to scream FUCK YOU back at life and it won’t strike back.

…I try and whisper that everyday. I whisper so Life thinks it heard something but can’t be sure.

*fuck you life.  hey life, fuck you…you’re mother’s a whore did I ever tell you that?*

Be well.

-Scotty