November 8, 2010

Four days of Good!

Oh oh, I have been feeling good and forgot to update the blog and say that!  My brother called to tell me that he thought it might be nice to talk about the good days instead of only the bad days…and he is right. 
The last four days have been really good for me. I am very grateful for that.  Because my chemotherapy that was scheduled for last Thursday was moved out one week, I have had an extra week for the old body to rebuild.  Lab tests Friday confirm that all is well with the blood again after the last chemo thrashing.  And I feel like it!  With the exception of some expected slight weakness, I loved feeling like my ol’ self these four days!  My spirit is back up where it needs to be to whip this cancer, thank goodness.
So - I did some things I have been longing to do for weeks and weeks.
Saturday, I got up ugly-early and dragged Lieska out of bed.  I drove us out to Irvine Lake, the place where I annually recharge my batteries after 30+ weekends of Amateur Radio conventions, shows, and gatherings for my employer, Yaesu. We had breakfast at the old fashion grill inside the tackle shop, renewed old friendships with the lake crew who know me by the nickname “Trout-manic” and then took a walk out by the lake to breath in all those special smells and sights.
This lake is only about 30 minutes from where I live but a great Trout lake with regular fish caught weighing in over 10 lbs. I have fished this beautiful lake hard for 3 winters now and know a lot of the hot spots and little secrets needed to have a good chance at getting my five fish limit. Forever bitten with a competitive spirit, I enter as many Trout fishing tournaments as I can each year. My goal is to win as much money and prizes as possible to offset the money I spend on gate fees, bait, breakfast burritos, and boat rentals. So far, I have only once taken in enough to equal the outgoing…not bad...its almost like getting paid to go fishing to relax!
I start my chemotherapy again this Thursday so I am planning on going out to the lake Wednesday morning about 4AM to be up front in the line waiting at the gate when 6AM rolls around to let us in to go to our favor spots.  Because of the cancer chemo treatment, I am apparently way sensitive to the sun. That means I will have to get my line in the water and catch my limit before about 9A when I will have to call it a day out in the good outdoors…sigh.  That’s okay, just being out there doing something that was a normal part of my life before the cancer is going to be a BIG up for me!
Sunday, I got into my travel hard-side suitcases to dig out some of my ham gear.  There was an Amateur Radio competition taking place that has been a part of me since 1962; the year I received my first FCC license to operate in the ham bands.  This competition is called Sweepstakes and is a Morse code event; my favorite type of radio competition. I won the Novice (newbie) category in ’62 and have enjoyed competing in this event as often as possible ever since.  Outside antennas are not allowed in the community I am living so I assembled an antenna I keep for emergencies.  It looks like a stick of aluminum. I put it on a plastic lawn chair and leaned it against a piece of the patio wood.  Not much of an antenna but enough for what I had in mind. It was great fun tuning the bands searching for my many competition buddies…I found about 100 of them in the few short hours I was able to sit down.  Some of these people go back over 40 years with me! Many of them seemed to know about the cancer and took time out of the high pressure stress of competition to wish me well and chat for a few moments.  Whew - their words really touched me in a big way and got some of that water running from the eyes again.  Life is so great that it can allow a couple guys to say to each other stuff like, “Love ya, Man” over shortwave radio for the world to hear…and care less what anyone thinks.  Love you, too, Guys!  I want to live past this cancer and I want to enjoy more camaraderie and continue the fun with you for years and years to come.  Thanks for the taste of why I need to hang in through this. 
And, God, thanks for putting me together in a way that allows me to get out of myself long enough to feel such incredibly strong emotions and appreciate the courage and humility to admit it.