2012 in mykesworld – a review

So 2012 was a rather tumultuous year here in mykesworld, with both amazing highs and mind numbingly painful lows.  I went from an incredible year of two successful tours as a musician, recording two CDs worth of music to cancer rearing its ugly head again in the lives of DH and I and my day job rapidly going south due to organizational changes.

To quote a good friend in Florida, the latter half of 2012 was chock-full of FOG (Fucking Opportunities for Growth).

Things I’ve learned or had reinforced for me this year.

  • When life is going well for you, take time to relish and enjoy the ride, because you never know when your fortunes may change.
  • In times of crisis, you truly find out who your true friends and family are.
  • That more times than not, my Wiccan, Jewish and Atheist friends behave in a more “Christ-like” and compassionate manner than many of my Christian acquaintances (sorry folks, this particular truth may hurt, but you really should try practicing what you preach).
  • Closed minds often come with open mouths.
  • That my bottling up things that bother me, is harmful to only one person:  me!  I’m not going to keep things inside anymore, if they are eating me up inside, they are hurting me.
  • I cannot take on or accept anyone else’s bullshit as my own any more.  If you’re crapping on me, I’m going to tell you and also tell you to stop.
  • That as a small business operator, follow through is highly important.  Particularly if you feel that you would not be the best option for a potential client.  After two meetings to engage a local business to assist me in taking my music and entertainment business further, providing them with samples of my work, including some unreleased stuff – I’ve heard nothing.  Not even a reply to my mea culpa letter thanking them for their time.  For this reason alone, I will never be able to recommend their services to other potential clients.
  • That empty slogans and catchy marketing campaigns are meaningless unless they are backed up with positive action, hard work and follow through.
  • That medical treatment available to us in Ontario can either be top notch or the bare minimum.  As a taxpayer, I’m not going to accept the bare minimum when it comes to having my loved ones cared for.
  • While you can polish and dress up a turd all you want, it’ll still be a turd.
  • Music IS the best!
  •  I have an incredible group of friends, neighbours and family who are there for me and that I shouldn’t be afraid to fall into their open arms when I need to.  For this, I am grateful and truly thankful.

happy freaking holidays from mykesworld

Dear friends, family and readers,

It’s hard to believe another year has passed in mykesworld, however it has indeed!  And what a year it has been!

Let’s start with the excrement hitting the ventilation last Christmas Day when due to a comment made by a relative, my family was pretty much irrevocably split apart and the chances of any “full family” gatherings dashed for good.  What was supposed to be a lovely couple of days for DH and I at my parents’ turned into a sullen and quiet ride home on Christmas night.

Followed by a trip on the GO train to my parents’ where I had to open up about some ugly things in my past I had hoped to keep them sheltered from and how I am trying to be a better person despite how fucked up I am.

Let’s just say after those few days, I had seriously high hopes for a happier New Year!

And what a New Year it was, I finally had made quite a bit of headway in finishing off the writing and getting a good chunk of recording done on my first CD as a solo artist.  I had a direction inspired by a wonderful work of art by a local Hamilton artist and had even begun to think about how I could produce and distribute this work that was undeniably “me”.

Balderdash and Humbug also were in the studio to record the follow up to Jest In Time For Christmas and it’s a good one, just requiring one final piece (a solo piece by yours truly) and mastering.  We even had a release date scheduled and party arranged.

Work was going well and I was thriving on a compressed work schedule – four days a week, 10 hours a day with Wednesdays off.  I had settled into a healthy groove and had my case load under control, essentially getting a mid-weekend, where I could focus on life, art and my love, DH.

We also had incredibly happy news in that DH had secured the contract to portray the man in the red suit at the Toronto Eaton Center during the holiday season, in order to handle Skype with Santa and Storytime with Santa duties.  He was ecstatic and greatly looking forward to being able to share the joy and spread the spirit throughout November and December.

However this was all scuttled in late June by the insidious disease cancer.

In late June, DH began experiencing an incredible amount of itching which our family doctor initially thought was due to an allergic reaction.  However after two weeks of excruciating and increasing discomfort, they ran blood tests and noted that his liver (the transplant organ) seemed to be failing and he was going into organ rejection.  He was admitted to the hospital where it was determined that the liver was failing due to a blocked bile duct.

During the surgery to relieve the blockage, the bad news came, the blockage was a tumour and it was cancerous.

Further surgery was required and the surgery planned was a brutal operation that will remove the bile duct, part of DH pancreas and part of his stomach.  If you want to learn more, look up “Whipple Procedure” and try not to shudder too much.

The surgery was scheduled for September 19th (precisely 3 days before the Balderdash and Humbug CD release) and we started planning for whatever the outcome would be.  I cancelled the CD release so I could focus on being there for DH and requested I be returned to a regular work schedule so I can focus on life at home and get into a regular groove, especially noting I was spending a LOT of time in Toronto.

DH spent two weeks in Toronto General Hospital in July and 10 days there in September.  I have nothing but praise for these people for making his stay as pleasant and trauma-free for both of us as possible.  This is where I also re-thank the folks who have blessed us with their love and support throughout both ordeals.  We settled into a tenuous pattern of sorts, awaiting the next step.

Let’s get this out of the way:  it was pancreatic cancer and we were lucky it was caught so soon as if it had moved into the pancreas, the prognosis would have been far worse than the hand we were dealt.  However chemotherapy was inevitable and his plans to work November and December were not going to happen.  For two reasons:  he was losing weight like nobody’s business and his energy and stamina were going to be unpredictable due to chemotherapy.

Prior to him exhibiting signs of illness, DH weighed 220 lbs.  As of this date, he weighs 138lbs, which on his frame of 6 feet, 3 inches is positively emaciated.  His energy levels are rough and unpredictable, often requiring a nap in the afternoon, not to mention requiring to stop all activities on Tuesday afternoons until Thursday or so for his chemo treatments and the subsequent illness and general crummy feelings.  In other words, he’s hardly jolly and plump looking or feeling.

We had settled into a tenuous pattern of living where he would go for blood work on Monday mornings, into Toronto for chemo on Tuesday mornings and then doing whatever we could during the rest of the week.  While going into Toronto isn’t optimal, this blog posting explains why the local cancer care center here in Hamilton wasn’t our choice.  This tenuous pattern continued until December 11, when we went to Toronto for what we thought was going to be our surgical discharge appointment.

How wrong we were! 

Two weeks prior to this appointment, DH had a CT scan in order to get a baseline for the oncology team to determine how he’s progressing.  The surgeon got a look at the CT scan and informed us that there was a new “nodule” that had formed on DH lung and that it wasn’t there during the surgery and subsequent scans in September.

It could be benign, but as it went from non-existent to visible on a scan in just over 2 months, that was quite unlikely.  An emergency appointment with a thoracic surgeon has been arranged for a laparoscopic surgery to remove the nodule and then biopsy the results.  Best case scenario is that it is benign, next best is that it is pancreatic cancer that has miraculously missed the liver en route to the lung and we can continue chemo as previously scheduled.  Worst case scenario is that it is our old friend liver cancer that has reared its ugly head and we have to revisit chemo/radiation options.

So 2012 started with great promise and ended up squarely in the shitter, much like 2008 and 2009.  I guess three good years in a row is too much to ask for.  My Christian friends commented that God only gives us what we can handle.  I’d just like a year where my (and DH’s) tolerances aren’t being tested to their limits.  I can’t help but think of the biblical book of Job where God turned Job over to Satan to show how strong faith can be.  Well, I doubt I’m as strong as Job folks…

Here’s hoping that 2013 ends this cycle of cancer in our lives and allows DH and I to move on and live a long, happy and healthy life together.  Please, I’m practically begging this!

So yes, Merry Fucking Christmas indeed to all and to all a good day!