Update to the Update:  I’ll be heading back to UW this Wed, Thurs, and maybe Fri for something called a “lumbar drain.”  **GROSS MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY AHEAD** This means that a fluid buildup outside my skull, but originating inside the brain area, will be drained with drains in both my scalp and lower spine, which will be observed over 2-3 days, just to make sure I don’t keep building up more fluid (something they’re not expecting).  **GROSS MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY FINISHED** All this to say I’ve been invited back to the hospital for a little  encore to a summer already way too full of doctor visits, hospital stays, and related periods of convalescence.  Oh well…

All these recent health inconveniences are things I really can’t control.  Although more and more research is arising about lifestyle & nutrition choices that can evoke or discourage cancerous tumors from taking shape, ultimately, cancer is a pretty big thing that largely lies outside of our spectrum of control; otherwise, would any of us have chosen to take this road?  Though we may see good things arise from the journey, I’d have to say somewhere between 99% and 100% of we cancer patients & survivors would answer with a resounding, “NO!”

So, along this path which I did not choose myself, I find myself bumping into more and more bumps in the road to which I am not always fully able to control my reactions to.  And, in recognizing the amazing support system I’ve been incredibly blessed to have around me, I have little choice but to be transparent about those recent frustrations (such as they are).

Basically, here are a few thing’s Phil’s noticed about himself lately (as this tumor’s taken shape), for which he thanks you in advance for your understanding:

1) I forget things like nobody’s business:  While I’ll still remember at least 90% of what’s going on or what I’m doing, I run into just enough stuff that I completely forget about in mid-stream, that it becomes a bit more than a minor frustration; sometimes, it means a lot of inconvenience & hassle for others…

2) My speech really stinks:  The docs warned me that one of the side effects of this kind of tumor can be slurred speech.  What I’ve noticed this time around (and not with my first tumor), is that my mind knows what I’m trying to say, but either tries to cram it out the exit too quickly, or mashes it into an unrecognizable pulp first.  Either way, the result is a lot of slurred speech, garbled words, and incoherent talking in general.  Please, if you don’t quite catch what I said sometime, do not hesitate to ask me to repeat myself; I totally understand, and appreciate your wanting to engage the conversation with this babbling idiot.  And, please, try not to get frustrated in our conversations; frustrating as it might be to hang with me in conversation sometimes, I assure you that any frustrations on your part are multiplied a thousand times over for me…

3)My left hand & arm are still pretty gimpy (weak):  To this point, this hasn’t really been a significant deal, but I also haven’t had to test it much yet.  Along the way, this might become more problematic…

4)  I plan on getting sick this year.  A lot.: So far, after two treatments, I’ve by and large held up OK.  I don’t have a lot of confidence that this trend will continue, as more and more poison gets pumped into my system.  Plan on some sick days, or quick exits from the room.

5) I still have trouble with certain kinds of rooms:  This one has been ongoing, and I’m praying is not permanent.  But big rooms with big sound give me problems.  Or small rooms with big sound give me problems.  Sometimes it’s just sitting and listening to people talk that gives me problems.  Either way, please pardon me if I need to get up and move around from time to time.

6)  I might get a little snappy when others express concern about my health:  Yeah, me just sitting here in my living room understands that these inquiries only come from love & concern.  But sometimes selfish me forgets that, and just decides that he’s had enough talking about his brain for one day, thank you very much, and vows to go 24-hrs without a single word spoken on the subject (something which has yet to happen).  Thank you in advance for your love & concern, and thank you for understanding if I’m just not up to the task of that conversation today.

7)  Despite all these requests for special treatment…PLEASE DON’T GIVE ME ANY!:  Minor accommodations and concessions, sure.  We all get those, in our own way.  I’d love to move on from this chapter in my life, having milked it for every positive gain possible, but having lived as close to a normal life in the meantime.  Just with more puking…

Thanks for understanding, and for your continued love, support, prayer, & encouragement. 

And, don’t forget: God can redeem anyone or anything -let’s see what He wants to do with this one…