This Fall life changed suddenly for me. Of course, I like everyone else, have been dealing with what COVID-19 wrought on us. On October 23rd, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma and learned that 2020 was not quite done with me.
An overnight hospital stay with x-rays, a CT Scan, biopsies, and a thoracentesis to relieve a pleural effusion were my introduction to my new life. Blood tests, a panic attack inducing PET Scan, two more thoracenteses, 12 more chest x-rays, another CT Scan, a pulmonary function test, minor surgery to install a port under the skin of my chest for delivery of chemotherapy drugs followed. Then an echocardiogram revealed a significant pericardial effusion. The result was the cardiologist walking me from her office to the Emergency Room in the hospital. There I was admitted to the hospital for the installation of a pericardial catheter and spent three days in ICU with fluid drained off my heart each day.
My oncologist told me I was lucky to have Hodgkin Lymphoma as it is completely treatable to a cure. A few months of feeling terrible, and then it is done, he said.
On Friday, November 13th I had my first chemotherapy treatment. Three days later I fell off a cliff into an abyss of terribleness. In its depths I felt there was no way I could do this 7 to 11 more times. Gradually over the next two weeks I felt better. The after effects of the second, third, fourth and chemo treatments have been a bit better each time.
I am fortunate to be married to a wonderful woman. J has taken care of me and everything else in our lives throughout. She keeps me from getting too down and doesn’t mind when I am grumpy from feeling awful.
J makes sure to get me out of the house on the day before each treatment when I am feeling the best. We go on walks in some of the most beautiful natural areas in San Luis Obispo County.
The photographs accompanying this post are from our morale boosting walks in Montana de Oro State Park, Estero Bluffs State Park, and the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery just north of San Simeon.
Peaceful rally and march on June 3, 2020.
San Luis Obispo County is beginning to open up for business again. I am still working at the Cal Poly Alternate Care Site (CPACS) to help keep everything ready. It will be held in place throughout the Summer or longer in case a second wave of the virus overwhelms the local hospitals.
The library is preparing to offer curbside service for picking up materials beginning on June 2nd. I will be there for the first day, but then back to CPACS to rearrange everything in the warehouse as more supplies are in bound from other County warehouses.
My hope is that things are not moving too fast and we do not see a spike in people getting COVID-19.
Update 01/04/2021: Too bad Sally Loo’s repeatedly violates COVID-19 guidelines. I’ll be spending my money elsewhere from now on.
It has been nearly a month since I last posted about my work during this time. Over these many days I have worked night shifts, 11:00pm to 8:00am, at a homeless shelter and continued to deliver food. The nights were hard on me as I was having to switch between working at night and then during the day.
On 02 April, I was called to work at the County of San Luis Obispo’s Alternate Care Site that was being made in a giant Recreation Center building at Cal Poly State University. This is where COVID-19 patients would be sent if the local hospitals reached capacity. I was made the co-lead for managing the temporary hospital’s supply warehouse, which ended my other assignments. We have worked 60 hour weeks until now to prepare to open. I have not done so much physical labor in many years. Sunday was a much needed day off after working 17 consecutive days. I am still pretty tired, but happy for two reasons; the facility is ready and there is not yet a need for patients to be there.
During the preceding weeks, I have not had the energy for photography. I tried yesterday as we went for a long walk, but saw nothing to make me raise the camera. I think my mind is too preoccupied to relax or focus on anything. Perhaps soon I will be able to make photos again.